Monthly Archives: March 2021

Oz in the News 3.31.21

Houston Figure Skating club’s annual carnival to be on DVD The theme for this year’s carnival, held on Mar. 27, was Wizard of the Oz selected by Stephanie Auston, the head coach and the director of skating. “Each year we like to present something different, in the past few years we have done Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast- to name a few. This year, she had decided on The Wizard of Oz- a classic we all know and love,” said Kaszas. However, this year due to the pandemic, the carnival will look completely different. Kaszas explained that putting together a virtual carnival meant hours, upon hours of volunteer work and expressed her gratitude towards Rachel Chapman, or Carnival Chari for dedicating countless hours of hard work. The club also bought a video camera, tripod and all accessories to get a better quality recording for the show. The club has a total of 45 kids and since they wouldn’t have all been allowed in the arena at the same time, the kids were divided into groups. The Carnival was an all-day show and each group was to perform their numbers individually according to their schedule; there were also a few acting scenes in between numbers, and the soloists were also to perform. Once coach Auston has pieced together the show, it will be available on DVD for people to purchase. The club is hoping to have the DVD ready by the first week of April.

Oz in the News 3.30.21

The Radical Feminist Behind the Curtain During an iconic moment in The Wizard of Oz, actor Frank Morgan tells Judy Garland and gang to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Morgan’s charlatan character is just one of Oz’s hidden figures. This Women’s History Month, it’s time to finally pay attention to the woman behind the curtain. The Wizard of Oz film, and the novels that inspired it, were deeply influenced by the ideology of radical feminist Matilda Joslyn Gage. Gage may be best known as the mother-in-law of Oz novelist L. Frank Baum, but more importantly, she was an activist, who would be considered as radical in our day as she was in hers. “[Gage was] the woman who was ahead of the women who were ahead of their time,” Gloria Steinem said in Ms.

Oz in the News 3.23.21

Ronnee Sass Dies: Warner Bros. Publicist Behind Memorable Home Video Campaigns Best known for her contributions to home entertainment, Sass embarked on a career in this space in 1995. After co-founding Wolff, Freed and Greenberg, an independent PR and advertising firm in Baltimore, and doing a stint in film distribution, Sass found her way to Warner Home Video, where she was tasked with publicizing the studio’s extraordinary film library. In the 20 years that followed, Sass proved a key player in anniversary campaigns for many classic Warner Bros. titles, including The Wizard of Oz, Singin’ in the Rain and Blade Runner. Of particular note was a 2004 campaign in recognition of the 65th anniversary of Oz, for which she brought together all of the film’s surviving Munchkins.

Blakeway to explore Hollywood’s “golden year” for C5 Zinc Media Group-owned, UK-based factual prodco Blakeway Productions has scored a two-part commission with Channel 5, exploring a Hollywood heyday from decades past. Across two 90-minute specials, 1939: Hollywood’s Golden Year will feature a cast of family members, friends and experts such as Judy Garland’s daughter Lorna Luft; actor and writer Stephen Fry (pictured); Laurence Olivier’s son Tarquin and director Peter Bogdanovich to celebrate the films of a pivotal year during which such classics as Wuthering Heights, The Wizard of Oz and Gone With The Wind were made. Daniel Pearl, VP, commissioning editor for Channel 5, said in a statement: “This show will take an in-depth look at one of the most glamorous times in Hollywood which I know our viewers are going to love. With never-before-seen footage and interviews with the people who knew them best, it will reveal some of the best kept secrets of Tinsel town’s most famous icons.”

Oz in the News 3.22.21

This Klingon weapon was inspired by The Wizard of Oz while not much is known about how the spear originated in Klingon customs, the weapon used for the series was a collaboration between TNG’s visual effects supervisor, Dan Curry and prop master Alan Sims. And Curry, according to the book Star Trek The Artistry of Dan Curry, was inspired by both medieval halberds and what the Wicked Witch’s guards carried in The Wizard of Oz.

Oz in the News 3.21.21

Brand New Day In an interview from 1977, Ben Harney, who played the Tin Man in the Broadway production of The Wiz, said that ‘for the first time in a long time people were getting Black theatre that wasn’t hitting them over the head with anger and militancy. This was a show that had universality, and it was fun.’ But after the film was released, white writers compared it to the so-called ‘militant’ productions of the era. Charles Champlin complained in his review that Lumet had directed the film ‘as if it were Roots instead of a musical fantasy film with (new) satiric overtones’. In truth the film fuses both sensibilities, and it’s this that made it unwieldy and hard to classify. That the more strident Roots was a TV sensation and became a cultural phenomenon, while The Wiz failed horribly, says something about the public lack of appetite for subtlety or complexity in Black productions. ‘That music – maybe you’d call it “sophisticated funk” – is a combination of all the music I ever knew,’ Charlie Smalls told the LA Times in 1976. ‘I wrote it all from my heart. The lyrics – they’re my life story – I became the characters to create the characters. I used everything that happened to me on my way here. And believe me, some of it wasn’t so good before it got turned into a song.’

Oz in the News 3.12.21

Explore the Life of L. Frank Baum In “American Oz” Premiering on PBS This Spring According to PBS, the film invites viewers to “explore the life of L. Frank Baum, the man behind one of the most beloved, enduring and quintessential American classics. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published in 1900, has been reinterpreted through the generations in films, books, and musicals.” Baum wrote hundreds of works—scripts, poems, novels, and short stories—in addition to the 14 books in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz series, which also includes The Marvelous Land of Oz, Ozma of Oz, Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, The Road to Oz, The Emerald City of Oz, and the last Oz book, Glinda of Oz. The works have been adapted into several films, including the classic 1939 movie musical starring Judy Garland, as well as plays and musicals, including 2003’s Wicked, which is based upon the Gregory Maguire novel of the same name that itself re-imagines the lives of Baum’s characters. “American Oz” will premiere on American Experience on PBS on Monday, April 19, 2021, at 9 p.m. E.T. (Check local listings to confirm.)

Oz in the News 3.7.21

IZ’s iconic ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ hits 1B views on YouTube The song reached national and international fame after Kamakawiwaole released his 1993 album, “Facing Future.” The album was released just four years before his death at the age of 38. “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” became a staple of Hawaii music when IZ gave an island twist to Louis Armstrong’s classic, “What a Wonderful World.” Kamakawiwaole had originally recorded a cover of “What a Wonderful World” on his Ka Anoi CD, which was released in 1990. Unlike the soft, simple and bittersweet melody of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” that is known worldwide, the 1990 cover is more upbeat. The stripped down composition of the song in his “Facing Future” album showcased his effortless voice and signature ukulele. All these years later, Kamakawiwaole’s legacy continues to live on as the song is played and loved by listeners across the globe. One of the top comments on the YouTube video said, “He is not dead. He is somewhere over the rainbow.”

Oz in the News 3.3.21

Wizard of Oz-themed library unveiled at Race Leys Junior School – in time for World Book Day A Bedworth school has unveiled an incredible new-look library to coincide with World Book Day. The old library at Race Leys Junior School in Bedworth has been refurbished and transformed and now boasts a brilliant ‘Wizard of Oz’ theme. Not only does it have an incredible mural on the wall, the new look library also has customised seating and even a book vending machine for pupils to use. Carrie Clare, Executive Head at the school, said: “Griffin Schools Trust believes in wide horizons and high achievement for all its pupils. Providing engaging spaces to promote a lifelong love of reading has the power to transform lives. “Research indicates that reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success, greater than family circumstances, parents’ educational background or income, which is why the library is at the heart of our school.”