Category Archives: Oz in Pop Culture

Oz in the News 3.24.17

Man in Cold Norton Road, Latchingdon buys Wizard of Oz-style ruby slippers to display in front lawn for shoe-crazed wife  MOST of us like to present our front gardens with a nice border of flowers and an immaculate patch of lawn. Such thinking doesn’t hold sway with Andy Walker, who has adorned his garden in Latchingdon with a Wizard of Oz-esque pair of ruby slippers. Mr Walker, a scrap merchant who moved to his Cold Norton Road home nearly three years ago, discovered the shoes at a scrap factory awaiting to be destroyed. “Being a scrap merchant, I was one day walking around a scrap factory when I spotted these huge red, high-heeled shoes on top of a shelf, and I thought to myself, if these can’t satisfy an obsession with shoes, I don’t know what can. After they’d been placed down we had several people walking by just looking and taking photos, which isn’t very surprising. “It’s not something you’ll see every day in a quiet neighbourhood.”

Oz in the News 3.16.17

Oz Park’s ‘Toto’ Sculpture Model Has Died, And Fans Are Leaving Flowers Dedicated in 2007, “Dorothy and Toto” was the last of four “Wizard of Oz” sculptures executed by Kearney for the park. Kearney was a silversmith and goldsmith who once made a set of cufflinks for Duke Ellington before he was inspired to start making sculptures out of car bumpers. He was commissioned by the Oz Park Advisory Council and the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce to create the Tin Man sculpture now at the main northeast entrance to the park at Lincoln and Webster avenues in the ’90s. Going on to work in bronze, he executed sculptures of the Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion before finishing with “Dorothy and Toto.” “The love of my life, my little girl,” Jackie Kelly, of Provincetown, Mass., said Tuesday, after her dog, daVinci, died in her sleep Sunday night. “Little dog, big heart.”

Toto was stolen from the MGM Grand ‘Emerald City’ display and taken on tour The MGM was quite a bit different from today when it first opened, with a giant lion’s mouth above the entry way, and an Oz theme inside. All was well until the smallest member of the group was abducted. “I’m deeply saddened by the loss of Toto,” the MGM’s Bill Doak told News 3. “And we’ve alerted the authorities.” “All appeared lost until we got this fax here in the newsroom,” reported News 3’s Rick Fuentes in April of 1995. “A ransom note that says ‘Step aside, OJ. We’ve got Toto.’ It says, ‘Don’t bother clicking your heels.’ Now through some very scientific tests–and watching the movie a couple of times–we have determined that this photo is Toto.” Teasing pictures showed Toto in Canada. His abductors agreed to be interviewed, in subtle disguise. With News 3 acting as an intermediary, Toto was returned at night on a pedestrian bridge. The next day, the resort sent an emerald limo to pick up the dog. “Oh, you’re back,” said the MGM’s Michelle Tell accepting the return of purloined puppy. “It looks a little broken. I think that they were trying to send the foot back, just to show that they had Toto. But we’ll repair him, and he’ll be back at the Emerald City probably tomorrow. Everybody missed you. We’re so glad you’re home. Back at the MGM where you belong.”

What’s with all the ‘Wizard of Oz’ talk on ‘The Path’? There’s a moment in the episode, aptly titled “Oz,” that puts Eddie in front of a bus full of faceless passengers. The newest vision helps to paint Eddie’s internal struggle as he begins to ascend The Ladder once again. He’s well on his way to accepting his fate, taking the steps to become the true leader Meyerism deserves. The Ladder could easily be looked at as being a road to enlightenment — akin to an isolating version of the classic yellow brick road motif. It seems that Eddie is on the right path, finally. It’s only a matter of time before he reveals the truth to every Meyerist in the compound: Removing those green-colored glasses to see this Emerald City as it truly is.

Oz in the News 3.10.17

Oz Books Can Teach Your Kids About Woke Politics And Colonial Crimes Since the day it became the best-selling book of 1900, the world has never been without The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. L. Frank Baum’s story about a Kansas girl who ascends via twister to a witch-plagued but otherwise perfect fairyland became a kid-lit classic long before the 1939 film, the most-watched motion picture ever, ensured Oz’s everlasting status. But Wizard was just the first of 14 Oz books by Baum, a series that provides a perfect introduction for younger kids to progressive politics like feminism, socialism, pacifism and multiculturalism. For older kids, however, the author’s racist writings about indigenous people outside of the books can be used as an entry point to discuss issues like colonialism and genocide.

