Category Archives: Oz Events

Oz in the News 4.15.19

‘The Wizard of Oz’ creator’s legacy lives on in central New York a century after his death Marc Baum, who has no relation to the Oz creator, is one of the primary individuals preserving Oz culture and history through the all-volunteer, The International L. Frank Baum & All Things Oz Historical Foundation. The group started years ago when Clara Houck, the former Chittenango village librarian, organized a small birthday party for Baum, where locals sang “Happy Birthday,” ate cake and ice cream and read part of the first book in the series. It then graduated into the Oz-Fest and became Oz-Stravaganza in 2008. Always held the first weekend in June, Oz-Stravaganza can attract up to 35,000  people to celebrate “The Wizard of Oz.” Six years ago, the group became a government-recognized 501(c)3 historical foundation and opened its museum, which has a collection of more than 15,000 pieces and saw 18,000 visitors last year. All Things Oz’s president Dennis Kulis oversees the collection. The 15,000 items are stored in museum archival-grade storage boxes on the second floor above the museum, which used to be a local pharmacy. The original storefront stood at the same time Baum lived in Chittenango. Kulis said his current favorite is a recent acquisition of an original 1921 Parker Brothers’ board game called “The Wonderful Game of Oz,” complete with all the pieces.

Longtime Wizard of Oz Festival Contributor, Elaine Macejak’s New Book “Sassy Ann and Teddy Bear in Oz” Collects Original Stories of the Enchanted Land “I’ve been appearing at the annual Wizard of Oz Festival in Chesterton, Indiana, since 1985 as Princess Ozma of Oz, where I performed original ventriloquist puppet shows, and presided over ‘The Teddy Bear Contest and Tea Party‘,” Elaine Macejak said of her work. “The Sassy Ann and Teddy Bear stories combine little morals about friendship, acceptance and responsibility, which I hope will appeal to children—and the young in heart of any age group.” Published by New York City-based Page Publishing, Elaine Macejak’s tales are meant as much to serve as entertainment as they intend to express small lessons at the end of each story. By incorporating the familiar world of Oz, Macejak works within the realm of canon while also taking liberties with the setting to create new magical fields for children’s and the author’s imagination to explore new adventures.


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 2.26.19

Review Fix Exclusive: Inside ‘Toto Talks’ In “True Hollywood Story” style, Randall David Cook brings us the behind the scenes life and times of Toto … no not 80s rock band … the DOG from the Wizard of OZ.  We meet Toto … ready to spill the tea on all the goings-on when the cameras were off in OZ.  Angry that Judy got movies and the witches are STILL on Broadway, she’s ready to make this downtown appearance a chance to set the record straight … that’s right Toto is a SHE! If you’re friend of Dorothy, you’ll LOVE Toto. That goes for hypersensitive theater critics and dog lovers as well! This uproarious 60-minute soiree with the celebratory pooch features a triumvirate of talent. Stage and film professional, Joey McKneely, joins forces again with Cook after a triumphant run with the new musical Shadows, whose run at the Connolly Theater garnered high praise and full houses. McKneely is a two-time Tony-nominated Broadway Choreographer (Smokey Joe’s Cafe and The Life) and the international Director and Choreographer of West Side Story. Other Broadway credentials include Twelfth Night, The Wild Party, The Boy From OZ and the West Side Story revival.

Holland Oz Project Sally Laukitis and Linda Hart of the Holland Area Visitors Bureau about the unveiling the “Holland Oz Project” permanent exhibit during a Feb. 25, 2019 interview.

Collecting ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and 80 years of history We know the movie was, and continues to be, a classic. In honor of its anniversary we went to Camden, where the owner of the world’s largest collection of Wizard of Oz memorabilia lives. Willard Carroll started collecting when he first saw the film on television at four-years-old… he was hooked. “There’s a genius to the way the movie is constructed, in which you have a little girl played by Judy Garland who plays everything in the movie totally straight and totally real and totally pure, just like a real kid and everybody else is nuts,” says Carroll. “Everybody else is this group of eccentric characters that she accepts on face value, she’s totally non-judgmental… I think that feeling of intense friendship gives it a universality that people have always responded to.” Carroll started collecting as a child, “[Proctor Gamble] did a set of these little plastic hand puppets and the bodies were generic but they were these molded plastic heads… you could send away for a puppet theater on the back of Ivory Snow boxes. So my mother bought a lot of Ivory soap that she probably didn’t need so I could get the puppet theater, so those were the first things.”

