1970-1984: The Oz Club Grows

1970

  • The television series Death Valley Days airs “The Wizard of Aberdeen.” This episode is the first film biography of L. Frank Baum. Oz Club member Vernon H. Jones writes the script.
  • March 14 – Margaret Hamilton, Jack Haley, and Ray Bolger reminisce about their roles in MGM’s classic film The Wizard of Oz for an article published in TV Guide.
  • Actor Gregory Peck hosts the television broadcast of MGM’s The Wizard of Oz. He provides a tribute to the late July Garland.
  • May 14 – MGM employee Kent Warner finds four pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in MGM’s classic film The Wizard of Oz deteriorating in a costume-packed warehouse. He turns over the pair that is in the worst condition, then secretly keeps the best pair and sells the others to actress Debbie Reynolds and a friend, Michael Shaw. The pair purchased by Reynolds – eventually dubbed the Arabian Test pair – was a rejected design with curled toes. Warner’s own pair shows virtually no wear and may have been used on the feet of the Wicked Witch of the East. Whether he actually found more than four pairs, and if so what became of them, remains a mystery.
  • May 14 – Actress Billie Burke, who played Glinda the Good Witch in the classic 1939 MGM film The Wizard of Oz, dies. Following a career on the stage, she was featured in more than 80 films, wrote two autobiographies, and had been married to Florenz Ziegfeld.
  • May 17 – In an auction of MGM film memorabilia, the ruby slippers turned in by Kent Warner are auctioned for $15,000 to an anonymous buyer.
  • June – National Periodical Publications (DC Comics) Adventure Comics publishes a short story, “The Mysterious Motr of Doov.” The odd time-travel adventure ends with Supergirl and her pet supercat, Streaky, telling her story to L. Frank Baum in 1898, thus inspiring The Wizard of Oz. It was written by Cary Bates and illustrated by Win Mortimer.
  • The L. Frank Baum Memorial Award is presented to its youngest recipient, John Fricke.
  • Oct. – Films and Filming reports that DePatie-Freleng Enterprises plans to produce a serialized cartoon version of The Wizard of Oz for NBC Saturday-morning television.
  • Dec. 30 – Jack Haley appears on television’s Mike Douglas Show, where he sings “If I Only Had a Heart.”
  • MGM’s The Wizard of Oz is rereleased in theaters as a children’s matinee.
  • The first Greek translation (by M. Psarra) of The Wizard of Oz is published by M. Pechlivanidis & Co., Athens, with Copelman’s illustrations.
  • The Wizard of Oz is translated into Afrikaans by Peter W. Gobbelaar. Die Ongelooflike Towenaar van Oz is published by Human & Rousseau, Cape Town, with illustrations by B.S. Biro.

1971

  • Feb. 2 – The Houston Chronicle reports that Michael Shaw owns a pair of Judy Garland’s ruby slippers from MGM’s The Wizard of Oz. He is quoted saying that four pairs exist.
  • Feb. 7 – Sixteen Wizard of Oz floats are featured in a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans. Souvenir coins called doubloons that feature the main characters are thrown to the crowd.
  • Martin Gardner receives the L. Frank Baum Memorial Award.
  • June 28-July 28 - The Emerald City of Oz is produced on the stage for the first time at Pioneer Memorial Theatre in Salt Lake City by Gayle Cotterell Nemelka.
  • Dec. 6 – Baum’s daughter-in-law Elizabeth Baum dies in Los Angeles. She was the third wife of his oldest son, Frank J. Baum.
  • Publishers Rand McNally, Chicago, publish paperback versions of the current editions of the Oz books by Reilly & Lee.
  • The first translation of The Wizard of Oz issued in Belgium is published by L. Opplebeek, Antwerp.
  • After 12 years in production, Filmation Associates’ Journey Back to Oz, an 88-minute feature, is finally released in U.S. matinee theaters and is sold almost immediately to television. Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland’s daughter, provides the voice of Dorothy. Other voices include Margaret Hamilton (Aunt Em); Mickey Rooney (Scarecrow); Milton Berle (Cowardly Lion); Danny Thomas (Tin Woodman); Mel Blanc (Wizard); Rise Stevens (Glinda); Paul Ford (Uncle Henry); and Ethel Merman (Mombi). Musical numbers were provided by lyricist Sammy Cahn and composer James Van Heusen.
  • A 100-minute live-action Turkish film of The Wizard of Oz, Aysecik Ve Sihirli Cuceler Ruyaler Ulresinde (The Bewitched Dwarfs in Dreamland), is produced in Turkey by Birsen Films.
  • The International Wizard of Oz Club publishes Oziana, its first collection of short stories by members. Original illustrations by members accompany the stories. A high school student, Gary Ralph, edits what will become an annual literary magazine.

