(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.)
April 13, 2014: Mila Kunis wins at MTV Movie Awards
Tonight, the MTV Movie Awards presented a box of golden popcorn to Mila Kunis, for her performance of Theodora, the Wicked Witch of the West, in Oz the Great and Powerful. She won in the category of Best Villain, and she beat out four men in the category. (Check out her acceptance speech right here.)
April 6, 2014: Mickey Rooney
February 12, 2014: Sid Caesar
(Detailed information of Caesar's life can be found at The New York Times.)
February 10, 2014: Shirley Temple Black
Shirley Temple Black, the Depression's biggest box office draw, died today at her home in Woodside, California, at the age of 85. Although a lifelong fan of the Oz books, she was passed over for the part of Dorothy in the famous 1939 film version of The Wizard of Oz when her studio, 20th Century Fox, would not loan her out to MGM. (Assistant Producer Arthur Freed was not impressed with her singing, anyway, and was still pushing for Judy Garland to play the part.) This was fine with Temple, as she didn't want to play Dorothy, she wanted to meet Dorothy! Although she retired from acting at age 22, she would return to the profession in the 1950s as host and star of the television series Shirley Temple's Storybook, adapting fairy tales and other classic stories. She finally got to appear in an Oz story with the show's 1961 version of The Land of Oz, in which Temple played both Ozma and Tip.
February 1, 2014: The Baum Bugle Winter 2013
In this issue:
- The front cover features a portrait of illustrator and Oz researcher Dick Martin, surrounded by portraits of some of the characters he drew for Merry Go Round in Oz, Yankee in Oz, The Enchanted Island of Oz, The Forbidden Fountain of Oz, and his own The Ozmapolitan of Oz.
- Craig Noble looks back on his first year as Editor in Chief of the Bugle in his "Letter from the Editor".
- Oz Club President Carrie L. Hedges writes about two other Club publications, the calendar and Oziana, in "OZervations".
- Noted in "Oz and Ends":
- The large number of Oz-themed television projects now in development, including Warriors of Oz at Syfy, medical drama Dorothy at CBS, Emerald City at NBC, and Red Brick Road at Lifetime. The recent Oz episode of Supernatural on the CW was also noted.
- Jeremiah Boehr's The Road to Oz LEGO set and the attempt to get it made and put on the market. (Sadly, after this issue went to press, LEGO announced that they would not be releasing this set.)
- The box office take (and, in many markets, extended run) of the 3-D IMAX theatrical screening of the famous movie version of The Wizard of Oz.
- The lawsuit filed by the estate of Jack Haley, Jr., against Warner Bros. for excluding the previous documentary, produced by Haley, on the new home video release in favor of a new, derivative work.
- Profiles of Oz fans Billy Ferguson on a bonus webisode of the Reelz channel show FanAddicts!, and Dick Rutter in Stanford Magazine for members of the Stanford Alumni Association.
- The Oz exhibit currently on exhibit at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Maine, and the whirlwind publicity tour Oz researcher and former Bugle editor and Club President John Fricke undertook publicizing his new book, The Wonderful World of Oz (which in part ties in to the exhibit).
- Another Oz exhibit, this one at the Buffalo Library.
- The auction of a dress worn by Judy Garland in the early days of making The Movie, but ultimately not seen in the finished movie when the first few weeks' filming was scrapped. The dress was expected to sell for about $80,000, but finally sold for $300,000!
- The announcement of Sky Pyrates over Oz by Sherwood Smith, completing her trilogy of Oz books after poor sales and editorial decisions originally scrapped it. (The first two books were The Emerald Wand of Oz and Trouble under Oz.)
- A tablet/e-reader cover that looks like the first British edition of The Wizard of Oz.
- The forthcoming auction of the collection of Elaine Willingham, who has been collecting Oz and Judy Garland memorabilia for over fifty years.
- Atticus Gannaway presents a biography and appreciation of the cover subject in "A Quiet Artist: The Life and Work of Dick Martin".
