Category Archives: Oz Film, TV & Radio

Oz in the News 6.11.18

Last remaining Munchkin actors share their stories On May 24, actor Jerry Maren passed away at age 98 in San Diego, Calif., and — as was widely reported — the world lost its last living “Wizard of Oz” munchkin. Well, its last munchkin played by a dwarf actor. “I said, ‘Wait a minute, I’m a munchkin and I’m still alive!’ ” Betty Ann Bruno told The Post of hearing about Maren. As children in 1939, Bruno and Joan Kenmore, both now 86, were two of a dozen little girls cast as extras to round out the movie’s Lollipop Guild. Kenmore seconded Bruno’s cry not to be forgotten. “I’m still here, and I can still breathe and I can still walk,” she told TMZ. The 12 girls, who are not listed in the film’s credits, sang and danced with the “real” munchkins (all dwarf actors), but were given short shrift.n“We were always in the background. They didn’t want to see children’s faces but they wanted our little bodies,” said Bruno, who is now ­5-foot-2 and lives in Sonoma, Calif., where she teaches hula dancing.

‘Wizard of Oz’ leads list of books with links to Illinois It begins in Kansas and detours to the Emerald City, but “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” was written in Chicago and now heads the list of Top Illinois Books chosen by voters in the Illinois Top 200 project. Other books on the list are decidedly darker than the beloved children’s classic. “The Jungle” and “Spoon River Anthology” take readers from Chicago slaughterhouses to a small-town cemetery. “Devil in the White City” and “Native Son” explore the mind of a serial killer and the rage of a poor African-American man. The Illinois Top 200 project lets Illinoisans vote every two weeks on the most inspiring leaders, greatest inventions, top businesses and much more. By the state’s 200th birthday on Dec. 3, voters will have chosen 10 favorites in 20 different categories – the Illinois Top 200.



Oz in the News 6.6.18

Going, going, gone: Wizard of Oz bench disappears from Chittenango fest auction Someone this weekend walked away with a one-of-a-kind vanity bench decorated with a Wizard of Oz theme featuring Dorothy, the Tin Man, Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion in poppy fields. The theft occurred during Saturday’s annual OZ-Stravaganza/Wizard of Oz fest in Chittenango, event organizers said. Chittenango police are investigating the theft of the bench, which was donated to Oz Fest for its Silent Auction on Saturday. The vanity bench, given by the estate of Oberdorfer Foundries executive Beryl Digney, is valued at about $150 – but auction organizers said they hoped to get more for it during the bidding.

Stolen Wizard of Oz-Style Bench (video)

‘Dietland’: Marti Noxon on How ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ David Fincher, and Jean-Marc Vallée Influenced Her Dark New Comedy “When I kept talking about visual references, I was like, I don’t want it to be one of these gray shows,” Noxon said. “I don’t want it to be all blue saturated; I kept saying, ‘I want it to be technicolor.’ It has a kind of musical quality. There are drab places, but then there are these other places that are just hyper-colored. Like in ‘Wizard of Oz,’ where Plum starts is kind of Kansas, but where she ends up should be over the rainbow. It should be colorful, and weird, and swirly.” There were even more explicit comparisons to be made between the show and the 1939 film, Noxon said: “If you go through the whole season for the visual references, there are some very overt ones that I’m excited about.”

Oz in the News 6.4.18

Michigan Wizard of Oz festival will be June 8-9 A tribute to the world created by author L. Frank Baum, the fifth annual Wizard of Oz Festival kicks off June 8 at the Ionia Free Fair grounds. Favorite characters from the L. Frank Baum books and the 1939 movie, “The Wizard of Oz,” will greet families at the Michigan Wizard of Oz Festival, set for June 8-9 at the Ionia Free Fair grounds. The two-day, family-friendly event will amuse, educate and entertain fans of all ages from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There’s both a change in name and in venue for this year’s celebration of the Emerald City, said Ionia Downtown Development Authority Director Linda Curtis, who brought the festival to the city. The addition of “Michigan” to the event’s title is a hat tip to the fact that it’s the only such festival in the state. Recognized as one of the Top Ten Michigan Small Town Festivals to Visit in 2017, it’s now on the national Oz festival circuit as well. “We’re starting to get some great national attention because of the way we’re growing, so that’s wonderful, too,” said Curtis, noting that visitors come from across the Midwest, Texas, Florida, New York, North Carolina and Georgia. “I think it’s because there are only a few Wizard of Oz festivals, and they really enjoy it.”

