Monthly Archives: August 2020

Oz in the News 8.21.20

History Guy: Actress who played witch in ‘Wizard of Oz’ visited Topeka in 1979 Margaret Hamilton gained a reputation as one of the scariest witches of all time for her performance in the 1939 film classic, “The Wizard of Oz.” But Hamilton wore a blue dress instead of her black witch’s outfit when she visited Topeka 40 years later, saying she didn’t want to scare anybody. This week’s History Guy video at CJOnline focuses on Hamilton, who played dual roles in “The Wizard of Oz” as Miss Almira Gulch and the Wicked Witch of the West. Actress Judy Garland starred as Kansas farm girl Dorothy Gale in that film, which initially failed to make a profit but became an institution after CBS-TV in 1956 began a regular practice of airing it once every year. Hamilton was 77 years old when she made her first-ever trip to Topeka to sign autographs at a festival held Oct. 20, 1979, called “Oz II.”

Oz in the News 8.17.20

THE WIZARD OF OZ MEETS THE HURT LOCKER IN DAVID PEPOSE’S LATEST COMIC ‘THE O.Z.’ Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is one of our most sacred fantasy stories, but what if by defeating the Wicked Witch, Dorothy Gale created a power vacuum and triggered a decades-long civil war with countless casualties? And, what if Dorothy’s granddaughter, an Iraq war veteran, gets pulled into the present day Oz, now dubbed the Occupied Zone? She’d have a big mess on her hands in trying to broker peace. That’s what co-creators David Pepose (Spencer & Locke) and artist-on-the-rise Ruben Rojas will explore in their re-imagined sequel The O.Z. Along with colorist Whitney Cogar (Giant Days) and letterer DC Hopkins (Resonant), this is one Kickstarter-supported comic you won’t want to miss. The O.Z. is part Mad Max: Fury Road mixed with equal portions of The Hurt Locker and The Old Guard as it takes the cherished landscape of Oz and turns it into a frightening war zone full of casualties. Its remaining survivors cling to the hopes that they will see an end to the conflict, but that reality is nowhere near the horizon. It’s an unflinching tale about the punishing consequences of war, the search for noble leadership, and legacy.

Oz in the News 8.16.20

AFI Movie Club: THE WIZ John Badham was initially hired to direct, but he disagreed with producer Rob Cohen about updating the story to modern times. When Diana Ross was cast as Dorothy, Badham left the production because he wanted the character to remain authentic to its source material and be performed by a young girl. The Broadway musical THE WIZ broke new ground as the first production with both an all-Black cast and an entire team of African American creators. In addition, its story was the first to take place entirely after the Jim Crow era, a time in which Black Americans continued to be subjugated to oppressive segregation laws. However, the production crew for the movie was almost completely white. Do you think representation matters for those working behind the camera? Why or why not? 

Oz in the News 8.11.20

Once Upon a Time For a collector and seller of children’s books, it makes sense that a passion for juvenile literature would begin as a child, but it’s rare that a childhood obsession turns into a lifelong career. Yet that’s exactly what happened when Justin G. Schiller fell in love with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and began collecting various editions at age eight. By the time he was twelve, he had founded the International Wizard of Oz Club and began buying copies for others and reselling them. “Children’s books were being neglected amongst other collectibles when I was growing up,” Schiller said. “Just as everything has hills and valleys and ups and downs, children’s books were often pushed to the side and no one took them seriously but me. I’ve bought back books I’ve sold after a collector dies. I’m very consistent, because I feel I’m protecting them. I was an only child, and these books are also only children that need to be protected.” This year, however, Schiller’s shop is closing. Though he notes he won’t entirely be removed from the book trade, he does say the shop’s expansive collection must be sold. These items will be sold by Heritage Auctions on December 16. Lots in the sale will include rare works from prominent children’s authors dated across several centuries. Fittingly, one prominent item from the sale is a first edition with first state text and plates of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900), estimated at $20,000 and up.

Oz in the News 8.9.20

Pink Floyd Engineer Explains Strange ‘Dark Side Of The Rainbow’ Coincidence  Alan Parsons — yes, that Alan Parsons — explained why in a recent conversation with Professor of Rock’s Adam Reader. Parsons was involved in nearly every aspect of the recording of Dark Side of the Moon — he even recruited “Great Gig in the Sky” vocalist Clare Torry. He says they were too busy experimenting with the recording to worry about synching the 43-minute album to a 101-minute film from three decades before. “…[I]t has absolutely no foundation whatsoever,” Parsons said of the legend. “It was a fabrication by someone who had much too much time on their hands.” But the most critical piece of evidence that Pink Floyd did not intentionally connect its most successful album to Wizard of Oz is that they would have had no way to do it even if they wanted to, Parsons added. “We didn’t have VCRs back then; how could we have done it?” he wondered. VCRs didn’t become commercially available until the mid-’70s; Wizard of Oz didn’t come out on VHS until 1989. Talk of the ‘Dark Side of the Rainbow’ synchronicity only started gaining popularity in the mid-’90s.

At Louis Vuitton, Old Hollywood Psychedelica In a 63-page manifesto for the collection made available to press, Abloh said his primary source of inspiration was The Wizard of Oz, and its all-Black counterpart, The Wiz. The fields of flowers and psychedelic proclivities enter the fold via brightly colored suiting, surreally designed sunglasses, and top hats that the Mad Hatter would kill for.

Oz in the News 8.6.20

To Oz? Yes! To Oz! Enjoy our virtual event created for—and by—fans of Oz. Here, the original children’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) and the classic 1939 MGM film of the beloved story introduce you to a wider world of Oz. Join to click into our tours, talks, demos, performances, and interviews. Explore Oz parks, museums, and your own creative side in hands-on Oz projects. Talk about it all! And come back all weekend as new content is released.

Your Town Chittenango: Oz-Stravaganza cancelled, but not the village magic “I think it puts us on the map,” said Collen Zimmer, Director of the Oz-Stravaganza Festival. The three-day festival, which normally draws around 30 thousand people to Chittenango over the summer, had to be canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has also meant the Oz Museum hasn’t had a visitor since March – they’re now taking the time to do renovations, and are hoping to make a comeback in the future. “Oz is alive and well everywhere,” said Zimmer. They’ve been using pop-up sales of things like Oz merchandise and masks to bring in some revenue and keep the magic alive. According to Zimmer, they’ve made sales all over the globe. Zimmer has been volunteering for the Oz Museum for 35 years. She said her primary reason for joining was because she saw how important Oz was to the people of the village of Chittenango.