Oz News

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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.)

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

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


(We're a little behind in reporting the news right now, and dealing with some technical issues, but we're working hard right now to fix things! If you see just a headline, an incomplete story, or a missing picture, don't worry, it should be fixed soon. Keep checking back for updates.)

June 3, 2024: The Baum Bugle Spring 2024


The first issue of the year of The Baum Bugle, the journal of the International Wizard of Oz Club, is now making its way into members' mailboxes. This issue celebrates Oz in the 1950s, a decade not usually known for being terribly Ozzy.

In this issue:

Also included with this issue:

  • An art project that allows you to create your own moving Oz pictures.
  • The latest edition of The Oz Gazette, the newspaper of all that's happening in Oz:
    • Ryan Bunch, the new President of the International Wizard of Oz Club, makes his first diplomatic visit to the Emerald City.
    • Editor Katie Jones tells what's going on in this issue.
    • Dorothy presents a brief history of Oz newspapers, on both sides of the Deadly Desert.
    • Two editors meet as Katie Jones interviews Sarah K. Crotzer of The Baum Bugle.
    • "Emerald City Book Report" turns a page on [The Ozmapolitan of Oz].
    • Ozmapolitan of Oz author and artist Dick Martin gets a write-up.
    • The latest excerpt from The Royal Book of Oz (the one in Oz, not the one you can buy in stores here) is about the Tin Woodman himself, Nick Chopper.

March 18, 2024: Second Suspect Charged in Theft of the Ruby Slippers; Slippers Go On Tour Before Auction

A second suspect has been charged in the 2005 theft of a pair of the Ruby Slippers from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids. Minnesota. Jerry Sal Saliterman, 76, of Crystal, Minnesota was arraigned in federal court in St. Paul, and charged with felony theft of a major artwork and witness tampering, the latter a threat to distribute graphic videos of a woman to prevent her from talking to the FBI. As Saliterman is in a wheelchair and uses an oxygen tank, he was not deemed a flight risk and released on his own recognizance. His attorney intends to file a plea of not guilty. Details about the charges, or Saliterman's connection to Terry John Martin, who pled guilty to stealing the Ruby Slippers late last year, are still unknown at this time.

In related news, Michael Shaw, the owner of the Ruby Slippers at the time of the theft (he had loaned them to the museum) has bought back the Ruby Slippers from his insurance company, and received them in February. He has now turned them over to Heritage Actions, a firm that specializes in selling movie memorabilia and other rare items, for safekeeping and consignment. Heritage plans to put the Slippers on display in an international tour before auctioning them off in December this year.

(Information courtesy Breakingnews.ie and Minnesota Public Radio.)

March 14, 2024: The Baum Bugle Winter 2023


The latest issue of The Baum Bugle, the journal of the International Wizard of Oz Club, is making its way to members' doors now. It's a little late, but since this is technically still the winter of 2023-24, it's catching up again. This issue celebrates Dorothy's third and furriest friend on the Yellow Brick Road, the Cowardly Lion, as The Cowardly Lion of Oz (the novel) turns 100.

In this issue:

  • The front cover features Bert Lahr, in full make-up as the Cowardly Lion from The Movie, all dressed up for "If I Were King of the Forest"
  • The inside front cover is a 1944 studio portrait of Lahr (no Lion make-up)
  • Featured on the contents page is an illustration of the Cowardly Lion by Michael Hague
  • In "Letters", Oz Club President Ryan Bunch reflects on the current rise in popularity of Oz, with The Wiz back on Broadway and Dee and Friends in Oz on Netflix, while Bugle editor Sarah K. Crotzer laments how the Cowardly Lion gets overlooked, and she aims to reverse that with this issue.
  • News events cited in "The Bugle Bulletin":
    • A November auction of Hollywood memorabilia that included items from the Ray Bolger estate (including scores for "If I Only Had a Brain" and "Over the Rainbow") and a letter by Wizard of Oz lyricist E. Y. "Yip" Harburg
    • Oz on the radio at NPR and BBC Radio 5.
    • The debut of Dee and Friends in Oz on Netflix around the world
    • André de Shields, who originated the title role of The Wiz on Broadway, being honored with a street renamed for him in his hometown of Baltimore
    • Through the Tube! celebrates the Cowardly Lion and Bert Lahr with the following clips:
  • Blair Frodelius is honored by the International Wizard of Oz Club with its highest award, the L. Frank Baum Memorial Award
  • Jane Lahr remembers growing up with her father, Bert, in "The Cowardly Lion and Dad"
  • Atticus Gannaway takes a tongue-in-cheek look at this year's centenary book in "Profiles in Cowardice: Revisiting The Cowardly Lion of Oz at 100"
  • Ryan Bunch presents the next in the series of pull-out music scores of songs from the Ruth Plumly Thompson play A Day in Oz with "The Cowardly Lion's Lament"
  • "Oz Under Scrutiny" looks back at what critics thought of The Cowardly Lion of oz when it was first published
  • "Coming and Going" has some short musings and anecdotes from Sara K. Crotzer on The cCowardly Lion of Oz
  • Eric Gjovaag reports on the 2023 edition of OzCon International, back in July in California
  • "Collector's Corner" sees Sarah K. Crotzer and Peter E. Hanff describing one of the earliest and rarest of all Oz collectibles, The Wogglebug Game of Conundrums from 1905
  • Robert B. Luehrs looks at some of the smaller and/or lesser-known felines of the series in "The Supercilious Cats of Oz"
  • "Oz in the Arts" sees Dewey Davis-Thompson reviewing Oz: A New Musical by the freeFall Theatre Company of St. Petersburg, Florida, performed in June and July of 2023
  • Put under the microscope in "The Bugle Review" this issue are:
  • The inside front cover reprints the color plate of Notta Bit More dressed as a fish from The Cowardly Lion of Oz
  • And the back cover reproduces a painting of the Cowardly Lion by Dick Martin

Other items slipped into this issue include:

  • A registration form for the 2024 edition of OzCon International
  • An ad for the new edition of the bibliography Oz in Canada by C. J. Hinke, which comes in both hardback and paperback
  • This issue's craft is a color-and-cut-out Cowardly Lion marionette
  • And in the latest issue of The Oz Gazette, the newsletter for younger (or at least young-ish) Oz fans:
    • The lead story is of the Cowardly Lion leading the coup against the Nome King's reign
    • "A Letter from the Editor" introduces the new editor, Katie Jones! It seems she's no longer Oz Club Member on Special Assignment
    • "Emerald City Book Report" examines a book that's now one hundred years old, The Cowardly Lion of Oz
    • "Why Is the Lion So Cowardly?" and "Prehistory Lesson" looks at some of the issues raised in The Cowardly Lion of Oz
    • Glinda looks bark at what her Great Book of Records recorded happening in 1923
    • And in an extract from The Royal Book of Oz (the book in Oz, not the Oz story from 1921), Prof. H. M. Wogglebug, T. E., presents a profile of the Cowardly Lion

January 30, 2024: Hinton Battle 1956-2024

Hinton Battle.webp

Hinton Battle, the actor who first played the Scarecrow in The Wiz on Broadway, passed away today at the age of 67 in Los Angeles after a long illness. Battle was only eighteen years old when he made his Broadway debut in The Wiz in 1974, after having taken over for a sick castmate during previews on the road. That early success gave him many years to play other roles in other shows, including Dancin', Sophisticated Ladies, Dreamgirls, The Tap Dance Kid, Miss Saigon, and Chicago on Broadway, and Ragtime on tour. His movie credits include the film adaptation of Dreamgirls and, on television, Quantum Leap (as the evil observer Thames in the Evil Leaper trilogy), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (as the demon Sweet in the musical episode "Once More With Feeling"), Touched By an Angel, the TV movie Child Star: The Shirley Temple Story as Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, and the first pilot for the unproduced American version of the British comedy Red Dwarf as the Cat. Battle also directed and choreographed the Off-Broadway production Evil Dead: The Musical and released an album, Untapped, in 1986. He won Tony Awards for Sophisticated Ladies, The Tap Dance Kid, and Miss Saigon. He also won the NAACP Image Award and Fred Astaire Award for The Tap Dance Kid.