- David Maxine examines the papers of Eloise Jarvis McGraw, the late Royal Historian, and how she came to write the fortieth Oz book in "Grabbing the Brass Ring: The Writing of Merry Go Round in Oz".
- "Oz Under Scrutiny" looks at reviews of Merry Go Round in Oz upon its original publication in 1963.
- In "Oz in the Spotlight":
- Freddy Fogarty reviews the 3-D IMAX theatrical release of The Wizard of Oz.
- Ryan Jay looks at what it was like to cover the premiere of the 3-D IMAX Wizard of Oz".
- David Moyer reviews The Wonderful Remix of Oz, a recent reimagined state production in New York City; and the revue The Wonderful Wizard of Song: The Music of Harold Arlen.
- Bill Campbell reviews a circus-themed production of The Wizard of Oz, presented by Circus Juventus of St. Paul, Minnesota.
- In "The Oz Illustrator", Anna-Maria Cool recounts her adventures in illustrating Oz characters in both comics and books, and in particular her favorite character, the Sawhorse.
- In "Adventures in Oz", Walter Krueger writes the "Diary of a FanAddict", telling what happened when he appeared on the Reelz collecting show.
- Friends, colleagues and fans remember Margaret Pellegrini, the Munchkin actress who passed away in August in "Margaret: The Magical Munchkin".
- "Multi-MediOz" sees Ryan Jay reviewing the home video releases of the seventy-fifth anniversary edition of The Wizard of Oz movie.
- Reviewed in "The Oz Bookshelf":
- Oz Reimagined, edited by John Joseph Adams and Douglas Cohen, reviewed by Joe Bongiorno.
- The Sorceress Villina's Secret, The Sorcerer's Sword, and Eternally Youthful Stella, all by Sergei Sukhinov and translated by Peter L. Blystone, volumes three, four, and five of Sukhinov's epic continuation of the Magic Land series, reviewed by Alan Wise.
- Nelebel's Fairyland by L. Frank Baum, the second edition of this book published by Pamami Press, reviewed by Paul R. Bienvenue.
- The Law of Oz and Other Stories by Paul Dana, reviewed by Mari Ness.
- A new edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, with new illustrations by Gavin L. O'Keefe, reviewed by Dennis Anfuso.
- David L. Greene remembers Oz writer Hugh Pendexter III in "In Memoriam".
- The back cover is a portrait of Margaret Pellegrini, with a dedication of the issue to her.
Also included as an insert is an announcement of the 2014 Oz Club Research Table, to be judged at the National Convention in Chittenango, in June. For more information or how to enter, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 30, 2014: Arthur Rankin, Jr. and Hal Sutherland
The world of animation recently lost two of its biggest names, both of whom had connections with Oz.
- Arthur Rankin, Jr., died today at his home in Bermuda. He was 89. He is best remembered, alongside his associate Jules Bass, for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and numerous other animated holiday specials. They also made theatrical films (most notably The Last Unicorn) and television series. One of their earliest shows was the 1960-61 series Tales of the Wizard of Oz, which became the basis for the 1964 television special Return to Oz. Rankin/Bass would return to the world of Oz for one of their last animated holiday specials, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, based on the book of the same name by Oz creator L. Frank Baum. (Information courtesy Marc Berezin and The Los Angeles Times.)
- Hal Sutherland died January 16 of gallbladder disease. He was 85. With his partner, the late Lou Scheimer, Sutherland founded Filmation Studios in 1962 to produce animated series for television, which included such characters as Superman, Aquaman, Archie, Fat Albert, Lassie, and the Hardy Boys, as well as animated spinoffs of television series such as Gilligan's Island and Star Trek. One of Filmations' few theatrical ventures was Journey Back to Oz, released in the United States in 1974. (Information courtesy Cartoon Brew.)