1972

  • Thompson’s Yankee in Oz, written in the 1960s, is published by the International Wizard of Oz Club with illustrations by Dick Martin.
  • Spring – The catalog of Custom-Craft Furniture, Inc., Hickory, N.C., pictures a child’s bedroom of Oz furniture and accessories available from the company.
  • Baum’s niece Matilda J. Gage receives the L. Frank Baum Memorial Award.
  • Summer – More than 1,600 children participate in “The Road to Oz,” a reading program in Herkimer, Madison, and Oneida counties, N.Y.
  • July 28 – Fanny Cory, illustrator of Baum’s The Master Key (1901) and The Enchanted Island of Yew (1903), dies.
  • Journey Back to Oz is released in England and Australia.
  • Volkov’s next original Oz book, Ognyennei Bog Marranov (The Fire God of the Maronnes), is published in Russia with illustrations by L. Vladimirskow (a.k.a. Vladimirsky and Vladimirskov). The book itself, which is also known as The Fiery God of the Mavrans, is also published by Murmansk Book Publishers with illustrations by V. Medvedyer and by Eastenr Siberian Book Publishers, Novosibirsk, with illustrations by I.D. Shurits.
  • The Wizard of Oz is translated into Dutch by C. Buddingh. Lonneke in Het Land Van Oz is published by Frank Fehmers Productions, Amsterdam.
  • MGM’s Wizard of Oz is rereleased again as a children’s matinee.
  • Winter (1972-1973) - The Hudson Review features an article on Baum by Roger Sales. It is especially noteworthy because, in 1978, it will be included as a chapter in Fairy Tales and After: From Snow White to E.B. White, published by Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.

1973

  • The Tournament of Roses Parade includes an Oz float and wins the Governor’s Trophy. Giant animated heads of the Cowardly Lion, Tin Woodman, and Scarecrow dominate the float, which also features Billy Curtis, Hazel Resmondo, and Jerry Marren, who had appeared as Munchkins in MGM’s Wizard of Oz.
  • Apr. 12 – Producer Arthur Freed, who had signed MGM’s contract purchasing rights to The Wizard of Oz from Samuel Goldwyn, dies.
  • June – Cycle Toons prints “Hogg in Oz” by Bil Stout. This 10-page parody of The Wizard of Oz is about a motorcyclist’s adventures. The magazine is published by Peterson Publishing Company.
  • The L. Frank Baum Memorial Award is presented to Peter E. Hanff.
  • July – A new Turkish translation of The Wizard of Oz by Feza Ozgen, Billur Kosk, is published by Koza Yayinlari, Istanbul.
  • Autumn – Jerry Tobias replaces David Greene as central editor of the International Wizard of Oz Club’s journal, The Baum Bugle.
  • Sept 20-Nov. 29 – In Denmark, Trolmanden fra Oz is staged at the Det Lille Theater in Copenhagen. The stage play is adapted from the Classic Comics version of the Baum story.
  • Michael Patrick Hearn’s The Annotated Wizard of Oz is published by Clarkson N. Potter, New York. The New York Times chooses it as one of the year’s top Christmas gift books.
  • The Land of Oz is translated into Polish by Stefania Wortman. W. Krainie Czarnoksieznika Oza is published in Poland by Instytut Wydawniczy, Warsaw, with illustrations by Zbigniew Rychlicki.
  • O Magico Monarca de Mo, a Portuguese translation of Baum’s The Magical Monarch of Mo (1903) by Paulo Silveira, is published by Editora Technoprints A., Rio de Janeiro, with Ver Beck’s original illustrations.
  • The Wizard of Oz in the Wild West, a play by Willard Simms, is published by Pioneer Drama Service, Denver. The children’s play combines historic American figures such as Wild Bill Hickok, Billy the Kid, and Annie Oakley with an adaptation of MGM’s version of Baum’s original story.