Review: book explores witches in film, TV from Oz to Sabrina Almost four decades after the Wicked Witch of the West plagued Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, the green-skinned, bushy-browed one lost her broom on, of all places, Sesame Street. Actress Margaret Hamilton reprised her famous role in an episode of the children’s TV series that aired on Feb. 10, 1976, writes Heather Greene in her new book Bell, Book and Camera: a Critical History of Witches in American Film and Television (McFarland, April 2018, 234 p). “With the exception of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, the inhabitants of Sesame Street are visibly frightened of Hamilton’s character,” Greene writes. The Wicked Witch also scared the hades out of young viewers, just as she had done for decades since the release of Oz in 1939. Parents flooded the producers of Sesame Street with letters complaining that the episode was too scary for young children, and the “now infamous” segment “has not been released to the public in any form since that point,” Greene writes.


Oz in the News 6.1.18

The Wizard of Oz Festival returns to Ionia Residents of Ionia will be able to follow the yellow brick road once again at this year’s Ionia Wizard of Oz festival. Join the characters of the Wizard of Oz and other fans from 10 a.m–6 p.m. on Friday, June 8 and Saturday, June 9, to meet two celebrity guests and Ralph Zellem, owner of the world’s largest Wizard of Oz memorabilia collection. Festivalgoers can also meet six renowned authors of Wizard of Oz related books, including authors James and Amanda Wallace and Ron Baxley at book signings held at the Floral Building. Fans can have tea with Glinda the Good Witch at the Princess Tea party on the Floral Building veranda and visit the Wicked Witch and her soldiers as they walk down the street. Just like in 1939, when the movie first premiered, tickets to watch the movie will cost 25 cents per ticket at the Ionia Theater. Other fun activities include a costume contest with the Wizard of Oz cast, a witch-cackling contest and a Cowardly Lion makeover before he receives his crown and cape. Starting at 2:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, two speakers will be talking about their Wizard of Oz items like Oz-themed jewelry and the history of Oz books. New this year is the Footbridge Walk with the Wicked Witch and her Winkie Soldiers.

Explore Oz Park, Chicago’s ‘Wizard of Oz’-themed park Did you know Chicago has a “Wizard of Oz”-themed park? Author L. Frank Baum wrote the children’s book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” in 1900 while he was living in Chicago. More than a century later, Oz Park in the city’s Lincoln Park neighborhood pays tribute to the magical world he created. Statues of Dorothy and Toto, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and Scarecrow preside over their own corners of the park. Visitors can also explore “The Emerald Garden” and “Dorothy’s Playlot,” named for Baum’s character and Dorothy Melamerson, a retired local school teacher who helped pay for park improvements. The park is open to the public from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. at 2021 North Burling Street.

Oz in the News 5.31.18

Hidden Treasures from THE WIZARD OF OZ, JAWS, GIGI, & More Featured in ICONS & LEGENDS OF HOLLYWOOD Auction Profiles in History is proud to announce all the nostalgic hidden treasures in their upcoming Icons & Legends of Hollywood Auction. The auction is set for June 5th, 6th, 7th & 8th in Los Angeles. Emerald City green townsman jacket from The Wizard of Oz. Estimated to sell for $12,000 – $15,000. 

Broadway Legend Stephen Schwartz Comes to CNY for Oz-Stravaganza Stephen Schwartz, the mastermind behind the music and lyrics for the Broadway hit Wicked, will be coming to Central New York this weekend to discuss some of his most “Popular” songs. Schwartz is one of many special guests that will be at the 41st Oz-Stravaganza this year. The theme for this year’s festival is Broadway Comes to Oz, and Schwartz along with many of the other guests have ties to Wicked.

Dorothy’s $6 million ruby slippers from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ are the most expensive piece of pop culture ever Dorothy’s ruby slippers from”The Wizard of Oz” are looking for a new home. Actress Judy Garland wore the shoes in the 1939 film and they’re now on sale by Moments In Time for $6 million. The slippers had previously been on exhibit at Disney World for over a decade. Several other pairs of the slippers exist, including a pair that was stolen in 2005 and never found. The authentication document for the $6 million pair says the shoes are “rimmed in 46 rhinestones, surrounding 42 bugle beads and the three larger (rectangular) jewels centered in a line.”