January 16, 2014: Ruth Robinson Duccini
Ruth Robinson Duccini, one of the last two living Munchkin actors from the famous 1939 film version of The Wizard of Oz, passed away to day after a brief illness. She was ninety-five. Born in Rush City, Minnesota on July 23, 1918, Ruth Robinsin was working as a telephone operator and entertainer in Minneapolis when word got out about the casting call for The Wizard of Oz, and her troupe drove to Culver City and all were hired. During production, she met Fred Duccini, another little person who had a good job at a nearby hotel and decided not to be in the movie, at the restaurant where the Munchkin actors regularly ate. After production wrapped up, she moved back to Minneapolis, but the outbreak of World War II saw her moving back to California to work as a riveter at Douglas Aircraft. Her size allowed her to work on the wings from the inside. There, she reunited with Fred, and they were married in 1943. They had two children, and when Ruth and Fred retired, the Oz circuit found them, and they made many appearances at Oz events around the country. Ruth only other movie was the 1981 movie, Under the Rainbow, a satire of the making of The Wizard of Oz. Ruth Duccini was predeceased by her husband in 1994, and is survived by her son, daughter, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The sole remaining little person to have played a Munchkin in The Wizard of Oz is now Jerry Maren.
November 23, 2013: Oziana 2013
The stories are:
- "Foiled by the Iffin: Another Adventure of the Computer Wizard of Oz" by Phyllis Ann Karr, illustrated by Dennis Anfuso. Karr continues her series of adventures from previous years' issues about the Computer Wizard, a very nice Oz villain who uses computers in his attempts to conquer Oz. He never succeeds, but this year he is trying to recruit the Reddies from Jack Pumpkinhead in Oz. The story revisits many characters and places from that book.
- "The Harvest Ball" by Gina Wickwar, illustrated by Luciano Vecchio and Marcus Mébès (Vecchio's full page illustration of the characters dancing has been colored and reused as the front cover). During the annual Harvest Ball, Jack Pumpkinhead comes up with a way to harmlessly enchant the corn maze to make it more challenging and interesting. But when it turns out that Glinda's away, one of her apprentices tries to do the job in her place, with problematic results.
- "Jinnicky Saves Christmas" by Nathan M. DeHoff, illustrated by Shawn Maldonado. While flying about in his jinnrickasha on Christmas Eve, the Red Jinn stumbles across a plot by some disgruntled elves to sabotage Santa's annual trip to deliver presents. Well, Jinnicky can't just sit by and do nothing, can he?
- "The Love-Bug of Oz", written and illustrated by Ed McCray. Mombi and the Nome King are both searching the Wicked Witch of the West's old castle for some overlooked magic that hasn't already been collected. When the Nome King finds a love bug in a jar, he decided to go to the Emerald City and cause some mischief. Mombi follows him, hoping to get in on things as well.
- "The Way of a Lion" by Jared Davis, illustrated by Sam Milazzo. A young lion cub hopes to grow up and become like his father. But when a disaster takes away both of his parents, he must grow up quickly without any guidance, and worries that he will never be as good as other lions. Winner of the 2013 Fred Otto Award for fiction at this year's Winkie Convention.
- "Witches of the West" by Darrell Spradlyn and Marcus Mébès, illustrated by Spradlyn. The Wicked Witch of the West, in an effort to consolidate and expand her power, pays a visit to Gloma, the ruler of the Black Forest (as seen in The Wishing Horse of Oz). As Gloma is a good witch and wants to be left alone, it does not go well. One of Spradlyn's illustrations is colored and used as the back cover.
Oziana 2013 can be ordered from Lulu.com.
October 18, 2013: Lou Scheimer
Lou Scheimer, the former producer and main driving force at the Filmation animation studio, passed away today after a brief illness. He was just shy of his eighty-fifth birthday. His studio was responsible for such Saturday morning cartoon shows as Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, the animated Star Trek, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and its spin-off, She-Ra, Princess of Power, and series featuring DC Comics heroes Superman, Batman, and Aquaman. Filmation also made movies, however, one of which was the animated sequel Journey Back to Oz.
