1957-1969: The International Wizard of Oz Club

1957

  • Jan. 1 – The Wizard of Oz Fan Club is founded with 16 members by 13-year-old Justin Schiller. To identify potential members, Martin Gardner and Fred Meyer had given him names and addresses of Oz fans they knew. Schiller’s first letter generates responses from eight high schoolers, one college student, four professional writers, a lawyer, a school teacher, a rare book dealer, and a housewife. Dues are $1 per year.

    The original members’ roster is Frank J. Baum (Honorary President), Ruth Berman, John A. Croghan, Nancy C. Dorian, Mrs. Robert G. (Alla Tchikoff) Ford, Martin Gardner (Chairman, Board of Directors), David Greene, Douglas Greene, Russell P. MacFall, Mary McClain, Fred M. Meyer (Royal Historian), Robert R. Pattrick, Justin Schiller (Royal Secretary), Gertrude Whittum, Steven Yaffe, and Hyman Zelkowitz.

  • Jan. 18 – Actor Oliver Hardy, the Tin Woodman from the 1925 Chadwick production of The Wizard of Oz, dies after a long and celebrated comic career with his professional partner, Stan Laurel.
  • Jan. – Humpty Dumpty Magazine offers “Let’s Play the Oz Game” by Martin Gardner. Two other cut-out-and-play games follow: “Let’s Race to the Emerald City” (Jan. 1960) and “See the Scarecrow’s Brains – See the Tin Man’s Heart” (May 1960).
  • Detroit Library Director Ralph Ulveling removes the Oz books from the shelves of Detroit Library’s Children’s Departments, saying they are negative and give youth a wrong approach to life. The Detroit Times reacts by publishing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in serial installments so that no local child will be unable to read it.
  • Feb. – Famous Authors Ltd. of New York prints a comic magazine version of The Wizard of Oz in its “Classics Illustrated Junior” series. It also is issued abroad and appears in Denmark, Holland, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and Portugal, and in eight different languages in India.
  • May 12 – Prof. Russell B. Nye responds to the Detroit action, writing, “If the message of the Oz books – that love, kindness and unselfishness make the world a better place – seems of no value today, it is perhaps time to reassess a good many other things besides the Detroit Library’s approved list of children’s books.”
  • June 30 – The first Baum Bugle is published by the Wizard of Oz Fan Club. It consists of four mimeographed pages.
  • July – Walt Disney announces he will begin shooting in November for the never-produced The Rainbow Road to Oz, featuring TV’s popular Mickey Mouse Club Mouseketeers. (This title also had been proposed by De Crawley Films, Canada, sometime in the 1930s.)
  • Sept. 11 – Three musical numbers for the planned Rainbow Road to Oz are shown on the television program Disneyland’s Fourth Anniversary Show. The Mouseketeers star as the Oz characters, and Walt Disney himself appears on the program to talk about his Oz project.
  • Sept. – “Justin, Boy King of Oz,” an article by Robert Freidberg about the Oz Club’s young founder, Justin Schiller, appears in Hobbies magazine.
  • Martin Gardner and Russell B. Nye’s The Wizard of Oz and Who He Was is published by Michigan State University Press, East Lansing, Mich. This volume is the first critical study of Baum’s work as a children’s writer. It also includes the unabridged text of The Wizard of Oz.
  • A new Italian translation of The Wizard of Oz, Il Mago di Oz, is published by Fratelli Fabbri Editori of Milan, Italy. It is translated by Emma Saracchi and illustrated by Maraja.
  • Sawyers Company’s View Master Stereo Slides are issued that include The Wizard of Oz. Three slides, each with seven photos of sculpted character models placed in elaborate settings, are included. The toy provides a three-dimensional effect.
  • Nobel Prize winner Yasumari Kowabata translates The Wizard of Oz into Japanese. Ozu no Mahotsukai is published by Hobunkan, Tokyo, with illustrations by Akitsuga Yokata. More than 15 additional translations will follow in the next 20 years.

