A membership organization devoted to "The Wizard of Oz" and its author, L. Frank Baum
1939-1956: The MGM Musical and Later Royal Historians
Jan. – The Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade features an Oz float with characters wearing costumes from the soon-to-be premiered MGM film.
Feb. – For the last three weeks of filming, King Vidor directs MGM’s The Wizard of Oz.
Feb. 11 – Margaret Hamilton returns to the set of MGM’s The Wizard of Oz only partially recovered from third-degree burns.
Feb 28 – The last revisions on a dated script of MGM’s The Wizard of Oz are marked.
Mar. 16 – Principal filming of MGM’s The Wizard of Oz is completed.
Notable minor parts in MGM’s Wizard of Oz include the voice of Disney’s Snow White, Adriana Caselotti, singing one line, “Wherefore art thou, Romeo?” during Haley’s solo, “If I Only Had a Heart.” Dona Massin, assistant to Oz choreographer Bobby Connolly, also appears briefly in the film as one of the wash and brush up girls working on the Cowardly Lion during the “Merry Old Land of Oz” number. Massin had worked with the stars and the midgets on their dance sequences. On an early rehearsal set, she sang “Over the Rainbow” just after it was written and shortly before it was given to Judy Garland.
March – Rand McNally Co., Chicago, reissues Baum’s Little Wizard Stories (1913) in three small volumes. They also publish matching abridgements of some of the Oz books. The books are available individually or as a boxed set (offered in Sept.). Of these “Junior Editions,” The Road to Oz is of particular interest; this is the only published edition of the book to include colored illustrations.
June – The first sneak preview of MGM’s The Wizard of Oz is held in San Bernardino, Pomona, and San Luis Obispo, Calif. Following the show, the “Jitterbug” musical number is cut from the two-hour film. Some sources claim the cut was made because enthusiastic members of the preview audience began dancing in the aisles during the number. Also cut are some of Margaret Hamilton’s more menacing scenes, such as an incident when she turns the Tin Woodman into a beehive. Musical numbers from the last third of the film that are cut include a reprise of “Over the Rainbow,” sung by Dorothy in the Witch’s castle, and a triumphant procession back into the Emerald City. The final running time is an hour-and-forty-minutes following.
Aug. 7 – MGM’s The Wizard of Oz is granted copyright. The 101-minute film had cost $3,700,000 to produce. Much of that was devoted to visual elements that made the fantasy world believable. Arnold Gillespie created the special effects in the film, Cedric Gibbons served as art director, and Jack Dawn devised the character makeup.
Aug. 9, 1939, Official press showings of MGM’s The Wizard of Oz are privately held in Los Angeles and New York.
Aug. 10-11, 1939, MGM’s The Wizard of Oz opens in Cape Cod, Mass., and in Appleton and Kenosha, Wisc.
Aug. 11, 1939, The Enterprise newspaper in Oconomowoc, Wisc., advertises the “World Premier Showing!” of MGM’s The Wizard of Oz for five days at the Strand Theatre in Oconomowoc.
Aug. 12, 1939, MGM’s The Wizard of Oz runs for five days at Oconomowoc’s Strand Theatre.
Aug. 12-14, 1939, MGM’s The Wizard of Oz is previewed in at least nine locations around the country, including Augusta, Maine.
Aug. 15 – MGM’s Wizard of Oz Hollywood premiere is held at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood. Maud Baum, her granddaughter Ozma Baum, and actor Fred Stone – famous for his performance on stage as the Scarecrow (1902) – attend the event. Ten-tier bleachers line the entrance, and 3,000 stand to see the stars arrive. One hundred policemen handle traffic. Grauman’s forecourt is transformed into a Kansas cornfield, with cellophane cornstalks and a stuffed Scarecrow. Midgets in the California area dress as Munchkins to greet arriving guests, who walk across the courtyard on a yellow brick road. Harry Neal Baum telegraphs Maud, “With you, am thinking of Dad tonight at his latest success.” The audience loves the film.Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow” becomes a national number-one hit. The film’s publicity campaign includes magazine and newspaper features in addition to an array of theatrical posters. On a smaller scale, Oscar Mayer also promotes the new Oz film. Midget Meinhardt Raabe, the MGM Munchkin Coroner, is the company’s Little Oscar — the tiny chef and driver of the Wienermobile. He parks the hot dog-shaped vehicle at theaters and passes out samples where MGM’s Wizard of Oz is on the screen.