September 30, 2013: The Baum Bugle, Autumn 2013 issueThe Baum Bugle, the tri-annual journal of the International Wizard of Oz Club, has made it back from the printers and should be on its way to members now. This issue celebrates one hundred years of one of the most beloved books in the series, The Patchwork Girl of Oz.
In this issue:
- The front cover features an original illustration of Scraps, Ojo, and Bungle by Laura Diehl.
- "Letter from the Editor" by Craig Noble previews what's to come in this issue.
- "OZervations" by Club President Carrie L. Hedges touches on the forthcoming redesign of the Club's website, a holiday card contest, the 2014 Club Research Table, and the L. Frank Baum Munchkin Memorial (a flyer was included in this issue to solicit donations).
- Margaret Williams Pellegrini is remembered.
- In "Oz and Ends":
- New Oz comic books, The Steam Engines of Oz from Arcana, and Oz from Zenescope.
- "Ding! Dong! The Witch Is Dead" making it into the British Top Ten after the death of Margaret Thatcher.
- The Temple Run: Oz game app, tied in with the Oz the Great and Pwerful movie.
- An animated movie version of The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, set to be released for the 2014 holiday season.
- Groove on Down the Road, a hip-hop inspired version of The Wizard of Oz with influence from The Wiz, which debuted in London this past summer.
- The final box office numbers and home video release of Oz the Great and Powerful.
- The IMAX theatrical release of The Wizard of Oz in 3-D (that's the famous 1939 movie version with Judy Garland).
- A Wizard of Oz LEGO display, complete with spinning tornado, at the Brickworld convention in Chicago.
- Oz, this year's summer show by the Circus Juventas youth circus in Minnesota.
- Wizard of Oz: Unscripted at ComedySportz Houston.
- The FBI's investigation into Gigapix Studios and its attempt to produce a 3-D computer animated version of The Wizard of Oz.
- L. Frank Baum's induction into the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame.
- Marcus Mébès looks back at one hundred years of Scraps' history in "Patching Together History".
- Anita Schmaltz compares the novel to early twentieth century entertainment in "A Calico Chaos: L. Frank Baum Parades a Fantastical Circus in The Patchwork Girl of Oz".
- "Piecing Together the Patchwork Girl Art: A Conjectural Study" by J. L. Bell examines John R. Neill's art in The Patchwork Girl of Oz, and why so much of it is so repetitive.
- "Oz Under Scrutiny", edited and annotated by Craig J. Noble, looks at contemporary reviews of The Patchwork Girl of Oz.
- Andre De Shields, who originated the title role in The Wiz on Broadway, looks back at his life and the influence Oz has had on it in "Easin' On Down the Yellow Brick Road: A Black Man's Journey to Oz".
- The Bugle's series on the collecting and care of Oz books presents "Four Common Repairs for Cloth-Bound Books: Inner Hinges, Tipping-In Plates, Cleaning Cloth Covers, and Dust Jacket Repiars" by Sophia Siobhan Wolohan Bogle.
- Michael O. Riley presents "A New Bibliographic Description of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz".
- In "Adventures in Oz", Tom Lavelle explains "How I Collected the Oz Books…Twice".
- In "The Oz Illustrator", Eric Shanower explains how he draws the Patchwork Girl.
- In "Multi-MediOz", Ryan Jay pulls back the curtain on the extras on the various home video releases of Oz the Great and Powerful.
- Reviewed in "The Oz Bookshelf":
- Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz and The Road to Oz, graphic novel adaptations written by Eric Shanower, illustrated by Skottie Young, reviewed by Ken Cope.
- The Wizard of MGM: Memoirs of A. Arnold Gillespie (Art Director/HEad of Special Effects from 1924-1965), edited by Philip J. Riley and Robert A. Welch, reviewed by Mark Griffin.
