Saturday, March 31, 2007
For those of you who are unfamiliar with "Returning to Oz," it began a year ago (in fact the 20th episode was to celebrate the 1-year anniversary) with Aaron Pacentine of www.videosforfamily.com and Celia Foster, who ran an extensive website dedicated to Disney's "Return to Oz." (Sadly, the website is no longer available, but another website has appeared that has taken it's place, more on that later.) The episodes were available to download from the Videos For Family website in .mp3 files. This gave downloaders the ease to use the files to either listen to on their computers, burn them to audio or MP3 CDs, or send them to their iPods or other MP3 Player.
The first thirteen episodes focused mainly on the production of Disney's "Return to Oz," before the announcement that the series would now contain conversations about Oz in general. (Although the next two episodes did have "Return to Oz" themes.) Aaron continued the show, and presently hosts it with Aaron Schultz of www.waltdisneysreturntooz.com, the afore mentioned "Return to Oz" website.
The twentieth episode is a delight. It features music, which does not detract from the conversations at all, and skits, the best of which is a phone call to Mr. Pacentine from none other than Judy Garland, the Dorothy of 1939. ("The reports of my death were greatly exaggerated." - Mark Twain) Of course, it is a highly skilled imitator, but when you just listen, you could be easily fooled by one of the greatest bits of "humbuggery" since Forgotten Silver or a man behind the curtain...
If you haven't yet heard this, go to http://www.videosforfamily.com/returntoozshow.htm, and start "Returning to Oz."
Friday, March 30, 2007
That my blog entry was linked to was not a bad thing, in fact none of it was bad. The only thing I'm a little embarrassed at is the paragraph that was quoted:
When I first heard of this series, I rolled my eyes. It sounded as if (excuse me) whoever came up with it was on some kind of drug. I'm delighted to report I was mistaken. Willard Carroll indeed had true inspiration to bring the Oz series up-to-date here.
Oh well, maybe it'll get more people interested in the Oz Kids series. (Maybe we should petition Paramount for a DVD collection release.)
Here's the score:
Everyone else: 1 or 2 to 4 sets
Why? Well, the biggest reason of all is that I'm currently out of a job, and thus need to save what money I do have.
Next reason, McDonalds, in my book, is EVIL! From having to wait 10 minutes for a Double Cheeseburger to being sent outside just for meeting some of my friends inside (+ we had Hardee's food) to unsucessfully trying to help my dad collect a complete set of the "Chronicles of Narnia" toys they sold in December '05, McDonalds and I have a history of not agreeing with each other. (Oh, and did I mention their burgers are really part soy, though advertised as 100% beef?)
Number three: if I got them, what would I do with them? I, for some reason, don't collect just for the sake of collecting, or because it's a rare item. (If it's an affordable rare item, then I might...) I've collected the Books of Wonder editions of Baum's books, as these are the most collectible editions in print, and I have a rather large collection of Oz DVDs and VHS tapes, but I actually read my books and watch my movies (every now and then). If I did get a whole set, I'd probably wind up giving them to my youngest sister and brothers.
And four, I'm not a huge fan of the MGM movie's portrayal of the characters. As mentioned before, I do like the MGM movie, but it's not the ULTIMATE OZ for me. And then mixing them with the Madame Alexander dolls works only for Dorothy and perhaps that munchkin, but on the others, it's a little unsettling.
So, with 1. no cash, 2. loathing of McDonald's, 3. no use for them, and 4. not even liking how they look, is it any wonder I'm not worried about not getting them?
(Although Laura Gjovaag's vivid and hilarious accounts of rounding up two sets in her blog have given me a chuckle.)
And while stalking a wild job, I've been keeping my eyes on the mailbox for a DVD of the 1974 stop-frame animation version of Alexander Volkov's Волшебнык Изумрудного Города (I love using those Cyrillic letters!), and Peter and the Magic Egg/Dorothy in the Land of Oz on DVD.
Monday, March 26, 2007
Вы можете прочитать быстро через быстро через книги о Волшебной Стране от Александра Волкова в Интернете на этом месте: http://volkov.anuta.org/
Достаточно интересно прочитать приключения Элли и Тотошка, когда Вы настолько знакомы с Dorothy и Toto. Изменения в истории и дополнениях поражают Вас.
And above, you could probably only understand two words, minus what's in the links. Well, copy the above paragraphs to your clipboard, click on the first link, paste in the translation box, select "Russian to English," and translate! You'll get the idea!
