Category Archives: Oz Film, TV & Radio

Oz in the News 10.19.19

One of last living Munchkins reflects from her home in Sonoma A childhood role in a treasured film classic during the Golden Age of Hollywood didn’t define Betty Ann Bruno’s life, but being a Munchkin in “The Wizard of Oz” has been a joyful claim to fame. “Oz has been a presence in my life, my whole life, a huge presence,” said Bruno, who turned 88 earlier this month. She was one of about 10 young girls of average height who sang and danced with more than 100 little people in the bright and colorful Munchkinland in the beloved 1939 movie. Even today, 80 years after the film’s premiere, Bruno still finds handwritten fan letters and autograph requests in her mailbox on a quiet cul-de-sac in El Verano, where she lives with her husband, former KTVU cameraman Craig Scheiner. Bruno, who stands 5 feet, 1 inch tall, is one of the film’s few surviving cast members. She took amused exception to news reports last year that the world’s last living Munchkin had died. When Jerry Maren passed away at age 98 (he was the Lollipop Guild member who welcomed Garland to Munchkinland), he was presented as the final adult Munchkin to die. A few child Munchkins are still around to share their memories, Bruno emphasizes.

Dorothy who inspired ‘The Wizard of Oz’ character is from IL We all know Dorothy the movie character… but the real Dorothy is from central Illinois. Dorothy Gage is from Bloomington. She can be found at the Evergreen Cemetery. Gage died at the very young age of five months. It is believed the cause of her death was “congestion to the brain”. Gage’s uncle, L. Frank Baum, named her after the main character of his book. In 2017, it was decided a tree would be carved in the image of Dorothy and her dog, Toto. Now Gage’s memory serves as a reminder of her impact in children’s literature.

Final Fantasy 8’s director drew inspiration from the Wizard of Oz A new interview with the creators of Final Fantasy 8 has revealed a surprising source of inspiration for the game: The Wizard of Oz. During the 23 minute look at the classic JRPG, which was posted on PlayStation’s YouTube channel, the original game director, Yoshinori Kitase, shed light on the game’s design and how the Judy Garland classic helped inspire him. “While visually, it presents as near-future sci-fi,” Final Fantasy 8’s director Yoshinori Kitase says, “I wanted the base of the story and the world to be centered in fantasy, so I included sorceresses.” Kitase explains that this aspect was inspired by one classic fairytale in particular. “In fact, I wanted to channel a bit of the essence of The Wizard of Oz, and that was what inspired me when I was creating the fairytale-esque fantasy base of 8.”

Oz in the News 10.18.19

Disney+ Is All Set To Traumatize A New Generation With Return To Oz Return to Oz is reportedly more faithful in tone and weirdness to L. Frank Baum’s original novels than 1939’s Wizard of Oz. I’ve never read them, so I can’t speak to that, but what I can point out is how it’s more or less in keeping with the decade’s trend of traumatizing “children’s fare.” Maybe it was to prepare Gen X kids for the inevitability of nuclear war, but the 1980s were rife with unsettling efforts: Something Wicked This Way Comes (Mr. Dark!), Dark Crystal (Kira getting stabbed or the life-draining, take your pick), The Never-Ending Story (adios, Artax), The Secret of NIMH (sayonara, Nicodemus) … I could go on. Disney+ goes live November 12. Your kids have a little less than a month to enjoy their childhoods, in other words.

Ohio State Beauty Academy takes a trip to Oz for Fall Showcase The Ohio State Beauty Academy hit the runway for their fall student competition with the theme, “A Night in Oz”. The competition is a good way for the students to think outside the box, instead of performing the regular hairstyles that they do at the academy. 36 of the cosmetology students picked a character from one of the movies based on “The Wizard of Oz”, and completely reimagine a look complete with hair, makeup, nails, and costume.

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 10.1.19

Joaquin Phoenix’s ‘Joker’ character was inspired by a ‘Wizard of Oz’ star “I think what influenced me the most was Ray Bolger,” Phoenix told the Associated Press. “There was a particular song called ‘The Old Soft Shoe’ that he performed and I saw a video of it and there’s this odd arrogance almost to his movements and, really, I completely just stole it from him.” Phoenix particularly paid attention to how Bolger moved his face. “He does this thing of turning his chin up,” Phoenix said. “This choreographer Michael Arnold showed me that and tons of videos and I zeroed in on that one. That was Joker, right? There’s an arrogance to him, really. That was probably the greatest influence.”

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 9.21.19

Grant for George Eastman Museum aims to preserve original films The museum announced the grant on Friday. The $340,615 award will help to support the cost of the preservation project, which is estimated to cost $730,000. A backup generator will need to be purchased, along with an energy recovery system for the climate control system, and passive building enhancements to increase energy efficiency. Approximately 24,000 reels of motion picture prints and negatives, 40,000 nitrate photographic print negatives, and 25,000 frame clippings from nitrate-based film prints are housed in the Louis B. Mayer Conservation Center in Chili. The original Technicolor camera negatives for The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind are among those in the collection. Photo negatives by renowned photographers Lewis W. Hine, Alvin Langdon Coburn, and Edward Steichen are also in the collection dating from 1900 to 1950.

Oz in the News 9.19.19

Step Inside Old Hollywood’s Most Iconic Movie Sets If you’ve ever watched an Old Hollywood film—that is, one of the classic black-and-white pictures that’s likely filled with song and dance—chances are, you’ve seen the work of prolific art director Cedric Gibbons. According to IMDb, he’s been credited on more than 1,500 projects, largely due to the fact that he served as the head of the art department at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer from 1924 through 1956. He was directly responsible for more than 150 productions, including the iconic Singin’ in the Rain, The Wizard of Oz, and Anchors Aweigh, among many others. Today, fans of the Old Hollywood aesthetic can delight in a new book about the designer, MGM Style: Cedric Gibbons and the Art of the Golden Age of Hollywood ($45, Lyons), by Howard Gutner.

A ROYAL DRAG SHOW CLOSES OUT ESMOA’S JOYFUL TRIBUTE TO THE COSMOPOLITAN LAND OF OZ “Oz is a very important place. It’s a place where everybody is welcome. Nobody is judged for who they are. … In the story of ‘Oz,’ Dorothy lands there, and she meets lots of strange and queer characters, and they all become friends. … A place like Oz kind of lends itself to that [feeling of acceptance] — that is, this magical place where you can be whatever you want.” That mission of acceptance and finding your voice — figuratively and literally — is at the core of the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles, which also performs “Wizard of Oz”-inspired songs at ESMoA on the hour from 2 to 4:30 p.m Saturday. One of the first of its kind in the United States and inspired by an episode of the teen musical dramedy show “Glee,” TCLA is comprised of transgender, gender non-conforming, gender non-binary, gender fluid and intersex volunteer singers, who may have experienced voice dysphoria as part of their personal gender identity journeys or hormone replacement therapy.