Category Archives: Oz in Print

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 3.31.19

Exclusive: Interview with Author Michael Selsman on His New Book ‘Lost on the Yellow Brick Road’ “She was a true talent. Everyone knows Garland had outstanding credits to her name—The Wizard of Oz, Meet Me in St. Louis, A Star Is Born—but it’s a rarity when someone knows the true Judy Garland. Besides drugs and alcohol, Judy received solace from men. Not the sex or physical aspect—proven by her marrying several gay men throughout her life—but the love, the adoration, and most of all, the attention she so desperately needed since she could walk. “Judy had her heart broken into too many pieces.” Judy brought the house down with her soaring, booming voice; her parents were in show business long before she was born, with a stage mother that was as ruthless as the Wicked Witch of the West; MGM took her in as its own at the age of thirteen, where she made countless classic films yet consequently grew up to be excruciatingly insecure and unequipped to deal with life on life’s terms. Her short forty-seven years was an inspiring voyage. Hollywood’s cruelty lies just beneath the surface. Just like today, the public is morbidly fickle. Until she died. Then the stream of “stunned” and “sad” celebrity comments started flowing. “Everybody loves you when you’re dead,” Judy said.  The Wizard of Oz is identified as the most influential film of all time in a study published in the journal Applied Network Science.”

Oz in the News 3.14.19

Toto Tells It Like It Is… “Let the Truth Be Known” – An Epic “Wizard of Oz” Adventure for the 21st Century Reader A couple of days in Oz equals a year in Kansas where Uncle Henry is dying; If the Wizard will provide the cure, will Dorothy return home…and in time? Alongside Toto, you will ride in the front seat of a thrilling and emotional roller coaster throughout the magical Land of Oz…and beyond. This Wizard of Oz takeoff is a multidimensional plot-twister that includes an updated original cast and a host of other wondrous quirky social misfits. This complex and intriguing parody has as much tongue-in-cheek humor as it does original content, adventure, mystery, fantasy, and romance.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Gets an Illustrated Prequel 120 years after the release of L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” the Royal Publisher of Oz is publishing a graphic novel telling the canonical tale of How the Wizard Came to Oz. A tale of action and adventure set in a fantastic realm, “How the Wizard Came to Oz” first appeared as a short story in the pages of Oziana magazine’s 1976 issue. This was followed by his novel of the same name. Now, at last, the complete story of Oscar Diggs’ earliest adventures in Oz, is revealed.

 

Oz in the News 3.11.19

Eighty years over the rainbow: how music transformed The Wizard of Oz into a cultural icon Songs from The Wizard of Oz are so powerful they have transformed the story into a cultural icon, according to researchers from the University of Sheffield. Eighty years since the release of the MGM film by Yip Harburg and Harold Arlen, the new research by Dr Dominic McHugh and former PhD student Dr Danielle Birkett from the University’s Department of Music highlights how songs from the beloved musical are being used by people today to help express themselves in times of need. The study, in collaboration with postdoctoral researcher Dr Hannah Robbins, emphasises the importance of the musical to the LGBT community. “Not only does MGM’s The Wizard of Oz appeal to all ages, it is one of only a few popular musical films that does not represent a heterosexual romance,” said Dr Robbins. She added: “At the heart of the story, Dorothy and her three companions discover that they do not need to change themselves to become who they want to be. This message coming after Judy Garland’s wistful performance of Over the Rainbow, a song about escaping to a place of safety, speaks to the fight for acceptance that continues to take place for the LGBT community today.”

Oz in the News 2.13.19

‘Finding Dorothy’ Pulls Back The Curtain On ‘The Wizard of Oz’ It’s been 80 years since Dorothy, Toto and the cast of “The Wizard of Oz” hit the big screen. Now, in a new novel, New York Times best-selling author Elizabeth Letts, writes about the real American family that inspired the classic book and film. “Finding Dorothy” is a story about love, loss, inspiration and perseverance. Letts will be speaking and signing copies of her book Wednesday at Warwick’s in La Jolla. She joins Midday Edition Tuesday to talk about the creators of one of America’s best-known stories.

