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

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May 17, 2012
<img src="pics/bbspring12.jpg" width="234" height="300" align="left" alt="The Baum Bugle, Spring 2012" />'Tis spring, and in years past, that would have meant that the previous year's Autumn issue of The Baum Bugle was due. But now that the International Wizard of Oz Club's journal has actually managed to stick to its own timetable, Club members should be finding the Spring 2012 issue arriving in their mailboxes any day now. (If you're not a member for 2012, it's not too late to join or renew, and your membership will include this issue.)
In this issue:

  • Angelica Carpenter looks at how the popular Accelerated Reader education program handles Oz in (naturally) "Acclerated Reader in Oz".
  • "Yellow Brick Philosophy" by Ellen Handler Spitz (reprinted from The New Republic) digs under the surface of the story of The Wizard of Oz, as first told in the original book, and finds hidden depths.
  • The Bugle announces the search for a new Editor-in-Chief.
  • Peter E. Hanff looks at the Ozzy theme of the 1930 Burbank (California) High School yearbook in "Greetings from Oz".
  • In "The Borrowing Artist of Ix", Dennis Anfuso and Alan Lindsay reveal that Henry L. Miller, an early twentieth century children's book illustrator, probably copied some of Frederick Richardson's illustrations from Queen Zixi of Ix.
  • "Ignotum per Ignotius" by Patrick Maund asks some of those imponderable questions about the famous 1939 movie version of The Wizard of Oz that one only notices after watching it many, many times with a small child.
  • Blair Frodelius talks to the writer of the Wicked books in "American Fairy Tales: A Conversation with Gregory Maguire".
  • "Adventures in Oz" has Felicia Ricci recall her first experience as Eden Espinosa's understudy as Elphaba in Wicked in "It's Not That Easy Being Green".
  • Greg Hunter tells the tale of "The Discovery of 'John'", a previously unknown short story by L. Frank Baum; Michael Patrick Hearn writes an introduction; and, finally, "John" by L. Frank Baum, first published in 1898.
  • Resting on "The Oz Bookshelf":
  • "Oz Behind the Footlights" reviews A Mermaid's Tale, a new dramatization of L. Frank Baum's The Sea Fairies.
  • "In Memoriam" sees Peter E. Hanff remembering longtime Oz researcher Patrick Maund.
  • "Ozmusements" has "Professor Wogglebug's Pop Quiz: Pills in Oz".
  • And the back cover shows an Oz-themed hide-and-seek poster, created by Ed Gazsi in the 1980s (the answers are inside the issue).
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February 22, 2012
<img src="pics/Patrick%20Maund.jpg" width="377" height="500" align="right" alt="Patrick Maund" />Patrick Maund, one of the premier Oz scholars and researchers of the last three decades, passed away today in his hometown of San Francisco after a brief illness. He was fifty-six years old. He was a regular attendee for many years at the Winkie Convention, and also made frequent appearances at the Ozmopolitan and Munchkin Conventions as well. He spearheaded new research into Oz and Baum bibliography, contributed to The Baum Bugle, and served the International Wizard of Oz Club as director, treasurer, and auctioneer. He was also instrumental in setting up the Club's headquarters in the San Francisco Bay area. For his contributions to Oz and the Club, he was awarded the 1996 Winkie Award, and the 2004 L. Frank Baum Memorial Award. Patrick is survived by his wife, Rita; their three children, Veronica, Catherine, and Christopher; his brother, Peter; and numerous nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to: The Maund Children Donation Fund c/o St. Brendan School 940 Laguna Honda Blvd. San Francisco, CA 94127.

(Information courtesy Peter Hanff, The International Wizard of Oz Club, and SFGate/the San Francisco Chronicle. Photo courtesy Jane Albright.)

