Category Archives: Oz in Pop Culture

Oz in the News 9.17.12

Character Designs For Japanese Oz Toys  A very interesting project depicting the research and art designs behind creating a Tin-Man toy to be produced in Japan.


Local actress on Yellow Brick Road, hopes to meet the Wizard of Oz She’s off to see the Wizard … and Winnipegger Colleen Furlan has her sights set on collecting the prize that waits at the end of the Yellow Brick Road. “It would make my whole life,” said the 19-year-old musical-theatre performer, who today will be named as one of the Top 10 finalists in the CBC reality/competition series Over the Rainbow. “An opportunity like this doesn’t come along very often, especially for a young performer who’s just trying to break into the business. Basically, being on a show like this, and winning it, would make your whole career. I would be so grateful, because I really can’t see myself doing anything else other than performing.”

Over the Rainbow: Andrew Lloyd Webber chooses shortlist for Wizard of Oz reality show  Why Barbados for The Wizard of Oz? Wouldn’t Kansas have been more appropriate? Ah, but Sir Andrew doesn’t have a home in Kansas and he does in Barbados. In fact, his estate this evening was where the 20 candidates were being cut. “This is the eighth program of this type I’ve done over the years,” Lloyd Webber said the following afternoon, unwinding over a glass of white wine in a local hotel, “and they’re all different and yet somehow they’re the same. The secret is in trying to get to the essence of just what this particular role needs from the person you cast in it.”

Wizard of Oz parade blows into Chesterton  Dan Thome and his family have been coming to Chesterton’s Wizard of Oz Festival for the past 23 years, traveling from Grand Rapids, Mich., with his mother Pat, his aunt, and an entourage of friends in tow since 1989. But this year, Thome says a new family member has been officially added to the caravan, and Saturday morning’s parade was only one way they were celebrating with their dog who made the trip. The dog’s name? Toto, of course. “I’m a huge fan of the Wizard of Oz and we love coming here. Toto is making his debut this year and was blessed by Munchkin Margaret Pelligrini (Flower Pot Lady). It’s just such a nice little hometown here with friendly people and we stay all weekend,” Thome said.

Oz in the News 9.10.12

‘Wizard of Oz’ costume designs to go on sale nationally  Next Halloween you’ll be able to costume the munchkins in your life in the same rich detail worn by Sam Allred when he was the Mayor of Munchkinland in a local production of “The Wizard of Oz” earlier this year. You have Wasilla costume designer Roxann Benbow to thank for the privilege. “Well, I am just in shock, personally,” she said. “Usually in order to get a pattern in a catalog like that you have to go to design school.” She’s studied sewing, but never dreamed McCall’s Patterns would be interested in her work.

Amsterdam CD set for November 12 UK release  Judy Garland – The Amsterdam Concert is set for a November 12 UK release.  “Special pre-release offer: from 29 October, this album can be purchased direct from this website at a special reduced price. The offer will end on 11 November.”

Sponsor a Poor Child to See THE WIZARD OF OZ  “We should encourage our children as early as three years old to watch musical productions to help them develop their creativity and imagination,” said Joy Virata, artistic director of Rep’s Children’s Theater, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Rep’s production of “The Wizard of Oz” is an adaptation of the all-time classic tale, with music by Jeanne Bargy and Jim Eiler, and book and lyrics by Eiler. This particular presentation does not include any of the songs from the popular MGM film of the same name (ergo, the Academy Award winning song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is not part of the repertoire).

Road to Oz #1  “Road to Oz” #1 isn’t the most compelling opening for Shanower and Young’s Oz adaptations but that may be due, at least in part, to remaining faithful to the material. Regardless, there’s no doubt, even with a slow start, that this limited series will be of the same high-quality and attention to detail as those that have come before. Shanower and Young are a gift to comics, and their interest in kid-friendly material — all too rare in today’s comics landscape — is something for which we should all be grateful.

Comic Con Express finds many admirers in the IT city  Arun Prasad has been collecting comic books for a long time. His rare collection even includes a copy of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ in Kannada called ‘Mayalokada Mantravadi’, published by Amar Chitra Katha. “Amar Chitra Katha editors came to me and admitted that they didn’t have so many editions that I’ve got.”

Oz in the News 9.7.12

Skottie Young Revisits the Emerald City in “Road to Oz”  I guess the original illustrations are my first place I look, but they inform the character designs more than the style. But before I look to that, I always start with Baum’s text.  Enrique Fernandez is a brilliant artist that produced an adaptation of Oz in France, later published by Image here in the States. I had the French edition for years when I took this job, so I knew that was something I needed to put away and try to erase from my mind. He nailed it in my mind so it was going to be hard to shake it. But I did an OK job of taking my own path. I basically just start drawing and try to push myself as far as possible while staying true to the Baum story.

