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.
Woodmere’s Charles Santore show is a trove of illustration, from Columbo to Cowardly Lion In one of the more memorable images from “Charles Santore: Fifty Years of Art and Storytelling,” at Woodmere Art Museum through May 13, we see the Cowardly Lion as we’ve never seen him before. First of all, it’s a real lion we’re seeing, not the sort of businessmanish figure created by W.W. Denslow for the original Wizard of Oz book, or the characterization by Burt Lahr in the movie. Santore’s watercolor shows him leaping across a ravine, with a bonneted Dorothy astride his back. He is outlined against a sky that looks blue above and sunny below. He is fierce and strong, but his eyes are closed. That’s how we know he’s afraid. He can ferry his three companions across the chasm, but he can’t stand to look. The picture foreshadows one of the lessons he will eventually learn—that he has all the courage he needs, but he just needs to recognize it.
Submissions are invited for the 2018 International Wizard of Oz Club Annual Contests Our goals are to encourage new writers and artists, and to explore a large range of Oz expression. Authors, researchers, and artists are invited to submit their work for consideration. Awards will be presented at OzCon International in Pomona, California, on August 11, 2018. There is no entry fee. The three categories that will be judged are Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Art. All work must be related to the world of Oz. This means entries must be about or pertaining to the Land of Oz as originally created by author L. Frank Baum in the book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and its sequels, Oz plays, Oz movies, Magic Land, or any other version or aspect of Oz. All work must be original and not previously published or exhibited in any form, including online and digital publication. To find out more and enter the contest, click here.
Follow the yellow brick road all the way to Emerald City, courtesy of WMS When it comes to Wizard of Oz themed slots there are few developers more prolific than WMS. It’s fair to say that the casino games producer has a penchant for all things Tin Man, Dorothy and wonderful wizards, and it’s new slot is no exception to that. The Wizard of Oz Emerald City is, in fact, the fifth ‘Wizard’ game to come from WMS and visually and in terms of gameplay it is more than a match for its predecessors. In short – and as you’d expect – there’s a mystical journey on off that takes players down the yellow brick road with Dorothy, Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion. Aesthetically, the game is as bright and fun as the original film, which is a good place to start. The action takes place in Emerald City, which is the capital city of the fictional land of Oz and lies at the end of the famous yellow brick road (after a journey through munchkin country).
Review: THE PHANTOM OF OZ by Cindy Brown In the tradition of Brown’s previous ‘Ivyntures’, the book is a clever mash-up of stage classics. This time THE WIZARD OF OZ meets THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, with a dash of THE WOMAN IN WHITE thrown in for ghostly good measure. Could there be more familiar stage tropes than these classics? WIZARD is currently represented on Broadway by WICKED, while PHANTOM has just entered its third decade on the Great White Way. Both are rooted in century old fantasy fiction, so it is fitting that Brown returns them to the page – with her own Phoenician flair, of course. “Oz was a green planet and Dorothy’s house had been pulled into space through some tornado time warp. The Cowardly Lion looked like a Wookie, the Scarecrow had a sort of big-headed E.T. quality, the Tin Man was based on Marvin, the depressed robot from THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, and the Darryl Hannah replicant character from BLADE RUNNER inspired the look for both the Wicked Witches. Glinda was costumed like one of the babes Captain Kirk was always kissing on the original STAR TREK, and the Wizard wasn’t a cast member at all, just a projection.”
The Dressing Room Podcast In this episode, Tom chats to Jemma Rix – currently starring as “The Wicked Witch of The West” in The Wizard Of Oz, touring all around Australia! Find out how it’s different playing The Wicked Witch in Wizard, Versus Elphaba in Wicked [she’s done both!]
Born in Mansfield: Animals who smile – The Legacy of HR McBride and Frank VerBeck Frank VerBeck made a significant contribution to the illustration of classic American literature. He was chosen by L. Frank Baum to illustrate some of his post-Wizard of Oz books like A New Wonderland and The Magical Monarch of Mo in 1900-1903; and he was the first artist to interpret the Just So stories of Rudyard Kipling when they originally appeared serially in Ladies’ Home Journal.
Recognized as one of the greatest comic animal artists made him a natural to do the pictures for early editions of the Uncle Remus stories.
Book a Trip to See Literary Maps Should your travels bring you to Cambridge, Massachusetts, this spring, chart a path toward Harvard’s Houghton Library, where Landmarks: Maps as Literary Illustration opened last week. Curated by Peter X. Accardo, the exhibition showcases sixty literary maps that bring to life such imagined places as More’s Utopia and Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood. Included is Professor Wogglebug’s Map of the Marvelous Land of Oz, attributed to L. Frank Baum. From: L. Frank Baum, Tik-Tok of Oz (Chicago, 1914). “This first printed map of the Marvelous Land of Oz presents its four counties in their official colors, but reverses the position of Munchkin and Winkie Counties. The inconsistency is also reflected by the map’s compass points, where East unusually is to the West, and West is to the East.” Credit: Houghton Library, Typ 970.14.1955 – Presented in honor of Dennis C. Marnon, 2018.
Alumni bring Oz collection to Fort Hays State Fort Hays State University alumni Larry and Lyn Fenwick, Macksville, are sharing their collection of Wizard of Oz artifacts with the Hays community. The Fenwick Oz Collection is now available for viewing through Friday, March 16, on the main floor of Fort Hays State University’s Forsyth Library. The collection features rare and unique Wizard of Oz artifacts that match author L. Frank Baum’s vision for the land of Oz and that explore details of the well-loved Kansas story. Characters displayed in the collection are consistent with descriptions given in the book and honor Baum’s original ideas. An exhibit viewing and reception will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1, in Forsyth Library. The Fenwicks will present briefly at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
Garland in Word and Song Opens Tonight at the Willow Theatre When Judy Garland stepped out onto the stage at Carnegie Hall on April 23, 1961, the raucous standing ovation that greeted her was just the start of what has been called “the greatest night in show business history.” Actress/singer Jody Briskey portrays Garland and recreates that night’s iconic performance at The Willow Theatre at Sugar Sand Park in Boca Raton, Florida, January 26 – February 11, 2018.