Difference between revisions of "Oz News"

From OzWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
(November 13, 2018: The Baum Bugle Autumn 2018, and Oziana 2018)
(April 23, 2018: The Baum Bugle Winter 2017 issue)
Line 185: Line 185:
* The four current living charter members of the International Wizard of Oz Club sit down for a collective interview in "Anniversary Recollections: Sixty Years in the Oz Club".
* The four current living charter members of the International Wizard of Oz Club sit down for a collective interview in "Anniversary Recollections: Sixty Years in the Oz Club".
* Michael Gessel reports on the events to honor the fourth Royal Historian, whose grave was previously unmarked, in "A Headstone for a Royal Historian: Honoring Jack Snow".
* Michael Gessel reports on the events to honor the fourth Royal Historian, whose grave was previously unmarked, in "A Headstone for a Royal Historian: Honoring Jack Snow".
* Bill Thompson discusses the creation and evolution of [https://shop.ozclub.org/product.sc?productId=428&categoryId=1 his latest book] in "The Making of…''Bibliographia Oziana''—The Book!"
* Bill Thompson discusses the creation and evolution of [https://shop.ozclub.org/product.sc?productId=428&categoryId=1 his latest book] in "The Making of…''Bibliographia Baumiana''—The Book!"
* John Fricke brings his survey of big-time Oz productions up to date in "Magical, Musical Muny (Part Three): How a Blend of Baum and MGM First Came to theStage…and Endured".
* John Fricke brings his survey of big-time Oz productions up to date in "Magical, Musical Muny (Part Three): How a Blend of Baum and MGM First Came to the Stage…and Endured".
* "Adventures in Oz" profiles:
* "Adventures in Oz" profiles:
** Actress Ruby Rakos, who plays Judy Garland in the play [https://chasingrainbowsmusical.com/ ''Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz''].
** Actress Ruby Rakos, who plays Judy Garland in the play [https://chasingrainbowsmusical.com/ ''Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz''].

Revision as of 21:25, 26 May 2019

(I will update this page when there is news to tell. Any news older than a year is dropped at the next update. If you have news to report, please e-mail me.)

"There's no place like the home page."

(For more Oz news, check out The Daily Ozmopolitan. For the latest Oz not-quite-news, see the Rumor Control section of this page.)


April 12, 2019: The Baum Bugle Winter 2018


November 13, 2018: The Baum Bugle Autumn 2018, and Oziana 2018

The two latest magazines from the International Wizard of Oz Club—the Club's journal and its annual literary magazine—are both now available.

The Baum Bugle is published three times a year and goes to all members of the International Wizard of Oz Club. While the timely delivery of issues has slipped a little bit this year, coming this late in the cover season is still a major accomplishment considering how late delivery of the Bugle has been is the past.

In this issue:

  • The front cover features Wicked composer Stephen Schwartz, who in interviewed in this issue.
  • The inside cover features scenes of the Frisch Marionettes' production of The Wizard of Oz, reviewed inside.
  • "Letters" features Club President Jane Albright and Bugle editor Sarah K. Crotzer talking about the state of the Club and the Bugle.
  • In "The Bugle Bulletin":
    • The Ruby Slippers, stolen from a Minnesota museum in 2005, have been found!
    • In Wicked news, the film version has been pushed back, the West End production in London hit its five thousandth performance, and NBC showed A Very Wicked Halloween fifteenth anniversary special on October 29.
    • Mego, which first made Wizard of Oz action figures back in the '70s, is back with a Dorothy and Wicked Witch two-pack and the Cowardly Lion, available exclusively at Target.
    • The wedding of Emma Ridley, best known to Oz fans for playing Ozma in Disney's 1985 movie Return to Oz.
    • Prince Harry and Megan Markle adopted a black Labrador retriever and named it Oz.
    • Commemorating fifteen years of Wicked, the Barbie Signature Collection has issued Barbie versions of Elphaba and Glinda.
    • The book Toto: The Dog-Gone Amazing Story of the Wizard of Oz by Michael Morpurgo has been optioned for a movie by Warner Animation Group.
    • Kermit the Frog will appear as the Wizard in the holiday play The Wonderful Winter of Oz in Pasadena, California.
    • The stop motion animated movie The Tin Woods, successfully funded on Kickstarter.
    • Of interest on YouTube:
    • Recently passed away: Gary Kurtz, executive producer of Return to Oz; Carole Shelley, who originated the role of Madame Morrible in Wicked on Broadway; longtime Oz fan and Club member Jack Vincent; Will Vinton, Claymation animator who supervised the creation of the Nomes in Return to Oz; and Helen Younger, owner of Aleph-Bet Books where many collectors found rare Oz books over the years.
  • Michael Gessel remembers one of Oz's crankiest but most steadfast fans in "Harlan Ellison, 1934-2018" (alongside a video essay by Ellison about Oz).
  • Willard Carroll remembers the recently deceased Jerry Maren, the last little person who played a Munchkin in The Wizard of Oz in "Punching Above His Weight—and Height". There's also a video of the Lollipop Guild with their original voices, including Jerry's.
  • Brady Schwind interviews the man behind the music of Wicked in "The Wizard and I: On the Road with Stephen Schwartz".
  • Schwartz' original outline for Act I of Wicked, which didn't turn out exactly as it did on stage (act II can be found in the second edition of Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz, from Godspell to Wicked).
  • "Unfilmed Oz" looks at the late Rob Roy MacVeigh's animated adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
  • Jay Scarfone and William Stillman look at the creation and production of their latest book in "Journey to The Road to Oz".
  • In The Oz Gazette, the journal-for-younger-Oz-fans-within-the-journal:
    • "Powder of Life Lets Loose on Locals" summarizes some of the events of The Marvelous Land of Oz.
    • Managing Editor Dorothy Gale writes a chatty "Editorial".
    • "Drama! Excitement! Romance! Tragedy!" looks at the theatrical career of L. Frank Baum.
    • The Scarecrow reviews Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers.
    • Glinda explains when a witch is not a witch.
    • The Wizard is interviewed.
    • The Hungry Tiger opens a restaurant.
    • And in an insert, you can make a Jack Pumpkinhead marionette.
  • Angelica Shirley Carpenter talks about the research on her recent book about L. Frank Baum's mother-in-law in "Looking for Matilda".
  • In "Oz in the Arts":
    • The Wizard of Oz at the Messner Puppet Theatre in Bonner Springs, Kansas (which you can see parts of here and here), reviewed by Nick Campbell.
    • The Wizard of Oz by the Frisch Marionette Company in Nashville, Tennessee (which you can see parts of here and here, reviewed by Sarah Crotzer.
    • The Wizard of Oz play at the Orchard Theatre, Dartford, Kent, in the United Kingdom, reviewed by Michael O'Connor.
    • The Wiz at Ford's Theatre in Washington, DC, and The Muny in St. Louis, Missouri, reviewed by Lynn Beltz (with clips you can view here, here, here, and here).
  • Books appearing in "The Bugle Review":
  • In "Adventures in Oz", Randy Struthers details how he tracked down a star-tipped wand Billie Burke used in some publicity photos as Glinda.
  • The back inside cover has illustrations from Rob Roy MacVeigh's unproduced animated adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
  • The rear cover is a portrait of Jerry Maren in recent years, still carrying a lollipop.

And in the 2018 issue of Oziana, the Oz Club's literary magazine:
  • Hailing from Scotland, cover artist Brian Russell illustrates "Omby's Sword Dance".
  • Momina Arif presents a shape poem in "The Brains, the Heart, the Courage, and Home".
  • "The Strongman of Oz" by Jared Davis, with illustrations by Sam Milazzo, tells the story of one of the Wizard's old circus colleagues, and how he is ensnared by a witch to get revenge on the Wizard.
  • "The Fabulous Frogman and the Faith of Freakish Friends" by Joe Bongiorno, illustrated by Darrell Spradlyn, is a sequel to "The Final Fate of the Frogman" from the 1990 issue, and details how his friends found the Frogman after that story and brought him back into their inner circle.
  • Finally, Kim McFarland provides a back cover illustration.

Oziana 2018 can be ordered from Lulu.com. Anyone, not just Oz Club members, may order a copy.

September 4, 2018: Ruby Slippers Found!

A pair of ruby slippers, stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, in 2005, have been recovered. The Grand Rapids police and the FBI's Minneapolis division worked together, enlisting the aid of the Smithsonian Institution, and announced the recovery today. While the investigation is still ongoing, it quickly transpired that the insurance company that paid out after their theft from the museum in Judy Garland's birthplace had been contacted about the slippers. It quickly became evident that the person was trying to extort money from the insurance company. Law enforcement became involved, and a sting operation was created to recover the shoes and arrest the perpetrators. The Smithsonian, at the time restoring their own pair of the shoes, was called in to authenticate the shoes, which they did.

It is not yet known if or when the slippers will go back on display.

(Information courtesy the BBC, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (here, too), and the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History.

August 11, 2018: The L. Frank Baum Memorial Award and the Winkie Award

Tonight, the International Wizard of Oz Club bestowed two of its highest honors on two long-time members during OzCon International in Pomona, California. The L. Frank Baum Memorial Award, for contributions to the Club and Oz in general, went to Bill Thompson, whose book Bibliographia Baumiana debuted at the convention. Thompson has been a tireless researcher, as well as a collector of Oz memorabilia which he then auctions off at the Club's conventions to raise funds.