Illustrator’s Latest Show Taps Into ‘The Wonder of Oz’  On Wednesday, September 5th, from 5PM to 11PM, Long Beach resident and children’s book illustrator Arlene Booth debuts “The Wonders of Oz,” an ironic and whimsical artistic interpretation of her favorite classic American story. The exhibition, hosted by 4th Street’s Art du Vin, consists of fifteen original works ranging from “Tallest Man” featuring a munchkin on stilts, to “Son of Can” a reimagining of The Tin Man as the apple hidden mystery man from Rene Magritte’s “Son of Man.”  “The Wizard of Oz is by far my favorite movie,” Arlene says. “I had it on repeat while I was working on the exhibition, I must have seen it hundreds of times, and it still hasn’t gotten old.”

Off to See the Wizard: The Wiyos bring their traditional yet cutting-edge sound to Tucson for the first time “This is a movie that most people in this country have seen, some more than others, or at least they are familiar with the aspects of it,” Farkas says. “Everyone knows something about it, so to some degree, they know a little of what to expect, but you can also draw on their familiarity to work with themes and structure. And in terms of allegory and symbolism, it is an endless treasure of material.”

No place like home for Kohl’s Wizard of Oz exhibit  The new exhibit features W.W. Denslow’s famous illustrations, which helped inspire the design of the film everyone knows and loves. Sheridan Turner, president and CEO at Kohl, says it’s particularly exciting to have the exhibit in Chicago, the city where Denslow and author L. Frank Baum worked together on the project. “The entire exhibit is very whimsical and bright,” says Turner. “Children will love it because it’s a story they are so familiar with.”

Oz in the News 9.4.12

Dorothy’s roots traced to 4th century  Dorothy peaked in 1920 as the second most popular name in the United States, keeping that rank until 1928. This was just the time when little girls who had read about Dorothy Gale when she was first popular would be having their own daughters. Dorothy stayed in the top 10 in the United States until 1940, and in the top hundred until 1962. It continued to fall until it left the top thousand in 2007. Though baby boomers all knew Dorothy Gale from repeated TV presentations of the 1939 movie during their childhoods, they wouldn’t name daughters after her. They had too many grandmothers and aunts named Dorothy to think of it as a good baby name.

Tully children’s author will see his ‘Oz’ book published nationally  Children’s book author Richard Mickelson, of Tully, has a happy ending in his longtime effort to land a national publisher, and he can thank a famous wizard.  He sent the company a manuscript for children’s book “The Wizard of Oz: Where Is He Now?” The story features the same characters from the L. Frank Baum classic but in a new plot about a Munchkin stowaway who attempts to return to Kansas with Dorothy. “They’ll publish anything if it’s ‘Wizard of Oz,’ because just the name sells the book,” he said.

Oz in the News 8.30.12

What if… it was the Hipsters of Oz?  Since every generation has gleefully embraced The Wizard of Oz, it got us thinking… Suppose the story was told through the lens of one of the most prominent groups of today’s generation: hipsters. What if we put on a pair of magical vintage Wayfarers, ones that gave us “Hipster Vision,” and revisited this timeless classic? Would Dorothy have packed a thermos of coffee in her courier bag before embarking on her journey? Would the Cowardly Lion have proudly sported bed head? Would the Scarecrow have stuffed his straw into skinny jeans?

28 years later…. an Oz Club Member!  You would have thought that given I have been a major lover of all things Oz since I was about 5, I would have joined the Oz club sooner rather than take 28 years. Well I did nearly join on a couple of occasions but ultimately I never got around to it. I think this has a lot to do with feeling a little disconnected from other Oz fans, the Oz club was there online as well a few Oz fans, but I never really felt a connection with the Oz Club in the UK, there are not so many of us who are fan’s of the Oz series of books in the UK. I’m certainly not aware of any conventions ever happening in the UK, so it can be quite solitary being an Oz fan collector over here.

No Place like Home – Wizard of Oz Festival marks 31 years ‘Over The Rainbow’  The Wizard of Oz Festival is an important event for the people of Chesterton. Through the years it has grown in size, drawing thousands of Wizard of Oz fans from across the country and from places as far away as Poland. “We’ve received calls from all four corners of the U.S. from people telling us about all the memories they’ve had here,” said Machelle Blount, one of the people who helped organize this year’s festival. “The community has been very supportive.”