Why I Still Walk the Yellow Brick Road I have the soundtrack on CD, a wind-up music box that plays “Over the Rainbow,” a vintage wallpaper lion decorating the nursery and, yes, I shelled out for the 70th anniversary ultimate edition Blu-ray boxset which not only includes the best-ever restoration of the 1939 musical but also the half-dozen silent Oz movies which preceded it and hours of documentaries on the film and phenom. And a couple weeks ago I brought my three-year-old son to see the musical, his first theatrical experience. But this isn’t just another geeky obsession. Or at least, not only. The Oz books were my dad’s favourite growing up. My sister was born while he, then a high-school acting teacher, was directing the play. My mom went into labour with me while watching it on TV a few years later. And three years after that, again during the Oz’s annual television screening, we got a call that my cousin had been born. In grade seven, I even played the wizard in our school play. So Oz has been a part of my life forever, and is a tradition I’m proudly passing on. But while the movie has been a part of our entire society’s shared experience since it became a TV staple in the mid-1950s — its unforgettable songs, unparalleled art direction, heart-warming scarecrow and bloodcurdling witch are now parts of modern folklore — there is so much more to Baum’s world.

Oz in the News 3.7.17

Wizard of Oz Collection in Grand Island, Nebraska Diane miller grew up in St. Edward, Nebraska and like many of us, she was a little spooked by some of the characters in the Wizard of Oz. She remembers crawling up in her dad’s lap when she was frightened. But, even though the movie was a little scary for young Diane, there was just something about it that she grew to love. Diane has gathered about as many different varieties of this famous foursomes as one could possibly imagine. From Play-Doh dolls to potato heads, the Kewpie dolls to pewter figurines. This long-time elementary school teacher says she has always appreciated what the movie stands for. Two thousand items later, Diane has assembled an incredible collection of wizard of oz memorabilia. From lunch boxes to puzzles to snow globes to glowing Emerald cities.

Sale 609: The Gary Dollar Collection of the Wizard of Oz Nearly 500 lots of captivating children’s books, rare illustrated works, original art, finely bound books and handsome sets, fine press books, miniature books, and more. The auction is headlined by The Gary Dollar Collection of the Wizard of Oz, gathered by Mr. Dollar over several decades, and featuring the major Oz works by L. Frank Baum and his successors, plus non-Oz works by Oz authors and illustrators, original artwork, and more, with many rarities.

Oz in the News 2.26.17

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The big read: why we keep dreaming the dream of The Wizard Of Oz It’s the novel, Was, and the character of the gay fan, that touches most on a particularly important reason for The Wizard Of Oz’s long-lasting power, at least with a certain part of its audience. Almost as soon as the 1939 film was released, people began using “friend of Dorothy” as a euphemism for “homosexual” and the film has always been loved by gay men who, as young boys, are attracted to the movie without realising why. I sometimes wonder if it’s all down to that moment when Dorothy emerges from the grey house into the bright, musical world of Oz – she’s suddenly in a more colourful and exciting place; she’s escaping the restrictions of home; she’s coming out. Judy Garland herself, of course, is also a gay icon so that’s going on too: on top of the story of Dorothy yearning for a better life is the real story of Judy’s life going horribly wrong. Mark Cousins can see the appeal of the theory, but thinks it’s all a bit bigger than that. “Oz is all those better places, all those utopias, all that longing for Bowie or magic or transcendence,” he says. “Yes, it feels like coming out, which is lovely, but it’s bigger than that in a way. In The Wizard Of Oz, Dorothy takes a risk. She impresses herself. So often we disappoint ourselves. She doesn’t.”

Rifftrax: The Wonderful Land of Oz The Wonderful Land of Oz takes everything you loved about the original Oz movie and coats it in a slippery, weird, filmy substance. Scarecrow and Tin Man are back, looking like Yugoslavian knockoffs of Russian knockoffs of the original characters. There are also new characters, like the Wogglebug, and the Purple Cow. Sound pretty crappy, right? Well set your expectations even lower! It’s the Barry Mahon way!