Aug. 17 – MGM’s The Wizard of Oz opens at Loew’s Capitol Theatre in New York City. More than 15,000 wait in lines that circle the block to see the film and its star, Judy Garland, who performs on stage for 30 minutes between each showing with her frequent film partner Mickey Rooney. An eighteen-piece orchestra and four back-up singers support the live shows.
Aug. 17, 1939, MGM’s The Wizard of Oz is screened in Spirit Lake, Iowa.
Aug. 27 – Reviewer Burns Mantle notes in his favorable report on the MGM film The Wizard of Oz that it would have been a good business move to give Fred Stone his old part as the Scarecrow, though, he writes, Bolger and Haley “get through creditably.” He describes Bert Lahr as the best of the trio.The film adaptation varies in several ways from the book, but no more so than have earlier treatments for stage and screen. Most notable are the change in Dorothy’s magic shoes from silver to “ruby,” and the film’s conclusion in which Dorothy’s adventure is revealed as a dream. These two points, in particular, become somewhat problematic for the future development of Oz material; writers and producers more familiar with the MGM film version of the story will perpetuate the ruby slippers/dream elements, while the real adventure of Baum’s silver-shoed Dorothy will find its way, eventually, into public domain.
Aug. 30 – Thompson’s Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz is published by Reilly & Lee, Chicago, with illustrations by John R. Neill.
Sept. 14 – MGM’s The Wizard of Oz is released in Canada.
Nov. 17 – MGM’s The Wizard of Oz is released in Central and South America.
Alexander Volkov’s Volshebnik Izumrudnovo Goroda (The Wizard of the Emerald City) is published by Ts. K.V.L.S.M. Publishing House of Children’s Literature in Moscow and Leningrad with illustrations by N. Radlov. A Russian translation of Baum’s first Oz story, the work later inspires Volkov to write his own original Oz sequels in Russian (see 1963). Significant reprints include those by Sovietskaya Rossiya (Moscow), Literatura Artistike (Kishnev), Central Ural Book Publishers (Sverdlovsk), and Petskaya Literatura (Moscow).
The last reissue of the popular Parker Brothers board game The Wonderful Game of Oz, based on the Oz books, is released.
Dec. – Wizard of Oz movie merchandise hits department stores in time for Christmas. Display windows across the country are filled with Oz products. The promotion includes everything from carpet sweepers and soap figures to scarves, masks, and dolls.
The Wizard of Oz is translated into Spanish by Jose Mallorqui Fiquerola. El Mago de Oz is published by Editorial Molino, Barcelona and Buenos Aires, with illustrations by Freixas.
Decca releases four 10-inch 78-rpm records of the musical score from MGM’s The Wizard of Oz, featuring Judy Garland and Victor Young and his Orchestra with the Ken Darby Singers. This makes MGM’s The Wizard of Oz one of the first recorded movie scores.
Feb. – Three Academy Awards are given to MGM’s The Wizard of Oz: Best Song (“Over the Rainbow”); Best Original Score; and a Special Award for Outstanding Juvenile Performance to Judy Garland. Garland’s award is presented by her close friend and frequent co-star Mickey Rooney.
Feb. 24– In a national contest to guess Oscar winners, 16-year-old Roberta Jeffries of Memphis wins a pair of Judy Garland’s ruby slippers from the MGM production of The Wizard of Oz.
Aug. 19 – Baum’s son Frank Joslyn Baum marries Margaret Elizabeth (Ligon) Turner.
Sept. 12 – “Oz, the wonderful peanut spread” is available in tin cans and jars.
Nov. 1 – John R. Neill’s first work as both author and illustrator, The Wonder City of Oz, is published by Reilly & Lee, Chicago. A study of the original manuscript reveals that much of the work is completely rewritten by an anonymous Reilly & Lee editor. This individual adds the Ozlection, Jenny’s age regression, and her lobotomization at the hands of the Wizard – elements for which Oz fans criticize Neill. The Wonder City of Oz is dedicated to a noteworthy couple, Elgood and Marie Lufkin. After retiring from his position as vice president of the Bank of New York, Elgood buys a 2,000-acre farm in Massachusetts. The Lufkins name the farm “The Land of Oz” and name all the animals after favorite Oz characters. They fill the house with original Oz artwork – from appliquéd towels and hand-painted dishes to original Neill paintings that confirm their status as favored Neill fans. One Neill oil painting shows Marie as Glinda the Good. In other paintings for the couple, he pictures Oz characters in Marie’s antique shop, “The Land of Oz Gift Shop,” Rye, N.Y.