Oz in the News 8.26.12

The Many Variations on the Wizard of Oz   The Judy Garland version actually flopped at the box office, initially. But resurgence from initial failure or indifference is a sure sign to me of a powerful cultural myth, and the story is still watched and referenced today (one of the characters in The Avengers refers to flying monkeys, and Captain America, reawakened after having been frozen in ice since WWII, remarks “I got that reference.”)(the list of TV shows and movies that reference it goes on and on and on, if you’d care to have a look).  L. Frank Baum (author of the original Oz novels, of which there were seventeen)’s imdb page lists a whopping 125 credits, almost all of them Oz related.

Comic Book Legends Revealed #381  While everyone is familiar with L. Frank Baum’s classic The Wonderful World of Oz (which was published in 1900), less famous is the illustrator of the book, W.W. Denslow. Interestingly enough, Denslow owned the copyright to the first book with Baum 50/50. Sadly (for Denslow), even then, Baum was accepted as the “real” author of the Oz characters and while Queer Visitors was a hit (as was the new novels, which Baum would continue putting out until his death in 1919), Denslow’s strip faded into obscurity very quickly.

Oz in the News 8.24.12

Inside the Baum legacy According to local legend, L. Frank wrote his most famous story, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” while at Lake Macatawa, and when he wasn’t writing enjoyed telling stories to all the children around. “I think my great-grandfather probably did write some of his stories here,” Baum said. “As for telling stories to the children, I can’t imagine him not doing that. Being here gives you a feeling of what it was like to be L. Frank Baum.”

Wizard of Oz fans help mark historical site  A landmark from Wizard of Oz fans now sits on the waterfront lot where L. Frank Baum’s summer vacation home once stood. Baum, author of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, vacationed in Macatawa with his family in the early 1900s. During the International Wizard of Oz Club’s visit to Holland Aug. 17-18, club members visited the gated Macatawa Park community and donated the marker to the developers of the area.

Oz in the News 8.16.12

Wizard of Oz Club convention returns to Holland after 25 years This weekend, about 100 “Oz” fans will gather to discuss the islands, castles and homes that attracted Baum to the close-knit community in the early 1900s. They will visit the site of his former three-story home in Macatawa Park, walk the trails he walked, and see the steamship landing that welcomed Baum from Chicago each summer from about 1898 to 1909. “This year’s convention is a little bit more historical,” Kathleen Di Scenna, the club’s chairperson, said.

Sony’s Oz-Somely Huge Rainbow Art  Culver City is the place over the rainbow (actually, Culver is both sides of the rainbow, if you want to get technical). “The Wizard of Oz” began production on the Sony Pictures Studio lot, making rainbows and the city forever entwined. Now an actual colorful arch will stand on the very lot where “Oz” shot in the form of artist Tony Tasset’s “Rainbow.” And, like a real rainbow, it will have a rather impressive size: The artwork will be “94 feet across by 188 feet tall.” The mega bow will, in fact, span the distance between Thalberg building and Madison Gate, if you know your studio layout. If you aren’t as familiar, the stretch is impressive.

Wizard of Oz Stylized Bridal Shower  When I walked into the house, I couldn’t help but instantly smile at the transformation and welcoming sweet smell of fresh blossoms.  Nicole of Blooms of Hope had stylized a bridal shower she was throwing for a friend.  The décor was not just your ordinary shower details – it was a sophisticated twist on the Wizard of Oz in  From a glowing yellow brick road, haystacks, ruby blooms, and perfectly colored drinks, it was a feast for the eyes.  Joanna of Three Little Birds Studio designed the most gorgeous bridal shower invitations, drink tags and cards reflecting quotes from the movie.  There were details tucked within the blooms and in the small spaces in each room.  Seriously amazing.  Seriously.  It was absolutely gorgeous and I could not get enough of photographing their vision and work. You can only imagine the reaction when the bride-to-be and her guests arrived!

Wizard of Oz hits Bacchus Marsh  FROM Dorothy and Toto to the Tin Man and cowardly Lion, Bacchus Mash will be transformed into its very own Wizard of Oz. As part of the shire’s annual Literacy Trail on August 30, children and adults alike will let their imaginations run wild as they walk the wonder trail of Oz down Main St.  The Literacy Trail also includes a host of colourful characters on the day including stilt police, circus dogs, a magic chef, fire juggling, story telling, and the police band.



