Monthly Archives: March 2019

Oz in the News 3.31.19

Exclusive: Interview with Author Michael Selsman on His New Book ‘Lost on the Yellow Brick Road’ “She was a true talent. Everyone knows Garland had outstanding credits to her name—The Wizard of Oz, Meet Me in St. Louis, A Star Is Born—but it’s a rarity when someone knows the true Judy Garland. Besides drugs and alcohol, Judy received solace from men. Not the sex or physical aspect—proven by her marrying several gay men throughout her life—but the love, the adoration, and most of all, the attention she so desperately needed since she could walk. “Judy had her heart broken into too many pieces.” Judy brought the house down with her soaring, booming voice; her parents were in show business long before she was born, with a stage mother that was as ruthless as the Wicked Witch of the West; MGM took her in as its own at the age of thirteen, where she made countless classic films yet consequently grew up to be excruciatingly insecure and unequipped to deal with life on life’s terms. Her short forty-seven years was an inspiring voyage. Hollywood’s cruelty lies just beneath the surface. Just like today, the public is morbidly fickle. Until she died. Then the stream of “stunned” and “sad” celebrity comments started flowing. “Everybody loves you when you’re dead,” Judy said.  The Wizard of Oz is identified as the most influential film of all time in a study published in the journal Applied Network Science.”

Oz in the News 3.29.18

Godzilla: King of the Monsters goes over the rainbow in new teaser Godzilla meets the spirit of Judy Garland in the new TV spot for Godzilla: King of the Monsters (out May 31) which finds images of King Ghidorah, Mothra, Rodan, and, of course, ‘Zilla himself soundtracked by “Over the Rainbow,” the song first performed by Garland in The Wizard of Oz. No news as to whether any of the sequences are set in Kansas. About five years have passed in the film since the events depicted in 2014’s Godzilla, which isn’t nearly enough time for people to stop freaking out about the discovery that they share the planet with you-know-who.

Oz in the News 3.28.19

Bricolage Production Company kicks off its 11th year of its Midnight Radio series with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz It’s Friday night in Downtown Pittsburgh, and Bricolage artistic director/founder Jeffrey Carpenter is directing a rehearsal of the company’s upcoming production of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The cast and crew are trying to figure out how to create the sound of the Tin Woodsman’s body being torn in two using scrappy, unconventional tools; after several experiments, Carpenter and assistant director Connor McCanlus think they finally have it figured out. Don’t remember that gruesome scene in the film? The script for this production was adapted by CP contributing writer Lissa Brennan, largely based on the original book by L. Frank Baum and not the movie, which includes no mention of how the Tin Man originated. This production kicks off the 11th year of Bricolage’s Midnight Radio series, plays written in homage to 1940s radio shows, complete with Foley sound effects, an applause sign, and hilarious commercial breaks written by principal creator/co-founder Tami Dixon. The “live studio audience” is encouraged to close their eyes throughout performances to experience a “radio show that’s not on the radio.” Back at rehearsal, one actor holds a large piece of fabric with both hands, ready to rip; another has placed a torn piece of cardboard under the blade of a paper cutter. Stage manager Katy Click gives the actors the clue to begin, and the sound of the Tin Woodsman’s body being ripped to shreds echoes throughout the small theater. The room gasps in a collective groan of disgust. Carpenter leans back in his chair, arms crossed, and smirks. “That’s really satisfying.”

Scientific Games launches MUNCHKINLAND™, the newest title in the successful THE WIZARD OF OZ™ series of slot games Showcased on the immersive Gamefield 2.0™ cabinet, MUNCHKINLAND is a 5-reel, 50-line slot with a life-changing “There’s No Place Like Home” wide area progressive jackpot, and two central game features. The Witch Feature stars The Wicked Witch of the East, who will randomly fly over the base game display and cast a spell on the reels, possibly expanding them up to 12 rows! During the feature, Witch Wild reels may be added, increasing the chance of a big win. If Tornado Wild reels are added, the reels switch to Lollipop Wilds displaying credit prizes and jackpots that add up for a sweet reward. The Munchkin Parade Bonus, triggered by three or more bonus symbols, begins with a wheel spin where character wedges award a corresponding jackpot and an additional spin, and free spin wedges can award up to 20 free spins! During the free spins, parading Munchkins can award up to three active enhancements, such as Wild reels, multipliers, and credit prize Lollipop Wilds.