1974

  • Jan. – Julian Oldfield writes and directs an original sequel to The Wizard of Oz for the British stage.
  • April – Five performances of The Wizard of Oz are given at the Central Children’s Theater in Moscow. An American troupe from the State University of New York at Albany performs under the direction of Patricia Synder. Russian author Alexander Volkov, credited by most Russian children with authorship of the original story, appears at the final presentation and takes a bow.
  • May 21 – Fairuza Alejandra Balk is born. The young actress will star as Dorothy in Disney’s feature length, live-action film Return to Oz (1985).
  • June – C. Warren Hollister is presented with the L. Frank Baum Memorial Award for 1974.
  • Oct. 21 – Trial runs of a new stage musical based on The Wizard of Oz, called The Wiz, are staged in Baltimore, followed by Detroit and Philadelphia performances.
  • Nov. – Journey Back to Oz is released in the United States.
  • Dec. 24 – The Wiz, a new musical based on The Wizard of Oz that features an all-black cast, previews in New York.
  • Film collector William Wantz discovers five reels of Baum’s 1914 silent film production The Patchwork Girl of Oz among other films stored in his garage. He sells them to Murray Glass of Glenn Photo Supply, who restores them and makes copies available for sale.
  • Raylyn Moore’s Wonderful Wizard, Marvelous Land is published by Bowling Green University Popular Press, Bowling Green, Ohio. This analytical study of Baum’s work includes enough factual errors to prompt criticism from other Baum scholars.
  • Volkov’s translation/adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, The Wizard of the City of Emeralds (1939), is produced as an animated film series for television.
  • Volkov’s Zholti Tuman (The Yellow Fog) is published in Moscow with illustrations by L. Vladimirskow (a.k.a. Vladimirsky and Vladimirskov).
  • NBC airs its final broadcast of MGM’s Wizard of Oz.
  • Smithsonian Institution Puppet Theater presents a 49-minute marionette version of The Marvelous Land of Oz based on a script by Oz enthusiast Martin Williams. This elaborate production includes music, slides, and three-feet-tall puppets.
  • The Wizard of Oz is translated into Hebrew by Eliezer Carmi. Hakosem Me ‘Eretz Utz is published by Dora Publishing House, Tel Aviv, with Denslow’s illustrations.

1975

  • Jan. 5 – The Wiz opens on Broadway at the Majestic Theater on 44th Street, and goes on to win seven Tony Awards. They are Best Musical Score, Best Supporting Actor (Ted Ross/Tin Woodman), Best Supporting Actress (Dee Dee Bridgewater/Glinda), Best Director (Musical), Best Costumes, and Best Choreographer. The production is directed by Geoffrey Holder.Butterfly McQueen (the actress who played Prissie in Gone with the Wind, 1939) was originally cast to play the Queen of the Field Mice until her scene was cut from the musical. The original recording is available on Atlantic. Music and lyrics are by Charlie Smalls, except for “Tornado” by Timothy Graphenreed and “Everybody Rejoice” by Luther Vandross. William Brown adapted the story. New names for characters include “Evamene” as the Wicked Witch of the East, “Evillene” as the Wicked Witch of the West, and “Addaperle” as the Good Witch of the North. The cast includes Dorothy, played by 17-year-old Stephanie Mills; Hinton Battle as the Scarecrow; Tiger Haynes as the Tin Man; Ted Ross as the Cowardly Lion; André De Shields as the Wizard; Mabel King as Evillene; and Dee Dee Bridgewater as Glinda.

    Several elements are faithful to the original Baum story. Dorothy’s shoes, for example, are silver. The characters get lost in the land of the Kalidahs, and the Cowardly Lion is rescued from the poppy field by the Mice Squad. The Wizard became the ruler by giving everyone in the city green sunglasses. After the Wizard’s balloon takes off without Dorothy, Addaperle summons Glinda to see if she can help, and Glinda tells Dorothy that the silver shoes will carry her home.

  • Surviving cast members of MGM’s classic film The Wizard of Oz are reunited in the grand ballroom at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. Margaret Hamilton, Ray Bolger, and Jack Haley all attend.
  • Feb. 3 – In Kansas City, a Tin Man building contest is used to promote the animated film Journey Back to Oz (1971).
  • Feb. – Mego Toy Co. produces Oz dolls and three play sets based on the 1939 MGM film. The play sets are the Emerald City, Munchkinland, and the Wicked Witch’s castle. The popularity of these toys prompts additional interest in the MGM Oz license among other manufacturers.
  • Bill Eubank is presented with the L. Frank Baum Memorial Award.
  • Summer – Margaret Hamilton tours with a production of The Wizard of Oz. She shares billing with the Hudson Brothers, who play the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion.
  • July-Aug. – Baum’s 1909 Oz book, The Road to Oz, is presented on stage at the University of Utah.
  • Dec. 25 – MGM’s The Wizard of Oz is broadcast for the first time in England.
  • Dec. 28 – A fire in the theater, gift shop, and museum at the Land of Oz park in Banner Elk, N.C., is followed by the reported thefts of several pieces of MGM memorabilia, including a Judy Garland dress.
  • DC and Marvel Comics publishers join forces to produce an oversized comic book adaptation of MGM’s The Wizard of Oz; a similar version of Baum’s Marvelous Land of Oz follows. Though Baum’s Ozma of Oz also is planned, it is never published, due primarily to the expense of related copyrights.
  • An animated Oz television series is projected by Lennie Weinrib Productions.
  • The Wizard of Oz and The Land of Oz are translated into Swedish by Sam J. Lundwall. Trollkarlen fran Oz and Landet Oz are published by Delta Förlags, Bromma. Denslow and Neill illustrations are used.
  • Unexplored Territory in Oz, a collection of four essays by Robert R. Pattrick, is published by the International Wizard of Oz Club. The individual essays are “Oz vs. Authors,” “The Early History of Oz,” “Oz Magic,” and “Books in Oz.”
  • A hard-line Freudian interpretation of MGM’s The Wizard of Oz by Harvey R. Greenburg, “The Wizard of Oz: Little Girl Lost – and Found,” is published in The Movies on Your Mind, Dutton, New York.
  • The International Wizard of Oz Club’s magazine, The Baum Bugle, is renamed The Baum Bugle: A Journal of Oz.