Oz in the News 8.11.12

Mapleton triplets put faith in Wizard of Oz garden  The Wizard of Oz Garden got its start in 2002 when the park board director noticed that a 3/4 acre area in Butler Haynes Park needed some sprucing up. He asked Ekvall if she had any ideas. Ekvall took the question to the Hollis Park District Garden Club. They quickly came up with an idea for a children’s garden. “Looking at the lay of the property, you could just see the Wizard of Oz Garden,” she said. It took 425 brick-faced stepping stones to create the yellow brick road, which was installed by volunteer Frank Sanders, Ekvall said. Sanders’ wife Wanda and Ekvall hauled the pavers as Sanders worked. “It took almost the whole summer,” Ekvall said. A coat of yellow paint completed the look. At the same time, other volunteers put in garden beds to represent the various scenes in the movie.

‘Oz: The Great and Powerful’ the most flat-out fun ever, says Rachel Weisz  “I got to shoot lightning out of my fingertips, fly around in a black-sequinned dress and wear lots of red lipstick. It was a complete antidote to doing Bourne – not that Bourne needed an antidote.” She said of the action film: “The stunts were terrifying. There were weeks spent on the back of a motorcycle, with Jeremy [Renner] riding it, jumping over intersections and down staircases, and jumping off bridges in harnesses and onto moving buses.

Oz in the News 8.10.12

Exclusive: Plot Point Revealed for Sam Raimi’s “Oz: The Great and Powerful”  Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz. At first he thinks he’s hit the jackpot-fame and fortune are his for the taking. However, that all changes when he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz), and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity-and even a bit of wizardry-Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz, but into a better man as well.

Fashion Inspiration: Dorothy Gale from The Wizard of Oz  Even though the film was released in 1939, Judy Garland’s Dorothy remains a fabulous source of fashion inspiration! Her gingham print dress and girly aesthetic can be used to inspire your everyday looks. Below, I’ve created several outfits inspired by Dorothy Gale.

Review: After the Wizard  “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” becomes grist for an earnest exercise in child therapy in “After the Wizard,” a maudlin drama about a modern-day Kansas girl who identifies a bit too closely with the characters in L. Frank Baum’s beloved storybook. Primarily a fish-out-of-water fantasy in which the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman find themselves traversing the Midwest, writer-director Hugh Gross’ wooden if well-meaning indie has its charms, but may leave over-imaginative tots feeling patronized rather than captivated. Pic will segue quickly to DVD following a brief theatrical release.

Garland Street Fair features contests, music and little dogs, too  On Saturday, the Garland District is putting on its 10th Garland Street Fair. Sure, it’s a tribute to Judy Garland and “The Wizard of Oz,” but it’s also a day full of kids activities and live music, food and local vendors. “We are expecting around 20,000 people to come up here,” said fair director Amy Cutler. “Something new this year is the block party that picks up when the street fair is over and runs through 10 p.m.”

JSP Records to Release Remastered Collection “Judy Garland: Creations 1929-1962 – Songs She Introduced”   JSP records will release a four-disc remastered set of Judy Garland compilation albums, billed as “Creations 1929-1962 – Songs She Introduced,” in early 2013, the London-based label announced Aug. 9. Containing 92 songs and over five hours of music, “Creations” will feature rare Garland photos and remastered recordings of songs Garland was the first to perform. They include “Over The Rainbow,” “Good Morning,” “Paris Is a Lonely Town,” “It’s A Great Day For The Irish,” “Be A Clown,” “Sweet Danger,” “The Man That Got Away” and more.

There’s No Place like The Judy Garland Museum  The Museum not only touched on Judy’s upbringing as a child performer (she began performing with her sisters at just two years old, back when she was known as Frances “Baby” Gumm) and her starring role as Dorothy, but also painted a picture of her later years. I learned about her movies, her concerts, her family (famous singer Liza Minnelli is one of her daughters), and her many devoted fans, as well as her financial struggles, relationship issues (she was married five times), and battles with depression, self-esteem, and drugs, prescribed at a very young age to help control her weight. Sadly enough, she died of an apparent drug overdose at age 47.

Review: No real magic in ‘After the Wizard’  “After the Wizard” has a tamely pleasant message about friendship, as well as the importance of reading, but no real snap or energy. A good heart and sweet message don’t make for exciting filmmaking all on their own, making “After the Wizard” a forgettable afterthought.

The Woe Is Oz Book Project  Ethan Tarshish (Writer/Creator) and Kelly Brown (Artist/Visual Producer) here. Together, we create an ongoing series called Woe Is Oz. Since its launch in February of 2009, we’ve completed four issues of the story, and now we’d like to complete the first chapter in the journey (which will encompass issues #1-6) and compile them into a printed book.