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(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.)

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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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Contents

June 7, 2014: The 2014 L. Frank Baum Memorial Award

Tonight, the International Wizard of Oz Club bestowed its highest honor, the L. Frank Baum Memorial Award, to Gregory Maguire. Maguire's new vision of Oz, from his Wicked Years cycles of books, has brought a new vision to Oz and brought in many new readers. The first book in the series, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, is the basis for the award-winning and popular musical Wicked. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Website extends its congratulations to Maguire for a well-deserved award.


June 3, 2014: Jerry V. Tobias

Jerry Tobias, an early member of the International Wizard of Oz Club and Oz collector and researcher, passed away today after a grief illness. Born in 1929, he was a lifelong Oz fan who attended some of the Oz Club's earliest Oz conventions and contributed to the auctions. He served as editor-in-chief of The Baum Bugle from 1973 to 1977 and oversaw some of its biggest changes, including staples, typesetting, and a table of contents.

(Information courtesty the International Wizard of Oz Club.)


May 17, 2014: The Baum Bugle, Spring 2014

Yes, it's on its way at last to members of the International Wizard of Oz Club who have paid their dues for 2014. We're talking, of course, about the spring 2014 issue of The Baum Bugle, the Club's triannual journal of all things Ozzy.

In this issue:

  • The front cover reproduces Frederick Richardson's illustration of Fluff receiving the Magic Cloak from Queen Zixi of Ix, which was included in the November 1905 issue of The Printing Art magazine with a tissue guard. (The back cover reproduces the text on the tissue guard.) This was an example of the length the publishers of St. Nicholas magazine went to for their serialization of Queen Zixi of Ix.
  • Craig Noble's "Letter from the Editor'" looks at this issue's theme of how Oz books are made.
  • The results of the latest Club election are in! Carrie Hedges has retained her position as President, Jane Albright is the Club's new Vice President, and Ryan Bunch, Freddy Fogarty, and Stephen Teller were elected to the Board of Directors.
  • Speaking of the President, Mme. Hedges talks about the coming year in Oz and the Club in her "OZervations" column.
  • "Ozma's Honor Roll for 2013" acknowledges those members of the Club who have given above and beyond basic dues during the past year.
  • In "Oz and Ends":
  • Peter Hanff looks at the serialization of Queen Zixi of Ix in St. Nicholas magazine in "St. Nicholas Magazine and Queen Zixi of Ix: The Transofrmation of American Fantasy", and also provides a checklist of the Queen Zixi (and some select other) content of Volume XXXII of St. Nicholas.
  • Marc Berezin discovers a book that may have been influenced by the Oz books in "The Sincerest Form of Flattery: The Amazing Land of Wew and the Land of Oz".
  • Another book that may have been influenced by Oz is examined by Holly Dennis-Lucas in "From Oz to the Moon: The Magical Land of Noom" (writen by Johnny Gruelle, famous for creating Raggedy Ann and Andy).
  • Michael O. Riley looks back on his adventures as an Oz short story publisher in part one of "The Story of the Pamami Press".
  • Sophia Siobahn Wolohan Bogle presents another in her series about dealing with old books in need of repair in "Broken Book Options: Repair, Conserve, or Restore?"
  • Kim McFarland recounts her adventures illustrating [http://www.lulu.com/shop/sherwood-smith/sky-pyrates-over-oz/hardcover/product-21394853.html Sky Pyrates Over Oz, Sherwood Smith's conclusion to her Oz trilogy, in "The Oz Illustrator".
  • Nate Barlow examines the latest Oz story to reach the big screen, The Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return in "Dorothy's Return to the Big Screen: An Animated Oz Story".
  • A recently rediscovered newspaper publication of "Joan of Arc", illustrated by John R. Neill and possibly meant to be published as part of Reilly and Britton's "Children's Stories That Neve Grow Old" series, is reproduced.
  • In "Oz in the Spotlight", David Moyer reviews a recent drama about the story of Nick Chopper in The Woodsman.
  • Reviewed in "The Oz Bookshelf":
  • In a sadly extended look at those who have contributed to Oz and recently passed away, "In Memoriam" remembers Ruth Duccini, Shirley Temple Black, Arthur Rankin, Jr., and Lou Scheimer.
  • This issue's "Ozmusements" presents a word search based on Tik-Tok of Oz.

