Oz News: Difference between revisions
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(Information courtesy [https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-54761824 the BBC] and [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sean_Connery Wikipedia].
(Information courtesy [https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-54761824 the BBC] and [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sean_Connery Wikipedia].
Revision as of 20:44, 13 February 2022
(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.)
August 27, 2021: The Baum Bugle, Autumn 2021 Issue
In what may be a first in the history of the journal of the International Wizard of Oz Club, the latest issue of The Baum Bugle has started to appear today in members' mailboxes before the season listed on the front cover. A tribute to the fantastic creatures of Oz, this issue will be a treat for all Oz fans.
In this issue:
- The front cover features an illustration of Tik-Tok by Gabriel Gale, from the forthcoming book The Art of Oz.
- The inside front cover has an illustration by Mark Manley of the Demon of Electricity from L. Frank Baum's non-Oz book The Master Key.
- "Letters" sees Oz Club President Jane Albright reflecting on how the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the Club to reach out in new ways via online events, while Bugle editor Sarah K. Crotzer talks about how this issue came about and its contributors.
- Recent news items covered in "The Bugle Bulletin":
- The discovery of a dress worn by Judy Garland in The Movie, found at the Catholic University of America.
- The opening of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' museum, launching with a screening of The Movie with an orchestra performing the score.
- The continued woes of bringing Wicked to the screen, along with new productions in South Korea and Germany.
- Wicked in Concert on PBS.
- Plans to expand the Oz Plaza in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.
- A man in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, who turned his garden into an Ozzy tribute to his recently deceased wife.
- "Through the Tube!" found these recent discoveries on YouTube, all devoted to arts and crafts:
- Michael Patrick Hearn gives a preview of the forthcoming book The Art of Oz in "A Few Words About Oz".
- Robert B. Luehrs takes a look at The Master Key in "Encountering the Demon of Electricity".
- Dennis Wilson Wise examines how two different authors write about underground dwellers in "Delving Into Gnome Man's Land: Two Traditions in Baum and Tolkien".
- "Collector's Corner" sees W. Neal Thompson examining one of the first books ever illustrated by W. W. Denslow, County Atlas of Lebanon, Pennsylvania. (Well everyone has to start somewhere!)
- Christina Maffa looks at the influences on Tik-Tok and Baum's other mechanical characters in "Perfect Machines: Baum's Mechanical Beings and Their Ancient Greek Predecessors".
- Ruth Berman looks at some of the creatures that inhabit the airways of Oz in "Flights of Fancy in Oz".
- In "Oz in the Arts", Marc Berezin reviews Fantastic Return to Oz, an original sequel to the Russian animated movie Fantastic Journey to Oz. The new movie has so far received very limited distribution in English-speaking markets.
- In "The Bugle Review":
- The new Clover Press edition of The Royal Book of Oz by Ruth Plumly Thompson with new illustrations by Sara Richard, reviewed by Atticus Gannaway.
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, adapted by Susan Hill Long and illustrated by Susan Martinez, reviewed by Angelica Shirley Carpenter.
- The Wizard of Oz, adapted by Alex Fabrizio and illustrated by Greg Paprocki.
- "Adventures in Oz" recounts the adventures of puppeteer David Messick as he tries to put on a production of the second Oz book in "My Journey to the Marvelous Land of Oz".
- The inside back cover reproduces a color plate of Jack and Peter flying on the Iffin from Jack Pumpkinhead of Oz.
- And the back cover reproduces a map of Oz and its neighboring lands from The Art of Oz.
Also sent out with this issue:
- The eleventh issue of the second series of The Oz Gazette, the newspaper from Oz aimed at younger readers, which features:
- After a disappearance at a circus near the Emerald City, readers are urged to keep an eye out for strange creatures, possibly from Oz, in their own neighborhoods.
- Editor Scarecrow asks readers to write in with their own contributions while expressing his sympathies for all that's happening in our world.
