E.Y. Yip Harburg: Blacklisted Left Wing Songwriter Arthur Freed was a songwriter and aspiring producer with MGM studios. After the success of Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Freed lobbied MGM to produce a similar movie based on L. Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. He made sure Judy Garland got the role of Dorothy. On May 19, 1938 Arlen and Harburg signed a contract with MGM to write the songs for The Wizard of Oz for $25,000. Although Freed was far to his right politically, he allowed Harburg to make the Munchkins members in good standing of a labor union! Harburg had much to do with the seamless integration of songs and plot. In three weeks he and Arlen had written “Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead,” “We’re off to see the Wizard,” and “If I Only Had a Brain/ a Heart/ the Nerve.” They had written all the songs for the movie in just a few weeks leaving two months to come up with the final composition, a ballad for Judy Garland. Judy’s attitude towards songwriters had been made clear when Irving Berlin tried to tell her how to sing one of his songs in another movie. She told him, “You write ’em; I’ll sing ’em.”
The Man Behind the Curtain: The Creation of the Land of Oz The Onondaga Historical Association will host a one man performance of THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN, written and performed by J.D. Newman. The play follows of the creation of THE LAND OF OZ and the memorable characters Dorothy, the Scare Crow, the Tin Man, the Lion, and Toto as originally conceived by author L. Frank Baum. The piece also details the personal journey of Baum, a native New Yorker and author, as he finds his way in the world, receives encouragement from his mother-in-law, suffragette Matilda Joslyn Gage, and enjoys commercial success with “THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ.” The performance will be on Saturday, October 29th, at 1:00pm at OHA’s Auditorium at 321 Montgomery Street, Syracuse, NY and will last approximately 90 minutes.
‘Wizard of Oz’ Halloween houses amaze in Snohomish A Highlands East cul-de-sac recreated the ‘Wizard of Oz’ in Halloween houses to support the Snohomish County Food Bank. Residents go all out on decorations, starting with the Kansas farmhouse in black and white and ending with home sweet home and a hot air balloon. Visitors take a complete tour of the classic 1930s movie. They have Munchkinland, poppy fields, a witch’s castle – even a moving tornado. The decorations are on display now, and neighbors will dress up as the Wizard of Oz characters on Halloween night. Last year, crowds topped 1,000 people.