Oz in the News 2.1.19

Massive Oz collection to go on show for seniors week Dorothy Overton never liked her name. But falling in love with The Wizard of Oz changed all that. Now Ms Overton is regarded as Australia’s biggest collector of Wizard of Ozmemorabilia – and you can check out some of her most prized possessions this month. The 75-year-old will display items like teapots, dolls, plates and more for seniors week. “I’ve picked up things from across Australia and overseas,” Ms Overton said. Ms Overton’s memorabilia will be displayed at the Funland for seniors week from Tuesday, February 19 to Friday, February 22, 9am-2pm daily. 

How Three Ballet Companies Joined Forces to Bring The Magical World of “The Wizard of Oz” to Life On Friday, Colorado Ballet will present the company premiere of Septime Webre‘s The Wizard of Oz, a ballet they produced jointly with Kansas City Ballet and Royal Winnipeg Ballet (KCB presented the world premiere back in October, and RWB will have their turn this May). The three companies split the costs of creating the full-length story ballet, which includes an original score by Matthew Pierce; 120 colorful costumes (plus 112 hats!) designed by Liz Vandal; projection technology and flying effects; and puppetry (including a puppet Toto) by Nicholas Mahon, who recently worked on the opening ceremony for the 2018 Winter Olympics. The result is a major new production none of the companies likely would have been able to pull off on their own.

Oz in the News 1.29.19

‘Wizard of Oz’: Dorothy kills at box office For a 1939 movie, “The Wizard of Oz” knows how to dazzle the 2019 box office. The Judy Garland musical grossed more than $1 million at the domestic box office Sunday. It’s a new record for Fathom Events in presenting a classic film. For the day, “Oz” ranked at No. 8 at the box office and pulled off that feat with just two showings in about 700 theaters. The screenings continue Tuesday, Jan. 29, and Wednesday, Jan. 30. You can find the theaters at After the stellar box-office performance Sunday, “Oz” had earned more screenings: at 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3, and at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5. (Check times in your area.)

Oz in the News 12.16.18

Original Wizard of Oz script sells for $1.28 million at Profiles in History The original handwritten script for The Wizard of Oz has sold for $1.28 million during an auction of classic movie memorabilia at Profiles in History on December 11. The script had been described as “perhaps the most important manuscript in Hollywood history”, and was part of an historic archive documenting how the classic 1939 film was adapted for the silver screen from L. Frank Baum’s original books. The first draft of the screenplay was written in April 1938 by Noel Langley, who was one of three writers credited with the final script (although many more went uncredited throughout the troubled production). Fans of the film also had the chance to bid on the hat worn on-screen by Margaret Hamilton in her iconic role as the Wicked Witch of the West. The hat, which featured straps to hold it in place as she flew on her broomstick, sold for $102,400.

Marc Almond’s survey of Judy Garland’s life and afterlife (Passions, Sky Arts, Monday, 9pm) is more enthusiastic than enlightening, given its stated aim to “separate the real Judy from the mythical Garland”. But he finds some rewarding interviewees, and some glamorous backdrops against which to set them. The first sections of the programme whisk us through the familiar story biography, from Benzedrine-addicted child star shackled to MGM to the faded, frail figure of later years who was still capable of stunning an audience. This game quality clearly endears her to the Soft Cell singer, himself no stranger to life’s turbulence. The most interesting part of the programme deals with her afterlife. Almond chats to writer Matthew Todd about the significance of The Wizard of Oz to the gay community, at a time when “you couldn’t be out” and phrases such as “a friend of Dorothy” were vital codes. If Garland continues to resonate, especially to younger gay men, it’s through the timing of worldwide Gay Prides, which commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York, which themselves coincided with Garland’s funeral. A police raid on a gay bar on that day of all days was seen as outrageous provocation.


Oz in the News 12.14.18

Frigid quest for Wizard of Oz ruby slippers in frozen lake relived on Expedition Unknown: Amazing Adventures Rewind on the crime: Back in 2005 one of those pairs is stolen from a Minnesota Museum, and local investigators had a hot new lead that the stolen ruby slippers could be hidden inside an old paint can way under the ice of a frozen lake. Minnesota… in the winter, where it is minus 3 degrees outside. So what did Mr. Gates and his cameraman Evan B. Stone do? They suited up and headed out to get that can o’ slippers. Reliving the dream, Stone is utterly hilarious in his recollections and says: “Let’s put it in perspective here… we’re looking for women’s shoes… this isn’t the sixth floor of Macy’s here!” Gates is laughing thinking back to their excruciating exploits in ice: “Right? We’re gonna cut a hole in a lake and go through it! This was about as tough as it gets in terms of diving conditions.” Gates had a close call when his breathing apparatus froze up and the production team had to pour hot coffee out of a Thermos on his line to bust the crystals open. He says: “I freaked out suddenly my whole breathing apparatus up here crystallized and froze solid and this guy is dumping boiling hot coffee to try to melt the ice crystals off the edge of my exhaust valve!”