- Chapter 2 of the serial story, "Toto and the Woozy in the Valley of the Kalidahs!"
- In "Ask Glinda", lost Club member Katie Jones sends in a record of her latest adventures. (Come on, Glinda, help her!)
- The Gazette interviews Prof. H. M. Wogglebug, T. E.
- And in a "stop press" notice, it seems many things have disappeared from the Emerald City on Halloz'ween night—including Princess Ozma!
- For a craft project, a portrait of Queen Aquarine from The Sea Fairies that can flap its tail.
- A request for writers and researchers for future issues of The Baum Bugle.
The Baum Bugle is the journal of the International Wizard of Oz Club, and goes out to all members three times each year. For more information about joining the Club and receiving The Baum Bugle, take a look right here.
August 7, 2021: The 2021 Oz Club Awards
This evening, during its second annual To Oz? To Oz! virtual convention, the International Wizard of Oz Club announced the winners of its annual awards.
- The Fred Otto Prize for Fiction went to J. L. Bell for "Button-Bright and the Professor", with the runner-up prize going to Scott Blanke for "The Royal Joust of Oz".
- The Warren C. Hollister Prize for Non-Fiction was not awarded, as there were no entries.
- The Rob Roy MacVeigh Prize for Art went to "Polychrome" by David Valentin, with Sofia Vazquez coming in second with "Langwidere".
- And the Club's highest honor, the L. Frank Baum Memorial Award, presented to those who have made contributions above and beyond to Oz, the Club, or its goals. The winner for 2021 is Lynn Beltz, former Club vice-president and a general ambassador for Oz and the Club at Oz events all over the country.
July 17, 2021: The Winkie Award
OzCon International presented its annual award, the Winkie Award, to Marc Lewis, recognizing his many contributions to the convention in the 1980s and '90s. He performed in and coordinated many shows, presented many panels and other events, and acted as auctioneer. But perhaps his biggest contribution is also the most appropriate for this year: He and the Oz Club's Executive Secretary, Fred Meyer, in 1992 conspired to create a new award for the then-named Winkie Convention, the only one of the three major conventions of the day that didn't have one. They gave that first award to Peter Hanff. So it's appropriate that the thirtieth Winkie Award goes to one of its creators. Congratulations, Marc, this is long overdue!
(Photo courtesy Peter Hanff.)
June 18, 2021: The Baum Bugle, Spring 2021 Issue
The latest issue of The Baum Bugle, the triannual journal of the International Wizard of Oz Club, is now going out to members. After some issues with recent issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the editor's own health issues, this issue seems to have worked its way back to the unusual status of coming out during the season on the cover (something that has always been rare in the history of the Bugle).
In this issue:
- The front, inside front, and inside back covers reproduce concept art for The Yellow Brixx Road, a proposed series by Filmation in the 1980s that never came to pass. You'll find out more about this show inside.
- In "Letters", Oz Club President Jane Albright reproduces the first letter she ever wrote to the Club's then-Secretary, Fred M. Meyer, as she reminisces about being in the Club for fifty years. Meanwhile, Bugle editor Sarah K. Crotzer discusses the contents of this issue.
- In "The Bugle Bulletin":
- Jon M. Chu, whose recent films include Crazy Rich Asians and In the Heights, takes over directing the movie version of the Wicked musical.
- Betty Ann Bruno, one of the children who played a background Munchkin, has published her memoir, The Munchkin Diary: My Personal Yellow Brick Road.
- American McGee, who tried to develop an Oz video game twenty years ago, is trying again with a video game/TV hybrid project called Oz: Adventures.
- A clue about the writings of L. Frank Baum—but not Oz—shows up in an episode of Jeopardy!
- The New Line Cinema movie of The Wizard of Oz, scheduled to be directed by Nicole Kassell.
- Margaret Hamilton's former home in Los Angeles is sold for $2,300,000.