MGM’s The Wizard of Oz is released in England. It prompts the publication of a number of “movie edition” books as well as sheet music, a card game, and puzzles.
Prompted by the international release of MGM’s The Wizard of Oz, foreign translations include:
Dutch by Henrick Scholte. De Grote Tovenaar Van Oz is published by L. J. Veen, Amsterdam, with illustrations by Von Looij.
Hungarian by Livia Beothy. Oz a Csodak Csodaja is published by Singer & Wolfner, Budapest, with illustrations by Emy Rona.
Danish by Key Nielsen. Troldmaden fra Oz is published by Tempo, Copenhagen, with illustrations by Harry Hertz.
Swedish by John Wallin. Trollkarlen fran Oz is published by Reuter & Reuter, Stockholm, with Denslow’s illustrations.
Romanian by Camil Baltazar. Vrajitorul din Oz is published by Editura Socec, Bucharest.
German (for Swiss publication) by Ursula von Wiese. Der Zauberer von Oz is published by Morgarten Verlag, Zurich, and is illustrated with stills from the MGM film.
Oct. 29 – Author/illustrator Neill’s second Oz novel, The Scalawagons of Oz, is published by Reilly & Lee, Chicago.
Dec. 20 – Baum’s grandson Robert Allison Baum marries Phyllis Ann Millsap. Robert is the son of Robert Stanton and Edna (Ducker) Baum.
Volkov’s Volshebnik Izumrudnovo Goroda (1939), reprinted in Russia, now credits Volkov, not Baum, as author of the original Oz story.
Thirteen of Baum’s “Our Landlady” columns from the Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer (1890-1891) are published as a South Dakota Writers’ Project in a single volume by Friends of the Middle Border,Mitchell, S.D.
Feb. 7 – Janet Hilda Baum, a granddaughter born to Kenneth Gage and Dorothy Baum, marries John Wilcox Donaldson, Jr.
April – Baum’s daughter-in-law Helen (Bates) Baum, second wife of Harry Neal Baum, dies. The couple have no children.
July 31 – Baum’s son Harry Neal marries for the third time. Brenda (Kinsinger) Holter has two children, Anne Holter (b. 1/21/27) and Richard Holter (b. 6/19/28). Richard legally changes his name to Richard Holter Baum.
Sept. 23 – Great-grandson Robert Allison Baum Jr. is born in Pomona, Calif., to Robert Allison and Phyllis Ann (Millsap) Baum.
Oct. 30 – Author/illustrator Neill’s Lucky Bucky in Oz is published by Reilly & Lee, Chicago. The book advertises war bonds and victory stamps on its dust jacket in a letter to young readers from the title character. Chapter 12 is titled “Over the Rainbow.”
Dec. – The first British production of MGM’s The Wizard of Oz as a stage musical begins at the Grand Theater, Croydon.
Dec. 12 – Janet Hilda (Baum) and John Donaldson add a great-granddaughter to the family – Bonnie McFarland Donaldson.
May 20 – Joslyn Stanton and Elizabeth (Pollock) Baum have a daughter. Baum’s new great-granddaughter is named Jocelyn.
Sept. 10 – Justin Schiller is born. At age 13 Justin will found the Wizard of Oz Fan Club (a.k.a. the International Wizard of Oz Club, Inc.).
Sept. 19 – John R. Neill dies in Flanders, N.J. He has illustrated 35 titles in the Oz series – all but The Wizard of Oz itself – three of which were his own manuscripts. Though he has illustrated other books and stories, he will be best remembered for his contribution to Oz.
Dec. 8 – MGM screenwriter Edgar Allan Woolf dies.
Dr. Roland Baughman, associate curator of rare books at the Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, Calif., lectures on L. Frank Baum to the Zamorano Club, a private circle of book collectors in Los Angeles. This is the first recorded scholarly talk about Baum.
DC’s Leading Comics #7, The Wizard of Wisstark featuring the Seven Soldiers of Victory, parallels the story of The Wizard of Oz in that it includes a visit to a land ruled by a Wizard who turns out to be a displaced American with no real magic powers.
Aug. 15 – Lauren Lynn McGraw is born in Oklahoma City, Okla. With her mother, Eloise Jarvis McGraw, she will co-write Merry Go Round in Oz (1963).
Sept. 24 – Twin brothers and future Oz enthusiasts David and Douglas Greene are born. Their collections and research will become important contributions to the public and to other Oz fans.