Oz in the News 3.27.19

‘Wizard Of Oz’ Half Sheet Pushes Heritage Poster Auction Above $2 Million A flurry of competitive bids from multiple collectors drove the result for a Wizard of Oz (MGM, 1939) half sheet Style A to $108,000, with buyer’s premium, to claim top-lot honors in Heritage Auctions’ Movie Posters auction March 23–24. The total for the poster helped push the total for the auction above the $2 million plateau, to $2,037,626. The legendary musical fantasy film was produced on a total budget of approximately $2.7 million (in Depression-era dollars), but earned just above $3 million at the box office, despite strong reviews — a paltry return on the investment. It was not until it was shown on television in 1956 that the film enjoyed renewed popularity and became one of the most popular films of all time. Not coincidentally, the film is one of the most collected titles in the movie posters collecting hobby. Skilled restoration has helped restore this poster to near-pristine condition, rendering any wear virtually imperceptible — it is a prized acquisition for the serious collector of this classic film memorabilia. A full review of the auction will appear in a future issue.

Oz in the News 3.14.19

Toto Tells It Like It Is… “Let the Truth Be Known” – An Epic “Wizard of Oz” Adventure for the 21st Century Reader A couple of days in Oz equals a year in Kansas where Uncle Henry is dying; If the Wizard will provide the cure, will Dorothy return home…and in time? Alongside Toto, you will ride in the front seat of a thrilling and emotional roller coaster throughout the magical Land of Oz…and beyond. This Wizard of Oz takeoff is a multidimensional plot-twister that includes an updated original cast and a host of other wondrous quirky social misfits. This complex and intriguing parody has as much tongue-in-cheek humor as it does original content, adventure, mystery, fantasy, and romance.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Gets an Illustrated Prequel 120 years after the release of L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” the Royal Publisher of Oz is publishing a graphic novel telling the canonical tale of How the Wizard Came to Oz. A tale of action and adventure set in a fantastic realm, “How the Wizard Came to Oz” first appeared as a short story in the pages of Oziana magazine’s 1976 issue. This was followed by his novel of the same name. Now, at last, the complete story of Oscar Diggs’ earliest adventures in Oz, is revealed.


Oz in the News 3.11.19

Eighty years over the rainbow: how music transformed The Wizard of Oz into a cultural icon Songs from The Wizard of Oz are so powerful they have transformed the story into a cultural icon, according to researchers from the University of Sheffield. Eighty years since the release of the MGM film by Yip Harburg and Harold Arlen, the new research by Dr Dominic McHugh and former PhD student Dr Danielle Birkett from the University’s Department of Music highlights how songs from the beloved musical are being used by people today to help express themselves in times of need. The study, in collaboration with postdoctoral researcher Dr Hannah Robbins, emphasises the importance of the musical to the LGBT community. “Not only does MGM’s The Wizard of Oz appeal to all ages, it is one of only a few popular musical films that does not represent a heterosexual romance,” said Dr Robbins. She added: “At the heart of the story, Dorothy and her three companions discover that they do not need to change themselves to become who they want to be. This message coming after Judy Garland’s wistful performance of Over the Rainbow, a song about escaping to a place of safety, speaks to the fight for acceptance that continues to take place for the LGBT community today.”

Oz in the News 3.6.19

Wicked Marathon offers Oz-themed races You won’t have to travel all the way to the mythical land of Oz to take part in this year’s Wicked Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K races. In fact, you don’t even need to find a yellow brick road. You just need to travel west on US-24 highway to the town of Wamego on March 30 to face other like-minded runners to raise money for several good causes while having lots of fun. Now in its sixth year, the Wicked Marathon/Half Marathon and 5K runs sponsored by Body First have the goal of getting more people — especially youngsters — more active. Doug Sellers, CEO of Body First and the race’s director, answered questions about the upcoming event.