- A house in Syracuse, New York, once thought to be the one where L. Frank Baum first met his soon-to-be wife, Maud Gage, is also sold.
- Race Leys Junior School in Bedworth, England, gets an Oz-themed makeover.
- "Beyond the Shifting Sands" gives notice of the recent passings of these people connected to Oz:
- William Randall Beard, the playwright whose works included Beyond the Rainbow: Garland at Carnegie Hall’'.
- Kathleen Krull, the children's book authors whose works included The Road to Oz: Twists, Turns, Bumps, and Triumphs in the Life of L. Frank Baum.
- Ronnee Sass, the Hollywood publicist whose work with Warner Bros. included marketing the 65th and 70th anniversary releases of The Wizard of Oz.
- Jack Townsend, who created one of he first pairs of reproduction Ruby Slippers available to purchase.
- "Through the Tube!" has the following highlights from YouTube:
- Nate Barlow looks at early ballyhoo and merchandising for some of the earliest Oz movies in "Feeling Woozy: The Marketing and Publicity of the Oz Film Manufacturing Company". This is accompanied by "The Oz Film Scrapbook", reprinting many early news items and reviews of The Patchwork Girl of Oz.
- Sarah K. Crotzer delves into company archives and presents the behind-the-scenes development of a proposed 1980 television series in "Road of Yellow Brixx: The Lost Filmation TV Series". Many of the illustrations for this article are concept art by Robert L. Kline.
- The late Norton Juster and his connections to Oz are laid out in "Through The Phantom Tollbooth to Oz" by Nick Campbell.
- Atticus Gannaway remembers the publisher of his first book in "Bucket Heads and Tails: The Legacy of Chris Dulabone". Sidebars by some whose works were published by Dulabone highlight some of his books, and there is also a "Publications of Chris Dulabone" checklist.
- In "The Bugle Review":
- The Wonderful Wizards of Art by Daniel "Munch" Kinske, reviewed by Sarah K. Crotzer.
- The Voice of Liberty by Angelica Shirley Carpenter, reviewed by Judy Bieber.
- The Santa Claus Stories by L. Frank Baum, reviewed by Jane Albright.
- "Adventures in Oz" sees Bill Campbell reminiscing about his time working with the Children's Theater Company of Minneapolis on their 1981 production of The Marvelous Land of Oz, which you can watch right here!
- The back cover features a photograph of the Woozy toy made as a tie-in to The Patchwork Girl of Oz movie in 1914.
Also included with this issue are:
- The tenth issue of the revived version of The Oz Gazette, the newsletter for young (or young-at-heart) Oz fans. In this issue:
- Glinda reveals that Oz is in danger, but not how…yet!
- Editor Scarecrow asks the readers if they have seen anything strange in their neighborhood.
- The first installment of a new serial story, "Toto and the Woozy in the Valley of the Kalidahs" by S. H. Nesbit, with illustrations by Mark Manley.
- "Ask Glinda" sees Club member Katie still trying to cope with not being in New York City.
- In "What Did the Wogglebug Say", the highly magnified and thoroughly educated insect asks some questions for the reader to answer.
- Plus, Gardening Tips and Classified Ads.
- "A Doozy of a Woozy" puzzle game, to color and cut out.
May 17, 2021: Oziana 2021: The Fiftieth Anniversary Issue
The fiftieth issue of Oziana, the annual literary journal of the International Wizard of Oz Club, is being mailed out today. Editor Marcus Mébès offered the issue free to anyone who asked for it online, and these are the issues going out now. But never fear, if you never heard about the free issue offer, it is also for sale at this link.
In this issue:
- The front cover, "Strolling Down Memory Lane" by Alejandro Garcia, depicts a number of characters from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in the styles of several different iconic Oz illustrators.
- The inside front cover reproduces the letter from Harvey Plotnick, then-President of the Henry Regnery Company, successors to Oz publishers Reilly and Lee, from the first issue of Oziana in 1971 that gave permission for the Club to use characters and locations from the Oz books.
