Monthly Archives: July 2020

Oz in the News 7.31.20

Destination Kansas – Oz Museum Have you ever imagined what the world looks like somewhere over the rainbow? A trip to the Oz Museum in Wamego, Kansas will put you right into the world ‘Wizard of Oz’ author L. Frank Baum created. Chris Glasgow, Curator, Oz Museum, said “We cover over 120 plus years. Everything from the birth of the author in 1856 to today.” Marissa Streeter, Oz Museum, said, “Once you enter the museum, you’ll be transported to the Sepia, Kansas world. Just like you would be at the beginning of the 1939 film and then you’re transported into the technicolor world of Oz.” Katlyn Stubbeman, Oz Museum, said, “How we set up the museum, meeting the characters in order. They almost feel like they’re going through Oz themselves. We have different models of the characters, from Munchkinland to the haunted forest to the Wicked Witch’s castle.” “L. Frank Baum himself never specified a town that Dorothy was from. He said later on in an interview that it was a town about 45 minutes from Topeka and that happens to fit perfectly for us.”


Oz in the News 7.30.20

Autonomous Cars Were Predicted In A Wizard of Oz Book Neill’s Scalawagon is pretty damn close to Google’s autonomous prototype for something that was conceived almost 75 years earlier. The generally rounded shape is very similar, same for the overall layout, the relatively un-ornamented design, the scale is similar, and, most notably, they both feature prominent “sensor domes” on their roofs. Google’s is a LiDAR dome and the Quadling car’s is more of a mechanical head with eyes, but I think conceptually, they’re the same. Besides, even our human heads are basically sensor domes on top of our bodies. I think it’s pretty amazing—back in 1941, writing about an imaginary land, not just the basic idea of a self-driving car was proposed (I don’t think this is even close to the first general instance of that, but still) but an overall system for their use was articulated in a way that’s relevant today, and the general design could be translated to modern (and real) technology with minimal changes. And, just like today, the autonomous car making company was being run by a wealthy and infamous charlatan, who didn’t want you looking at him behind curtains.

Oz in the News 7.25.20

Alabama native had role of a lifetime as a Munchkin in ‘Wizard of Oz’ Margaret Williams Pellegrini gained fame in one of the most-watched films in cinema history, yet you may not recognize this Alabama native’s name. Born Margaret Williams in Tuscumbia on September 3, 1923, she played two roles in the same film when she was only 15 years old, portraying a “sleepy head” Munchkin and a “flower pot” Munchkin in 1939′s “The Wizard of Oz.” Margaret is quoted in a biographical summary as saying she didn’t know she was a little person when she was first approached to be in show business because she thought she might continue to grow.

Oz in the News 7.16.20

Podiatrist Is A Wizard At Making Patients Feel At Home The wondrous world of Oz sounds like a perfect retreat from a global pandemic, political debates, and other challenges but the closest you may reach to Oz is the office of podiatrist Hal Ornstein of Affiliated Foot & Ankle Center. Years ago, the good doctor decided he wanted his patients to be as comfortable as possible and decided to take inspiration from one of his favorite books to set a theme of wonderment and serenity. That is why there are images of “The Wizard of Oz” everywhere in his Howell office of Route 9 North. He has another location in Jackson. Patients walk into the office and are immediately transported to Oz with a ceiling painting of a rainbow and a sign at the entranceway to examination rooms declares you are “not in Kansas anymore.” He has a “Wizard of Oz” collection in his own home and his favorite “Wizard of Oz” character is the Scarecrow. “He’s the one who really made all the decisions but he really just lacked confidence.” It’s clear that Ornstein identifies with that character as he enjoys instilling confidence in other professionals, patients and people in general.

Oz in the News 7.14.20

Researchers encode “The Wizard of Oz” in DNA with unprecedented accuracy DNA is ridiculously good at storing information. One milliliter droplet of DNA can theoretically store as much information as two Walmarts full of data servers. What’s more, DNA can be stored at room temperature for hundreds of thousands of years. If your gears are turning right now, you’re not alone. However, using DNA to store information is not at all as straightforward as storing it on a flash drive. In fact, it can be a nightmare to encode and decode information from the blueprint of life — but science is making progress in strides. In a new study, researchers at the University of Texas have employed a new technique for storing and reading information encoded in the iconic double-helix “twisted ladder”. The researchers demonstrated their novel technique by encoding the entire book of “The Wizard of Oz”, translated into Esperanto, with unprecedented accuracy and efficiency.