Auction: Wizard of Oz – Collection of six signatures from actors and actresses Collection of six signatures from actors and actresses from Wizard of Oz. Comprises: pencil signature ‘Judy Garland’ on a 14.8 x 11.1cm card, ; foutain pen signature ‘Frank Morgan on a light yellow 15.1×11.1cm album page; ballpoint signature and inscription ‘To Beth, Jack Haley’ on a light green 14.8 x 11.1cm album page; pencil signature and inscription ‘To Joe – Best Regards, Margaret Hamilton’ on a blue154x115mm album page; pencil signature ‘Yours sincerely, Billie Burke 1937’ on an off-white card affixed to a 11.3×14.1cm album page; a ballpoint singature and dedication ‘The Gleasons are just kids. Aug 1st will be our 35th year together and we are still kids. Look over us, Charley Grapewin’ on a 10.4×14.5cm page.

Oz in the News 2.16.17

judy-garland-pink-floyd-1108x0-c-defaultHow I was seduced by the ‘Dark Side of the Rainbow’ phenomenon Speaking in 2010, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason moved to debunk the theory: “It’s unthinkable that we would have felt that it was really important to work with Judy Garland, and devise an album based on that particular story. So I have to say that sadly, both the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow, and all the rest of it, had absolutely zero to do with that particular record.” In fact, audio engineer Alan Parsons has said the band were actually watching Mary Poppins during the ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ sessions. Yet while it’s clear the band want absolutely nothing to do with the fan theory, it hasn’t stopped the speculation from mounting, with devotees convinced that even if the Floyd didn’t plan ‘Dark Side of the Rainbow’, the album and the film were somehow cosmically destined to work side-by-side. According to cognitive psychologist and musician Daniel Levitin, there is a hint of truth to this idea: “We are a storytelling species,” he tells LWLies. “Our entire left hemisphere is a great confabulator – it makes up evidence before the facts are in. So yes, we have an inherent need to match things up.” Levitin is referring to the phenomenon know as ‘Apophenia’, the human tendency to perceive meaningful patterns within random data. And with fans already claiming that Star Wars: A Force Wakens – a film released 42 years after Pink Floyd recorded their masterpiece – syncs with ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’, it’s hard to refute his theory.

Oz in the News 2.2.17

elements-of-ozElements of Oz: Producing Live Video and Interactive Theater “One of the initial inspirations for the app was creating an analog for the escapist nature of “Oz” in the devices we carry with us to escape reality on a daily basis. We also were interested in what the contemporary equivalent of Technicolor would be — and that’s where we think AR fit. The app has two basic modes — one for outside the show, and one for during the performance. If the user isn’t at the show, it provides some information about the show and has some basic AR effects — a storm (to precede the cyclone) and a few simple target-based augmentations that can be used with images from the original book’s illustrations. Once the audience comes to the show, we switch the phones into what we called “active” mode, which allowed us to trigger events based on the action on stage. The phones were connected to a single cueing server on the network, which allowed us to synchronize the behavior for the entire audience. At various times, we’d play video (like our “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” YouTube chorus) and audio clips or send text and images. In several key scenes, we would trigger augmented reality scenes, layering over the view of the stage with CG elements, like a tornado, blossoming poppies, flying monkeys, etc. It allowed us to create visual elements all around the viewer, too, not just between the viewer and the performers.”

The wizard of Emerald City “I was filming Magnificent 7 and I heard that Tarsem was doing Emerald City and was going to direct all ten episodes. So I asked right away: “Is The Wizard cast?”  They said “no” and so I immediately called my agent. ‘Get Tarsem on the phone. I want to play to The Wizard. If he’ll let me, I want to play it.’”

Musical wizard Todrick Hall heads to Oz Broadway star and newly minted RuPaul’s Drag Race judge Todrick Hall is heading to Australia with his Straight Outta Oz tour this June. Don’t miss this incredible talent at The Astor Theatre on Thursday 1st June. Tickets on sale from Tuesday 7th February at wearenice.com.au

Lions And Tigers And Bears? Meh. These 5 Scenes From ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ Are Still Creepy The Wizard of Oz has been a personal film favorite since I first saw it at the age of four. It is absolutely timeless, one hell of a production, and it still blows my mind to think that this movie came out in 1939. It’s the weird and #scary scenes that always intrigued me the most, along with the fantastic set pieces, storytelling, singing and dancing. But there are five #WizardofOz scenes in particular that are most memorable because of the oddness and fear they induced.