(UPDATE: To honor Battle and his career and influence on Broadway, all forty-one Broadway theaters dimmed their marquee lights on March 12.)

(Information courtesy of USA Today, Wikipedia, the Internet Broadway Database, the Internet Off-Broadway Database, the Internet Movie Database, and the New York Public Library.)

January 29, 2024: Terry Jon Martin Sentenced for Theft of the Ruby Slippers

Terry Jon Martin, the man who pled guilty to stealing the Ruby Slippers in 2005, has been sentenced. Due to his advanced age and medical condition, he was sentenced to time served and will not go to jail. Martin is currently in hospice care and on oxygen therapy for chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, and is not expected to live more than a few months longer. He was also ordered to pay the Judy Garland Museum $23,500 in restitution, which he will pay in monthly installments of $300.

Not knowing about The Wizard of Oz or the Slippers' cultural significance, career criminal Martin was coerced into stealing the Ruby Slippers as "one last score" because he believed the shoes to be adorned with real rubies. He was disappointed to learn that they were artificial, and gave the slippers to an associate, never to hear from him again. After the FBI recovered the slippers in 2018, Martin quickly became a suspect and charged with the theft last year. Martin pleaded guilty in October 2023.

(Information courtesy WTOP News, Washington, DC.)

January 29, 2024: The Baum Bugle Autumn 2023


The publication schedule of The Baum Bugle, the journal of the International Wizard of Oz Club, may have fallen a little behind, as the Autumn 2023 issue is now making its way to Club members in early 2024. Still, it's coming a lot sooner than many issues have managed over the decades, and as always the wait is worth it, as Editor in Chief Sarah K. Crotzer and her team have put together another exemplary issue.

In this issue:

  • The front cover reprints one of W. W. Denslow's color plates form The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to celebrate fifty years of one of the most important works of Oz scholarship, The Annotated Wizard of Oz.
  • The inside front cover reprints the cover of sheet music, drawn by W. W. Denslow, from The Land of Nod, a musical that Denslow contributed to in other ways (as we will discover in this issue).
  • In "Letters", new Club President Ryan Bunch recalls the thrill of receiving new editions of the Bugle when he was a new, young member of the Club, while editor Sarah K. Crotzer's overview of the issue focuses on her relationship with The Annotated Wizard of Oz.
  • News reports highlighted in "The Bugle Bulletin":
    • Terry Martin pleads guilty to stealing the Ruby Slippers in 2005
    • Wicked celebrates twenty years of performances on Broadway (plus updates on the film adaptation)
    • The Wiz goes on tour on its way to Broadway
    • A model of the Gale farmhouse, used during production of the famous film version of The Wizard of Oz, sells for $537,000 at auction
    • Kansas native and University of Kansas alumnus Grady Dick wears a ruby-sequined jacket, inspired by another Kansas native, to the NBA draft, where he went to the Toronto Raptors (whose colors include ruby red)
    • Ozians who recently passed away and remembered in "Beyond the Shifting Sands":
      • Betty Ann Bruno, a child Munchkin in the 1939 movie
      • Piper Laurie, the award-winning actress whose roles included Ethel Gumm, Judy Garland's mother, in the television biopic Rainbow, and Aunt Em in Return to Oz
      • Oz Club members Lary Abramson, Herm Bieber, Susan Higbee, and Rita Reif
    • Treasures found on YouTube highlighted in Through the Tube!
  • Michael Patrick Hearn is interviewed about his Oz journey and how it resulted in his first book in "The Journey to the Annotated Wizard Part One: Origins"
  • "Oz Under Scrutiny" reprints some of the early reviews of The Annotated Wizard of Oz
  • Robert Lamont looks at what other shows the first Oz illustrator contributed to at the turn of the century in "The Musical Fantasies of W. W. Denslow"
  • Ruth Berman, charter member of the Club, examines her work in reprinting old newspaper pieces by Oz contributors in "Dunkiton Press: A Checklist of Pamphlets"
  • "Oz in the Arts" reviews:
    • The short film The Tin Woods, reviewed by Sarah K. Crotzer
    • The documentary movie Lynch/Oz, about the connections between The Wizard of Oz and the works of director David Lynch, reviewed by Paul Dana
    • The stage show The Wizard of Oz as presented by the American Contemporary Theater in San Fransisco in June 2023, reviewed by Paul Dana
  • In conjunction with The Tin Woods, Sara K. Crotzer interviews co-creator Nick Boxwell
  • "The Bugle Review" sees Dee Michel reviewing Queer Oz: L. Frank Baum's Trans Tales by Tison Pugh
  • Jane Albright remembers one of the last Munchkins, Betty Ann Bruno, and the rest of her extraordinary life in "Maka Koa Munchkin"
  • The inside back cover has some pre-production art by Ann Tseng for The Tin Woods
  • The back cover reproduces an advertising poster by W. W. Denslow from 1895