Baum’s grandson Frank Alden and Hallie Jean (Lincoln) Baum are divorced. The couple had no children during their seven-year marriage.
Baum’s The Wizard of Oz is published by Bobbs-Merrill, Indianapolis, with illustrations by Evelyn Copelman. This is the first time in an unabridged English-language edition that new illustrations replace Denslow’s work.
MGM’s The Wizard of Oz (1939) is re-released in Britain.
An animated toy book edition of The Wizard of Oz by Julian Wehr is published by Saalfield, Akron, Ohio.
The Wizard of Oz is translated into Italian by Maria Luisa Agosti Castellani. Il Mago di Oz is published by Societa Apostolato Stampa, Torino, with illustrations by Miki Pellizzari. Four additional Oz titles soon follow.
Sept. 1 – Terry (Toto in MGM’s The Wizard of Oz) dies at age 11 in Hollywood and is buried at trainer Carl Spitz’s ranch in Studio City, Los Angeles. The grave was destroyed during the construction of the Ventura Freeway in 1958. On June 18, 2011, a permanent memorial for Terry was dedicated at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles.
March 28 – Angelica Shirley is born in St. Louis, Mo. She and her mother will write a children’s biography, L. Frank Baum: Royal Historian of Oz, in 1991.
Dec. 24 – Frances Ozma Baum, daughter of Kenneth Gage and Dorothy (Duce) Baum, marries Dr. Kenneth Austin Mantele. On Ozma’s wedding day, her mother, Dorothy, dies.
The Wizard of Oz is translated into Bulgarian by Pelin Velkov. Magjosnikat of Oz is published by Knigo-Lotos, Sofia, Bulgaria.
Actor Fred Stone’s autobiography, Rolling Stone, is published by Whittlesey House (McGraw-Hill), New York. The illustrated dust jacket pictures Stone in several of his most famous roles, including his long-running characterization as the Scarecrow in the 1902 stage production of The Wizard of Oz.
Thompson and her sister, Dorothy Thompson Curtiss (5/4/1890-11/9/77), move into a house in Philadelphia, Pa. This home is where Dorothy’s daughter, Dorothy Maryott, grows up. Thompson had been living at 254 Farragut. Well into the 1990s, fan mail continues to arrive at both homes, prompting their current owners to research the life of the remarkable resident who preceded them.
June 30 – Grandson Frank Alden Baum marries his second wife, Louise Balme.
Sept. 15 – Jack Snow’s The Magical Mimics in Oz is published by Reilly & Lee, Chicago, with illustrations by Frank Kramer. Snow had begun research for a Baum biography in 1943. He is a writer in the advertising/promotions department at NBC.
Dec. – Grandson Stanton Gage, second son of Robert Stanton and Edna (Ducker) Baum, marries Gwen Ellen Lutz.
Nomix products of New York debuts its “Oz, a Wiz of an Ice Cream” instant ice cream powder mix.
The Wizard of Oz is translated into Portuguese by Maria Lamas. O Feiticeiro de Oz is published by Labraria Civilizacao Editora, Porto, with illustrations by Hugo Manuel.
Aug. 1 – Ozma (Baum) and Kenneth Mantele have a daughter. The new great-granddaughter is named Dorothy Anne. She is born in Los Angeles.
Aug. 21 – Granddaughter Florence Ducker Baum, daughter of Robert Stanton and Edna (Ducker) Baum, marries George E. Hurst.
Oz author Jack Snow’s collection of horror stories, Dark Music and Other Spectral Tales, is published by Herald Publishing Co., New York.
Oz Fudge frosting follows Oz ice cream powder to grocers’ shelves.
The Wizard of Oz is translated into Hebrew by Yemina Chernowitz. Hukosem Meieretz Ooz is published by Izreel Publishing House, Tel Aviv, with illustrations by Bena Gerwirtz.
The Wizard of Oz is again translated into Bulgarian. This time, Florence Cekova translates and Denslow’s original illustrations are used. Magjosnikat of Oz is published by Cetivo. Also, the 1945 translation is reprinted.
Feb. 22 – Granddaughter Janet (Baum) and John Donaldson have a son they name MacFarland. He is born in Tucson, Ariz.
Nov. 24 – Granddaughter Florence (Baum) and George E. Hurst have a daughter, Susan Marney Hurst. The new baby is born in Pomona, Calif.
Jan. 6 – Victor Fleming dies. The director had been one of many to work on MGM’s 1939 film of The Wizard of Oz.