OzCon also presented its own award, the Winkie Award, to long-time attendee Susan Hall, best known for her costumes and quizzes. She has also helped the convention with presentations and panels, game shows, and many other bits of help over the decades. Both awards are richly deserved.

July 2, 2018: The Baum Bugle Spring 2018

The latest issue of the journal of the International Wizard of Oz Club, The Baum Bugle, is now heading out to Club members. The first issue under new editor Sarah Crotzer, it suffered a small setback when first class and international mailings lacked the planned inserts, including a set of Oz finger puppets. (This should not affect the vast majority of American members who receive their issues by third class mail. Affected members will receive their inserts as a separate mailing.)

In this issue:

In a first, the Bugle is also putting extra content up on the web as .pdf files. The first, an overview of foreign Oz puppet dramatizations, can be viewed or downloadad right here.

June 6, 2018: Jerry Maren 1920-2018

Jerry Maren 1939.jpg
Veteran character actor Jerry Maren died today at his home in San Diego. He was 98 years old. Born Gerard Marenghi in Boston, Jerry took to show business early, taking dance lessons and getting noticed. He was finally beckoned to Hollywood to appear as a Munchkin in The Wizard of Oz after graduating high school, thus beginning his acting career. (Contrary to popular belief, Maren did not appear in the all-little people Western musical, The Terror of Tiny Town.) He garnered worldwide fame as the middle member of the Lollipop Guild, dressed in green, who handed the lollipop to Dorothy. While The Wizard of Oz may have been his most famous role, his career was just getting started. His next part was opposite the Marx Brothers in At the Circus, and he also worked with Our Gang and Hope and Crosby (as a chimpanzee) in Road to Morocco. He was also a walking "body double" for both Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd, and other stunts and doubles through the Golden Age of Hollywood. He was also one of the titular aliens in the Superman serial, Superman and the Mole-Men, with George Reeves. When television took off, Jerry was all over the place, as a regular on The Andy Williams Show and a guest star on such shows as The Beverly Hillbillies, Star Trek, Bewitched, The Wild, Wild West, Julia, Get Smart, The Odd Couple, and Here's Lucy. He also played a child ape in the original Planet of the Apes and many characters on Sid & Marty Krofft shows. In advertising, he played Buster Brown, Little Oscar the chef for Oscar Meyer, and many denizens of McDonaldland. He never quite got away from Oz, often guest-starring in stage productions, and appearing as Munchkins in both Under the Rainbow and The Dreamer of Oz, as well as appearing at Oz festivals and conventions around the country. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Elizabeth. He was the last surviving little person who portrayed a Munchkin.

Jerry Maren 2000s.jpg

May 13, 2018: Margot Kidder 1948-2018

Margot Kidder.jpg

Margot Kidder, the actress best known for her iconic portrayal of Lois Lane opposite Christopher Reeves as Superman in four movies in the 1970s and '80s, passed away today at the age of 69. Born in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, a trip to New York City set her on her career path when she saw a performance of Bye Bye Birdie. She worked extensively in both Canada and the United States, but her big break was playing Lois Lane in the first Superman movie, released in 1978. Her career stalled in the '90s, however, as she struggled with personal problems and mental illness, but she managed to turn herself around and kept working, even after becoming an American citizen in 2005 and moving to Montana. Among her many credits, Oz fans remember her as the narrator of the movie compilation versions of the Cinar animated series The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

April 23, 2018: The Baum Bugle Winter 2017 issue

The latest issue of The Baum Bugle, and the final issue for the 2017 membership year, has been sent out to members of the International Wizard of Oz Club. The final issue of John Fricke's placeholder year as editor, he goes out with a bang with this 76-page bumper issue that includes the following items:


Rumor Control

(Because of the many questions I am asked about possible forthcoming Oz projects or other bits of pseudo-news, I have added this section to answer some of these inquiries.)

The previously announced release date for the movie adaptation of the Broadway musical version of Wicked turns out to have been premature. Universal recently changed their planned release for December 19, 2019, from Wicked to Cats. So the Wicked movie is on hold again, but it is still in development.

Okay, yes, word has leaked out that Warner Bros. tried to talk Robert Zemeckis into directing a remake of The Wizard of Oz, using the same screenplay as the famous 1939 Judy Garland version. Zemeckis already rejected the idea. This probably puts the idea on the back burner for a while, and based on the extreme negative reaction the idea got, I suspect it will stay there. Rumors of this have surfaced again, but appear to be the result of someone finding the old story and running it again.