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January 24, 2012
<img src="pics/Williamson%20Nome%20King.jpg" width="400" height="217" align="right" alt="Nicol Williamson as the Nome King in "return to oz" (1985)" />Nicol Williamson, the acclaimed Scottish actor who was probably best known for playing Merlin in Excalibur, passed away last month in Holland of esophigal cancer. He was seventy-five. Born September 14, 1936 in Glasgow, he quickly found a place in acting and made his London stage debut in 1961. He made his name in Inadmissible Evidence in 1964 (a part he reprised in the 1968 movie adaptation) and as Hamlet in the 1970s, both of which he played in both the West End and Broadway. He did not enjoy making movies, but used the salary to finance his stage career. Among the movies he appeared in were the 1969 version of Hamlet, Robin and Marian (as Little John), The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (as Sherlock Holmes), The Exorcist III, and Spawn, which turned out to be his final film. He is best known to Oz fans, however, as the dual character of Dr. Worley and the Nome King in the 1985 Disney film Return to Oz. In later years, he abandoned acting in favor of music, and eventually settled in Holland. He passed away on December 16, 2011, and made it clear that he did not want a fuss to be made over him. He is survived by a son, Luke.

(Information courtesy of The Telegraph.)

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January 21, 2012
<img src="pics/bbwinter11.jpg" width="250" height="321" align="left" alt="The Baum Bugle, Winter 2011" />The latest issue of The Baum Bugle, the journal of the International Wizard of Oz Club, has now been printed and is making its way to members' mailboxes. Cover dated Winter 2011, this is the final issue of members' 2011 memberships, so get those renewals in soon!


In this issue:

  • The front cover is a reprint of Dick Martin's art for the August 1961 issue, announcing the Club's first convention. For this issue, Marcus Mébès colored and slightly redesigned the art to commemorate fifty years of Oz Club sponsored and supported conventions. The rear and inside covers reprint convention photos from all five decades.
  • Scott Cummings writes of Oz (and other) conventions in his "From the Editor" column.
  • The list of winners of the L. Frank Baum Memorial Award is updated to include the 2011 winner, Margaret Pellegrini.
  • In "Oz and Ends":
  • Bill Campbell's Oz character paintings and the merchandise you can find them on, at www.zazzle.com/ozshop.
  • Literary Greats Paper Dolls a new book from Dover that includes L. Frank Baum.
  • John R. Neill's old house, that he and his family lived in during the early 1900s, is for sale.
  • A new French card game simply called Oz.
  • Interactive app versions of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz from Boluga, Slypot Games, and wizardofozapp.com, plus Eltanin's e-reader versions of The Marvelous Land of Oz and Ozma of Oz.
  • In auction news, Pacific Book Auctions sold what is now believed to be the earliest known copy (the inscription is dated May 23, 1900) of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz for

422,800, and a copy of Kabumpo in Oz autographed by author Ruth Plumly Thompson for $420. Profiles in History, meanwhile, had several items from the 1939 movie version of The Wizard of Oz up for auction at their December 16 Hollywood memorabilia sale, but nobody met the reserve on neither their Cowardly Lion costume nor a pair of Ruby Slippers. Several other Oz items did sell, however, including one of Dorothy's dresses (282,900), a Munchkin soldier jacket ($36,900) and hat ($15,990), a Winkie guard spear ($36,900), and a cast-signed copy of the book ($55,500).

  • The closure of the Oz Club's message board is announced, alongside the new Club, Baum Bugle, and Oziana pages on Facebook, and the new Royal Forums of Oz, run by Jared Davis.
  • Two new online Oz comics, Delusionary State (about a scientific expedition to Oz) and Namesake (an examination of the nature of the choldren who visit Oz and Wonderland).
  • New museums and exhibits include The Wonderful Wizard of Oz at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco (now through April 15), and All Things Oz in L. Frank Baum's home town of Chittenango, New York. Also, Sony Pictures announced the construction of a permanent giant metal rainbow to commemorate The Wizard of Oz being made there back when it was part of the MGM studios in 1938-9.
  • The formation of the Lyman Frank Baum Foundation to benefit charities in upstate New York, formed in Chittenango.
  • The forthcoming American premiere of the play The End of the Rainbow in Minnesota, before it moves to Broadway later this year.
  • "Death Valley and the Deadly Desert: A Discovery in a Western Newspaper" by Marilyn Strasser Olson shows parallels between Baum's creation of the Deadly Desert and an 1890 humor column about Death Valley from The Los Angeles Times.
  • Nathan M. DeHoff takes a closer look at the evolution and nature of the Deadly Desert in "'Great dates and deserts!' Some Thoughts on the Deadly Desert of Oz".
  • "Three is a Magic Number: Trinitarianism and Numeric Instability in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by Walter Squire looks at the nature of how the number three appears in the first Oz book — and how it changes to other numbers in unexpected ways.
  • "From Bass Lake to Beech Mountain: Fifty Years of Oz Club Conventions" is an illustrated look back at Oz conventions in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, '90s, and the twenty-first century, interspersed with remembrances from several Oz Club members.
  • "Adventures in Oz" presents stories from Peter E. Hanff ("Cyclone on the Prairies: A Leaf Book") and Michael O. Riley ("A New Look at The Wizard") about their collaboration on two new books looking back at the original publication of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1900, both of which were published by the ">Book Club of California.
  • "The MGM Scrapbook" presents the third and final part of the 1939 publicity article, "The Story Behind The Wizard of Oz".
  • In "The Oz Bookshelf":
  • "Oz Behind the Footlights" presents a review by David Moyer of the 2011 TheaterWorks USA Latin America-infused production of The Yellow Brick Road.
  • John Fricke remembers movie Munchkin Karl Slover in "In Memoriam".
  • "The Magic Picture" reports on the 2011 Winkie Convention (written by Sam Milazzo) and the 2011 IWOC National Convention in Beech Mountain, North Carolina (by Scott Hedley and Mike Penick).
  • And finally, "Ozmusements" presents an Oz Want Ads puzzle, first given at the 1967 Ozmopolian Convention.