- Carrying on from the previous issue, "The Wizards of Silver and Gold in Oz: Part 2" by Nathan M. DeHoff and Joe Bongiorno resolves the cliffhanger ending from part 1 and wraps the whole tale up.
- "The Butter Lamb of Oz" by Nathan M. DeHoff, illustrated by David Valentin, shows the results of what happens when Jinjur must paint a portrait.
- "A Week with Mr. Baum" by Laura DeNooyer, illustrated by Spinner Martin, tells the story of a lonely girl who makes a special friend at the Macatawa resort on Lake Michigan in the early days of the twentieth century.
- "Heartless" by Templeton Moss, illustrated by Darrell Colt Spradlyn, looks at the romance between Nick Chopper and Nimmee Amee.
- Christmas, Toys, and Oz" by Nathan M. DeHoff, illustrated by Mitchell Mayle, sees several Ozian and Thompsonian sea captains embark on a Christmas adventure.
- In a tribute to the late Chris Dulabone, "Buckethead in Oz" by Nathan M. DeHoff sees the title character come to Oz for good.
- In a departure for Oziana, Dulabone is also remembered by friends and family in the magazine's first non-fiction feature.
- Robert A. Baum remembers the trunk kept by his Grandmother Edna in "The Trunk in the Attic".
- The back cover, by David Valentin, depicts a scene, in color, from this issue's story "The Butter Lamb of Oz".
March 24, 2021: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"/"What a Wonderful World" Added to National Recording Registry
The Library of Congress announced the 2020 class for the National Recording Registry today, and one of the additions is the medley of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"/"What a Wonderful World" by Hawai'ian singer Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, released as a single in 1993. The National Recording Registry was set up to showcase and preserve significant American recordings, and was started in 2002 under the terms of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000. Kamakawiwo’ole's recording joins Judy Garland's original 1939 single of "Over the Rainbow", enlisted in 2014, on the registry. You can see a video of the song by clicking here.
The full press release, including all twenty-five recordings in the class or 2020, is available at https://www.loc.gov/item/prn-21-015/national-recording-registry-adds-rhythm-nation-among-25-new-selections/2021-03-24/. The complete registry, which also includes the original Broadway cast album of The Wiz, is at https://www.loc.gov/programs/national-recording-preservation-board/recording-registry/complete-national-recording-registry-listing/.
February 28, 2021: The Baum Bugle Winter 2020
The Winter 2020 issue of The Baum Bugle, the International Wizard of Oz Club's triannual journal, is now back from the printers and making its way to all Oz Club members for 2020. This issue commemorates the one hundredth anniversary of the publication of Glinda of Oz, the final Oz book by L. Frank Baum.
In this issue:
- The front cover reproduces an original Dick Martin watercolor from 1988.
- The inside front cover is an unused jacket illustration Martin did in 1961.
- In "Letters", Oz Club President Jane Albright talks about how Oz fans have weathered the coronavirus pandemic and found new ways to gather and express themselves, while Bugle editor Sarah K. Crotzer previews what's in the issue at hand.
- In "The Bugle Bulletin":
- Stephen Daldrey exits as director of the Wicked movie.
- The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of podcast devotes an episode to the Ruby Slippers.
- Even though it was cancelled, Boomerang had a third season of Dorothy and the Wizard ofOz up its sleeve, shown in 2020.
- Movie star Richard Gere bought a New York City condo previously owned by Margaret Hamilton.
- The new comic book The O. Z. was successfully funded via Kickstarter.
- Popmatters.com has an interview with Broadway's original Wiz, André de Shields.
- "Beyond the Shifting Sands" remembers these recently deceased Ozites:
- Chris Dulabone, prolific Oz author and publisher.
- David L. Greene, one of the charter members of the International Wizard of Oz Club and an important Oz researcher and writer for over fifty years.