Oz in the News 7.13.20

OZ.ORG Will Premiere Online as Part of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival Logins and cyphers and software, oh my! Kansas-raised Dorothee is unexplainably sent a package containing a laptop and a cryptic note signed “LFB”. When she unlocks the computer, she is suddenly transported into Can you help Dorothee reach the Wizard, save Oz, and find her way home? OZ.ORG is an interactive, virtual play based on L. Frank Baum’s 1900 novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” as well as MGM’s 1939 Technicolor Oscar-winning film “The Wizard of Oz”. Kusching’s play is a dystopian, futuristic, and technological spin on the beloved children’s classic. OZ.ORG will be performed live and include the opportunity for audience engagement. Each show has a limited number of participants, and audience members will have the chance to actually partake in the adventure. The audience will interact with the cast through the live chat and can turn on their webcams to join the show. There will even be the chance for a solo-audience experience with the Wizard of Oz himself.

Oz in the News 7.9.20

‘Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo’: The Beatles and ‘The Wizard of Oz’ kept the actor sane in prison Legendary actor Danny Trejo, also known by his popular nickname Machete, has lived a very interesting life. He’s been a criminal and a celebrity and everything in between and that story comes out in the new documentary ‘Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo’. In the documentary film, Trejo speaks about his time in prison in great detail. One story that he tells us is about the time he was placed in solitary confinement and started re-enacting the 1939 movie ‘The Wizard of Oz’. “You just keep from going crazy by making yourself crazy,” Trejo explains. “I was in the hole and I was running around the cell and I would act out ‘The Wizard of Oz’. ‘Give me those shoes Dorothy’, the whole crazy movie, just to keep my brain going.” Trejo’s daughter, Danielle Trejo, also chimes in adding, “You have to cope in whatever way you can. For him, it was ‘The Wizard of Oz’.”

Eve Lindley on How ‘The Wizard of Oz’ Explains the Wild ‘Dispatches from Elsewhere’ Finale The Wizard of Oz is a huge inspiration, I think, for the overall story. When I learned that, I actually wore braids to my very first callback with Jason, because when I read the script, I was like, “Oh, four people going on a journey. It’s The Wizard of Oz. Got it.” I grew up loving The Wizard of Oz. I have images of it in my apartment that I’m looking at right now. And I think, for me, the ending is just like, we’re going to Kansas. We’re shifting into the real world. We’re dropping the Technicolor over-the-top nature of [the show]. It’s sort of classic TV to be a little over the top, like women wearing far-too-elegant outfits to go out for dinner — in real life, everyone’s in flats, everyone’s sort of a little more practical. So things like that, little things where we became a practical and real world and the acting changes and there’s hopefully something a little more subtle about the way that we’re interacting with each other. I really feel like I played two characters in that Wizard of Oz way, where you’re the Tin Man and the farmhand.

Oz in the News 7.3.20

Eva Noblezada, Nathan Lee Graham, George Salazar, More Set for Night of a Thousand Judys Virtual Concert The eighth annual Night of A Thousand Judys, a Pride concert benefiting The Ali Forney Center, will take place as a streaming online event July 14 at 8 PM. Written and hosted by Justin Sayre, the evening will include Tony winner Lena Hall (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), MAC winner Natalie Douglas, Tony nominee Eva Noblezada (Hadestown), Nathan Lee Graham (Zoolander), Tony nominee Adam Pascal (Rent), Tony nominee Beth Malone (Fun Home), Tony winner Alice Ripley (Next to Normal), George Salazar (Be More Chill), Ann Harada (Avenue Q), T. Oliver Reid (Hadestown), Jessica Vosk (Wicked), Spencer Day, and Bright Light Bright Light.The Ali Forney Center is the nation’s largest agency dedicated to helping LGBTQ+ homeless youth. Watch the concert and donate to the cause at