Also included in this issue:

  • A 3-D art project of Dorothy sleeping in the poppy field
  • The latest issue of The Oz Gazette, the Oz newspaper for younger Oz fans (no matter what their actual age). In this issue:
    • Now that he's finally finagled himself into becoming the King of Oz, the Nome King lifts the ban on magic in Oz
    • "A Letter from the Editor" sees the installation of the newest editor: The Nome King!
    • "A Halloween Bestiary" presents a guide to identifying some of more sinister creatures encountered in the Oz books
    • Katie Jones, Club Member on Assignment looking for Oz creatures in the Great Outside World, finds a dragon in San Francisco—who, it turns out, has also been looking for Katie
    • And Oz's most famous professor has another confounding contest in this issues installment of "What Did the Wogglebug Say?"

January 3, 2024: Oziana 2023

Oziana 2023.jpeg

The 2023 edition of Oziana, the literary journal of the International Wizard of Oz Club, is now for sale to the general public, now that premium copies have gone to members of the International Wizard of Oz Club who pledge extra funds for their memberships. Although a publication of the International Wizard of Oz Club, Oziana is available to anyone, whether or not they are a member of the Club, who wishes to buy it.

In this issue:

  • "A Portrait of Ozma" by Jane Albright, with illustrations by Anna-Maria Cool, sees a new royal portrait artist come to the Emerald City. But the brushes he picked up on his travels have a surprising effect on the completed paintings. Cool also illustrated the front cover with portraits of Oz characters, tying in with this story.
  • "A Rotten Pumpkin" by Suren Oganessian, illustrated by David Bishop, tells the tale of Jack Pumpkinhead trying out a different expression on his latest face, with unpleasant results.
  • "Button-Bright and the Professor" by J. L. Bell, illustrated by Marcus Mébès, is about Professor Wogglebug wanting to use Button-Bright as a test subject for his new direction-finding pill, but Button-Bright wants nothing to do with it. But matters chance when a creature stalks them both in the Munchkin forest.
  • "Together" by Carter Lappin, with an illustration by David Bishop, is about Dorothy and Ozma both needing some alone time and isolation to get away from it all and think, but they both end up in the same place.
  • "Fortune Favors the Wogglebug" by Paul Dana, illustrated by Dennis Anfuso, tells how Professor Wogglebug lamented the passing of L. Frank Baum, and wondering how the children in the great outside world would ever hear stories about Oz again. Then a mysterious message comes in over the telegraph…
  • "Glinda and the Glass Cat" by J. L. Bell, with illustrations by Anna-Maria Cool, sees how Glinda deals with Bungle harassing some of her more fragile subjects. Several communities and peoples from the books make new appearances.
  • Finally, the back cover illustration, "Oz on Parade" by David Bishop, shows several Oz celebrities heading off somewhere—perhaps to the 2024 issue…

