Michael Patrick Hearn

Michael Patrick Hearn

At age 20 Michael Patrick Hearn signed his first book contract; he appeared on the front page of the New York Times Book Review at 21. That book, The Annotated Wizard of Oz―with his insightful introduction, a bibliography of Baum’s works, and hundreds of annotations―remains the most authoritative study of both the novel and its author. It was updated and republished as a centennial edition in 2000.

Michael republished seven Oz books as editor of Special Publications for the Oz Club. He provided an introduction for the 1985 reprint edition of Baum’s Little Wizard Stories of Oz, prepared liner notes for Caedmon’s recordings of Baum stories, contributed articles to The Baum Bugle, edited the 1939 MGM movie screenplay for publication, and curated and wrote the exhibition books for the W. W. Denslow exhibit at Brandywine River Museum and the Wonderful Art of Oz exhibit at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Michael wrote the afterword for the Oz Club’s edition of Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz. He is the co-author of the only Denslow biography, and editor of the Critical Heritage Series edition of The Wizard of Oz. Although Michael’s contributions to Club conventions include many presentations, it was also at his invitation that special guests such as Margaret Hamilton and Sally Roesch Wagner first joined the gatherings. Today his scholarship and published work extend far beyond Oz; he is in demand as a children’s book reviewer, lecturer, and teacher on early illustrators. He remains consistently recognized as the world’s leading expert on L. Frank Baum and his many works.

9 thoughts on “Michael Patrick Hearn

  1. I recently borrowed from the library the screenplay from The Wizard of Oz and read the wonderful write-up/ introduction by Michael Patrick Hearn. Not only was I thoroughly educated but thoroughly entertained with the behind the scenes stories that led to the Great Wizard of Oz franchise.

    The reason I write, is because I have a mutual interest in The Wizard of Oz as one of my favorite movies growing up, plus a fascination with Walt Disney– a genius, yet flawed man. On page 4 it states around 1935 Mrs. Baum, as the executor of the Oz franchise felt Walt Disney was a “dishonest man” and refused to sell him the rights.

    I was wondering if you could please shine some light on this topic and explain what transpired to give her a bad taste in her mouth when working with Disney? Any insight or speculation would be greatly appreciated thanks for your time.

  2. Hi. I have tried to find a copy of Baum’s Little Wizards Stories with the intro by Michael. My mother was in contact with him for some of the information for his writings. My great grandfather was Britton of Reilly & Britton and my mother was Ruth Britton. I would love to get in touch with him. Thank you. Mary Murphy

  3. Hi! I will pass your email on to Michael. I’m sure he’d love to hear from you!

  4. Dear Michael Patrick Hearne,

    In 2002, you delivered the Fox-Adler lecture at Skidmore College. We have twice written you at charliemehan@yahoo.com to ask you if you might review the page we created of your wonderful lecture. We are not sure if you have recieved these messages and are now trying to reach you this way.

    We are happy to send the link again.

    Best wishes,

    Catherine Golden and Aimee Hall

  5. Hi Michael,
    We met at my mother-in-law’s book launch, a while back. I thought it might be nice to stay in touch. I’ve recently re-read Forster’s “A Room with a View”. I found it almost uncanny how closely the movie followed the book.


  6. Hi Debra, I can’t tell if your message has been forwarded to Michael or not, so I’m doing that right now. Thanks for writing, Jane

  7. Hi, Michael

    I just watched TCM’s “A NIght at the Movies: Christmas Edition” and loved your commentary. I had not realized how on how many classic Christmas movies stemmed from adaptations of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” – most notably “It’s a Wonderful Life” – my personal favorite. I saw the film for the first time in a theater in college and it affected me so much that I was motivated to make my own Christmas cards (which I have done every year since) and write a fan letter to Jimmy Stewart who actually wrote me back. It’s been said that his moving performance was infused with his own WW II PTSD, especially the darker moments. I would like to think that the magical and emotionally moving elements were equally as healing for him. I also quite agree that “Shop Around the Corner,” “Miracle on 34th Street,” “Christmas in Connecticut” and “The Bishop’s Wife” epitomize the best of this genre.

    Last year another, a dark psychological version of “A Christmas Carol” was released starring Guy Pearce in the leading role. I am curious what your thoughts are on this version?

    I look forward to reading your latest books on Frank L. Baum.

    thank you,
    Barbara Lozano

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