Category Archives: Oz in Pop Culture

Oz in the News 12.6.17

Take A Walk In The Land Of Ozz With Inbet Games Omni-channel gaming software provider InBet Games has confirmed the launch of Land of Ozz, a new slot game based on a famous American children’s tale. Land of Ozz players will experience a journey to the Emerald City with all the main characters from the book including Dorothy and Toto, along with the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, Winged Monkey, Glinda the Good Witch of the South and the Wicked Witch of the West. Each character is worth a certain amount of points. For example, three symbols of the Scarecrow are worth just two points, whereas five symbols of the Good Witch are worth the highest 750 points. Pavel Korolev, Business Development Director for InBet Games, commented: “Land of Ozz is an enthralling new addition to the InBet portfolio, and one that is bound to drive high player engagement.”

Behind the Curtain: Previewing Oscar Diggs Oscar Diggs, a highly anticipated new restaurant located at 155 N. Limestone in Lexington, is on track to open shortly after the new year, with a projected opening date of January 3, according to owners Ralph and Donna Quillin. The Quillins, owner/operators of Rooster Brewing in Paris, Kentucky, teamed up with Andrew Suthers and Kyle Klatka, owners of The Gastro Gnomes food truck, on the venture. The space, former longtime home to Merit Furniture, is being renovated to feature an open kitchen, as well as a new bar, fireplace, industrial pulley lighting and a new front facade that will allow for seasonal patio seating. The rotating menu will feature burgers as a cornerstone item, with beers from Rooster Brewing and other offerings. And about that name? Oscar Diggs is a fictional character in author L. Frank Baum’s Land of Oz series. Most people know him better as The Wizard of Oz.



Oz in the News 11.28.17

Basha: Dancing Down the Yellow Brick Road Basha’s father worked with a man named Joe who was married to one of the little people from the Wizard of Oz. (In fact it was Joe’s wife who taught Basha the Mexican Hat Dance!) When Basha met them she was in her teens and had her first real break through on the glories of the Wizard of Oz. Now the Wizard of Oz has encompassed every part of her life. She is close, personal friends with a number of the little people. Clarence Swensen (a soldier); Carl Slover (a trumpeter); Jerry Marlin (a lollipop kid); Margaret Pellegrini (one of the flower pot’s that opened to reveal a “sleepy head”); Raabe Meinhart (the coroner) and Donna Steward Hardway (one of the few child-actors that played a munchkin) are among her many Wizard of Oz character friends. Basha’s home is loaded with authentic and fabulous Wizard of Oz collectibles.

‘The Wizard of Oz’ to return to Syracuse Stage after almost 15 years Dorothy, the Wicked Witch of the West and the magical kingdom of Oz will call Syracuse Stage home for the holidays. The production of “The Wizard of Oz” opens on Friday at 8 p.m. at the Syracuse Stage/SU Drama Complex, located on the corner of East Genesee Street and Irving Avenue, and will run until Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018. “I am staying more true to L. Frank Baum’s original intentions,” Donna Drake said. “The only thing that is a little bit reimagined about this production is that we are bringing in a lot of circus and aerial arts and groundwork into this production. So, it will be quite a spectacle to see.” A lecture on Dec. 6 at 1 p.m. will feature two-time Emmy winner John Fricke, who, Whelan said, is known as the “world’s preeminent ‘Wizard of Oz’ and Judy Garland historian and author.” The lecture will also feature panels by the Onondaga Historical Association.

Australian theatre star Jemma Rix to star in new Wizard of Oz After stunning audiences in her role as Elphaba in Wicked, Jemma Rix now steals the stage as the Wicked Witch from the West in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s production of The Wizard of Oz. She joins 4BC’s Ray Hadley in the studio to discuss her role and how she maintains her vocal health performing in such intense productions.

Oz in the News 11.9.17

Run Through the Wonderful World of Oz in Run, Dorothy, Run! Virtro Entertainment has announced today that their upcoming “rhythm runner” for the PSVR, Run, Dorothy, Run!, is releasing on December 12. For those that might not have caught on, the game does star Dorothy and takes place in the fantasy world of The Wizard of Oz. Over at the PlayStation Blog, Jordan Bright – one of the Founders of Virtro Entertainment – discussed some of the game, in which you play as Dorothy, the girl from Kansas who ends up in Oz. The game, which is billed as a “rhythm runner,” is set around you having to run around and pick up the Wizard’s things, as the Wicked Witch of the West has stolen them. To help you along on your quest, the Wizard has granted you magical shoes which allow her to always run, and the game features an electro-swing beat that should keep you wanting to move as often as possible. Run, Dorothy, Run! launches first on PSVR on December 12.

Oz in the News 11.3.17

Fairuza Balk Talks Return to Oz Documentary “It was my birthday and I was sad because I was working. I had thought that my mom and everyone had forgotten and I was trying to be a little trooper and not say anything. And then at lunch, Robbie Barnett, who played one of the Wheelers… He came out dressed as a giant bunny on stilts with an enormous carrot. He picked me up and put me up on his shoulders and walked me around on the stilts, and he brought out a big birthday cake and everybody wished me happy birthday. I was just so, so surprised and felt so loved. It’s a very, very pristine and clear memory of how they treated me on that film and how protective and loving everyone was. You hear these horror stories about what kids go through on movies and it wasn’t like that at all. Everyone treated me like I was their kid. It was wonderful.”