1976

  • Feb. 20 – The Washington Post reports that Ray Bolger says he was inspired to dance at age 16 when he saw Fred Stone, the Scarecrow from the original Broadway production of The Wizard of Oz (1902), dance on stage in Boston.
  • Apr. 6 – Author Ruth Plumly Thompson dies. She had served as the Royal Historian of Oz since Baum’s death in 1919, contributing 21 Oz books and dozens of original characters to the series. Her ashes are interred at the WestLaurelHillCemetery in Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Apr. – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine prints a short story by Jon Breen, “The Flying Thief of Oz.”
  • May – The Children’s Literature Association names The Wizard of Oz in its list of the 10 best books written by American authors in the last 200 years.
  • May-June – Cobblestone reports that Jack Haley is writing a book, The Heart of the Tin Man.
  • Daniel P. Mannix is given the L. Frank Baum Memorial Award.
  • Dec. 5 – Journey Back to Oz (1971) appears on ABC, hosted by Bill Cosby.
  • Dec. – The Chicago Park Board approves the new name of “Oz Park” at 2100 North Larrabee. More than 14,000 Chicago school children support the name in an election. It was proposed by Oz Club member Bill Eubank, whose publicity efforts included a group of people in Oz costumes parading through the area.
  • Chris Lofven’s rock ’n roll musical film Oz (a.k.a. 20th Century Oz), produced by Count Features, Inc., is released in Australia. The adult story is loosely based on Baum’s original book.
  • Ruth Plumly Thompson’s The Enchanted Island of Oz is published by the International Wizard of Oz Club, Inc., with illustrations by Dick Martin. She had begun writing the manuscript in the 1940s, and had reviewed and rewritten much of it just prior to her death.
  • Douglas G. Greene and Michael Patrick Hearn’s definitive biography, W. W. Denslow, is published by the Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University. It includes a 44-page bibliography with a checklist of Denslow’s published works.
  • Bibliographia Oziana is published by the International Wizard of Oz Club. Written by Douglas G. Greene and Peter Hanff, the content is based on Baum Bugle checklists originally prepared by Dick Martin, James Haff, and David Greene. This is the first reference book to detail the textual variants of the Oz series.
  • Doug McClelland’s Down the Yellow Brick Road: The Making of the Wizard of Oz is published by Pyramid Press, N.Y.
  • The Purple Dragon and Other Fantasies is published by Fictioneer Books, Lakemont, Calif. This collection of short stories is selected and edited by David. L. Greene and is illustrated by Tim Kirk. It includes the first appearance in a book of Baum’s short story “The King Who Changed His Mind” (circa 1901). 
  • A softcore pornographic version of The Wizard of Oz to star Kristine de Bell is projected by Bill Osco, but Dirty Dorothy is never produced.
  • Volkov’s 1939 Russian translation of The Wizard of Oz is produced for the stage at the Malaya Bronaya Theater in Moscow. Consistent with the Volkov text, Dorothy’s name is Elli and her dog is Totoshka. The production is later presented in England as The Scarecrow, the Lion, the Tinman and Me.