- The Complete, Incomplete Adventures of Donald Gardner and the Silver Shoes: Two Novels, Revised Editions by Paul Miles Schneider (a collection and revision of his two earlier novels, Silver Shoes and The Powder of Life), reviewed by Mari Ness.
- Craig J. Noble presents a crossword puzzle over The Patchwork Girl of Oz in "Ozmusements.
- And the back cover presents an illustration of Scraps by Nei Ruffino, as seen on the cover of issue nine of the comic book The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West.
Also included with this issue are a membership renewal form for 2014, and a registration form for the 2014 Winkie Convention in San Diego.
August 7, 2013: Margaret Williams Pellegrini
Margaret Pellegrini was preceded in death by her husband and two children; she is survived by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her autobiography is due to be published later this year.
(Information courtesy The Munchkins of Oz by Stephen Cox, and the Los Angeles Times.)
June 25, 2013: The Baum Bugle, Spring 2013 issueInternational Wizard of Oz Club, has been sent out and is making its way to members. Although some Club leaders have expressed regret over how late it was, it's only a few days into summer. Considering the checkered past of the Bugle getting to members in a timely manner, long-time members probably don't mind much at all!
In this issue:
- The front cover shows Oz and Theodora traversing the Ozian landscape in a scene from the new movie Oz the Great and Powerful.
- "Letter from the Editor" introduces the new editor, Craig Noble, and his connections and history with Oz.
- President Carrie Hedges delivers some "OZervations" on how members can assist the Club in its mission, including how to become a member of "Ozma's Honor Roll".
- In "Oz and Ends":
- Legendary animator Don Bluth's Ozzy background for a live stage adaptation he produced, and the attempt to sell it on ebay.
- Peter Blystone's translations of Sergei Sukhinov's epic ten-volume epic about Magic Land, Russia's version of Oz.
- The forthcoming Irish premiere of Wicked, scheduled to start November 27.
- A display of Oz dolls in Columbus, Ohio, during the April conference of Artistic Figures in Cloth and Clay.
- The attempt to sell one of the original Cowardly Lion costumes from The Movie to the forthcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.
- A new short film, The Green Ruby Pumpkin, which include some familiar-looking trick-or-treaters on Halloween.
- The Wizard of Oz topping the list of Scholastic Magazine's 100 Greatest Movies for Kids.
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz interactive children's museum exhibit at the St. Louis Central Library.
- New versions of classic games, coming soon for The Movie's seventy-fifth anniversary. They include Monopoly, The Game of Life, and Memory Challenge.
- Long-time Oz collector Maureen Stapleton donating her collection to the Oconomowoc Historical Society and Museum in Wisconsin.
- Recent Oz exhibits and events, such as:
- The "Returning to Oz: The Afterlife of Dorothy" conference in Machester, England, in February.
- "Visions of Oz: A Celebration of Art from Over the Rainbow" in Los Angeles, in March.
- The Oz-themed play area and garden at EPCOT during its annual International Flower and Garden Festival, at Walt Disney World this past spring.
- The possibly forthcoming The Wizard of Oz meets Game of Thrones television series Red Brick Road.
- The demise and possible forthcoming resurrection of the Chesterton Oz Festival in Indiana.
- A round-up of coverage of Oz the Great and Powerful:
- Ryan Jay gives a personal account of covering the movie in "My Road to Oz the Great and Powerful: A TV Journalist's Behind the Curtain at Disney's PR Machine".
- Freddy Fogarty reviews the movie in "Oz the Great and Powerful: A Fresh Take on an Old Tale".
- Scott Hedley presents the "Oz the Great and Powerful Movie Merchandise and Collectibles Checklist".
- In the first part of a new series on the collecting and care of Oz books, Mochael O. Riley ponders the question of "Collecting Oz Books: Repair, Restore, or Conserve?"
- J. L. Bell looks at one of the most controversial chapters in the Oz books in "The Troublesome Tottenhots: The Long History Behind Baum's 'Little Brown Folks'".
- In response to Oz the Great and Powerful, Jared Davis looks at earlier Wizard of Oz prequels in "Imagining Oz Before Dorothy".