Wizard of Oz’s Jerry Maren of the Lollipop​ Guild is the last surviving Munchkin at age of 97 Born in 1920 in Boston, Maren was only 18 at the time of casting and stood just three feet six inches tall. Although he was the youngest of them all when cast as a Munchkin, the actor was specifically picked to play the green-garbed member of the Lollipop Guild and the central figure in the male Munchkin trio. After his screen debut in The Wizard of Oz, Maren continued to act in movies and television shows on occasion, working as Little Oscar for the Oscar Mayer Company in the 1950s as well as portraying Mayor McCheese and the Hamburglar in McDonald’s commercials. In later years, he had a walk-on role in an episode of Seinfeld named “The Yada Yada.” All in all, he’s had different opportunities in show biz, but none as memorable as his Munchkin role.

Oz in the News 10.31.17 Special All Music Edition!

From the creators of the “Waving Through a Window” trio comes a new music video in celebration of Wicked’s 14-year Broadway anniversary. “The Oz Medley” weaves together “One Short Day,” “Popular,” “Dancing Through Life,” “As Long As You’re Mine,” and “Defying Gravity” from Wicked;“Ease on Down the Road” and “Home” from The Wiz; and “If I Only Had a Brain” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz. With an arrangement by David Rowen, the medley was originally created for the a cappella group The Overtones at James Madison University. White at JMU, Rowen was commissioned by the American Heart Association to arrange a medley of music from the three Ozian tales for The Overtones to perform at Oz-themed galas hosted by the association. Now, Rowen has revamped the arrangement and filmed this official music video.

Take a peek behind the scenes of “The Oz Medley.” Meet the cast, listen to interviews, and hear cuts of the medley’s track list!

Trey Anastasio Band Opens Las Vegas Show With A Tribute To Mass Shooting Victims Over the weekend, the Trey Anastasio Band played two nights at Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas, offering up several new originals alongside tried and true classics. On opening night at the Bowl Friday evening, TAB delivered a stirring candle light tribute to the victims of the Las Vegas shooting, covering the iconic “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” made famous by Judy Garland  in the 1939 film, The Wizard Of Oz. You can watch some pro-shot video of TAB playing “Over The Rainbow”. TAB continues on with their mini-fall tour Halloween night at The Wiltern in Los Angeles, CA.

OKC Philharmonic to premiere ‘The Wonderful Music of Oz’ as Pops season opener “I was just really intrigued by having music from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and ‘The Wiz’ and ‘Wicked’ and the pop songs like ‘Rainbow Connection’ from ‘The Muppet Movie’ and ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ and all those songs that sort of take that original L. Frank Baum novel as their source material, how that simple story that he wrote has lasted so long and affected people in so many different ways,” said singer, arranger and director Scott Coulter. “But most importantly, I think (about) how the music has captured that story and allowed it to live on forever.” Inspired by the rich musical terrain of Baum’s fantasy land, Coulter is the mastermind of “The Wonderful Music of Oz,” which the Oklahoma City Philharmonic will debut Friday and Saturday at Civic Center Music Hall. Not only will the show launch the orchestra’s 2017-18 Pops season, but the OKC Philharmonic also will be the first to perform Coulter’s new concert concept.

Oz in the News 10.30.17

The annual Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium gala took on a “Wizard of Oz” theme on Oct. 28 at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota The “Wizard of Oz” theme was also evident beyond just the ballroom, because as guests mingled outside in the foyer during cocktail hour they heard the cackling of a wicked witch dressed the part, running around with a broom in hand. Inside, guests were greeted by the ‘Great Cros,’ AKA President and CEO of Mote Marine Laboratory Michael P. Crosby, on the video screen. “There’s no place like Mote!” he assured guests.

Wizard of Oz themed Halloween hay sculptures set alight The Tin Man and Wicked Witch sculptures were part of Derry City and Strabane District council’s Halloween Hay Sculpture Trail. Police said they were set alight at about 20:00 GMT on Sunday. The Halloween Hay Sculpture Trail has been created by local Young Farmers clubs and community groups.  The witch and tin man had been located alongside the town’s iconic ‘Tinnies’ sculptures, on the roundabout beside Lifford Bridge. A spokesperson for Derry and Strabane council said the sculptures have been “extremely popular particularly with families. There is a sense of real disappointment following the damage and we would encourage people to remember that the sculptures are there for everyone to enjoy, and to bring the Halloween festivities right across the city and district”.

Oz in the News 10.29.17

Wicked Witch of the West not always a fright sight Every year at Halloween, I’m reminded of a few certain episodes of Fred Rogers’ iconic educational series which are still etched in my memory, because they included guest appearances by actress Margaret Hamilton. Forever remembered for playing the Wicked Witch of the West in the 1939 classic MGM film “The Wizard of Oz,” Hamilton not only appeared as herself, she also played her pointed hat witch character for scenes and storylines with Rogers’ puppet friends in “The Neighborhood of Make-Believe.” There was a specific purpose for the three episodes of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” during the 1975 and 1976 seasons which featured Hamilton. Fred Rogers wanted his young viewers to understand that Hamilton’s green and mean alter-ego was only an imaginary character and much less scary from the images of the movie screen, as a way to help alleviate fears. Hamilton was a former school teacher who became a popular film and TV character actress and she was also a mother, with one son from her short marriage in the 1930s. For her appearances on “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” when Hamilton did her scenes in the guise of her witch character, she did not wear her full green make-up, instead opting for just her black cloak, cape and pointed hat. However, for a guest appearance on “Sesame Street” earlier in 1976, Hamilton appeared in her full-green make-up and witch’s costume, and the show’s producers were flooded with letters from parents saying it was too frightening for children.