1977

  • April – The Actors Theater for Children, Santa Rosa, Ca., announces a statewide contest for children’s theater scripts. The competition is restricted to play versions of Baum’s Oz stories other than The Wizard of Oz. The winning play, to be announced in October, will be produced in 1978.
  • Barbara Koelle is given the L. Frank Baum Memorial Award.
  • July 27 – Henry Regnery Company becomes Contemporary Books, Inc.
  • Nov. 17 – MGM’s The Wizard of Oz is voted the third-best American movie of all time by the members of the American Film Institute. Others in the top 10 are Gone with the Wind, Casablanca, Singin’ in the Rain, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Star Wars, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The African Queen, The Grapes of Wrath, and Citizen Kane.
  • Aljean Harmetz’s The Making of The Wizard of Oz is published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York. This is the longest reference book published to date about the classic MGM film.
  • David L. Greene and Dick Martin’s The Oz Scrapbook is published by Random House, N.Y. This volume, packed with illustrations and photos, reviews the popularity of the Oz series and the many stage and screen treatments inspired by Baum’s The Wizard of Oz.
  • Sept 29 and Oct. 6 – The New York Review of Books prints “The Wizard of the ‘Wizard’” and “On Rereading the Oz Books,” a lengthy two-part article about L. Frank Baum and Oz by author Gore Vidal.
  • Nov. 30-Dec. 16 – The Philomathean Art Gallery of the University of Pennsylvania presents an exhibition of W.W. Denslow’s works. Nineteen original drawings and 16 books and pamphlets are included, drawn primarily from the private collection of Michael Gessel. Other members of the International Wizard of Oz Club lend material, as does the New York Public Library.
  • Edwin M. Knowles China Company introduces the first in a series of eight Wizard of Oz plates. They are the first such series to commemorate a motion picture.
  • Chris Lofven’s Australian Oz is released in the U.S. as the R-rated 20th Century Oz.
  • Stuart Kaminsky’s mystery novel Murder on the Yellow Brick Road is published by St. Martin’s Press, New York, with a cover illustration by Joel Iskowitz.
  • Alexander Melentyevich Volkov, Russian professor, mathematician, and author of five original Oz books – sequels to his own translation of Baum’s original – dies.
  • Author and minister Fred Buechner again uses Oz in one of his books. Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy and Fairy Tale is published by Harper & Row, San Francisco.

1978

  • The L. Frank Baum Memorial Award is given to Fred. M. Meyer.
  • Nov. 2 – Swann Galleries auctions the lifetime collection of the International Wizard of Oz Club’s founder, Justin G. Schiller. This is the first such sale of its kind. A 144-page catalog is published of items in the sale, leaving a lasting record of this superb collection.
  • Nov. 6 – Rainbow, a television dramatization of the early life of Judy Garland, airs. Child actor-turned-director Jackie Cooper draws on his own early memories of Judy to prepare the film.
  • Artist Michael Herring is assigned to illustrate new covers for Oz books to be reprinted in paperback by Del Rey, New York.
  • A feature film version of The Wiz, produced by Universal, opens. The all-star cast includes Diana Ross as Dorothy, Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow, Nipsey Russell as the Tin Man, Ted Ross as the Cowardly Lion, Lena Horne as Glinda, and Richard Pryor as the Wiz. The film does not receive the critical or popular success enjoyed by the 1975 stage production. Additional credits include Tony Walton, production design and costumes; Charlie Smalls, songs; Quincy Jones, who adapted and supervised music; Ken Harper, executive producer; Joel Schumacher, screenplay; Sidney Lumet, director; and Albert Whitlock, special effects.
  • The Wiz Scrapbook by Richard J. Anobile is published by Berkley Publishing Corp., N.Y. It includes 200 photos from the film production.
  • MCA releases the original soundtrack to The Wiz.
  • Rob Roy MacVeigh begins work on a feature-length animated production of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz that will be faithful to the original Baum text. Although the film’s storyboard, score, and several sequences are eventually completed, the film doesn’t receive the financial backing it needs to be finished.
  • Dick Martin and James Lawrence develop an Oz comic strip that is proposed but never published.
  • Mayor Darwin Houseman of Chittenango, N.Y., proposes that a double row of real yellow bricks replace the painted double yellow line on State Road 5 in honor of Baum.
  • Millennium Records releases a disco version of the music from MGM’s The Wizard of Oz.

