Putting the Baum in the Bugle

The Autumn 2019 issue of the Baum Bugle is bursting with Baum. A celebration of the writer’s legacy, L. Frank Baum “crossed the shifting sands” in 1919. This issue of our Club’s journal looks at different aspects of his legacy 100 years later. From a review of the news stories and obituaries that marked the end of his life by Scott Cummings, to my own report on the Oz Museum that thrives today in Wamego, Kansas, Bugle editor Sarah Crotzer has served up an eclectic mix of articles to honor the beloved writer.

Fred Meyer ( 1926-2004) served as Oz Club secretary for nearly 50 years. He once wrote about a fragment of an Oz story given him by a Baum family member who was certain it had been written by L. Frank. Sarah’s published that fragment here with the introduction Fred wrote at the time. We can never know for certain that Baum wrote it, but now we can read it and ponder. Another Baum family member–great-granddaughter Gita Dorothy Morena through her mother Ozma Baum Mantele–shares reflections on growing up as a descendant of the Frank Baum and how she aspires to carry his vision, creativity, and compassion forward through her work today.

Fans, too, continue Baum’s legacy. You’ll find the earliest published Oz fan fiction in this Bugle. It’s a quirky little story written by two children — clearly readers of Baum — in their local paper. And illustrator Mark Manley, who has been recently been providing new illustrations for the Bugle, writes about his interpretation of Baum’s work into the glorious, full-color wrap-around painting that provides this Bugle with it’s front and back covers. Drama’s included, too; Ray Wohl takes us behind his writer-and-actor curtain to talk about the creation of his one-man show in which he takes on the character of L. Frank Baum to tell his audience the “stories behind the stories.”

Dina Schiff Massachi adds an academic feature by exploring the appeal and appropriateness of Oz for kids today. To help reach today’s kids, we follow the aforementioned article about the Oz Museum, by encouraging you to celebrate Baum’s legacy by providing a Baum or Oz display in your own community.

While our Club itself is part of Baum’s legacy, we also recognize individuals who contribute to it with the annual L. Frank Baum Memorial Award. This issue introduces Bill Beem, the 2019 recipient. I’ve known Bill since 1981 and was pleased to see him receive this honor.

In addition to feature stories, the issue has news, book and arts reviews, and our made-for-kids enclosures, The Oz Gazette newsletter from Oz and a unique hands-on project to cut and color. This time it’s part two of a three-part project designed by David Kelleher; complete all three parts and you’ll have your own tabletop theater for paper puppet performances!  I suspect some of our members long past the youth membership category are going to be stepping out for green glitter.


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