1958

  • Apr. 21 – Baum’s son Robert Baum dies.
  • Dec. 2 – Baum’s son Frank J. Baum dies of a heart attack at his home in Los Angeles.
  • Alla Tchikoff Ford and Dick Martin’s The Musical Fantasies of L. Frank Baum is published by the Wizard Press, Chicago. The authors include three unproduced Baum plays: The Maid of Athens (1903), The King of Gee Whiz (1905), and The Pipes O’ Pan (1909). Reference to Baum’s other theatrical ventures and a checklist of his writings are included. Dick Martin is an illustrator for Reilly & Lee.
  • The Wizard of Oz Fan Club, now 43 members strong, becomes the International Wizard of Oz Club.
  • A doo-wop group called the Channers records “Over the Rainbow.”

1959

  • Comedian Red Skelton and his daughter Valentina host the second television airing of MGM’s 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.
  • Mar. 6 – Actor Fred A. Stone, the Scarecrow from the original Broadway play of The Wizard of Oz, dies.
  • Baum’s last surviving son, Harry Neal Baum, is named honorary president of the International Wizard of Oz Club.
  • Walt Disney proposes a Land of Oz attraction in the StorybookLand section of Disneyland. Designs are created, but the plans are never implemented.
  • Henry Regnery Company buys Reilly & Lee and soon brings all the Oz books back into print. They continue to use the Reilly & Lee imprint on children’s books. Eleven titles are distributed in new dust jackets by artist Roland Roycraft.
  • Volshebnik Izumrudnovo Goroda, entirely rewritten by Alexander Volkov, is reprinted in Moscow by Soviet Russia Publishers, with illustrations by L. Vladimirskow (a.k.a. Vladimirsky and Vladimirskov). Volkov is again credited as its author. In addition to later printings and illustrators, this Russian translation will itself be translated into many languages including Armenian (Erevan, 1962), Chinese (Forumsa, 1962), Czechoslovakian, German (Moscow, 1963), Kirghiz, Latvian (Riga, 1962), Lettish, Lithuanian, Serbo-Croatian (Novi Sad, 1955 and Zebrib, 1963), and Ukrainian.
  • The second broadcast of MGM’s The Wizard of Oz (1939) airs on CBS.
  • Alla T . Ford’s The High-Jinks of L. Frank Baum is published by the author as the Wizard Press, Chicago. It contains four poems by Baum and Baum’s platform for the Uplifters, a Los Angeles social club. The material originally appeared in The Uplifters’ Hymnal, Silver Anniversary Edition (1938). Ford (1910-1994) is a founding member of the International Wizard of Oz Club.
  • The Wizard of Oz is translated into Slovenian by Janko Moder. Carovnik iz Oza is published by Mladinska Knjiga, Ljubljin, Yugoslavia, with illustrations by Maksim Sedej.
  • The Wizard of Oz is translated into Persian by A. Halat. Jaduar-e-Shahr-e Zommorod is published by Andisheh, Tehran, with Copelman’s illustrations.
  • The Wizard of Oz, as translated into Japanese by Yasunari Kawabata, is published as Oz Mako Tzukai in Tokyo.