1979

  • March – At the Victorian Album Conference in Washington, D.C., Robert B. Luehrs presents “L. Frank Baum and the Land of Oz: A Children’s Author as Social Critic.”
  • May 12 – “Wizard of Oz Day” in Los Angeles unites Jack Haley, Margaret Hamilton, Ray Bolger, and Munchkins Billy Curtis, Hazel Resmondo, and Jerry Maren in a celebration of the classic film. Producer Mervyn LeRoy is interviewed, and Oz Club member/Oz collector Warren Hollister speaks about Baum’s life and writings. Memorabilia on exhibit includes Bert Lahr’s Cowardly Lion costume.
  • May 12 – The first annual Oz festival is held in Chittenango, N.Y., birthplace of L. Frank Baum.
  • Ray Bolger and Jack Haley appear at the Oscars. They dance on stage to “We’re Off to See the Wizard.”
  • In Chittenango, N.Y., a citizens’ committee forms to build a winding path of yellow bricks through the business district.
  • June 6 – Actor Jack Haley dies in Los Angeles.
  • Margaret Hamilton is the guest of honor at the Ozmopolitan Convention of the International Wizard of Oz Club in Castle Park, Mich.
  • Jerry Tobias receives the L. Frank Baum Memorial Award.
  • Oct.-Nov. – Susan Zeder’s dramatization of Baum’s Ozma of Oz is performed at Poncho Theater in Seattle.
  • Nov. 10 – The cartoon Super Friends includes an episode, “The Planet of Oz,” in which Superman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman are transformed into the Tin Woodman, Cowardly Lion, and Scarecrow.
  • Dec. – The ruby slippers purchased in the MGM memorabilia auction of 1970 are donated anonymously to the Smithsonian Institute.
  • Michael Korolenko and Leslie Johnson develop a film treatment about Oz that is never produced. The screenplay opens with a documentary approach, then the characters are transported to Oz for a lengthy fantasy sequence.
  • Del Rey/Ballantine Books of New York begins publishing the Oz series in paperback.
  • The Wizard of Oz is again translated into Hebrew. This version is the work of Bosmat Even-Zohar.

1980

  • May 15 – The Congressional Record reports that Congressman James Hardy, in whose district Chittenango, N.Y., lies, records remarks to the Congress of the United States on the 124th anniversary of Baum’s birth. He includes information about the annual Oz festival held in the town, the Yellow Brick Road that is under construction there, and Baum’s life and career.
  • Irene Fisher is given the L. Frank Baum Memorial Award.
  • Nov. 25 – An animated made-for-television movie, Thanksgiving in Oz (a.k.a. Dorothy and the Land of Oz, Christmas in Oz, and Dorothy and the Green Gobbler of Oz), is broadcast. The 26-minute production is by Muller-Rosen Productions. Sid Caesar is the voice of the Wizard.
  • Dec. – Susan Zeder’s dramatization of Baum’s Ozma of Oz is performed at the Honolulu Theater for Youth. It is published by Anchorage Press, New Orleans.
  • Eloise Jarvis McGraw and Lauren Lynn McGraw’s The Forbidden Fountain of Oz is published by the International Wizard of Oz Club with illustrations by Dick Martin. Lauren Lynn has resumed using her maiden name.
  • Dover Publications, New York, publishes Cut & Assemble the Emerald City of Oz by Dick Martin. It sells well enough to prompt additional Oz activity books by Martin for children.
  • MGM’s The Wizard of Oz is released on videocassette.
  • The Land of Oz theme park in Banner Elk, N.C., goes out of business. It had opened in 1969. A fire at the park (12/28/75) and difficulties in the owner’s overseas investments lead to the decision to close.
  • Books of Wonder opens at 444 Hudson St., New York, N.Y. The specialty bookstore offers a large stock of out-of print Oz books and more than a dozen original Oz pen-and-ink drawings by Neill.
  • An addendum to the list of Denslow work included in his biography (W. W. Denslow, 1976) is written by Douglas Greene and published in the Autumn 1980 issue of The Baum Bugle.
  • “Le Magicien d’Oz a l’Ecran” by Christopher Gang and Jean-Pierre Samuelson is published in L’Ecran Fantistique, Paris. The 33-page article offers an in-depth look at Oz dramatizations for French readers, with 87 illustrations.
  • The Wizard of the City of Emeralds, a Russian television series of ten 20-minute episodes based on the first three Volkov books, is produced in Russia using stop-motion puppet animation.
  • The International Wizard of Oz Club, Inc., publishes Runaway Shadows and Other Stories by L. Frank Baum. The other five titles are “Strange Tale of Nursery Folk,” 1901; “The Bad Man,” 1901; “The King Who Changed His Mind,” c. 1901; “A Kidnapped Santa Claus,” 1904; and “Nelebel’s Fairyland,” 1905.
  • Robert A. Heinlein’s The Number of the Beast, published by Fawcett Columbia, New York, uses an Oz theme for its illustrated cover.
  • The Seattle-King County Visitor’s Bureau solicits nicknames for Seattle. The Emerald City — with 400 ballots — wins a vote, and the theme is incorporated into promotions and advertisements.