- Robert Baum meets family history in "L. Frank Baum LIVE or How I Spent an Hour with My Great Grandfather".
- Greg Hunter presents a previously unknown story illustrated by Jon R. Neill in "Children's Stories That Never Grow Old: Lincoln the Boy".
- Isabelle Melançon shows how to draw the Namesake version of Ozma as her collaborator, Megan Lavey-Heaton, looks behind the curtain at the creation of the webcomic.
- In "The Oz Bookshelf", books reviewed include:
- Gingemma's Daughter and The Fairy of the Emerald City, the first two volumes of Sergei Sukhinov's story of Magic Land, newly translated by Peter Blystone and reviewed by Alan Wise.
- The Art of Oz the Great and Powerful by Grant Curtis with photographs by Merie Wallace, reviewed by Atticus Gannaway.
- Everything Oz: Make Munchkin Placecards, Over the Rainbow Cake, "I'm Melting" Witch Candles, and Much More by Christine Leech and Hannah Read-Baldrey, reviewed by Mari Ness.
- The Hackers of Oz by Tom Mula, reviewed by Wise.
- "In Memoriam" by David Moyer remembers the life of long-time Oz Club Munchkin Evan McCord
- Craig Noble contributes a crossword puzzle based on Oz the Great and Powerful in "Ozmusements".
- And the back cover features Ozma and Dorothy as drawn by Isabelle Melançon.
June 23, 2013: Richard Matheson
One of the most prolific and influential of modern science-fictions writers, Richard Matheson, died today. His career spanned over fifty years, and included acclaimed novels (I Am Legend, Stir of Echoes, The Shrinking Man, What Dreams May Come and Hell House, with his most recent, Generations, coming out just last year), short stories ("Button, Button" and "Real Steel", both of which were adapted not only as movies, but also episodes of The Twilight Zone; and "Duel", the basis for the television movie that became Steven Spielberg's first directing credit), movies (he adapted many of his own stories into screenplays, including The Incredible Shrinking Man), and television ("Terror at 20,00 Feet" and "Little Girl Lost" for The Twilight Zone, and "The Enemy Within" for Star Trek, among many others). He received the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 1984, the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Horror Writers Association in 1991, and was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2010. Among his admirers were Stephen King, Anne Rice, Ray Bradbury, and Spielberg. Matheson died just days before he was due to receive the Visonary award at the Saturn Awards ceremony; it was presented posthumously. Among his many credits was The Dreamer of Oz, the 1990 television movie about the life of L. Frank Baum, for which Matheson co-wrote the story with David Kirschner, and wrote the screenplay.
June 22, 2013: Oz Club Honors
The International Wizard of Oz Club presented two of its highest honors at its Winkie Convention tonight. The Winkie Award, voted on by convention members, was presented to Anna Wyatt for her many years of attendance and assistance. And the Club's highest honor, the L. Frank Baum Memorial Award, was presented to Eric Gjovaag for his many contributions to Oz research and fiction, assistance at the Winkie Convention, and being one of the first Oz fans with a major presence on the Internet.
April 26, 2013: The Baum Bugle, Winter 2012 issueInternational Wizard of Oz Club, is now back from the printers and making its way to members. It's a few months late (well, the streak couldn't last forever), but this is the final issue for members in 2012, and they will need to renew soon.
In this issue:
- The front cover features an illustration of Dorothy in the poppy field, as seen in the 1903 Broadway stage production of The Wizard of Oz. The original drawing was by H. C. Edwards, and appeared in the March 7, 1903 issue of Leslie's Weekly. For this cover, it was newly colored by Marcus Mébès.
- Former editor Sean P. Duffley returns as guest editor for this issue, and he talks about the 1902 play and how it helped to popularize Oz in "Letter from the Guest Editor".
- In "Oz and Ends:
- Two recent successful Kickstarter campaigns are highlighted, for the movie L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and the Oz/Wonderland graphic novel mash-up The Red Queen of Oz.
