Share your Oz collection

2019 marks both the 80th anniversary of the MGM film, and the 100th anniversary of L. Frank Baum’s death. Why not consider approaching a local library, museum, historic site, or gallery to see if they’d be interested in hosting a display of your Oz collection? Your collection doesn’t have to be extensive. With the right fit you can share your enthusiasm for Oz any number of ways based on the facility’s focus and the Oz pieces you’d be willing to loan. The larger more professional places plan a year or more in advance, so you need to get the ball rolling now.

There are plenty of special interest museums devoted to dolls, pop culture, music, art, and more where an Oz exhibit would be a fun topic.  Library exhibits can range from rare books to modern fiction; you can fill a case with books and biographies about the MGM film. From a community center interested in a case of quilts and crafts, to a puppet theater with a lobby case that’s perfect for Oz puppets, there are many ways to place Oz displays in public view.

Look around and see what venue near you would be a good fit for Oz.  Find out if they have an area for short-term or rotating exhibits. Contact the director or curator and ask if they’d be interested in meeting to talk about Oz.  At that point, next steps will depend on how fully staffed and professional the facility is and how long the exhibit would be up.

I love to exhibit and have served up anything from a single piece to literally rooms full of Oz. That means I’ve worked with places where a team agreed on each object, which was then measured in advance for specially designed cases, then itemized, photographed and insured in detailed documentation. Even packing and pick up was all done by a professional staff.  I’ve also been offered an empty case — or ten — and given the keys to bring whatever I like and arrange it all myself. Anything’s possible, just be sure to determine how much work will be required of you in advance, and decide if you’re interested.

I’ve also supported exhibits where precious things are locked behind glass, and exhibits where security is slim to none; weigh risks as you decide what you’re willing to loan.

This blog is just meant to get you thinking about how to get your Oz autographs, cookie jars, comic books, nutcrackers, Baum books, foreign translations, or feature film posters out for the world to see. Detailed advice on mounting an exhibit would call for more space and time than this blog offers. But as an experienced exhibitor, I encourage you to consider finding a good fit for sharing Oz with others in 2019.

 

My Rendezvous with the Oogaboos

Karyl Carlson, celebrated for her handmade Oz dolls, gave her granddaughter a Miss Piggy as Dorothy doll. It was a hit.

A small group of Oz Club members, Oz fans and friends recently met in Troutdale, Oregon, for an afternoon of Oz fun and games. I was vacationing in Portland, so set my sights on the McMenamins Edgefield for the June 16th event organized by Karyl Carlson.  We gathered in a meeting room Karyl had loaded with Oz board games. After a round of introductions, the games began.

My first round of competition played the Wonderful Game of Oz using a facsimile copy of the original 1921 board game. Contemporary games followed at all four long tables, each circled with 8-10 fans who ranged in age from 5 to 90. Unopened games were awarded as prizes to triumphant winners.

Show-and-tell gave us a break from games, then we broke for refreshments — a tea complete with finger sandwiches and sweets. Following tea we switched to a jeopardy-style game that divided the group into two large teams each eager to best the other with our knowledge of Oz trivia. There was much cheering and laughter as the scores added up. One enthusiastic player flung his hand in the air with such force and eagerness that the threw himself right off his own chair.

When our scheduled meeting room time ended, we moved to a lounge area for another hour or so. Still unwilling to let the day end, several of us caravaned for dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. Everyone had a splendid time. I left wishing I had a similar group of like-minded Oz fans to gather with back home.

In the land of Oz the northwest corner of the country is home to the Oogaboos, prompting these fans in the Washington/Oregon area to claim the title for themselves. For decades — literally — the Oogaboos have met regularly. Generally they meet in someone’s home for a pot luck meal and Ozzy fellowship. I heard people talk about past events that included everything from watching movies to playing croquet. They make it easy by simply sorting through who might host next, setting a date and inviting everyone over.

This Oogaboo Rendezvous was considered a “Grand” event because they booked space and pooled funds to provide the refreshments. The venue, the McMenamins Edgefield, was a charming old resort loaded with whimsical art. I’d have enjoyed exploring it further; they had restaurants, lodging, a onsite distillery, bars, live music, and more. I’m not a beer drinker, but one brand caught my eye.  They bottle Hammerhead ale!

If you ever have a chance to spend a day as a Oogaboo, go for it!

Baum Bugle EXTRA! Read more about it

Oz puppet show in Israel

Wizard of Oz puppetry turned out to be a topic big enough for its own book. (And if you want to write it, you can have my notes.) Tackling it for The Baum Bugle I quickly discovered the topic was larger than my vision for the article, which was limited to performing puppet shows for children here in the US. As I focused on a dozen or so of the more memorable shows, I quickly realized there were just as many intriguing Oz puppet shows overseas.

I also can include some information about the use of puppetry on stage and screen in Part 2, although I dare not carry that conversation too far; technology has taken that far over my head.

And have you seen the Muppets wiki entry for The Wizard of Oz?  The feature would double! We’d be serving up puppet features for two years!

Soooooo much about the Muppets! This “Extras” will get you started. Follow embedded links to more.

Following the necessary but painful direction of our editor to cut cut cut cut this topic down to Bugle-sized bites, we hit on an idea I have long toyed with. Why not overflow some of that “extra” material onto the Club’s website? So I did.

Fred Stone’s congratulatory telegram to this puppet company was reprinted on the program cover.

Now in addition to puppet content in the Spring and Autumn Bugle, you’ll find “extra” Oz puppetry online such as International puppet shows, a few pages of Muppet material, and a request for your help building a photo gallery of mass-produced Oz puppets. Sort of a visual checklist we can do online that would have filled too many pages in the Bugle.

I’m currently working to gather up a scrapbook of ephemera that we didn’t include, too, but that Extra’s not quite ready to share — just like so many words and so many pages, there are so many clippings, photos, programs and pictures to sort through.

Moving forward, we hope to see other contributors to the Bugle take advantage of our website to provide extra material beyond what Bugle pages can hold. The opportunity to embed links was particularly helpful with this puppetry content. I hope you’ll follow them, and have a look at some of the fantastic Wizard of Oz puppet shows I uncovered while researching the articles.

Look for Bugle Extras posted as pdfs on the Baum Bugle page here at OzClub.org.