Category Archives: Oz in Print

Oz in the News 5.15.19

Chapel Hill Author Releases ‘Emeralds of Oz’ Chapel Hill author, Peter Guzzardi, is sharing his vision and encouragement towards self discovery by relating the life lessons learned from the Wizard of Oz. Guzzardi discussed the premise of Emeralds of Oz with Spectrum News ahead of his book release. “There’s no place like home,” he reiterated. It’s part of the film’s powerful message. “We all remember this moment from the film. Dorothy clicks her heels and says that phrase. Home isn’t just a place that holds your personal belongings. It’s a place within you,” Guzzardi said. Peter Guzzardi spent decades as an editor working with a wide variety of intellects, including Stephen Hawking, Deepak Chopra, Carol Burnett and Douglas Adams.  In Emeralds of Oz, Guzzardi draws parallel examples from the movie to encourage readers to follow their own ‘yellow brick road’ to navigate the world with guidance from their personal strengths.

Oz in the News 5.8.19

BWW Review: RAY BOLGER: MORE THAN A SCARECROW by Holly Van Leuven While readers will, of course, eagerly await tales from Bolger’s time on the set of The Wizard of Oz, it is what Van Leuven so expertly brings to the page about Bolger’s personal life and time as a veteran stage performer that make this book a must read for musical theatre historians and Oz fans alike. Having been given special access by UCLA and the Bolger estate, she vividly brings to life the real man behind the scarecrow mask to reveal an ardent showman and theatrical animal. Like many movie musical actors of the 1930’s, Bolger cut his teeth on the vaudeville stage in such landmark musicals as The Ziegfeld Follies and the George White Scandals. It’s no wonder that his costars in Oz (Judy Garland, Bert Lahr, and Jack Haney; “Dorothy,” “The Lion,” and “The Tinman” respectively) were all also vaudeville vets. The evidence of this is seen by their onscreen chemistry and cohesion. But unlike many stars of his day that floated effortlessly from stage to screen, Bolger’s unique, lanky looks unintentionally afforded him more time to train and hone his skills as a physical comedian turned dancing musical comedy leading man. Van Leuven painstakingly pours over volumes of letters (in Bolger’s own hand) and never-before-seen photographs from the UCLA Library and various other sources, to paint the picture of the real Ray Bolger.

Welcome to Oz: This isn’t Dorothy from the movie Leave it to Zenescope to take yet another classic character and mold it into their own version. In this short series we see Dorothy, who in her last series had a run in with the legendary Wizard and was put into a body that’s not her own. She also now has a sword, something Judy Garland was definitely not toting around in the film adaptation of the story. We also see that the Toto we know from the movie is all grown up and very wolf-like. There are also Zenescope’d versions of the Cowardly Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow.

Return to Oz – Film Review It’s colorful, has memorable characters, terrific casting, wonderful music, fantastic makeup and sets and immortal words of wisdom that manage to be both hokey and sweet at the same time. It’s simply magic. But let’s look back on some of the stuff that happens in the original film. You have a little girl who’s scared out of her mind in a land that she’s completely unfamiliar with, and she is being hunted and tormented by a terrifying witch with the worst cackle you’ve ever heard. When we first meet the titular Wizard of Oz, he’s a giant, green, Great Gazoo head who yells loudly and is accompanied by explosions and dense smoke. And then of course there’s the talking trees, the flying monkeys that can rip people apart and the little people with creepy high-pitched voices. That last one is only scary if you have achondroplasiaphobia, but I personally find them a tad unnerving regardless. You know what? The Wizard of Oz is kind of horrifying. As an adult, you can probably handle all of that creepy stuff rather well. But if you’re a kid, this film can scar you for life. Take it from me. I can’t look at pictures of Margaret Hamilton without flinching. “What’s your point, you sad loser?” you may be asking. First off, that’s very rude of you to say. Second, my point is that Return to Oz, the unofficial sequel that came out in 1985, is 10 times scarier than The Wizard of Oz. It’s so creepy, dark and weird that it should practically be considered a horror movie…..…….AND I LOVE IT.