- The then-forthcoming release of the movie Oz the Great and Powerful, and the anticipated release this year of Dorothy of Oz (which has since been pushed back to 2014 and renamed The Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return.)
- Recently sold at auction are what appear to be a transcription disc of two episodes of the 1933-34 Wizard of Oz radio show (which would be the first known recordings to emerge of that show), and one of Judy Garland's dresses from the famous movie version, going for $480,000 in November.
- New books include Everything Oz: The Wizard of Oz Book of Makes & Bakes by Christine Leech and Hannah Read=Baldrey; Kohl's edition of The Wizard of Oz illustrated by Charles Santore and matching Toto plush, which were used to raise money for charity (and are no longer available); and the forthcoming autobiography of MGM Flowerpot Munchkin actress Margaret Pellegrini, tentatively titled From the Outhouse to Oz.
- The results of the Canadian talent search show Over the Rainbow, which cast Danielle Wade as Dorothy in the Toronto (and forthcoming North American touring) production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's stage adaptation of The Wizard of Oz.
- A production of the play Oz in Lexington, Kentucky.
- The new Wizard of Oz game on Facebook.
- The forthcoming theatrical rerelease of the famous film version of The Wizard of Oz in theaters for its seventy-fifth anniversary and subsequent new home video release, including, for the first time, 3-D, as well as new anniversary merchandise.
- New Oz-themed music videos, created by Australian Club members Sam Milazzo.
- The premature but necessary release of Dorothy of Oz make-up and other sundries to Dollar General stores.
- Stephen J. Teller looks at various scripts, performances, and reviews of the 1902 stage play and how it evolved in "The Wizard of Oz and How It Grew".
- An article from the August 1902 issue of the periodical The Philharmonic about The Wizard of Oz play and how it was made.
- "Oz Under Scrutiny" looks at several contemporary reviews of the first stage adaptation of The Wizard of Oz.
- Reviewed in "The Oz Bookshelf":
- Fairy Tales on the Stage by L. Frank Baum, newly reprinted in a hand-pressed edition by Michael O. Riley, reviewed by Paul R. Bienvenue.
- Namesake Volume 1 by Isabelle Melançon and Megan Lavey-Heaton, reviewed by Marcus Mébès.
- Tales Told in Oz by Gregory Maguire, reviewed by Stephen J. Teller
- Susan Johnson is introduced as the Club's new online store manager.
- Sean P. Duffley examines the life and career of Lotta Faust, who shot to fame at the turn of the century by singing "Sammy" in The Wizard of Oz in "Lotta's Luster Lost?"
- "CuriOzity" looks at a late nineteenth century patent medicine, Hamlin's Wizard Oil, which indirectly led to The Wizard of Oz coming to the stage.
- The rear cover reproduces a picture of Lotta Faust from the January 1905 cover of the magazine The Theatre.
(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.)
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:
- 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. Although some merchandise (notably a prequel comic book series) already came out under that name, a new distributor means that it has acquired a new name, Legends of Oz: Dorothy Returns. The release has now been announced for May 2014.
- 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.
- Yes, it looks like a film version of Wicked is currently in pre-planning at Universal. But this is a long way off, and a lot can happen. However, the success of the play most likely means that there will be a film version some day. Winnie Holzman, who wrote the book for the play, has already been tapped to write the script.
- 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.
- OzLand, with the protagonists wandering post-apocalyptic America and finding a copy of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
- Save Oz, an animated movie from Mexico about a winged monkey who decides to defeat the Wicked Witch on his own terms, with a little help from some of Oz's greatest heroes.
- Young Santa., based on L. Frank Baum's book The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus and directed by Sean McNamara.
- 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
- Emerald City, a "modern" Oz series in development at NBC
- Dorothy Must Die, in which Dorothy has returned to Oz and become a dictator, in development at the CW.
- 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...
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:
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 (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.
- 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.)