EDIT: Due to the comment, I've found another translating site, and have re-written the above entry, as well as changing the link to the old translator to the new one.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
The same day I got my access, I also got Queen Ann in Oz in the mail, along with my Chapter 6 fan club tee. (Okay, you probably weren't very interested in the t-shirt, but it was in the mail! And I had to wait over four months for it!)
I read Queen Ann in two days... in between getting my computer all ready for the Internet. It was written by Eric Gjovaag of www.thewizardofoz.info , someone in the Oz community I really respect, and Karyl Karlson. The story is very smoothly written.
In the book, Queen Ann of Oogaboo sets out with some Oogabooian children to discover what became of her parents.
Other than that, you will find these in the book:
- The origin of the Love Magnet!
- Shaggy Man's real name! (I had to laugh at this!)
- Princess Ozma!
- No appearance by Dorothy! (But you don't miss her.)
- An ending that says "GIVE ME A SEQUEL!" (Which I wouldn't mind!)
Read it if you haven't! It's only 14 years old!
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Let me re-state the legal stuff here:
This IS legal if you own the VHS tape and make the DVD copy yourself, and if you keep both the DVD copy and the original tape. Selling the DVD copy is not legal, unless you got a license from the copyright owner. (A sold, unauthorized copy of a copyrighted work is called a "bootleg." Despite it being illegal, several people get away with it.)
Among the titles I've bought to convert to DVD, are the OZ KIDS series. This series was created and written by Oz fan and collector Willard Carroll, and was animated by the folks at Hyperion Studios, famous for "The Brave Little Toaster." The series was released, in the U.S., onto nine video cassettes. The series follows the adventures of the children of the original Oz characters: Dorothy's daughter Dot and her son Ned, the Scarecrow's son Scarecrow Jr., the Tin Woodman's son Tin Boy, the Cowardly Lion's fraternal twins Boris and Bela, the Wizard's son Frank, Glinda's daughter Andrea (though her outfit makes her look a lot like Ozma), Jack Pumpkinhead's son Jack, and Toto 2. Also among the recurring characters are the Nome King's son Otto, and Rick, a new resident of Oz.
Many of the plots are original, but a good portion are inspired by stories by Baum. The original stories usually use subplots based on events in Baum's books, though they are often altered.
I was fortunate to come across some DVD cases that hold four discs in each, but is the same size and shape as the standard 1-disc case. Two of these were just perfect for the DVDs I'm recording from this series.
Wait, you ask, that's only eight, but there's nine in the series. What gives?
Here the discs and their contents...
1. Toto Lost In New York (Mainly an original story, but near the end, it borrows from "The Scarecrow of Oz" and the spider scene from "Glinda of Oz.")
2. The Nome Prince & The Magic Belt (Mainly based on "Ozma of Oz," but also uses plots from "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," "The Patchwork Girl of Oz," and "The Marvelous Land of Oz."
3. Virtual Oz (Completely original. The copy I wound up with was a promotional copy, and was NOT TO BE SOLD, but it seems it was anyways. It's also copy-protected and has a copyright notice on the lower half of the screen throughout half of the program.)
4. Who Stole Santa? (Based on "The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus," and borrows from "Ozma of Oz" and "A Kidnapped Santa Claus.")
The Making of the Oz Kids (A behind-the-scenes featurette.)
Christmas in Oz (Mostly original, but borrows from "The Road to Oz.")
(Yes, all three are on one disc.)
5. Underground Adventure (Don't have it yet, so I can't say, but it does seem to borrow from "Dorothy & The Wizard in Oz" and "The Lost Princess of Oz.")
6. The Monkey Prince (Mostly an original story, but does use a bit from "The Marvelous Land of Oz.")
7. The Return of Mombi (Original story, but is largely inspired by "The Marvelous Land of Oz" and "The Emerald City of Oz." Borrows from "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," "The Patchwork Girl of Oz," and "Ozma of Oz," "The Lost Princess of Oz," or "The Magic of Oz.")
8. Journey Beneath The Sea (An adaptation of "The Sea Fairies," except that Trot & Cap'n Bill are replaced by Rick, Dot, Ned, Bela, Boris, and Toto 2. Trot's mom is replaced by Scarecrow Jr., Tin Boy, Frank, & Jack, as they were in a seperate boat and the Mermaid Queen sends them to sleep. There are other changes as well.)
When I first heard of this series, I rolled my eyes. It sounded as if (excuse me) whoever came up with it was on some kind of drug. I'm delighted to report I was mistaken. Willard Carroll indeed had true inspiration to bring the Oz series up-to-date here, unlike what's been offered in recent years. ("Lost in Oz," "The Muppets Wizard of Oz," etc.)