It's getting harder and harder to keep up with all of the currently planned Oz movie and television projects. Bear in mind that at this stage, most of it is speculation and/or not even in pre-production, or possibly even a game of "Telephone". But here are some of the current Oz movies that could be coming to your local theater in the next few years:

  • The Road to Oz, a movie biopic about the life of L. Frank Baum and how he created Oz, starring Eddie Redmayne as Frank. (See reports here and here.)
  • Dark Oz 3-D, based on the old Caliber comic book.
  • A non-musical, faithful adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz from New Line and Temple Hill.
  • The Oz Wars, which would have the witches fighting for control of the Emerald City while the Wizard leads the resistance.
  • John Boorman's animated adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz seems to be on track for release — in France. Once it's released, an English-language release will likely come out soon afterwards. (However, in a recent interview, Boorman admitted that the project has stalled due to lack of funding.)
  • Oz: Return to the Emerald City was one of two possible competing projects at Warner Bros. This original sequel may now be shopped around to other studios, or turned into a novel.
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, a low-budget independent production from Barnyard Studios and Used Productions. This is very much a shoestring production, which is looking for money and actors. But its Kickstarter campaign to raise the last money it needed was a success, so it may be finished soon.
  • Legend of Oz, a modern retelling of The Wizard of Oz from Valley Wind Productions in Ottawa.
  • Oz, a new telling of The Wizard of Oz.
  • A still unnamed horror movie set in the 1920s with Dorothy meeting Alice in Bedlam Asylum.
  • Young Santa., based on L. Frank Baum's book The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus and directed by Sean McNamara.
  • How the Wizard Came to Oz, based on two books by Donald Abbott.
  • Not entirely Oz, strictly speaking, but the Judy Garland biography Get Happy may be made into a movie, featuring Anne Hathaway as Garland.

And it's not limited to movies any more. In development for television:

  • Red Brick Road, a television series continuation of The Wizard of Oz in the style of Game of Thrones. The latest word is that this is being developed for the Lifetime channel.
  • Dorothy, an Oz-themed medical drama in development at CBS
  • Dorothy Must Die, in which Dorothy has returned to Oz and become a dictator, in development at the CW. This would be based on the book series of the same name.
  • Warriors of Oz, a post-apocalyptic version in development at Syfy.
  • A Wicked television miniseries, based on the original book (not the stage musical). Salma Hayak was attached to this as a producer. When last heard of, it was under development at ABC.

No, Peter Jackson is not producing or directing a billion-dollar all-CGI remake of The Wizard of Oz for Warner Bros. How do stories like this get started? Oh, maybe in stories like this...

In recent years, there have been proposals for other Oz or related projects, none of which now appear that they will get off the ground. Among them:

  • Lost in Oz, a series that was to feature Melissa George as a Kansas university student who is whisked to Oz sixty years after the events of The Wizard of Oz (The Movie) and helping to spearhead a rebellion against the new Wicked Witch of the West. Although developed for the WB and a pilot film produced, it was never picked up, nor the pilot shown. (But keep an eye out on auction sites, as a bootleg DVD sometimes shows up…)
  • A telelvision miniseries based on Gregory Maguire's novel Wicked, with Demi Moore in the title role. (There are stories that the people developing this version later pushed their involvement into the musical version now playing on Broadway and elsewhere.)
  • The O. Z., a hip-hop flavored re-telling of The Wizard of Oz for Fox. Among the rumored Dorothy's at one point were Brandy, Mya, and the late Aaliyah. Justin Timberlake, John Leuizamo, and Little Richard were mentioned for other parts.
  • Surrender Dorothy. Drew Barrymore as Dorothy's great-granddaughter coming to Oz, and battling the Wicked Witch of the West's granddaughter. (Rumors of this recently resurfaced, but were quickly squelched. This project is dead.)
  • Somewhere starring Elizabeth Taylor as Dorothy, now a grandmother, returning to Oz. The deaths of both Taylor and developer Rod Steiger means this is unlikely to ever happen.
  • Pamela West, where the Wicked Witch is the innocent victim and Dorothy (with Toto as a pit bull) is the evil interloper.
  • The Land of Oz (not based on the book of the same name), produced by Hallmark for NBC. This eventually became the basis for the Sci Fi Channel miniseries Tin Man.
  • The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus from Circa Pictures. It's no longer listed on their website.
  • The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus from Hyde Park Entertainment and Toonz Entertainment.
  • A Bollywood adaptation of The Wizard of Oz in India.
  • A movie version of American McGee's (later cancelled) Oz video game.
  • Geoff Ryman's Was.

If progress is made on any of these projects, such as actually going into production or a release date announced, the news will be posted as quickly as possible on this page. But at this stage, any of these going into production is very unlikely. (However, Tin Man was part of this list for some time before its eventual completion and broadcast on the Sci-Fi Channel.)

"There's no place like the home page."