1981

  • Mar. 5 – MGM lyricist E. Y. Harburg dies of a massive heart convulsion while driving near his Brentwood, Calif., home. Most news reports indicate incorrectly that his death is the result of an automobile accident; his sudden death actually caused the collision.
  • April – The first large-scale sand sculpture with an Oz theme is built at the MissionValleyShopping Center in San Diego. The EmeraldCity scene is on view for a month.
  • Jun 11 – In Liberal, Ks., a new tourist attraction of “Dorothy’s House” opens to the public, and 15,000 residents attend the ceremonies. Seward County Historical Society is responsible for the site, led by Max Zimmerman, who has prompted the community to capitalize on the state’s Oz connection.
  • June 15-Aug. 8 – The Thomas Hughes Children’s Library at the cultural center and about 50 branch libraries in the greater Chicago area emphasize Oz in a summer reading program. “Read on Down the Road” includes a 44-page manual.
  • The L. Frank Baum Memorial Award is given to John Van Camp.
  • Aug. – A Yellow Brick Road is completed in Chittenango, N.Y., birthplace of Oz author L. Frank Baum.
  • Chesterton, Ind., holds its first Oz festival. Jean Nelson, Oz enthusiast and owner of the Yellow Brick Road Gift Shop and Fantasy Museum, is behind the effort.
  • Oct. 1 – A pair of ruby slippers that Kent Warner found and kept in 1970 is sold at auction. Christie’s Auction House gets a winning bid of $12,000.
  • A feature-length puppet film of The Wizard of Oz is projected by Trnka Studios in Czechoslovakia.
  • Child Vision Company releases a video version of The Marvelous Land of Oz stage play produced by John Clark Donahue. The 105-minute film is produced by Richard Cary and Jonathan Stathakis from Cary’s adaptation of Baum’s story. Produced by the Children’s Theater Co. and School of Minneapolis (a.k.a. the Minneapolis Children’s Theatre Co.) and directed for television by John Driver, the show includes music by Richard A. Dworsky and lyrics by Gray Briggle.
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Cookbook by Monica Bayley is published by Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., New York. Denslow’s illustrations fill this unique volume of recipes.

1982

  • May 2 – The New Amsterdam Theatre Co. presents a 75-minute treatment of the 1902 stage musical extravaganza The Wizard of Oz that includes 16 songs.
  • Aljean Harmetz is given the L. Frank Baum Memorial Award.
  • Oct. 10 – Joslyn “Josh” Stanton Baum, Baum’s oldest grandson, dies.
  • Nov. 1 – Director King Vidor dies. He had directed MGM’s classic film version of The Wizard of Oz (1939) for three weeks.
  • Philip Jose Farmer’s A Barnstormer in Oz is published by Berkley, New York. The well-known and prolific science fiction writer dedicates the book to Judy and Lester del Rey in recognition of their efforts to make the Oz books available to kids. In describing his affection for the Oz stories, Farmer says, “If my heart were a hill, the Emerald City would sit at its top.”
  • Volkov’s last original Russian Oz book, Taina Zabrosynnovo Zamka (The Secret of the Deserted Castle, a.k.a. The Mystery of the Witch’s Deserted Castle), is published posthumously in Moscow with illustrations by L. Vladimirskow (a.k.a. Vladimirsky and Vladimirskov).
  • An animated version of The Wizard of Oz is produced in Japan by Toho Co., Ltd., and distributed by Alan Enterprises. The 78-minute film is produced and directed by John Danylkiw. Lorne Greene – star of television’s long-running series Bonanza – is the voice of the Wizard. The film was adapted by Yoshimitsu Banno (Godzilla vs. Hedorah) and Akira Miyazaki.
  • A new issue of The Wizard of Oz is published by Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, N.Y. Illustrator Michael Hague provides 90 watercolors for the book.
  • After two years in business in New York, Books of Wonder moves to 464 Hudson street. The new location is three times larger than the original store, and owner Peter Glassman expands the selection to include in-print Oz books as well as out-of-print material.
  • Pat Marzilli of Atlanta, Ga., develops an Oz badge for Girl Scouts.