1960

  • Actor Richard Boone introduces the third television broadcast of MGM’s The Wizard of Oz from the location of his television series, Have Gun, Will Travel.
  • Aug. 17 – Robert Riley Pattrick, author of Unexplored Territory in Oz (1975), dies.
  • Sept. 18 – The first episode of the weekly The Shirley Temple Show presents The Land of Oz on NBC. The 55-minute William Asher production stars Shirley as Tip/Ozma, Agnes Moorehead as Mombi, Ben Blue, Arthur Treacher, and Jonathan Winters. Asher will cast Agnes Moorhead as Endora in the long- running television series Bewitched because of this performance.
  • Baum’s The Visitors from Oz is published by Reilly & Lee, Chicago, with illustrations by Dick Martin. The book includes Baum’s newspaper stories, Queer Visitors from the Land of Oz (1904-1905), heavily revised by Jean Kellogg and in a picture-book format.
  • Ice Capades, produced by Broadway’s John H. Harris, tours the country and includes a Wizard of Oz segment. Souvenirs include programs and felt banners. The 13-minute production uses more than 150 ice skaters. Lynn “Patsy” Finnegan is Dorothy.
  • Baum’s son Harry Neal and his wife Brenda call their resort on the shores of Bass Lake in Knox, Ind., Ozcot: The Wizard of Oz Lodge. Above the door they hang the original hand-carved signboard from the old Baum family cottage at Macatawa, Mich.
  • Cartoons called Tales of the Wizard of Oz are produced by Rankin-Bass Productions and syndicated for television. They include 105 five-minute cartoons of Dandy Lion, Socrates the Scarecrow, and Rusty the Tin Man. Tie-in merchandise includes dolls, coloring and comic books, a board game, purses, Halloween costumes, and other items.
  • The Wizard of Oz is translated into Chinese from the 1939 Russian translation by Alexander Volkov. Le Yeh Sien Tsung is published by Kuo-ming Ch’u-pan-she, Taipei, Taiwan. Volkov, not Baum, is credited as the original author.
  • Number 13, an experimental film based on The Wizard of Oz, is written and directed by Harry Smith for Film Makers Cooperative Production. This is a 108-minute live-action feature using elaborate sets and photography techniques. It is also known as The Magic Mushroom People of Oz and as Fragments of a Fate Forgotten.
  • An animated feature is proposed but never produced in Italy by Studio Gribba.

1961

  • Actor Dick Van Dyke and his three children host the fourth television broadcast of MGM’s The Wizard of Oz on CBS.
  • March 23 – Henry Neal Baum talks to the North Shore Chapter of the Theta Sigma Psi Journalism Society. He repeats his presentation, “My Father Was the Wizard of Oz,” on April 21 at the Cliff Dwellers Club of Chicago.
  • Apr. 2 – A reprise broadcast of The Shirley Temple Show episode The Land of Oz is scheduled on NBC but never airs.
  • Dick Martin and Fred Meyer take over as editors of The Baum Bugle, and Fred assumes the position of secretary as college studies demand more of Justin Schiller’s time.
  • Sept. 8-10 – The first Ozmopolitan Convention of the International Wizard of Oz Club is held in Knox, Ind., at Ozcot; The Wizard of Oz Lodge, the home-like summer hotel of Harry Neal and Brenda Baum on the shores of Bass Lake. During the convention, the first annual L. Frank Baum Memorial Award is presented to Dick Martin.
  • Frank Joslyn Baum and Russell P. MacFall’s biography of L. Frank Baum, To Please a Child, is published by Regnery Co. (as Reilly & Lee), Chicago. In the Chicago Tribune, Hedda Hopper suggests that the book would make a good movie.
  • The National Radio Astronomy Observatory tries to find life on other stars, calling the effort “Project Ozma.” The founding director of the project is Frank Drake.
  • The Wizard of Oz is translated into Serbo-Croatian by Alexander Stafanovic. Carobnjak iz Oza is published by Mlado Pokolenjz, Belgrade, with illustrations by Sasha Mishi.
  • The Wizard of Oz is adapted and translated into Portuguese by Selso Luiz Amorim. O Magico de Oz is published by Distribuidora Record, Rio de Janeiro, with illustrations by Gutemburg.
  • A direct Baum translation of The Wizard of Oz is used as an English-language text book for Soviet children. Also, The Magic of Oz, retold by G. Magidson-Stepanova, is published by State Text-Book Publishing House, Leningrad, with Russian footnotes. It includes abridgments of both The Wizard of Oz and Baum’s The Magic of Oz. The illustrations are by an anonymous artist. Also available from the same publisher for use as a textbook is an abridged version of Volshebnik Izumrudnovo Goroda Oz (Alexander Volkov’s version of Baum’s The Wizard of Oz), retold by M. Talinshaya.
  • MGM proposes an animated television series based on The Wizard of Oz, using Judy Garland as the voice of Dorothy. The series is never produced.