- Alison Lurie, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist whose work often invoked her love of Oz.
- Harry Naught, whose long illustrating career included Little Golden Books adaptations of The Road to Oz, The Emerald City of Oz, and The Tin Woodman of Oz.
- Joel Schumacher, the prolific Hollywood director who also had an early screenwriting credit with the film adaptation of The Wiz.
- Myrna Swensen, wife of Movie Munchkin soldier Clarence Swensen who frequently appeared with him at Oz events.
- "Through the Tube" presents these treasures from YouTube:
- The twenty-fifth anniversary of The Wizard of Oz on Ice.
- The 2017 Fire and Ice Festival in Somerset, Pennsylvania took on an Ozzy theme for the festivities.
- Behind the scenes at The Wonderful Winter of Oz, a 2019 pantomime in Pasadena.
- "Awards and Honors" recognizes the 2020 winner of the L. Frank Baum Memorial Award, Gina Wickwar.
- Michael Patrick Hearn examines Glinda of Oz, the final volume of the Founding Fourteen, in "L. Frank Baum's Farewell to Oz".
- Robert B. Luehrs examines the relationship between Glinda and Oz in "The Sorceress, the Goddess, and the Matriarchate".
- Scott Cummings presents several contemporary reviews of Glinda of Oz in the latest installment of "Oz Under Scrutiny".
- Peter E. Hanff delves into the Oz Club's archives to examine how John R. Neill created the color plate of Glinda reading her records in The Marvelous Land of Oz. (The original line drawing, before it is colored, is reproduced on the inside back cover, while the back cover is the picture in color, based in part from an original photo proof.)
- Dina Schiff Massachi looks at the career of the actress who played Glinda in the film version of The Wiz in "Lena Horne: Learning to Believe".
- "Labor of Love: An Interview with Gili Bar-Hillel Semo" talks to the woman who translates, publishes, and sells Oz books in Israel, how she came to also record the audio books, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected what she does.
- Angelica Shirley Carpenter tries to fill in some of the blanks of the life of L. Frank Baum's wife in "Finding Maud".
- In "Oz in the Arts", Rosemary Jones reviews a virtual Oz play, "OZ.ORG", presented during the 2020 Philadelphia Fringe Festival. (You can watch an interview with the director and preview of the show right here.)
- New Oz books reviewed, or at least mentioned, in "The Bugle Review":
- Bedtime Classics: The Wizard of Oz board book, illustrated by Carly Gledhill, reviewed by Garrett Kilgore.
- Sky Island: A Trot & Cap'n Bill Adventure graphic novel by Amy Chu and Janet K. Lee, reviewed by J. L. Bell.
- Adrian: A Lifetime of Movie Glamour, Art and High Fashion by Leonard Stanley, reviewed by Paul Miles Schneider.
- Abby in Oz (Whatever After: Special Edition0 by Sarah Mlynowski.
- Flying Monkeys Cookbook by Aunt Deb.
- The Good Witch of the South by T. C. Bartlett.
- The Inventor of Oz by Kaitlyn Hawker.
- The Kingdom of Fairytales Wizard of Oz series by Emma Savant and J. A. Armitage: Volume 1: King of Traitors, Volume 2: Heir of Fugitives, Volume 3: Throne of Emeralds, and Volume 4: God of Storms.
- A Nightmare in Oz by David M. Keyes.
- No Place Like Home by Susan Wackerbarth.
- Orphans of Oz: A Mother's Adventure by Marie Micaela.
- The Poetry Book of Oz by L. Frank Baum and Tynker Smith.
- The Shaman of Oz by Larry Springfield, Jr..
- The Silver Spurs of Oz by Erica Schultz, illustrated by Omar Lozano.
- Stolen to Oz: Toto and Miss Jennie in Oz (Without Dorothy0,, by Alan Lindsay.
- A Taste of Oz by Robin Blasberg.