Oz in the News 5.2.19

Bonham’s Auction Designed by Adrian. Kelly green hip-length felt coat with symmetrical cream-colored appliques, forest green trim, and large cream-colored buttons on either side of the front, attached together with a horizontal applique with hook-and-eye closures, with puffed shoulders and wide bell sleeves, bearing an interior green-lettered “Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer” label inscribed, “38” in ink. Adrian, who was MGM’s top costume designer in the 1930s, allowed his imagination to soar in the unforgettable costumes worn by all of the characters throughout The Wizard of Oz. His use of geometric shapes, oversized accoutrements, and brilliant colors brought the Land of Oz and Emerald City to dazzling life, and he is best remembered for his work on this film. Accompanied by a framed vintage re-release photo (R1970) showing a citizen of Emerald City wearing the coat in the scene where the witch spells out “Surrender Dorothy” with her broom.

Celebrating the Centennial of Children’s Book Week, Library of Congress Launches a Unique Online Collection of 67 Historically Significant Children’s Books Published More Than 100 Years AgoIn celebration of the 100th anniversary of Children’s Book Week (April 29 to May 5), yesterday the Library of Congress launched a unique online collection of 67 historically significant children’s books published more than 100 years ago. Drawn from the Library’s collection, Children’s Book Selections are digital versions both of classic works still read by children today and of lesser-known treasures. Highlights of the collection include examples of the work of American illustrators such as W.W. Denslow, Peter Newell and Howard Pyle, as well as works by renowned English illustrators Randolph Caldecott, Walter Crane and Kate Greenaway.

The Case of the Stolen Ruby Slippers It seemed incredible that two of the biggest thefts of Americana — the Rockwell and ruby slippers burglaries — had both taken place in Minnesota. And as it turns out, Bruce Rubenstein told me that, in December 2018, several months after the shoes were recovered, Chris Dudley — the FBI agent in charge of the ruby slippers case — showed up unannounced at his condo building outside Minneapolis wanting to discuss the identity of the thieves behind the Rockwell heist. Rubenstein says that he later continued the conversation at FBI headquarters in Minneapolis. s for the slippers, they aren’t home yet — wherever home winds up being. They remain in evidence with the FBI. For the Grand Rapids police, though, it feels like a conclusion. “Our goal was to get the shoes back,” Mattson says. “And we did that.”

Oconomowoc, the site where ‘The Wizard of Oz’ had its premiere 80 years ago, will create a yellow brick road The city of Oconomowoc is gearing up for the 80th anniversary of the world premiere of “The Wizard of Oz.” The plan is to create a plaza dedicated to the film that debuted in Oconomowoc on Aug. 12, 1939, according to Oconomowoc Director of Economic Development and Tourism Bob Duffy. On April 16, the common council approved the purchase of six life-sized statues of the main characters from the movie to help commemorate the occasion, which will take place in August. The statues will feature Dorothy with Toto, The Tin Man, Scarecrow, The Cowardly Lion, The Wizard of Oz and the Wicked Witch of the West. The cost of the statues was estimated at $28,500. Duffy said $22,500 has been raised through private funding.

Puppetry brings Dorothy’s dog, flying monkeys to life Nicholas Mahon’s work as a puppet and theatrical designer has taken him everywhere, from Sesame Street to the 2018 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony in Pyeongchang, South Korea. So, when the yellow brick road led him to the world of ballet, the Canadian-born, Emmy-nominated designer jumped at the opportunity to create almost 20 puppets for Septime Webre’s The Wizard of Oz. Indeed, puppets proved critical in the execution of some of The Wizard of Oz’s more surrealistic moments. Take the harrowing flying monkeys scene, for example. Three sizes of puppets were created to make a “field of monkeys,” with larger ones in the foreground and smaller ones in the distance. “You really get a sense of perspective, that there’s this giant cloud of these monkeys,” Mahon says. The physical monkeys, combined with all the other production elements, including music and projections, make for a tense scene that Mahon promises will leave audience members on the edge of their seats. “I’m very proud of how (the puppets) integrated into that scene,” he says. A puppet is an obvious solution for Dorothy’s little dog, too. Casting an actual dog as Toto would have be distracting as well as impractical — having a wiggly pup underfoot of the corps de ballet seems like a sprained ankle waiting to happen. But an inanimate prop dog wasn’t ideal, either. “Toto is a very important character for Dorothy,” Mahon says. “We really want to believe their connection. Toto is all she has in this strange world. He’s her anchor and her link back to home and who she is. Having that emotional connection resonate and read for the audience is important.”

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.”