1962

  • April 15 – Actress Clara Blandick, Aunt Em from the classic 1939 MGM film, dies. Suffering from severe arthritis and impending blindness, she commits suicide.
  • June 16-22 – The International Wizard of Oz Club presents the L. Frank Baum Memorial Award to Russell P. MacFall during its convention at Ozcot: The Wizard of Oz Lodge. Additionally, other awards are presented, including “Ozcars” and a “Trailblazer Shield,” to honor active members. The event includes an auction this year. Forty items are offered, including original Neill illustrations contributed by Reilly & Lee.
  • The cover of the Christmas issue of The Baum Bugle is printed for the first time in full color.
  • The Wizard of Oz is translated into Polish by Stefania Wortman. Czarnoksieznik ze Szmaragdowego Grodu is published by Nasza Ksiegarnia, Warsaw, with illustrations by Adam Kiljan.
  • The Wizard of Oz is translated into Czechoslovakian by Jekub Markovic. Carodez Ze Zeme Oz is published by Statni Kikladatelstvi, Prague, with illustrations by Arnost Karasek.
  • Richard Fullmer produces Thompson’s The Yellow Knight of Oz (1930) for the stage. He is the manager of the Sacramento Civic (Eaglet) Theater.
  • The American Book Collector publishes an issue filled with Oz material. It includes Martin Gardner’s article, “Why Librarians Dislike Oz”; an updated version of Edward Wagenknecht’s 1929 essay, “Utopia Americana – A Generation Afterwards”; Harry Neal Baum’s “My Father Wrote the Oz Books”; an analysis by Dick Martin of George M. Hill variants of the first edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; an article by Howard Mott that provides a rare book dealer’s perspective on the Oz books; and an article about the founding of the International Wizard of Oz Club in 1957. An unpublished Baum short story also is included. “The Tiger’s Eye” had originally been written as a tenth story for Animal Fairy Tales (1905).
  • The Wizard of Oz is published as an English-language textbook for children in India by Umadevan & Co., Madras. Denslow’s illustrations are adapted.
  • Work begins on a feature-length animated musical called Return to the Land of Oz (a.k.a. Journey Back to Oz). It is not released until 1970, and then only overseas. The first U.S. release will be in 1974. Judy Garland’s daughter Liza Minnelli is the voice of Dorothy.
  • In Yugoslavia, Return to the Land of Oz is proposed by Lincoln/Ragrab Productions. It is to be directed by Boris Kolar, but when Kolar dies it is never completed.
  • Seven-Day Magic by Edward Eager includes overtones of the original Oz story. A retired vaudeville magician is the principal character. The volume is published by Harcourt, Brace and World, New York, and features illustrations by N. M. Bodecker.

1963

  • Oct. 12 – Eloise Jarvis McGraw and Lauren McGraw Wagner’s Merry Go Round in Oz is published by Regnery, Chicago, using the Reilly & Lee imprint. The publisher revives the Ozmapolitan promotional children’s newspaper to publicize its last official Oz book, which is illustrated by Dick Martin.
  • Oct. 23 – Oz author/illustrator Eric James Shanower is born in Key West, Fla. At age nine he joins the International Wizard of Oz Club. His original works, beginning with The Enchanted Apples of Oz (1986), will continue the Oz series in the graphic novel format.
  • Nov. 14 – A 200-piece Baum collection goes on display at the Syracuse University Library. The collection, purchased from Russell MacFall – an editor at The Chicago Tribune and co-author of To Please A Child (1961) – includes a salesman’s kit of Baum book samples and original Oz illustrations by Denslow and Neill.
  • The L. Frank Baum Memorial Award is presented to Harry Neal Baum.
  • Volkov’s first original Oz sequel, Urfin Dzhus i evo Dereviannie Soldati (Urfin Dzhus and his Wooden Soldiers), is published by Soviet Russia Publishers with illustrations by L. Vladimirskov. It will also be published by Yunatstba Publishers, Minsk, with illustrations by N. Sustava.
  • Anne Coulter Martens’s dramatization of The Wizard of Oz as a two-act play is published by the Dramatic Publishing Co., Chicago.
  • Opening of the Reed Marionettes Oz show. By 1965, newspapers will describe this production as a classic.
  • Harry Neal Baum attends the dedication of an elementary school in Chicago that is named after L. Frank Baum. It is located at 4950 South La Porte Ave.
  • The Wizard of Oz is translated into Tamil by R. A. Padmanabham and P. Mohan. As Nattu Mayavi is published by Umadevan, Madras, with illustrations by Gopi.
  • The Wizard of Oz is translated into Bengali by S. F. M. Rahman and is published with a few black-and-white Copelman illustrations.
  • Baum’s The Uplift of Lucifer (1915) and “The Corrugated Giant” from Prince Mud Turtle (1906) are privately printed with an introduction by Manuel Weltman.

