It’s always a great day for me to mail the Oz Club calendar. I’m anxious for people to like it, but it’s also a heavy workload. Happy to do it; glad when it’s done.
What’s in a year? A day? The birthday of Andre de Shields, the Wiz in “The Wiz” should be celebrated. Ditto those of Emma Ridley and Eloise Jarvis McGraw. The Munchkins arrival in Los Angeles to make the MGM film, Oz On Ice skating into the arena, and the Matilda Joslyn Gage Home opening to the public. These are milestones in my world, with its all-embracing love of Oz. And I wasn’t finding them on any calendar.
In 2013 I offered to develop the 2014 calendar with an MGM anniversary theme. I approached collectors who I knew had items tied to the film’s released and asked them to show-and-tell their treasures.
Then I drove myself to distraction filling as many dates as possible with what was happening in the world of the MGM film. Yes, I kept publication of Oz books and a few other important dates. But for the most part, it was packed with MGM trivia.
For the 2015 calendar each month covered a different stage or screen production; I cleared most of the MGM details to make room for information about other stage and screen projects. Calendar 2016 became a “Road Trip to Oz;” each month I had a fan talk about a personal visit to an important Ozzy destination, while the dates covered grand openings, exhibits, and destination-based events. The Club’s 60th anniversary was a natural fit for 2017. Different members shared memories that covered important aspects of the Club. I had an endless stream of information to place on dates marking the milestones so many members had with Oz.
When 2018 needed a vision, I was deep in the throes of developing an Oz toy exhibit in Kansas City. Why not make that a calendar theme? Of course, I hadn’t considered that the toys I’d need to photograph would be in a museum behind glass until August of 2017! Or that finding specific dates tied to Oz toys would be a frustrating and futile search. Just that it would be a fun finished piece.
And, if I do say so myself, it is. Overthinking (as usual) my initial plan featured only the oldest and rarest Oz toys. My friend Lynn Beltz suggested I focus on toys today’s Oz fans would remember from their own childhoods, too. Way better! After a few months’ nod to historic toys, I was rounding up Halloween costumes, magic slates, and 50th anniversary toys to fill its pages.
With the postage now affixed and the envelopes mailed to the Club’s Sustaining, Patron and Wizard’s Circle members, I can catch my breath before starting on 2019. It will celebrate the Club’s long-awaited publication Bibliographia Baumiana. Each month will feature a Baum non-Oz book. With publication dates galore, and Bill Thompson’s wonderful new book for reference, I may get started early this time.