1983

  • Jan. – Scraps, one of 11 monologues, is presented at the Annenberg Center of the University of Pennsylvania by the People’s Light and Theatre Co. The anonymous author used the pseudonym Jane Martin.
  • May – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences holds a special salute to MGM’s classic film The Wizard of Oz. Special guests include author Aljean Harmetz (The Making of The Wizard of Oz, 1977), Margaret Hamilton (the Wicked Witch of the West), Ray Bolger (the Scarecrow), Munchkin Jerry Maren, makeup man William Tuttle, and producer Mervyn LeRoy.
  • The L. Frank Baum Memorial Award is given to Eloise Jarvis McGraw and Lauren Lynn McGraw.
  • July 24-Sept. 11 – In Tokyo, a new stage production of The Wizard of Oz stars Chika Takami as Dorothy. It is produced by Seiyu, a theatrical subsidiary of the Seiby department store chain.
  • Aug. - Mount Holyoke College Summer Theatre in South Hadley, Mass., hosts an Oz festival with an original stage play and community parade.
  • Fall – Miss Piggy (the Muppet) searches for “The Wizard of Foz” in a five-page comic parody of The Wizard of Oz in Muppet Magazine by Telepictures Publications, Inc.
  • Sept. 6 – Baum biographer Russell P. MacFall, a charter member of the International Wizard of Oz Club, dies.
  • Oct. 2 – The television program Ripley’s Believe It or Not airs for the first time footage taken on the MGM set by composer Harold Arlen. These “home movies” include the “Jitterbug” number that had been cut from the film. Jack Haley Jr. produces the program.
  • Dec. 2-4 – The Quirk Theater in Ypsilanti presents ODDyssey in Oz, a new play by Virginia Koste. The play-within-a-play is inspired by Baum’s Oz books, but is not a direct adaptation of any one story.
  • Books of Wonder, N.Y., releases a catalog, The Wonderful World of Oz, Volume 1: The works of L. Frank Baum, his successors and illustrators. It includes 343 Oz books and Oz-related items, many with color photographs. A dealer’s catalog of rare material, it quickly becomes a reference book for collectors. A public exhibition of the catalog’s highlights goes on display, and the company publishes an exhibition poster of first-edition book covers.
  • Martin Gardner’s collection of essays, Order and Surprise, published by Prometheus Books, Buffalo, N.Y., includes five essays about various Oz/Baum subjects. Gardner, who is best known for his monthly column in Scientific American, was a founding member of the International Wizard of Oz Club.
  • Dover Publications issues a book of paper Oz masks designed by Dick Martin.
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, a play by Virginia Glasgow Koste, is published by the Coach House Press, Inc., Chicago. The author includes Baum in the script as a narrator.
  • The Wizard of Oz, Critical Heritage Series, edited by Michael Patrick Hearn, is published by Schocken Books, N.Y. This book of critical essays includes many by well-known authors such as Gore Vidal, James Thurber, and Ray Bradbury.
  • Robert Dugaro of Rochester, N.Y., donates a small collection of old films to the George Eastman House’s International Museum of Photography. Among them is a print of a silent version of The Wizard of Oz. This lost treasure is spotted by an Oz specialist at the March 1989 Cinefest in Syracuse, N.Y., and with the help of Michael Patrick Hearn is identified as the 1910 Selig production.
  • Music from the MGM soundtrack of The Wizard of Oz is available on a music roll for player pianos. Bill Blodgett performs the selections. The roll is produced by QRS Music Rolls, Buffalo, N.Y.
  • Dec. 7-Jan. 14, 1984 – The Detroit Public Library – whose banning of the Oz books in 1957 fueled considerable controversy about the series – unveils a major exhibition of Oz material drawn primarily from the private collection of Bill Beem. Twenty cases are filled with books, records, toys, and other Oz material.

1984

  • Jan. 1 – MGM Munchkins Nels Nelson, Jerry Maren, and Buddy Douglas recreate their roles for the Burbank, Calif., entry in the Rose Bowl Parade.
  • Jan. 10 and March 1 – Palsson’s Theater in New York stages Miss Gulch Lives! by Fred Barton. This play is a one-man show that presents the character of Miss Gulch, from the MGM film The Wizard of Oz, performing a song and dance number “cut from the film.” An album of the show soon becomes available.
  • April 25 – Kent Warner dies. Warner’s determined search among MGM’s warehouses of abandoned costumes led to the discovery of four pair of ruby slippers in 1970. Though technically he steals them, he does save them from inevitable destruction or disintegration.
  • Spring – Del Rey publishes the first six Oz titles by Ruth Plumly Thompson as it continues to make the series available in paperback. This is the first time in decades that children can purchase new copies of the Thompson titles. Michael Herring continues to provide original artwork for the cover illustrations.
  • April – Hollywood Studio Magazine devotes much of the issue to Oz.
  • Baum’s grandchildren Ozma Baum Mantele and Robert A. Baum are presented with the L. Frank Baum Memorial Award.
  • Sept. – Disney’s film-in-production, working title Oz, is named Return to Oz.
  • The Art of Oz, a catalog of the largest collection of original Oz art ever offered for sale, is issued by Books of Wonder, New York. It includes all the Oz art remaining in the archives of Oz publishers Reilly & Lee.
  • A Recall to Oz, a new play by Michelle Van Loon, is published by Eldridge Publishing Co., Franklin, Ohio. This sequel to the MGM film includes Dorothy as an elderly woman.