Mar. 23 – Granddaughter Janet (Baum) and John Donaldson have another son. John Willcox Donaldson III is born in Tucson, Ariz.
Sept. 18 – Actor Frank Morgan dies. He had been the Wizard of Oz/Professor Marvel in MGM’s The Wizard of Oz (1939) as well as filling three other roles in the film: the Soldier with Green Whiskers, the Guardian of the Gates, and the Cabby with the Horse of a Different Color. Morgan had appeared in 96 motion pictures and had received two nominations for an Academy Award.
Oct. 25 – Jack Snow’s second Oz book, The Shaggy Man of Oz, is published by Reilly & Lee, Chicago, with illustrations by Frank Kramer.
Jack Snow sells his Oz collection. This extraordinary collection includes literally dozens of inscribed presentation copies of Oz and Baum books, original artwork (more than 200 Denslow drawings alone), letters, and other rarities.
The first American re-release of MGM’s The Wizard of Oz (1939) includes a scaled-down campaign. It is successful and spawns many recordings of the movie songs.
The Wizard of Oz is translated into Italian by Adele Levi. Il Mago di Oz is published by U Mursia of Milan, Italy, with illustrations by Arturo Banfanti.
Baum’s Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz is recorded by Capitol Albums. The story is adapted by Ralph Rose and includes music by Nathaniel Shilkret.
April 29 – Janet Ellen is born to grandson Stanton Gage and Gwen Ellen (Lutz) Baum.
Aug. 14 – Another great-granddaughter, Patricia Lee Hurst, is born in Toledo, Ohio. Patricia is the daughter of Florence (Baum) and George Hurst.
Sept. 2 – Granddaughter Ozma (Baum) and Kenneth Mantele have a son, Craig Fredric, in Los Angeles.
Sept. 28 – Judy Garland’s contract is terminated by MGM.
Nov. 30 – John Fricke is born in Milwaukee, Wisc. An avid Oz and Judy Garland fan, Fricke will research and write extensively on both topics beginning in his early teens.
Dec. 25 – Lux Radio Theater presents an adaptation of MGM’s The Wizard of Oz with Judy Garland. While on air, she also promotes a radio version of The Barkleys of Broadway, a film in which she had been replaced by Ginger Rogers the previous year.
Ray Bradbury’s short story “The Exiles” describes a future in which psychologists succeed in destroying all books of fantasy. The story ends with the collapse of the Emerald City as the last Oz book goes up in flames.
Burr Tillstrom announces plans to do an Oz television special with live-action puppets. The show, which aired on May 22, 1950, is done entirely with marionettes, and features Fran Allison reading from The Land of Oz. It tells the story of the creation of Jack Pumpkinhead by Mombi’s assistant, Tip. They are the only three characters in this episode, which ends with Mombi bringing Jack to life. It also features sections of Fran reading what are probably passages directly from the Baum book. Marionettes of the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow appear during the opening and closing credits, but not in the story itself. The show was Burr Tillstrom’s creation and was produced by Beulah Zachary, Lewis Gomavitz, and George Latshaw.
March 5 – Leo Singer dies. He had managed many of the midgets who were cast as Munchkins in MGM’s The Wizard of Oz.
Oct. 24 – Rachel Cosgrove’s first book, The Hidden Valley of Oz, is published by Reilly & Lee, Chicago, with illustrations by Dirk (Gringhuis). Cosgrove goes on to write more than 20 non-Oz books as Rachel Cosgrove, Rachel Payes, and E. L. Arch. Her second Oz book is published in 1993.
The Wizard of Oz is translated into Japanese by Kishinami. Ozu no Mahotsukai is published by Kodansha, Tokyo.
Robin Reed, master puppeteer, begins to perform The Wizard of Oz. The successful production will continue for decades. (Year approx.)
Grandson Harry Neal Baum Jr. (a.k.a. Henry Barron Niles) marries Grace Adams.
In a Little Golden Book version of The Tin Woodman of Oz, Ozma’s Magic Picture is illustrated as a television with an antenna.
Feb. 22 – Harry Neal Baum, Jr. (a.k.a. Henry Barron Niles) and his wife, Grace (Andrews), have a son, Henry Barron Niles II.
Mar. 6 – Maud Baum dies in Los Angeles. Ozcot, the home she and Baum had shared in Hollywood, soon is razed, and apartments are built on the site. Over the years, Maud had destroyed most of Baum’s manuscripts, but she and her sons kept Baum’s library intact and assembled scrapbooks of photos, clippings, correspondence, and other rare materials.