In best Baumian fashion, here are kids who are kids, but they can be depended upon in the worst situations. (If only their parents knew...) Just like the original Dorothy in her original adventures, Dot is quick-thinking but always sensible and can often come up with solutions to problems when no one else can. Ned is a charming little brother for Dot, though he seems to only add to her character: mostly she's protecting him as well as the other Kids.
Scarecrow Jr. is just like his famous father after he got his brains: trying to come up with all the answers. Tin Boy isn't so warm-hearted as his father, but can always be depended on to do the right thing. Bela is far from cowardly, while Boris is, but tries to be brave and often succeeds. Bela, like Dot, also looks out for her little brother, although she's only older by twelve seconds.
Frank, like his father, is always inventive, ready to try anything new. Andrea, on the other hand, relies on her magic more often than her brains, but when she can't resort to her wand, she puts her mind to work. Jack really seems to be undeveloped. He seems to be put in there just in case they'd need another character. Rick, on the other hand, is a great older, male adult character in the mold of the Shaggy Man and Cap'n Bill. He's devoted to the Kids, and they are to him. If the Kids are in danger, Rick will come up with a solution.
Otto is one of the best new characters. Although he wants to follow in his father's (Roquat?) footsteps, what he really wants is a friend. In fact, in the four episodes I've seen him in, when viewed in a specific order (Nome Prince & Magic Belt/Virtual Oz/Christmas in Oz/Return of Mombi), you can see his character develop from a trickster whose favorite word is "mischief" to being on a level with the other Kids. Whenever he grows up in this alternate Oz, the nomes will have a good ruler!
Want a good Oz video series for the kids? I'd definitely reccomend this series. (Now if only Paramount would put it back in print!)
Now, I'm also looking forward to reading some Oz books. I've finally tired of reading Spider-Man comics on that DVD-ROM. (Yes, those are real things! And authorized!) So, I'm looking forward to my copy of Queen Ann In Oz, which will hopefully come soon (it may be in the mailbox now! Need to check!), and I've also downloaded some Oz books by March Laumer from http://marchlaumer.4t.com/ , check it out!
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
I found both to be very well written Oz books. For once, Oz books that are Ozzy, but modern! The books center around sisters Dori and Em, who may be descended from a close relative of Dorothy Gale.
Dori has an old snowglobe that shows an Emerald palace. She's read the Oz books countless times, while her little sister Em, has only seen the MGM movie, which doesn't help when both sisters are blown to Oz!
Dori and Em find themselves in a valley of unicorns, who are cared for by children. Only thing is... the kids are not allowed to leave. Dori and Em must find a way out, and they meet a strange ragged boy named Rik. And what's wrong with Glinda?
In Trouble Under Oz, Dori returns to Oz to help Rik get the Nome Kingdom from the current Nome King, Kaliko. But all isn't as it seems.
So, these books are great. One of my very few complaints is with William Stout's pictures: there isn't enough. Another is also with the pictures. In Trouble, Smith notes that Dori has long hair, but Stout draws her with short hair. (Somewhat resembling the famous bob Dorothy had in Neill's pictures.
My only other complaint is that in Emerald Wand, Smith claims that Oz time runs differently to real-world time, similar to how it goes in C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia. Baum (and MGM) never insinuated this. Perhaps Smith realized that, too. In Trouble, she doesn't mention it, and the idea seems to be dropped in true Baumian fashion.
Great books, and I hope Smith can get her next book published.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
- The Emerald Wand of Oz and Trouble Under Oz by Sherwood Smith and illustrated by William Stout
- Locasta & The Three Adepts: The Unknown Witches of Oz by David Hardenbrook
I received The Unknown Witches and Trouble Under Oz first, so I opted to read Unknown Witches.
If you don't like the name Tattypoo or what Ruth Thompson did with the Good Witch of the North in The Giant Horse of Oz, the you may want to read this book, BUT...
- The book follows several story lines. When Baum did this, he worked it out so you wouldn't get confused, but Hardenbrook will wait several chapters to pick back up where one storyline left off.
- Magic is used in over-abundance!
- Ozma and Dorothy have let themselves age to 17!
- Ozma gets a love interest!
- The three Adepts have new hard-to-pronounce names!
- The grandrarents of the Adepts are revealed!
- There's yet another Wicked Witch of the South!
- OZ GETS CONQUERED!
After reading it, I was glad that Emerald Wand had arrived, along with the Dorothy calendar and two of the Oz Kids videos. (I'll have to blog about them soon...)
I'll let you know what I think of Emerald Wand after I'm done.