- The Teachers of Oz: Leading with Wisdom, Heart, Courage, and Spirit by Herbie Raad and Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad.
- The Twin Witches of Oz by Amanda D. Wallace.
- The Wizard of Menopoz by Deborah Monk.
- The Wizard of Oz Puzzle Book by Fabiana Attanasio.
- And Peter E. Hanff writes about the man who, among other things, invigorated and modernized the Oz Club's journal in "Building a Better Bugle: A Legacy of David L. Greene" as a tribute and obituary.
Also included with this issue:
- The ninth issue of The Oz Gazette, the Oz publication for younger Oz fans, which includes:
- Editor Scarecrow's attempts to create a self-writing, self-publishing newspaper (with less-than-satisfactory results).
- A look at the earliest existing Oz movie.
- "Ask Glinda" continues the adventures of Katie Jones on her visit to Oz.
- "What Did the Woggle-Bug Say?" poses another ponderable problem.
- And an interview with The Oz Gazette and The Baum Bugle illustrator Mark Manley.
- A craft project to create Glinda's skeropythrope, a magical device she used in Glinda of Oz.
All Oz Club members who receive this issue are advised that this is the last issue for the 2020 membership year, and anyone wishing to continue to receive the Bugle should send in their membership dues (which can now be done online).
December 10, 2020: Chris Dulabone, 1964-2020
Chris Dulabone, the prolific Oz author and publisher who blazed the trail for extracanonical Oz pastiches, died today after a long illness. He wrote and published his first Oz book, Toto of Oz, in 1986 at a time when copyrights and technology made publishing new Oz books difficult. This proved to be the first of dozens of books Dulabone wrote or co-wrote, and in some cases even illustrated. He published his works, and those of others, under the imprint of Buckethead Enterprises of Oz, and opened the doors wide for who could write an Oz book, and just what an Oz book is anyway. He continued to write, illustrate, and publish books for decades as he reorganized his company as Tails of the Cowardly Lion and Friends, until he recently had his books printed on demand via Lulu.com.
November 23, 2020: Myrna Swensen, 1926-2020
Myrna Swensen, the "Munchkin by marriage" who never got to go to Oz but was a big part of its legacy anyway has passed away. She was all set to play a Munchkin in The Wizard of Oz, but illness prevented her from taking the job. She did marry a Munchkin, however, soldier Clarence Swensen, in 1945, and they raised three daughters. When the Munchkin actors were discovered by fans and began appearing at Oz events around the world, Myrna came along to support her husband, and was welcomed by Ozians everywhere. Even after Clarence passed away, Myrna kept going to Oz events for as long as she was able. She is survived by her three daughters and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
(Family information courtesy the Austin American-Statesman.)
November 20, 2020: David L. Greene, 1944-2020
Dr. David L. Greene, Oz scholar and founding member of the International Wizard of Oz Club, passed away today. He was seventy-six years old and had been in declining health for some time. He and his twin brother, Douglas G. Greene, were two of the sixteen initial members of the International Wizard of Oz Club when it was started in 1957, and two of the youngest (only founder Justin Schiller was younger), but both quickly contributed much to the Club. David served as editor of the Club's journal, The Baum Bugle, for many years, did extensive research in Oz bibliography, and founded the Club's Special Publications division. He also co-authored the popular book The Oz Scrapbook with Dick Martin, which came out in 1977. The Greene brothers were jointly awarded the International Wizard of Oz Club's highest honor, the L. Frank Baum Memorial Award, in 1965. Outside of Oz, Greene taught English at Piedmont College in Georgia for thirty-seven years and retired as a Professor Emeritus. He was also interested in genealogy, wrote several books on the subject, was a Fellow and past President of the American Society of Genealogists, and edited The American Genealogist for twenty-five years. He is survived by his twin brother, Douglas; his non-twin brother, Paul; his wife, Jane; a son, a daughter, two stepdaughters, and five grandchildren.
