Category Archives: Oz in Pop Culture

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 4.13.19

Oz in the News 4.8.19

Park City Library director enjoys getting her hands dirty with clay Park City Library Director Adriane Herrick Juarez didn’t know she had a knack for art until she visited the Kimball Art Center’s open clay studio two years ago. “I was a big sister in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and my ‘Little’ and I went to the studio as an activity,” Herrick Juarez said. “We dug our hands in and the clay just felt right. Right then I realized it was my medium.” The public can see a sample of Herrick Juarez’s sculptures in a new three-dimensional art display case at the Park City Library. “I Hear a Beat … How Sweet” is based on the Tin Man from Frank L. Baum’s “Wizard of Oz” book series. “I was inspired by the moment where the Tin Man receives his heart, but I made him so happy that it’s bursting out of his chest,” Herrick Juarez said. “Of course there is that literary inspiration, but I took the character to a different place.”

Oz in the News 4.6.19

New TV show goes off to see a ‘Wizard of Oz’ collector in Homer Glen There’s no place like home. Especially if it belongs to Walter Krueger, a 32-year-old from Homer Glen who has spent a lifetime filling his southwest suburban home with things related to “The Wizard of Oz.” He’ll be featured in the April 28 episode of “Collector’s Call,” the first original series on MeTV, the Chicago-based classic TV channel. People have their collections professionally appraised, then the expert offers to trade one of the collector’s items for something on their wish list. “Collecting was something I shared with my grandmother and my mom,” he says. “At the age of 6, I knew who ‘Chatty Cathy’ was and what she was worth. They were antique doll collectors and taught me that toys sometimes have a value that appreciates long after someone has stopped playing with them.” He owns more than 10,000 items, including first and second editions of the books and costumes from Oz films. Another of his keepsakes, his favorite, is a figurine of the cubic, catlike creature called “The Woozy” that first appeared in L. Frank Baum’s book “The Patchwork Girl of Oz.” Carved by Baum himself, the piece was given to Krueger by Baum’s family. “Over the years, the Baum family has given me stuff to take care of,” he says. “This is nothing short of the preservation of pieces of American history.”

Oz in the News 3.27.19

‘Wizard Of Oz’ Half Sheet Pushes Heritage Poster Auction Above $2 Million A flurry of competitive bids from multiple collectors drove the result for a Wizard of Oz (MGM, 1939) half sheet Style A to $108,000, with buyer’s premium, to claim top-lot honors in Heritage Auctions’ Movie Posters auction March 23–24. The total for the poster helped push the total for the auction above the $2 million plateau, to $2,037,626. The legendary musical fantasy film was produced on a total budget of approximately $2.7 million (in Depression-era dollars), but earned just above $3 million at the box office, despite strong reviews — a paltry return on the investment. It was not until it was shown on television in 1956 that the film enjoyed renewed popularity and became one of the most popular films of all time. Not coincidentally, the film is one of the most collected titles in the movie posters collecting hobby. Skilled restoration has helped restore this poster to near-pristine condition, rendering any wear virtually imperceptible — it is a prized acquisition for the serious collector of this classic film memorabilia. A full review of the auction will appear in a future issue.

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 3.1.19

Louis Vuitton is blasted for selling a shiny silver RAIN PONCHO for £5,500 The expensive rain cape is similar to those handed out for free for theme park log flumes and at rainy festivals. However it is emblazoned with the words ‘Follow the yellow brick road’ – a reference to the ‘Wizard of Oz’ theme of the collection. It also features the eponymous ‘LV’ signature on the back. A description of the poncho on the Louis Vuitton website reads: ‘Crafted from papery metallic calfskin, the Rain Poncho echoes the Wizard of Oz theme that characterises this season’s collection. ‘The iconic LV signatures are reimagined as embroidered glass bead patches, beautifully offset by a laser-cut patch at the chest. ‘Brushed metal snap fastenings on the cuffs add elegant finishing touches to this standout style.’