December 11, 2023: Judge Dismisses Dorothy Dress Ownership Lawsuit

A dress worn by Judy Garland during production of The Wizard of Oz may soon be up for auction now that a federal judge in New York has dismissed a lawsuit by the niece of a priest who once worked at the school where it was found. The Catholic University of America, where the dress was found in 2021, are now the legal owners of the dress. It had been given to Father Gilbert Hartke, chairman of the university's drama department, by actress Mercedes McCambridge, a friend of Garland. When the late Father Hartke's niece, Barbara Hartke, heard about the dress and the plan to auction it off, she sued to take ownership of the dress. In dismissing the suit, Judge Paul Gardephe noted that Barbara Hartke had not established that she was the executor of her uncle's estate or had any other standing in the case. Furthermore, as a Dominican, Father Hartke had taken a vow of poverty and renounced ownership of "temporal goods", and thus had not been the owner of the dress in the first place.

Barbara Hartke has ten days to amend her lawsuit and establish standing. Otherwise, the dress will belong to Catholic university, which can then go through with plans to auction off the dress. The auction has been on hold for over a year while the case worked its way through the system.

(Information courtesy CNBC.)

October 17, 2023: Dorothy House Miniature Auctioned Off

A miniature of the Gale farmhouse from the famous 1939 movie adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, used in the tornado scene, was auctioned off today by Studio Auctions. The final sale price was $537,000, well above the pre-auction estimate.

(Information courtesy of PR Newswire.)

October 14, 2023: Piper Laurie, 1932-2023


Piper Laurie, the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actress who was also nominated for three Academy Awards and a BAFTA, passed away today. She was 91. Born in Detroit in 1932, Rosetta Jacobs changed her name to Piper Laurie when she signed a contract with Universal Pictures in 1949. She made her screen debut in Louisa opposite Ronald Reagan, and also co-starred with actors such as Donald O'Connor, Tony Curtis, and Rory Calhoun. But she soon moved back to New York to appear on stage and in television. Hollywood beckoned again with a part in The Hustler opposite Paul Newman, which garnered her first Oscar nomination. The parts she was offered did not improve, however, so she went back to New York. Her next film was Carrie in 1976, where she played Margaret White, Carrie's mother, in another Oscar-nominated role. She continued to appear in movies (including Children of a Lesser God, for which she received her third Oscar nomination), on television, and on stage for the rest of her career. Other notable roles include the television movie Promise, for which she won a Emmy; Twin Peaks, which netted her a Golden Globe; and the 1978 television biopic about Judy Garland, Rainbow, in which she played Ethel Gumm, Judy's mother. She is best known to Oz fans, however, for playing Aunt Em in the 1985 Disney movie Return to Oz.

(Information courtesy of Wikipedia and Entertainment Weekly.)

October 13, 2023: Martin Changes Plea to Guilty in Theft of Ruby Slippers

Terry Jon Martin, the Minnesota resident charged with the 2005 theft of a pair of Ruby Slippers used during the production of The Wizard of Oz, has changed his plea to guilty. As part of a plea deal entered in federal court in Duluth, Minnesota, Martin, 78 years old and suffering from OCPD, will face no jail time.

(Information courtesy of the Associated Press via Yahoo! News. More information is also available from KARE11.com.)