November 1, 2020: Books of Wonder Moves
Books of Wonder, the New York City children's bookstore that has been one of the greatest friends Oz has had for the past forty years, has moved! They lost their lease on their original location on 18th Street in Manhattan, but they were able to find a new location quickly, and it's really close. So now you can visit them at 42 West 17th St., just a block away. They're still in the process of completely unpacking, so there may be a few boxes lying around, but the shelves are full and the staff still knows their stuff. Their second location, at 217 West 84th St., is still there, too. But if you're not going to be in the neighborhood any time soon, they still have mail order, including an extensive catalog of Oz items, many of which they've published themselves.
October 31, 2020: Sir Sean Connery, 1930-2020
Sir Sean Connery, the award-winning Scottish actor who most famously originated the role of James Bond on film, passed away today at his home in the Bahamas. He was 90 years old. Besides playing Bond in seven movies, Connery won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in The Untouchables, a Best Actor BAFTA for The Name of the Rose and a BAFTA Fellowship, and a Golden Globe as Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for The Untouchables as well as the Henrietta Award in 1972 as World Film Favorite — Male, the Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1995, a Kennedy Center Honor in 1999, and the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. He was also knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000. He will also be remembered by Oz fans, however, as Zed, the main protagonist who brings death to an indolent immortal community in the 1974 cult classic film Zardoz.
(Because of the many questions I am asked about possible forthcoming Oz projects or other bits of pseudo-news, I have added this section to answer some of these inquiries.)
The Spanish branch of Netflix is making an Oz-inspired movie, Rainbow, featuring a whole slew of Spanish stars. No word yet on a release date, or if it will be available in markets outside Spain (but knowing Netflix, the latter is likely).
The previously announced release date for the movie adaptation of the Broadway musical version of Wicked turns out to have been premature—again. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic shuffling release schedules around, the original first-postponed December 22, 2021 release date was given over to Sing 2. So the Wicked movie is on hold again, but it is still in development, although it has no definitive release date yet. The delay was so long that director Stephen Daldrey left the project on October 20, 2020. On February 2, 2021, Jon M. Chu, director of Crazy Rich Asians and In the Heights was announced as the new director.
The latest Oz projects to be announced in Hollywood: Cheshire Crossing, the graphic novel by Andy Weir and Sarah Anderson, optioned by Amblin Partners (see this report); and an animated musical adaptation of the book Toto: The Dog-Gone Amazing Story of the Wizard of Oz, where the story is told from Toto's point of view, to be produced at Warner Bros. (see this source).
Okay, yes, word has leaked out that Warner Bros. tried to talk Robert Zemeckis into directing a remake of The Wizard of Oz, using the same screenplay as the famous 1939 Judy Garland version. Zemeckis already rejected the idea. This probably puts the idea on the back burner for a while, and based on the extreme negative reaction the idea got, I suspect it will stay there. Rumors of this have surfaced again, but appear to be the result of someone finding the old story and running it again.
It's getting harder and harder to keep up with all of the currently planned Oz movie and television projects. Bear in mind that at this stage, most of it is speculation and/or not even in pre-production, or possibly even a game of "Telephone". But here are some of the current Oz movies that could be coming to your local theater in the next few years:
- The Road to Oz, a movie biopic about the life of L. Frank Baum and how he created Oz, starring Eddie Redmayne as Frank. (See reports here and here.)
- Dark Oz 3-D, based on the old Caliber comic book.
- A non-musical, faithful adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz from New Line and Temple Hill.
- The Oz Wars, which would have the witches fighting for control of the Emerald City while the Wizard leads the resistance.
- John Boorman's animated adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz seems to be on track for release — in France. Once it's released, an English-language release will likely come out soon afterwards. (However, in a recent interview, Boorman admitted that the project has stalled due to lack of funding.)