1964

  • Spring – An essay by Henry M. Littlefield, “The Wizard of Oz: Parable on Populism,” is published by American Quarterly. Littlefield, a history teacher, finds that Baum’s story can be used to illustrate the Populism political movement from the turn of the century and make its basic facts easy for his students to remember. He makes no claim that the similarities between the movement and the fairy tale are intentional on Baum’s part, yet his parable is accepted by many as a covert political message and prompts criticism of the book. Although nothing from Baum’s life, interviews, political beliefs, or other writings substantiates the populism theory – and, in fact, all the evidence clearly contradicts it – the theory receives widespread acceptance in the academic community and is repeated frequently.
  • Actor Danny Kaye hosts the CBS presentation of MGM’s The Wizard of Oz.
  • The International Wizard of Oz Club is incorporated under the laws of Illinois as a nonprofit educational organization.
  • The Wizard of Oz is translated into German by Sybil Grafin Schonfelt. Der Zauberer Oz is published by Cecilie Bressler Verlag, Berlin, with illustrations by Peter Krukenberg. Though translated into German in 1940 for a Swiss publisher, this is the first translation of the classic story to be published in Germany.
  • Feb. 9 – NBC television presents Return to Oz, an animated musical sponsored by General Electric. A pot-metal charm bracelet promotes the broadcast. The Rankin-Bass production lasts 55 minutes and is based on their animated shorts Tales of the Wizard of Oz (1960).
  • The L. Frank Baum Memorial Award is presented to Justin G. Schiller.
  • West coast members of the International Wizard of Oz Club gather at the Los Angeles home of member Peter Hanff’s parents for the first Winkie Convention. The gathering is named after the western country of Oz.
  • Nov. 27 – In Van Nuys, Calif., a groundbreaking ceremony is held at the proposed site of a Land of Oz park.
  • Dec. – “A Librarian Looks at Oz” by Richard Paul Smyers is published in Library Occurent, Indiana State University. The author assumes his readers’ opinions are against the Oz books and suggests that they’ve never read them.
  • An Oz traveling fashion show previews back-to-school clothing for kids with an original musical playlet. The show is heavily advertised.
  • June - Bill Eubank, a puppeteer, clown, artist, and entertainer, displays his handmade Oz character puppets at the convention of the International Wizard of Oz Club.
  • A new French translation by Jean Murray of Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, Le Magicien d’Oz, is published by Librairie Hachette, Paris, with illustrations by Romain Simon.
  • A new Japanese translation by Fujie Tamamoto of Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, Ozu no Mahotsukai, is published by Kaiseisha, Tokyo, with illustrations by Maraja. By the 1990s, dozens of Japanese translations will be available.
  • Eloise Jarvis McGraw’s short story “The Magic Land” is published in Childcraft Vol. 13. It is a fictionalized account of how Baum wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
  • The Wizard of Oz is translated into Tamil by Gopala Krishnan. It is published in three small volumes as Acunakara Mantiravati by Vairam Publishers, Madras.