Apr. 2 – Baum’s son Kenneth Baum dies.
Oct. 19 – Baum’s Jaglon and the Tiger Fairies is published by Reilly & Lee, Chicago, with illustrations by Dale Ulrey. Jack Snow lengthens the story, which was originally written as one of the Animal Fairy Tales (1905), for the book, adding a new chapter and an additional character.
Dec. 28 – Life magazine carries an eight-page article about The Wonderful Wizard of Oz illustrated with 15 of Denslow’s color illustrations from the original edition.
Sept. 1 – Jack Snow’s Who’s Who in Oz is published by Reilly & Lee, Chicago, with illustrations reproduced from existing Oz books. Though the fancifully written “reference book” is well received, children are disappointed that it isn’t a new Oz adventure story.
Nov. 16 – Walt Disney buys the film rights to 11 of the later Baum Oz books.
The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction reports that Jack Snow plans to create an Oz club, the Oz Irregulars. Fred Dannay and William Baring-Gould are to be members.
A new Swift Oz Peanut Butter campaign features decorated glasses and various sizes of tins. Advertising this new promotion are store displays, coloring books, recipe booklets, and ballpoint pens. The glasses are distributed through the 1970s.
March 21 – Robert S. Baum, Harry Neal Baum, Ozma (Baum) Mantele, and Janet Hilda (Baum) Donaldson execute a declaration of trust. Included in the listing of property are 24 books written by L. Frank Baum.
May 18 – Harry Neal Baum, Jr. (a.k.a. Henry Barron Niles) and his wife, Grace (Andrews), have a daughter, Jennifer Niles.
Baum’s The Tin Woodman of Oz (1918) is published by Reilly & Lee, Chicago, with new illustrations by Dale Ulrey.
MGM’s The Wizard of Oz (1939) is re-released for a second time in the United States.
Jan. 16 – March 16 – Columbia University Libraries present “L. Frank Baum: An Exhibition of His Published Writings in Commemoration of the Centenary of his Birth, May 15, 1856.” After The New York Times labels it “incomplete,” the curator, Roland Baughman, is astonished when 13-year-old Justin Schiller offers to provide from his private collection those rare items that had proven to be unobtainable elsewhere.
Feb. 2 – Charley Grapewin, Uncle Henry in the MGM classic 1939 film, dies. One of America’s first movie actors, he appeared in films as early as 1896 and was also an accomplished playwright and author. A street is named after him in Corona, Calif., where he once owned property.
Justin Schiller meets Oz author Jack Snow, who reports that he gets “letters from Oz enthusiasts all over the country.” He adds that he wishes they could all be in touch.
July 13 – Author Jack Snow dies. Martin Gardner, the executor of his estate, passes Snow’s correspondence files to Oz fan Fred Meyer, who has been writing the author since 1947.
July – The first comic book adaptation of The Wizard of Oz is published by Dell Junior Treasury.
Aug. 2 – An agreement to broadcast MGM’s 1939 The Wizard of Oz on television is signed with CBS for $225,000.
Nov. 3 – MGM’s 1939 The Wizard of Oz is televised for the first time on the CBS “Ford Star Jubilee.”
Oz books are falling out of favor with librarians and others who claim that progressive, realistic reading is more appropriate for children. “Kids don’t like that fanciful stuff anymore,” writes a Miami librarian. “They want books about missiles and atomic submarines.” In Milwaukee, another librarian is nonetheless quoted saying that 135 copies of The Wizard of Oz have been worn out in eight years, and that the 50 copies on hand are rapidly following suit. A survey in New York City asks teenagers what their favorite books had been when they were young; the Oz books top the list.
Baum and Denslow’s original work, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, passes into the public domain. While under copyright it had sold more than five million copies. The work now is available for royalty-free merchandising.
Walt Disney buys the rights to the remaining two Baum Oz books. He pays Lipert Pictures as much for the rights to Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz as he had for the other 11. Reportedly, he doesn’t want any competitors to make Oz films.
Baum’s The Wizard of Oz is published by Reilly & Lee, Chicago, with illustrations by Dale Ulrey. It includes a new afterword by Dr. Edward Wagenknecht.
The Wizard of Oz is translated into Turkish by Nurichan E. Kesim. Dort Kucuk Seyyah (an abridgment) is published by Derya Tayinlari, Istanbul, with Copelman’s illustrations.