July 30, 2023: Betty Ann Bruno, 1931-2023

Betty Ann Bruno, the long-time San Francisco news anchor whose show business career began as a Munchkin in The Wizard of Oz, passed away today at the age of 91. Born Betty Ann Ka'ihliani in Hawai'i on October 1, 1931, she grew up in Hollywood and had an uncredited part in 1937's The Hurricane before playing one of the female background Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz at the age of seven. Acting was not in her blood, however, and she went on to graduate from Stanford before becoming a news anchor at KTVU in San Francisco in 1971, a job she held for over twenty years. She won three news Emmys for her work there. After retiring, she went on to become a hula instructor and founder of the dance troupe Hula Mai. She was named Sonoma Treasure Artist in 2020, and appeared on To Tell the Truth in 2022 in a segment on her time as a Munchkin. During the COVID lockdown, she wrote her memoir, The Munchkin Diary: My Personal Yellow Brick Road. She is survived by her husband, Craig, and her three sons.

(Information courtesy Deadline and SFGate.)

July 29, 2023: The 2023 Winkie Award and Oz Club Awards

The International Wizard of Oz Club presented its annual awards tonight, alongside the Winkie Award, as part of the 2023 OzCon International in Pomona, California. The awards were:

  • First of the Club's annual writing and art contest winners, the Fred Otto Prize for Fiction:
    • First place to J. L. Bell for "The Missing Key".
    • Second place, also to J. L. Bell, for "The Piglets and the Tin Soldier".
  • The C. Warren Hollister Prize for Non-fiction:
    • First place to J. L. Bell (him again?) for "Inspiring Maps of Oz".
    • Second place to Jem Abbas for "Technicolor at the Theatrical Premiere of The Wizard of Oz".
  • The Rob Roy MacVeigh Award for Art went to David Valentin for "Mombi's Magic".
  • The Winkie Award, voted on by member of OzCon International for contributions to the convention, went to Freddy Fogarty.
  • The L. Frank Baum Memorial Award, the most prestigious prize in Oz fandom, went to Blair Frodelius for his many contributions to spreading the word about Oz online over the years.

July 17, 2023: The Baum Bugle Spring 2023 Issue


The Spring 2023 issue of The Baum Bugle, the journal of the International Wizard of Oz Club, has made its way back from the printers and is on its way to members' mailboxes right now. This issue emphasizes the first word in the name of the club, with articles about how Oz is expressed in countries outside of the United States.

In this issue:

  • The front cover reproduces the cover art for the Oz game from Gen X Games.
  • The inside front and back covers reproduce art by Leonid Vladimirsky for postcards based on Волшебник Изумрудного Города (The Wizard of the Emerald City, the Russian version of The Wizard of Oz).
  • In letters, Jane Albright writes her final column as President of the International Wizard of Oz Club, while Editor-in-Chief Sarah K. Crotzer takes the readers through the process of this becoming a truly international issue.
  • In "The Bugle Bulletin":
    • The Wiz gets a new production and nationwide tour with the aim of making it to Broadway next year.
    • The Wicked movies get new cast members (Jonathan Bailey as Fiyero, Michelle Yeoh as Madame Morrible, Marissa Bode as Nessarose, Ethan Slater as Boq, Bowen Yang as Pfannee), and part 1 gets its release date moved up to November 2024. [No doubt part 2's release also moving, to November 2025, will make it into the next issue.]
    • The animated short The Tin Woods will premiere at OzCon International.
    • Online story platform Land of Tales now has an adaptation of "Hickory, Dickory, Dock", a story from Mother Goose in Prose by L. Frank Baum.
    • Ozzy backdrops from a 1941 Mardi Gras ball have been rediscovered and cataloged by NOLA Tableaux. The program has been digitized as well.
    • A new opera based on the second Oz book, Marvelous, is gearing up for its world premiere.
    • "Across the Shifting Sands" remembers two notable Ozians who recently passed away: Romona Carlin, former First Lady of Kansas who organized an Oz-themed event in Topeka; and artist Shawn Maldonado.
    • "Through the Tube!" only presents one video from YouTube instead of its usual three, but it's a good one: Artist Leonid Vladimirsky on Russian television in 1989 celebrating fifty years of Magic Land. (Don't worry, it has English subtitles.)
  • Jane Albright and Sara K. Crotzer interview the daughter of Magic Land illustrator Leonid Vladimirsky in "The Map to Magic Land: Aia Vladimirsky Remembers Her Fathre".
  • Want to collect the art of a Magic Land illustrator? Well, "An Initial Checklist of the Works by Leonid Vladimirsky" is a good place to start.
  • A Strange Post-Soviet Union" by Atticus Gannaway looks at an unusual pairing of recent Russian translations in one volume: L. Frank Baum's Queen Zixi of Ix and John R. Neill's The Wonder City of Oz!
  • Dave Ward looks at the first British stage production of The Wizard of Oz in "London, 1942".
  • Nick Campbell gives an overview of British editions of the Oz books in "Following Wonder: A History of British Publishing in Five Oz Books".
  • The creator of the new ballet The Lost Princess of Oz (reviewed last issue) is interviewed in "Faith: Gabriel Chajnik's Journey to Find a Lost Princess".
  • The creator of the new Oz card game is interviewed in "Walk the Road: An Interview with Óscar Arévalo" (with art and additional comments by Lorena Azpiri).
  • Sarah K. Crotzer looks at one particular word in the name of the organization when she asks, "How International Was the Early International Wizard of Oz Club?"
  • Reviewed in "Oz in the Arts":
    • The Land of Oz at the Dobama Theatre, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, December 2022.
    • Claus: The Musical (based on The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus), The Lowry, Salford, England, December 2022.
    • The Wizard of Paws, or There's No Place Like a Furever Home, Englewood Arts Center, Independence, Missouri, April 2023.
  • Reviewed in "The Bugle Review":
  • And the inside back cover reproduces four cover images from British editions of the Oz books.

Also included in this issue:

  • The craft is a cut-out Russian nesting doll, based on the Magic Land art of Leonid Vladimirsky.
  • In The Emerald City Mirror, the newsletter aimed at younger Oz fans (no matter what their actual ages are):
    • It seems Princess Toodee, who temporarily took over for Ozma, was just a paper doll being used by the usurper who just took over Oz: The Nome King!
    • Editor-in-chief the Scarecrow reports from where everyone is hiding out from the new king, the Emerald City Library. (Since the Nome King doesn't read books, he probably won't find them there!)
    • A reprint from the archives looks at just who the Nome King is, anyway.
    • The Nome King's many schemes from the Oz books are recounted, along with a look at various eggs and a few of the Nome King's more colorful quotes.
    • Oz Club member on assignment Katie Jones reports from San Francisco, where reports of fantastic beings appearing there include a dragon!
    • And two contests: Guess the answer to "What Did the Wogglebug Say?" and draw a picture of the Cowardly Lion to celebrate the centennial of The Cowardly Lion of Oz.

July 15, 2023: SAG-AFTRA Strike Delays Wicked Production

Among the many movie and television projects put on hold by the SAG-AFTRA strike is the movie adaptation of Wicked. Word is that the main production only had ten days and one major musical number ("One Short Day") to go. Cynthia Erivo, Ariana Grande, Michelle Yeoh, and Bowen Yang are among the Wicked stars posting support for the actors' strike. When production can resume, and if the delay will affect the release dates for the two films, will likely depend on the length of the strike.

(Information courtesy Broadway World.)

June 20, 2023: Wicked Part 2 Release Moved Up

After the release of the first part of the Wicked movie adaptation was moved up to November earlier this year, it should come as no surprise that the release of part two was also moved up today. Originally scheduled for Christmas 2025, it will now come out on November 26, 2025. This will move it away from the same release window as Avatar 3, and also give it more time to build an audience over the holidays. (Both parts will now come out the day before Thanksgiving in the United States.)

(Information courtesy The Hollywood Reporter.)

Rumor Control

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

The 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 television 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.)

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