1965

  • Jan. 25 – The Chicago Tribune reports that the Lilly Library at Indiana University has acquired the author files of publisher Bobbs-Merrill to 1940. Baum and later Oz material is included.
  • Jan. 26 – A first edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is sold at public auction to a woman who says only that it will be a 25th anniversary gift for her husband. He proves to be actor Bert Lahr, the Cowardly Lion from the 1939 MGM classic film of the book.
  • Jan. 31 – The Willard Library, Evansville, Ind., announces the purchase of a full set of 40 Oz books.
  • Feb. 21 – Return to Oz is rebroadcast on NBC.
  • March – The Smyers article, “A Librarian Looks at Oz” (Dec. 1964), is reprinted in The Flying Maverick, Wyoming State Library.
  • April 25 – Margaret Hamilton appears in a Wicked Witch costume during an interview on the television program Discover.
  • June 18 – The fifth annual convention of the International Wizard of Oz Club is again hosted in the home of Harry Neal and Brenda Baum, Ozcot: The Wizard of Oz Lodge. The L. Frank Baum Memorial Award is presented to twin brothers David and Douglas Greene. Bill Eubank premiers his one-man puppet show of The Wizard of Oz.
  • July/Aug. – The Wizard of Ooze, the Adventures of Jerry Lewis offers an unusual comic book burlesque of The Wizard of Oz. It is published by National Periodical Publications, Inc. (D.C. Comics).
  • Aug. 1 – “Project Ozma,” an attempt by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory since 1961 to find life on other planets, is reported in The (Philadelphia) Sunday Bulletin.
  • Nov. 7-30 – The Port Washington Library on Long Island, N.Y., hosts an exhibition of 23 Neill illustrations.
  • Nov. 18 – Peter Hanff presents a biographical/bibliographical lecture on Baum for the Literary Rescue Society of Los Angeles. Hanff reports that members of this informal group are interested in authors who’ve suffered neglect from the critics or reading public. They are generally surprised to learn of Baum’s non-Oz books.
  • Dec. – “A Late Wanderer in Oz” by Jordan Brotman is published in Chicago Review.
  • The Henry Regnery Company releases the Baum Oz books in white hardback volumes. Artist Dick Martin traces and re-draws Neill’s cover designs, which are printed directly onto the books rather than being applied as paper, paste-on labels. The original copyright dates are preserved, and for each title Martin draws a different ampersand (the “and” sign) for the Reilly & Lee spine imprint. This is his inside joke for Oz bibliophiles who use the design of the ampersand to help date earlier Oz books in the absence of updates to the publisher’s page.
  • A brief Oz feature in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus generates posters and banners.
  • For the second year, actor Danny Kaye hosts the CBS presentation of MGM’s The Wizard of Oz.
  • Procter & Gamble sponsors a telecast of MGM’s The Wizard of Oz (1939) and introduces a successful line of plastic hand puppets that are packaged with Zest, Downy, and Top Job cleaning products. Consumers also can respond to a mail-in opportunity to add a puppet of the Wizard, a script, and a puppet theater to complete their set.
  • The Wizard of Oz is translated into Hungarian by Klara Szollosy. Oz, a Nagy Varazslo is published by Mora Klado, Budapest. Illustrations are by Konyvkiado.

1966

  • Jan. 1 – Ralph Fletcher Seymour is accidentally killed by an automobile near his home at Elburn, Kane County, Ill. The artist hand-lettered the pages of Baum’s first successful book, Father Goose: His Book (1899). His autobiography, Some Went This Way, was privately printed in Chicago in 1945.
  • Feb. 13 – Scenes from The Wizard of Oz are portrayed in the 14 elaborate floats of the Krew of La Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans, La. The theme was previewed Jan. 29 at the Ball of the Krew of Alla.
  • March 3 – Maxfield Parrish dies. The popular artist, best known for his theatrical, tableaux-like paintings accented with a vivid blue, had illustrated Baum’s first children’s book, Mother Goose in Prose (1897).
  • April – Jack and Jill features Ruth Plumly Thompson in their series “With Our Authors.”
  • April – Gold Key Comic Books publishes “The Wizard of Bahs,” a parody with Daisy Duck as Dorothy in the Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories series.
  • At the sixth annual convention of the International Wizard of Oz Club, the L. Frank Baum Memorial Award is presented to two of Baum’s surviving daughters-in-law, Mrs. Frank J. (Elizabeth) Baum and Mrs. Robert. S. (Edna) Baum. Member Martha Liehe also presents the Club with a flag of Oz.