Easy being green? Film’s biggest green icons revealed The Wicked Witch Of The West flies in to Number 7 in the Wizard Of Oz. The 1939 classic starring Julie Garland featured Margaret Hamilton as the terrifying Wicked Witch. A special mention goes to the Wizard himself, for being green initially (but of course turning out to be a total fraud – spoiler alert!). The iconic musical film has sold over 2 million copies on disc, despite its original release date being almost 60 years before the introduction of DVDs.

Oz in the News 3.3.19

Heart, Courage, And A Brain: Dorchester Native Ray Bolger The Scarecrow In ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ The Scarecrow on the hunt for a brain in the 1939 classic “The Wizard of Oz” was played by Dorchester native Ray Bolger. His role as the Scarecrow captured the public’s imagination some 80 years ago but Bolger was a star in his own right with a career in theatre, movies, television, and dance that spanned over fifty years. So why don’t we know more about his start as a dancer on the streets of Boston?

Warwick Davis is off to see the Wizard! For one night only, join BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night Is Music Night and the BBC Concert Orchestra for a trip along the Yellow Brick Road to celebrate the beloved musical film The Wizard of Oz in its 80th anniversary year. Alongside the classic songs from the film such as Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Follow the Yellow Brick Road, the concert also features music from Wicked as well as the Michael Jackson and Diana Ross movie The Wiz – both inspired by Frank L. Baum’s original Oz stories. The incredible cast includes the Olivier Award-winning Rebecca Trehearn as Dorothy, singer-songwriter Joe Stilgoe as the Scarecrow, West End leads Hadley Fraser as the Tin Man and Trevor Dion Nicholas as the Cowardly Lion, and Sharon D. Clarke, fresh from her triumph in Caroline Or Change. Actor Warwick Davis, who has starred in Star Wars and Harry Potter, presents his first concert for BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night Is Music Night, while the sixty-piece BBC Concert Orchestra is conducted by Broadway maestro Larry Blank.


Oz in the News 3.2.19

Avalon’s Bird Park was once a busy tourist attraction and was immortalized in “The Wizard of Oz” Catalina Island has been home to many incredible things, from the buffalo planted there through the Hollywood film industry to a spring training ground for the Chicago Cubs during the Wrigley years. One of the lesser known attractions that at one time flourished was Avalon’s Bird Park, an aviary housing nearly 8,000 birds. According to a blog post on, Avalon’s Bird Park was even sourced for sounds of the 1939 classic film by MGM that also happened to be the first color picture: “The Wizard of Oz.” Judy Garland starred in the Technicolor movie, which for the time had very advanced special effects. The blog says: “The sound crew [for “The Wizard of Oz”] recorded more than 15,000 feet of birdcalls, chirps and singing. The recordings were considered to be the most  complete collection of bird noises at the time. The recorded birdcalls were played at different speeds and in different ways, and then incorporated into many of the film’s scenes, including the spooky sounds of the witch’s Haunted Forest.”

Oz in the News 3.1.19

Louis Vuitton is blasted for selling a shiny silver RAIN PONCHO for £5,500 The expensive rain cape is similar to those handed out for free for theme park log flumes and at rainy festivals. However it is emblazoned with the words ‘Follow the yellow brick road’ – a reference to the ‘Wizard of Oz’ theme of the collection. It also features the eponymous ‘LV’ signature on the back. A description of the poncho on the Louis Vuitton website reads: ‘Crafted from papery metallic calfskin, the Rain Poncho echoes the Wizard of Oz theme that characterises this season’s collection. ‘The iconic LV signatures are reimagined as embroidered glass bead patches, beautifully offset by a laser-cut patch at the chest. ‘Brushed metal snap fastenings on the cuffs add elegant finishing touches to this standout style.’