Category Archives: Judy Garland

Oz in the News 10.3.19

Renee Zellweger talks Judy in behind the scenes featurettes Pretty much everyone is unanimous in their praise of Renee Zellweger, who gets under the skin of Hollywood icon Judy Garland. Zellweger brings us the emotionally crumbling Judy of the 1950s as she battled her difficult past and her own personal demons. With Zellweger potentially in line for her first Best Actress Oscar, here are some behind the scenes featurettes in which she discusses the making of the film.

Oz in the News 9.27.19

‘The Imaginarium of Oz’ opens in Shanghai A new exhibition at the Micx reinterprets classic scenes from “The Wizard of Oz” using modern technology and immersive installations. The exhibition, entitled “The Imaginarium of Oz,” will run till January 5. Shanghai is the first stop on the show’s global tour. A total of eight different multimedia environments representing Dorothy’s fantastic adventure in Oz have been created by South Korean pop artists. According to producer Jia Ke, the show’s crossover elements are meant to bring diversity and innovation to the exhibition.

How Two Oz-Obsessed Midwesterners Made Judy Garland’s Birthplace a Museum “In terms of American history, and the fact that The Wizard of Oz is one of the most watched movies of all time, this is as important to me as any President’s house,” Kelsch says, walking around the enchanted garden on the south side of the building. Passing cutouts of munchkins, and others of Dorothy and her companions strolling down the yellow brick road, Kelsch goes further: “Does anyone know who Grover Cleveland is? Would they want to visit his house?” (Not particularly, he says.) Garland’s childhood home remains an attraction, in part because so many children knew her as Dorothy. The wooden house even looks like the one that landed on the Wicked Witch of the West more than 80 years ago.

Remember when Judy Garland wore a gingham pinafore in “The Wizard of Oz”? If clothes could talk, Garland’s Dorothy costume would reveal a punishing regime. When it went up for auction in 2015, sweat stains could still be seen around the neck of her blouse. Such was demand for the dress that three bidders pushed the price well beyond Bonham’s pre-sale estimates of between $800,000 and $1.2 million. “As we witnessed today… the dress is considered a true and timeless icon of classic Hollywood,” said Bonhams’ Director of Entertainment Memorabilia, Catherine Williamson. The final price was $1.56 million, including commission, but the dress is not the most expensive “Oz” costume on record. That honor goes to the Cowardly Lion, whose suit — made of real lion skin and fur — sold for more than $3 million in 2014.


Oz in the News 9.24.19

Why Is Judy Garland The Ultimate Gay Icon? While Garland was still alive, critics made ham-fisted attempts to answer this question. A 1969 review of her Palace Theatre show in Esquire Magazine reads: “Homosexuals tend to identify with suffering. They are a persecuted group and they understand suffering. And so does Garland.” However queer historian Dr Justin Bengry warns against generalising in this way. “It’s important to ask: for whom is Judy Garland resonant, important and iconic?” he tells BBC Culture. “It seems to be a significant category of gay men, in particular, who are invested in celebrities or the camp aesthetic that Garland embodies. But it’s also important to recognise that they aren’t the totality of gay men.” The camp that Bengry mentions is significant to Garland’s gay icon status. Queer film historian Jack Babuscio defines camp as “irony, aestheticism, theatricality and humour” – four pillars that form the foundation of Garland’s public persona. In fact, her life story is practically a blueprint for our modern understanding of what makes a gay icon. Analysing her story, from upbringing to death, helps us understand how and why some gay men look to famous women to help them navigate the world.

Oz in the News 9.11.19

‘Over the Rainbow’ Escapes MGM Purge for Stage Revival A few months ago, famed song stylist Michael Feinstein was helping his friend Angela White, daughter of composer Dave Rose — who was married to Judy Garland from 1941 to 1944 — move some filing boxes at her office in L.A.’s Studio City. When he noticed a folder marked “Over the Rainbow,” he peeked inside — and was overjoyed at what he found. “It contained vintage set parts for the song’s original film arrangement,” says Feinstein, 62, who’s also known as an anthropologist and archivist for the Great American Songbook. Now Feinstein will bring that bit of history to life: On Sept. 14, at an evening dedicated to classic MGM musicals at the Los Angeles County Arboretum, he’ll conduct the Pasadena Pops in a rendition of “Over the Rainbow” based on those unearthed orchestrations. “The original chart has a lot of orchestral sections that cannot be heard on the old soundtrack, so it will be a true revelation for people to hear what they have literally never heard before,” says Feinstein. Of course, the performance won’t feature the legendary vocals of a then-17-year-old Garland — that honor will fall to Tony winner Karen Ziemba — but Garland will be there in spirit via her daughter, Liza Minnelli. “My mother would have been proud to know that her original MGM chart of ‘Over The Rainbow’ is being revived and played again after 80 years,” says Minnelli, 73. “The arrangers were always very important to her, from Nelson Riddle and Gordon Jenkins to Conrad Salinger and Skip Martin at MGM. She sometimes worked with them to craft the sound she wanted from the orchestra and had the best ‘ears’ in the business. I’ll be there to cheer Michael on and only wish that she could have been there, too.”