    This summer, two new regional conventions also begin, named after corresponding countries in Oz. The Quadling Convention is held in the Baton Rouge, La., home of member Joan Holden. It includes a display of original art by Denslow, Neill, “Dirk,” Martin, Ulrey, and Youngren from the collection of Fred Meyer. In Malvern, Pa., Daniel Mannix hosts the Munchkin Convention at his farm with Ruth Plumly Thompson and Mrs. John R. (Margaret) Neill as guests of honor. A third annual Winkie Convention in La Canada, Calif., meets in the home of Florence Hurst, granddaughter of L. Frank Baum. There, children pick box lunches from a lunch box tree as Dorothy did in Ozma of Oz (1907).

  • Sept. – The Royal European Marionette Theatre’s version of The Wizard of Oz is performed in Illinois. The elaborate production uses 55 large-scale marionette characters.
  • Nov. 19 – Bill Eubank premiers a new puppet show, The Wonderful Land of Oz, at Beverly Unitarian Church, Chicago. The play is based on Baum’s The Land of Oz. By this time, Eubank also is working with ventriloquist figures of the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman.
  • Fantasia 3, the second of three separate fairy tales, filmed in Spain, is an 82-minute version of The Wizard of Oz.
  • The Blue Emperor of Oz by Henry S. Blossom is published in St. Croix, Virgin Islands. This is the first full-length Oz pastiche.
  • The Magnificent Defeat, a book of sermons by author and minister Frederick Buechner, is published by Seabury Press, New York. One of the 18 sermons in the collection uses the story of The Wizard of Oz to illustrate that none of us is altogether the person we wish we were.
  • The Wizard of Oz and Other Trans-love Trips by Capitol Records presents an album of Oz music with a unique ’60s sound. It is described in reviews by Oz fans as “weird” and “disturbing.”
  • Actor Danny Kaye again hosts the CBS presentation of MGM’s The Wizard of Oz.

1967

  • June 7 – Baum’s son Harry Neal Baum dies.
  • The annual L. Frank Baum Memorial Award is presented to James E. Haff.
  • Sept. 8 – ABC airs 26 episodes of the Off to See the Wizard television show, which features animated Oz characters opening and closing the program. Much of the ensuing toys and other merchandise will be available into the 1970s. These Oz animations are produced by Chuck Jones.
  • Oct. 1 – The Wizard of Oz underwater feature opens at Weeki Wachee Springs in Brookville, Fl. It runs through Sept. 3, 1968.
  • Nov. 27 – Puppeteer Bil Baird’s The Wizard of Oz opens, using songs from the MGM film in a marionette production.
  • Dec. 4 – Actor Bert Lahr dies in New York City. The character actor from burlesque, vaudeville, the Broadway stage, and motion pictures and television will always be best remembered as the Cowardly Lion from MGM’s 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz.
  • For the fourth time, actor Danny Kaye hosts the CBS presentation of MGM’s The Wizard of Oz.
  • Harvey Publications’ Harvey Hits adds another comic version of Oz, “G.I. Juniors.”
  • The Wizard of Oz is translated into Bulgarian by Anna Kamenova. Valsebnikat of Oz, published by Narodna Mladez, is illustrated by L. Zidarov.