Dorothy Blazes New Trails In Grand Rapids MN Hometown Of Judy Garland This summer follow along with Visit Grand Rapids new campaign, Dorothy Blazes New Trails. While we know there is “no place like home”, we also know that people are feeling cooped up at home and want to get out to explore and seek safe places to find new adventure. This campaign will feature Dorothy (played by actress, Chelsey Johnson) and her black lab side kick, Tioga exploring Grand Rapids, MN – the home of Judy Garland (aka Frances Ethel Gumm). Each week the campaign will highlight safe and fun places to seek outdoor adventure, places to shop, places to dine, and places to stay. Follow along with the Dorothy Blazes New Trails each week on Visit Grand Rapids social media pages: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Visit Grand Rapids will do weekly featuring images of Dorothy, her trusty side kick, Tioga will be featured at iconic outdoor locations in the Grand Rapids. Dorothy will be joined by her Wizard of Oz Friends (tin man, scarecrow and the cowardly lion) in the coming weeks. The friends (real-life people that represent these Wizard of Oz characters) will head out on adventure together, while enjoying safe social distancing. In July Visit Grand Rapids will partner with area businesses and launch a Dorothy Blazes New Trails Contest where daily clues will be given and daily prizes will be awarded. There will be a designated Contest page on where people will be sent for photo clues of Dorothy and her friends at different outdoor locations, area attractions, businesses and places to eat & drink. Each day people will be asked to comment on Facebook and Instagram of the clues location and then at the end of the day Visit Grand Rapids staff will randomly draw a winner from those people whose comment was correct.

Talents of local voice actor recognized Georgia Craven recently received a Best Leading Actress nomination for The Audio Theatre Central Seneca Awards for her role as Dorothy Gale in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Craven is a Grade 12 student at Chatham-Kent Secondary School and has extensive experience in stage performing. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, however, marks Craven’s first lead part in an audio theatre production. In addition to the dialogue she had to read, Craven also had to perform two original songs as part of the production. The production was put on by Chatham’s Voices in the Wind Audio Theatre, which adapts popular literature works into full-cast audio productions using only voice actors and sound effects. Voices of the Wind Audio Theatre also received a nomination for Best Cover Art for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The winners will be announced in a live-stream broadcast on July 24 at 10 p.m. Snippets of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz are available on the Voices of the Wind Audio Theatre website and the complete 90-minute production is available for purchase on



Oz in the News 7.2.20

“A PUMPKIN, IF YOU PLEASE.” WE ‘RETURN TO OZ’ 35 YEARS LATER The story, in its theatrical version, was meant as a warning against loving or relying too much on technology. Even at the end of the film, as Dorothy is discovered on a river bank, her family reveals that her doctor died in a fire while trying to “save his machines.” There are also multiple struggles with the Gump in keeping his parts together and his own self-reported satisfaction with remaining a head on a wall, rather than an assembly of parts one could find in their garage. Return to Oz is dark and eerie; the mood is a marked shift from the sunshine and rainbows of its Judy Garland-starring predecessor. Questions of mental health, the public’s fear of electroshock therapy, squeaking wheels of the henchmen, and a villain who can swap heads (heads, it should be noted, that are all autonomous and can interact with people who admire them), and music scored by David Shire (Apocalypse Now, Zodiac, Short Circuit), all make for a moody, cryptic take on the stories. One that appears closer to Baum’s vision than previous iterations.

Oz in the News 7.1.20

Die Hard named most re-watched film ever alongside Wizard of Oz and Dirty Dancing According to the research, the average Brit has watched Die Hard, The Wizard of Oz and Dirty Dancing 12 times in their lifetime. Since lockdown, that number’s surely gone up.

The 20 Most Re-watched Movies Of All Time
Die Hard – 12 times
Dirty Dancing – 12 times
The Wizard of Oz – 12 times
Star Wars: A New Hope – 11 times
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back – 11 times
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi – 11 times
Mary Poppins – 11 times
The Sound of Music – 10 times
Back to the Future – 10 times
The Breakfast Club – 10 times
The Lion King – 10 times
The Incredibles – 10 times
Rocky – 10 times
Ghostbusters – 10 times
Monsters, Inc. – 10 times
Lethal Weapon – 9 times
Top Gun – 9 times
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – 9 times
The Godfather – 9 times
Jaws – 8 times