I Was A Teenage Scarecrow Prior to the grand reopening of The Land of Oz in May of 1977, my 19-year-old-self was hired to embark on a novel tour where I would portray the Scarecrow and put on a puppet show in shopping mall courtyards located anywhere within a three-hour radius of the park. Only two actors were needed to set up and go, so I enlisted a classmate from Catawba College, Cyndi Rorie, for the role of Dorothy. In that signature flouncy pinafore, ruby slippers and ponytailed black wig, a more quintessential Dorothy there will never be. Children’s eyes were bedazzled at the sight of her. The musical program, puppets, and set were created by Jerry Halliday who went on to Las Vegas fame with a, “Wickedly Inappropriate Adult Puppet Show.” For rehearsals, they booked Cyndi, myself and Jerry into a grand hotel where we were the only guests. State law was if a hotel was open, their restaurant had to be as well. So a retinue arrived every morning just to serve the three of us for the few days we were there.

Edward W. Hardy Presents A Musical Evening Of Works Composed For The Theatre This Thursday, May 31, 2018 at 7pm virtuoso violinist and EtM Con Edison Composer-in-Residence Edward W. Hardy will be performing a mixture of musical genres with original music inspired by the writings of Edgar Allan Poe and L. Frank Baum along with other premieres and arrangements of Hardy’s works all for free at the Turtle Bay Music School’s Concert Hall. Hardy is one of the youngest composers to ever be accepted into the Exploring the Metropolis Con Edison Composer Residency and is one of the most prominent composer/ violinists of solo violin repertoire for theatrical productions in New York City.

Poof! Brentwood haunt of Glinda the Good Witch goes for well over asking The longtime Brentwood home of early film star Billie Burke, who played Glinda the Good Witch of the North in “The Wizard of Oz,” has sold for $3.511 million, or $516,000 over the asking price. Burke was the original owner of the two-story house, which displays elements of Traditional and Country French architecture, and lived there for roughly three decades. Following her death in 1970, the property was passed down to relatives and remained in her family for about four more decades. Built in 1938, the home features original hardwood floors, wood-paned windows and an updated kitchen. A grand entry with an artistic staircase, a formal dining room, four bedrooms and five bathrooms. There are fireplaces in the family and living rooms and the master suite.

Oz in the News 5.30.18

William Shatner — the Former Starship Captain Is Now the Wizard of Oz Based on the graphic novel of the same name from Arcana comics, The Steam Engines of Oz is set a century after Dorothy Gale visited that mystical land, and things have not gone as one would have thought. In the film, a young engineer named Victoria has to join forces with the Scarecrow, the no-longer-Cowardly Lion, some pretty tough munchkins, and the Wizard to locate and restore the Tin Man’s heart in order to reverse his tyrannical rule over Oz. As such, it is just the latest in a long line of adaptations of the world created by L. Frank Baum, which continues to touch the imagination. “Part of the appeal,” Bill offers regarding Oz as a whole, “is the adult knowledge that behind everybody lurks somebody else. That’s as intriguing a truth as some of the stuff that I’ve done that I have no explanation for why they remain such perennials. Star Trek is one example, of course, but what is the reason that a couple of episodes of The Twilight Zone I’ve done are always among the most popular and played all the time?” “There are eternal truths in each of them,” he says. “Truths like the fear of flying, or someone who is superstitious and can’t get beyond the superstition. And, again, L. Frank Baum’s truth of other people lurking behind the one that’s presented to society. That’s intriguing, and is perennial, because every child of three or four knows that you present one face to daddy and mommy, and another to Billy.”

Oz in the News 5.27.18


Dorothy Barrett, actress in The Wizard of Oz – obituary Dorothy Barrett, who has died aged 101, was an actress, dance teacher and stalwart of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, appearing in dozens of films from the mid-1930s, not least The Wizard of Oz with Judy Garland. “I was in two of the biggest MGM movies of 1939; actually, I’m sure I was in three,” she recalled in 2013. “I played a manicurist who is all smiles and guides Dorothy Gale and her friends the Scarecrow, Tin-Man and the Cowardly Lion into the salon, deep within the Emerald City; I was a snooty type in Gone with the Wind and a mannequin in The Women. MGM worked its feature players hard.