1968

  • Jan. 2 – The Chicago Daily News reports that The Wizard of Oz has been named the # 1 all-time favorite children’s book by Alice Payne Hackett in 70 Years of Best Sellers.
  • Feb. – Time magazine reports that The Wizard of Oz is the 11th best-selling fiction book of all time, and the 20th best-selling book of all time in any category.
  • March-April – Baum’s writings are presented in a two-part checklist in The Fantasy Collector.
  • NBC broadcasts MGM’s 1939 The Wizard of Oz for the first time. Rights had been purchased from CBS in Aug. 1967.
  • Oz author Ruth Plumly Thompson and her sister Dorothy Thompson Curtiss move to the Kingsbury Apartments in Malvern, Pa.
  • At the eighth annual convention of the International Wizard of Oz Club, Oz author Ruth Plumly Thompson is announced as the winner of this year’s L. Frank Baum Memorial Award.
  • Hallmark Cards SA issues a French version of the Albert G. Miller/Paul Taylor pop-up edition of The Wizard of Oz. Called Le Magicien du Pays Verts, it is distributed in France.
  • The Wizard of Oz is translated again into Tamil, this time by Naka Mattaiah. Mantiravatiyin Katai is published by Ciruver ilakkiym pannaii, Madras.

1969

  • Mar. 2 – The last performance of Bil Baird’s The Wizard of Oz puppet show takes place.
  • June 22 – Actress Judy Garland dies in London.
  • June – Members of the International Wizard of Oz Club meet for their seventh annual convention in Castle Park, Mich. In the retreat-like setting, they don’t learn of Judy Garland’s death. Convention attendee Patty Tobias, who drove away, remembers seeing fellow Club members pull to the side of the road in shock as they first hear the radio reports of the news.
  • Ray Powell is given the L. Frank Baum Memorial Award.
  • July – Mad Magazine includes a seven-page cartoon parody of The Wizard of Oz, “The Guru of Ours.”
  • Dec. 25 – The Chadwick film of The Wizard of Oz (1925) is shown on television in Chicago.
  • The Wonderful Land of Oz, a 72-minute low-budget children’s matinee film from Cinetron Corporation, is released. The production is directed by Barry Mahon, whose son plays the character of Tip.
  • The Land of Oz theme park opens on a mountain in Banner Elk, N.C.
  • Procter & Gamble repeats its 1965 Wizard of Oz puppet promotion.
  • Walt Disney Studios produces Disneyland storyteller albums of The Cowardly Lion of Oz and The Tin Woodman of Oz. The Cowardly Lion is an original story, but The Tin Woodman is loosely based on Baum’s book (1918) – with particularly notable liberties taken with the ending. Sam Edwards narrates both albums, and Bill Lee provides the songs. Ron Howard, the child star of television’s Andy Griffith Show, is the voice of Woot the Wanderer.
  • A miniature edition of The High-Jinks of L. Frank Baum (1959) is published by Ford Press, Hong Kong. The tiny volume measures two by two-and-a-half inches. It is limited to 500 copies.
  • Baum’s A Kidnapped Santa Claus (1904) is published by Bobbs-Merrill Co., N.Y., with new illustrations by Richard Rosenblum and an introduction by Martin Williams (1926-1993). This is the first appearance of this short story in book form.
  • Volkov’s Urfin Dzhus I evo Dereviannie Soldati (1963) is translated into English from the original Russian by Mary G. Langford. The Wooden Soldiers of Oz is published by Opium Books, Hong Kong, with illustrations by L. Vladimirskow (a.k.a. Vladimirsky and Vladimirskov).
  • Volkov’s second original Oz sequel, Sem’ Podsemnykh Korolei (Seven Underground Kings), is published by Soviet Russia Publishers with illustrations by L. Vladimirskow (a.k.a. Vladimirsky and Vladimirskov). A later reprint is illustrated by Alexander Koval.
  • The Wizard of Oz is translated into Portuguese by Paulo Meudes Campos. O Magico de Oz is published by Edicoes do Ouro, Rio de Janeiro, with Denslow illustrations.
  • John Lahr’s biography of his father, Bert Lahr, Notes on a Cowardly Lion, is published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York.
  • Baum’s Animal Fairy Tales (1905) is published by the International Wizard of Oz Club, Inc., with an introduction by Russell P. MacFall. Dick Martin illustrates the book. This is the first appearance in a single volume of these stories.