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

Mickey Rooney as the Scarecrow
The Scarecrow, voiced by Mickey Rooney, in Journey Back to Oz
Mickey Rooney on stage as Professor Marvel
Mickey Rooney as Professor Marvel, with Jessica Grové as Dorothy, in the 1998-99 touring stage show production of The Wizard of Oz
Mickey Rooney, one of Hollywood's greatest actors, whose career spanned more than eight decades, passed away today. Born Joseph Yule, Jr. on September 23, 1920, he debuted in his parents' vaudeville show as a toddler. He eventually made it to Hollywood, where he became one of the biggest box office stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood. He appeared in many films with his pal "Joots", Judy Garland, and the pair worked together on stage during the original New York showing of The Wizard of Oz in 1939 at the Capitol Theater. Rooney would become more closely associated with Oz twice, first as the voice of the Scarecrow in the 1974 animated movie Journey Back to Oz, opposite Joots' daughter, Liza Minnelli. He later played both the Wizard and Professor Marvel in a touring stage version of The Wizard of Oz in 1998 and 1999, which included an extended run at Madison Square Garden. Mickey Rooney is survived by his eighth wife, Jan Chamberlin Rooney, eight children, two stepchildren, nineteen grandchildren, and many great-grandchildren.

(Information courtesy Wikipedia and the Los Angeles Times.)



February 12, 2014: Sid Caesar

Sid Caesar as the Wizard
An animated Sid Caesar as the Wizard in Dorothy in the Land of Oz
Sid Caesar, one of the earliest of American television stars and considered by many to be one of the funniest comedians of all time, died today at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 91. Best known in the 1950s for Your Show of Shows and Caesar's Hour, he would later portray the Wizard, who narrated the animated television special Thanksgiving in the Land of Oz (later released on home video as Dorothy in the Land of Oz). He would use his affinity for dialects and accents to voice a second character, the mince pie U. N. Crust, which was brought to life by the Powder of Life.

(Detailed information of Caesar's life can be found at The New York Times.)



February 10, 2014: Shirley Temple Black

Shirley Temple in her room in 1937. Note the row of Oz books behind her on the bottom shelf.

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.

(Detailed information of Temple's life can be found at The New York Times. More information about Shirley Temple and The Wizard of Oz can be found at The Huffington Post.)


February 1, 2014: The Baum Bugle Winter 2013

Bbuglewinter13.jpg
The latest issue of The Baum Bugle, the journal of the International Wizard of Oz Club, has been released, and is on its way to members. As this is the final issue for 2013, Club members who wish to keep receiving it and other Club benefits now need to renew.


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":
  • 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":
  • 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 research@winkies.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.

(Information courtesy the Los Angeles Times and The Munchkins of Oz by Stephen Cox.)


November 23, 2013: Oziana 2013

Oziana2013.jpeg
The 2013 edition of Oziana, the annual literary publication of the International Wizard of Oz Club, is now available to order. Editor Marcus Mébès has collected six stories with the theme of "Traditional Oz" for this issue.


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 issue

Bbautumn13.jpg
The latest issue of The 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":
  • 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":
  • 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 Williams as the Flowerpot Munchkin
Margaret Pellegrini in recent years
Margaret Williams Pellegrini, one of the last surviving cast members of The Wizard of Oz, died this morning of complications of a stroke she suffered earlier this year. She was 89. Born in Sheffield, Alabama on September 23, 1923, Margaret Williams was discovered while helping out her brother-in-law sell potato chips at the Tennessee State Fair. Members of Henry Kramer's Midgets spotted her and encouraged her to join their troupe. She gave them her address, and was eventually contacted by a booking agent to come to Hollywood and make The Wizard of Oz. Because there were so few female Munchkin actors, and she was one of the smallest, Williams ended up playing a number of different roles in the Munchkin scenes, including a Flowerpot Munchkin and a Sleepyhead. After making Oz, she traveled with some midget troupes, but left show business when she married ex-fighter Willie Pellegrini. They had two children, plus grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Margaret would make one other film appearance, in 1971's Johnny Got His Gun. When Oz festivals and events started popping up, she was one of the most visible guests, usually appearing in a reproduction of her Flowerpot Munchkin costume. She had some of the clearest memories and largest collections of materials of her time in Oz, which made her especially popular. She was awarded the L. Frank Baum Memorial Award, the highest honor of the International Wizard of Oz Club, in 2011.

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 issue

Bbspring13.jpg
The latest issue of The Baum Bugle, the journal of the International 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:
  • "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.

(Information courtesy Blastr, The Internet Movie Database, and Wikipedia.)


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.


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.)


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.
  • 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, and picked up for the 2014-15 season.
  • 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.)

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