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November 15, 2011
The number of living cast members of The Wizard of Oz continues to dwindle, as Karl Slover, the lead Munchkin trumpeter, died today at age 93 in Dublin, Georgia. He was the last living member of the Singer Midgets, and at three feet tall, one of the shortest Munchkin actors. (He later grew another foot and a half.) Born September 21, 1918 as Karl Kosiczky in eastern Europe in what is now the Czech Republic, his father put him in show business at an early age (he was only two feet tall at the age of eight.) He eventually became part of the Singer Midgets, which led to him getting a part in The Wizard of Oz at the age of 21. By that time, however, he was already a Hollywood veteran, having appeared in the all-midget Western The Terror of Tiny Town, as well as Block-Heads with Laurel and Hardy, Bringing Up Baby with Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant, and They Gave Him a Gun with Spencer Tracy. He became an American cistizen in 1943, when he changed his last name to Slover. After Oz, he appeared in one more movie, The Lost Weekend, before retiring from show business. He settled in Tampa, Florida, before moving to Georgia in recent years. He appeared at many Wizard of Oz events, including this year's Chesterton Oz Festival.

(Information courtesy The Munchkins of Oz by Stephen Cox and The Republic of Columbus, Indiana.)

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October 3, 2011


<img src="pics/bbautumn11.jpg" width="389" height="497" alt="The Baum Bugle Autumn 2011" title="The Baum Bugle Autumn 2011" />

The Autumn 2011 issue of The Baum Bugle, the journal of the International Wizard of Oz Club, has now been sent out, and is making its way towards members. Once again, timely disribution and a timely issue make this issue a treat.
In this issue:

  • The front cover features John R. Neill's art for the front cover label of the 1920 reissue of The Sea Fairies.
  • Scott Cummings shares the results of the Bugle survey in "From the Editor".
  • Bill Beem, Judy Bieber, and Angelica Carpenter are announced as the winners of the elections for the Board of Directors.
  • Oziana #38 is announced, now being published on demand through lulu.com.
  • In "Oz and Ends":
  • An Oz Christmas stocking kit from Bucilla
  • Sharon Ray's new blog, Curiozities by the Book, devoted to Oz merchandise that's not derived from the famous movie version.
  • New Oz paper and stationery products from Scrapbook.com and Ohh La La Factory.
  • Sculpted Oz teapots from Steven McGovney and Cardew Design.
  • The Bradford Exchange's reproductions of the first editions of the Oz books.
  • The website devoted to The Wiz, thewiztheatrecompany.com.
  • New Oz posters by Gallery 1988 (which now seems to be sold out) and Postertext.
  • Auctions of original artwork by W. W. Denslow and John R. Neill, inscribed first editions of Queen Zixi of Ix and American Fairy Tales, a letter by L. Frank Baum to a reader, items from the Fred M. Meyer collection, costume pieces from the making of the famous 1939 film version of The Wizard of Oz and the crystal ball prop, and the Oz items in the Debbie Reynolds auction.
  • An exhibit in San Francisco and two accompnaying books about the original 1900 publication of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
  • Dr. Richard Rutter's collections of Oz cartoons, donated to the Special Collections of the Stanford University library.
  • Some of Denslow's original art from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz currently on exhibit at the New York Public Library, in celebration of the library's centennial.
  • A report from The Wall Street Journal about the yellow brick road in Peekskill, New York, which may have inspired L. Frank Baum, who had been a student at the military academy there.
  • New invitations for the public to contribute a new cover to The Wizard of Oz and new illustrations for another edition, both in the United Kingdom.
  • The Bugle celebrates one hundred years of The Sea Fairies, first published in 1911, with "Mermaids in Oz" by Ruth Berman and a selection of contemporary reviews of the book, culled from the Baum scrapbooks and edited by Scott Cummings.
  • Richard Tuerk examines some of the issues and themes raised in the twelfth Oz book in "Head Versus Heart in The Tin woodman of Oz".
  • "The MGM Scrapbook" continues its presentation of the syndicated article "The Story Behind The Wizard of Oz" with parts 3 and 4.
  • A vintage story by Ruth Plumly Thompson, "Blonde Rival", originally published in Marvel's Miss America magazine in its February 1947 issue.
  • "The Oz Collector" visits Wausaukee, Wisconsin, in "Oz, Wisconsin! A Visit to the Land of Oz Museum".
  • Reviewed in "The Oz Bookshelf":
  • In "Oz Behind the Footlights", Michael O'Connor reviews Andrew Lloyd Webber's new stage version of The Wizard of Oz, now playing in the West End in London.
  • "The Magic Picture" looks at the dedication of a memorial marker for Terry, the Cairn terrier who played Toto in the famous film verison of The Wizard of Oz, at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
  • "In Memoriam" remembers Joan Neill Farnsworth, John R. Neill's youngest daughter, and Roland Roycraft, who illustrated new dust jackets for the Oz books in the late 1950s.
  • The back cover is an illustration by Thea Kliros from a new edition of The Wizard of Oz.

Oz Club members with premium memberships should have received their copies already, and other members should get their issues soon.

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<a name="rumors">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.)


It's been mentioned before, in an on-again, off-again way, but it looks like the Wicked television miniseries is on again. This is not an adaptation of the musical, but of the original novel, with Salma Hayak producing and directing, and possibly writing as well. It's under development for ABC.


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.


It's getting harder and harder to keep up with all of the currently planned Oz movie 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 Witches of Oz, which has the Wicked Witch of the West coming to New York City to exact her revenge on a now grown-up Dorothy. Christopher Lloyd plays the Wizard. Both theatrical movie and television miniseries versions of this have been prepared, and it has already been shown on the Syfy Channel in Great Britain and released on DVD in Europe and Australia. The television miniseries version was a featured offer of DISH Cinema in September 2011. It is now also having a limited run in select theaters under the title Dorothy and the Witches of Oz, and is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray.
  • Oz, The Great and Powerful, a prequel about how the Wizard came to Oz, directed by Sam Raimi and starring Robert Downey, Jr. Johnny Depp James Franco, for Disney. (This may have previously been announced as Brick.) Disney has announced an intented release date of March 8, 2013.
  • 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.
  • Dorothy of Oz, an animated musical sequel based on the book by Roger S. Baum, which now has a poster with an August 3, 2012 release on it (although it looks like that's now been pushed back to 2013).
  • 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.
  • Legend of Oz, a modern retelling of The Wizard of Oz from Valley Wind Productions in Ottawa.
  • Yes, it looks like a film version of Wicked is currently in pre-planning at Universal. But this is a long way off—sometime in the middle of the decade—and a lot can happen. However, the success of the play most likely means that there will be a film version some day.
  • 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.

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...


It seems the Hash, Inc., animated production of The Tin Woodman of Oz was successful enough that they're going ahead with their next production, The Scarecrow of Oz. This one even has test footage on YouTube, which looks something like this:

<object width="560" height="340"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/0PN379JK76g&hl=en_US&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/0PN379JK76g&hl=en_US&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="560" height="340"></embed></object>

A computer animated production of Baum's 1902 book The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus is currently in the works. The producers are Hyde Park Entertainment, Toonz Entertainment, and Gang of 7 Animation. As with all movie projects, a lot can happen before release, which could cause them be delayed, or not to appear at all. Keep an eye on this website's news and events pages for details if they get closer to actually coming out.


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 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.
  • 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.)

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