- Oz: Return to the Emerald City was one of two possible competing projects at Warner Bros. This original sequel may now be shopped around to other studios, or turned into a novel.
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, a low-budget independent production from Barnyard Studios and Used Productions. This is very much a shoestring production, which is looking for money and actors. But its Kickstarter campaign to raise the last money it needed was a success, so it may be finished soon.
- Legend of Oz, a modern retelling of The Wizard of Oz from Valley Wind Productions in Ottawa.
- Oz, a new telling of The Wizard of Oz.
- A still unnamed horror movie set in the 1920s with Dorothy meeting Alice in Bedlam Asylum.
- Young Santa., based on L. Frank Baum's book The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus and directed by Sean McNamara.
- How the Wizard Came to Oz, based on two books by Donald Abbott.
- Not entirely Oz, strictly speaking, but the Judy Garland biography Get Happy may be made into a movie, featuring Anne Hathaway as Garland.
And it's not limited to movies any more. In development for television:
- Red Brick Road, a television series continuation of The Wizard of Oz in the style of Game of Thrones. The latest word is that this is being developed for the Lifetime channel.
- Dorothy, an Oz-themed medical drama in development at CBS
- Dorothy Must Die, in which Dorothy has returned to Oz and become a dictator, in development at the CW. This would be based on the book series of the same name.
- Warriors of Oz, a post-apocalyptic version in development at Syfy.
- A Wicked television miniseries, based on the original book (not the stage musical). Salma Hayak was attached to this as a producer. When last heard of, it was under development at ABC.
No, Peter Jackson is not producing or directing a billion-dollar all-CGI remake of The Wizard of Oz for Warner Bros. How do stories like this get started? Oh, maybe in stories like this...
In recent years, there have been proposals for other Oz or related projects, none of which now appear that they will get off the ground. Among them:
- Lost in Oz, a series that was to feature Melissa George as a Kansas university student who is whisked to Oz sixty years after the events of The Wizard of Oz (The Movie) and helping to spearhead a rebellion against the new Wicked Witch of the West. Although developed for the WB and a pilot film produced, it was never picked up, nor the pilot shown. (But keep an eye out on auction sites, as a bootleg DVD sometimes shows up…)
- A telelvision miniseries based on Gregory Maguire's novel Wicked, with Demi Moore in the title role. (There are stories that the people developing this version later pushed their involvement into the musical version now playing on Broadway and elsewhere.)
- The O. Z., a hip-hop flavored re-telling of The Wizard of Oz for Fox. Among the rumored Dorothy's at one point were Brandy, Mya, and the late Aaliyah. Justin Timberlake, John Leuizamo, and Little Richard were mentioned for other parts.
- Surrender Dorothy. Drew Barrymore as Dorothy's great-granddaughter coming to Oz, and battling the Wicked Witch of the West's granddaughter. (Rumors of this recently resurfaced, but were quickly squelched. This project is dead.)
- Somewhere starring Elizabeth Taylor as Dorothy, now a grandmother, returning to Oz. The deaths of both Taylor and developer Rod Steiger means this is unlikely to ever happen.
- Pamela West, where the Wicked Witch is the innocent victim and Dorothy (with Toto as a pit bull) is the evil interloper.
- The Land of Oz (not based on the book of the same name), produced by Hallmark for NBC. This eventually became the basis for the Sci Fi Channel miniseries Tin Man.
- The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus from Circa Pictures. It's no longer listed on their website.
- The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus from Hyde Park Entertainment and Toonz Entertainment.
- A Bollywood adaptation of The Wizard of Oz in India.
- A movie version of American McGee's (later cancelled) Oz video game.
- Geoff Ryman's Was.
If progress is made on any of these projects, such as actually going into production or a release date announced, the news will be posted as quickly as possible on this page. But at this stage, any of these going into production is very unlikely. (However, Tin Man was part of this list for some time before its eventual completion and broadcast on the Sci-Fi Channel.)