Oz in the News 1.5.19

Elizabeth Letts Finds the Wizard Behind Oz We all need a bit of magic from time to time,” Maud Gage Baum says to the young Judy Garland in Elizabeth Letts’s new novel, Finding Dorothy (Ballantine, Feb.). Maud—the widow of Wizard of Oz creator L. Frank Baum and the indefatigable central character of Letts’s story—is a woman profoundly familiar with both the importance of magic and the endless challenges of creating it. Warm, articulate, and fiercely intelligent, Letts feels as vibrantly present as if she were sitting across the table, though our conversation is being conducted remotely—Letts in her California home, me in North Carolina. Letts’s novel moves fluidly between two phases of Maud Baum’s life: her long relationship with Frank Baum (from their meeting in 1880 through the completion of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1899) and the adaptation of the book into film two decades after Frank’s death. The larger-than-life Baum—a ferociously inventive, optimistic, and talented man who failed in theatrical, publishing, and retailing ventures before Oz became a bestseller in 1900—comes effervescently to life in Letts’s pages, and his creative vision forges the most obvious link between her novel’s two narratives. Yet it’s a chain of female mentorship that forms the most memorable connections in the novel. As the younger Maud raises four sons and keeps her family afloat amid endless financial vicissitudes, she feels a deep bond with Magdalena, her sister Julia Carpenter’s daughter and one possible inspiration for the character of Dorothy. “The Carpenters homesteaded in Dakota Territory, where the Baums also lived for a time. Julia Carpenter’s diary offered me so many small useful details, and I’m grateful to have had the chance to explore the area where they lived myself,” Letts says. “When I visited the library in Aberdeen, where Frank opened a short-lived store, the staff let me sit and look through boxes of Baum family memorabilia spanning decades of their lives. Maud’s lace and stationery, lots of family photographs: it was touching those things, and seeing those places, that really brought the story to life for me.”

Vaquera Is Taking On The Wizard of Oz at MoMA PS1 Since its start seven years ago, Vaquera has mined culture high and low, producing nontraditional fashion shows inspired by, among other things, high school; religious iconography and casinos; status symbols like Tiffany & Co. bags and the American flag; and the Margaret Atwood classic, The Handmaid’s Tale. The trio composed of Patric DiCaprio, Bryn Taubensee, and Claire Sully will continue its brand of “fashion fan fiction” into 2019 with a performance at MoMA PS1 this April consisting of a stage reinterpretation of The Wizard of Oz. Titled “Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead,” it will riff on L. Frank Baum’s original text, film productions of the book, and the musical Wicked, as well as other modern retellings. Vaquera’s performance is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 28, promising a cast of artist, model, and actor collaborators. As for the show itself, the trio says, “We will deconstruct what it is about the characters from The Wizard of Oz that have resonated with so many people . . . . You can expect something wild and bizarre.”

Oz in the News 11.9.18

‘Wizard of Oz’ draft scripts head for auction block A collection of draft scripts for “The Wizard of Oz” and other material from the archives of the 1939 film are going up for auction in December and could fetch up to $1.2 million. Los Angeles auctioneers Profiles in History said on Thursday four handwritten draft screenplays by Noel Langley were being sold. Langley, who died in 1980, was one of about a dozen screenwriters who worked on the big screen adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s children’s book that catapulted Judy Garland to fame and became an enduring movie classic. Langley’s first three original drafts, dated between April 5 and May 14, 1938, are being sold alongside a fourth draft of the screenplay, written by Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf, and a fifth draft from August 1938 by Langley. “It is the single most important manuscript in Hollywood history,” Brian Chanes, head of consignment at Profiles in History, told Reuters. Chanes said the more than 150 pages of handwritten manuscript notes and pages were “the genesis of ‘The Wizard of Oz,’” tracing its development and changes from first draft to the final version. Some 16 photos of special effects, including the tornado sequence that transports Garland’s Dorothy from Kansas to the magical land of Oz, will be included in the single lot. The archive is being sold by an anonymous private collector who bought it years ago from the late Los Angeles memorabilia collector, Forrest J. Ackerman, Chanes said. Profiles in History put an estimated sale value of $800,000 – $1.2 million on the archival material, which will be auctioned during its Hollywood memorabilia sale in Los Angeles from Dec. 11-14.