Renee Zellweger gets standing ovation for Judy Garland role “In 15 years at #TIFF I have never seen a standing ovation like the one for Renee Zellweger at Judy,” said Variety’s Jenelle Riley. After sustained applause, Zellweger joked: “OK quit it – you’re messing up my make-up!” The audience response in Toronto follows warm reviews for the film from critics and is likely to put Zellweger in the frame for a potential Oscar nomination. “Her transformation is quite astonishing here, and the extended sequences at the Palladium demonstrate her ability to recreate Garland’s physicality and mannerisms,” said Fionnuala Halligan in Screen Daily.

1,200 pounds of butter turns to Oz at the Kansas State Fair The Kansas State Fair butter sculpture is offering a new visual this year — color In the Pride of Kansas Building, Sarah Pratt and her husband Andy sculpted 1,200 pounds of unsalted butter into a scene from the Wizard of Oz. The scene depicts Dorothy – complete with ruby red slippers – along with Toto, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Lion and Glinda. Pratt used Wilson’s red food coloring to make Dorothy’s ruby slippers. “I mixed it with some moldy butter that was going to get thrown out anyway. The moldy butter and the red food dye made it the perfect color red.” She topped the slippers off with red sugar sprinkles. “I don’t like to use a ton of color, but I thought this was perfect.”

Oz in the News 9.5.19

I’m Your Biggest Fan: Wizard Of Oz superfan owns original costumes worn in 1939 film and replica ruby red slippers This week we meet Walter Krueger, 33, who has dedicated his life to all things Wizard Of Oz. Somewhere over the rainbow, the Chicago native was blown away watching the classic Judy Garland film as a three-year-old in 1989. Now an influencer and historian consultant for the Land Of Oz theme Park and manager of The Land Of Oz theme parks Oz Museum, he’s spent hundreds of thousands on merch, runs one of the biggest fan groups in the world and has a better knowledge of all things Dorothy than probably Judy herself.

Read the Reviews for Judy Garland Biopic Judy, Starring Renée Zellweger Renée Zellweger takes on entertainment superstar Judy Garland in the new biopic Judy, arriving in movie theatres September 27. Tony nominee Rupert Goold directs the film, which also features Finn Wittrock (American Horror Story, Broadway’s The Glass Menagerie) as Mickie Deans, Jessie Buckley as Rosalyn Wilder, Michael Gambon as Bernard Delfont, and Gemma-Leah Devereux and Bella Ramsey as a young Liza Minnelli and Lorna Luft. Read what critics thought of the new movie


Oz in the News 8.29.19

Movies On The Radio Honors The Legacy Of American Classic ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ Host Frank Stasio along with film experts Marsha Gordon and Laura Boyes commemorate the film on the latest edition of Movies on the Radio. Stasio also talks to literary scholar Michael Patrick Hearn about the book from 1900 that inspired the film and the life of its author, L. Frank Baum. Hearn specializes in children’s literature and is the author of “The Annotated Wizard of Oz” (WW Norton Co/2000). Gordon is a professor of film studies at North Carolina State University and a fellow at the National Humanities Center. Boyes is the film curator for the North Carolina Museum of Art. She is also the curator of the MovieDiva series.

Oz in the News 8.28.19

Dorothy Gale’s Iconic Wizard of Oz Dress Is Up for Auction 80 Years After the Film’s Release The gingham pinafore dress, which has been listed as an auction piece by Profiles in History, is estimated between $350,000 to $500,000. Judy Garland‘s screen double, Barbara “Bobbie” Koshay, wore the dress in a scene in which Dorothy opens the door to Munchkinland in the 1939 film.

Ray Bolger’s 1948 Tony Award to Be Auctioned Bolger, who famously portrayed the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz alongside Judy Garland, won the award for his turn in the Broadway production of Where’s Charley?. The actor, who died in 1987 at the age of 83, reprised his role as Charley Wykeham in the 1952 Warner Brothers film based on the Broadway musical. The Tony, which will be auctioned by Nate D. Sanders Auctions on August 29, was presented at the third annual event on April 24, 1949, when the design of the Tony Award medallion was first introduced. The medal features the comedy and tragedy masks on the front, and a profile portrait of Antoinette Perry in relief on the reverse. The sterling silver medallion reads, ”The American Theatre Wing Presents to Ray Bolger This Award for His Performance in Where’s Charley 1948-49.” Bidding for the medal begins at $8,000.

Munchkin’s widow honored at Wizard of Oz Days When a professional group of Wizard of Oz characters from Indiana led the Oz Days celebration at the Hannibal Inn and Suites on Saturday, they had a special little person to introduce to the huge crowd attending. Mary Ellen St. Aubin, whose late husband, Parnell St. Aubin, was a munchkin in the 1939 Wizard of Oz movie, was honored as the first lady of the celebration. St. Aubin later explained she is introduced as age 99 but actually will celebrate her 99th birthday on Sept. 21. “I don’t mind be called a midget,” she said. “All our life we’ve been called midgets, and now they have a nationwide club called Little People of America. St. Aubin is 3-foot-7, and her husband was an inch shorter. Still in good health, St. Aubin enjoys traveling from her home in Chicago to two or three Oz events each year,