Thursday, April 26, 2018

New OzCon announcements!

There has been some shakeups with OzCon, and we're excited to tell you about it.

First of all, if you wanted to go to OzCon, but can only attend Friday or Saturday instead of the whole weekend, you're in luck! Single day registrations are now available! Check the bottom of the registration page at the OzCon website.

Another thing is we have a new special guest lineup: James Ortiz of The Woodsman, Journey Back to Oz expert Andy Mangels, Royal Historian Rachel Cosgrove Payes' son Robert Payes, and Aljean Harmetz of The Making of the Wizard of Oz are all still coming, but now they're joined by two guests with special connections to MGM's The Wizard of Oz: Barry Bregman, grandson of Tin Man Jack Haley, and Christianna Rickard, niece of Scarecrow Ray Bolger.

Barry is a music producer who helped compile The Heart of the Tin Man: The Collected Writings of Jack Haley, and Christianna is the author of A Legend in Straw: The Spirit of my Uncle Ray Bolger.

There should be opportunities for you to not only purchase copies at OzCon, but get them signed as well, and that's just two of the people who'll be doing signings! More announcements are to follow soon! Keep posted.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Read-Along with Return to Oz

We now come to the next section in seeing how "Return to Oz" is adapted from film (back) to book for merchandise tie-in.   Here we have a Read-Along, whether it was with records or tape cassettes.

This is not the only Read-Along treatment, however, considering the scarcity of that other one, I may devote a post to that.  But for for let's focus on this one.

Like many other books that told the film's story, these pages were a condensed version using photographs instead of making new illustrations - which isn't a bad thing because there are some rarely seen images here.

The books are both square shaped with the Tape Cassette being not as wide as the Record, allowing the pictures inside to have a bit more imagery shown and seen on the furthest edge of the pages.
And yes, it's possible the covers have a slightly different tint to their colouring, depending on how they were printed (or exposed to conditions on shelf).

The voices, including a Narrator, are performed by a small cast of British-sounding sound-alikes, the best being a girl who sounds a lot like Fairuza Balk!

This is actually a good and nice short adaptation of the film, but with subtle changes to the context that many people wouldn't notice:
* Billina is described as Dorothy's pet
* Aunt Em does mention taking Dorothy to see a doctor, but Doctor Worley is not mentioned by name or even actually acknowledged (but he is in a photo).  It is Nurse Wilson who gets the attention, who straps Dorothy to a table and "a huge electric machine" - the lightning allows a blonde girl to suddenly free Dorothy and escape with her into the storm.
* No mention of finding the old farmhouse (or a lunch-pail tree, but it its pick is seen in photo), just the broken yellow brick road which leads to the ruined Emerald City - there Dorothy encounters the Wheelers, the Head saying how "the Nome King rules now" and that they should take Dorothy to Mombi because "you know of the Scarecrow" - Dorothy escapes them.
* Tik-Tok is still under His Majesty the Scarecrow's instructions to wait for Dorothy, he somehow knows of Princess Mombi and takes Dorothy to her, without fighting the Wheelers (this moment uses an image of the two characters underground, not in the hidden chamber).  Tik-Tok also knows that the Nome King hates chickens and hides Billina in Jack's head when they arrive on the Mountain later.
* While it is established that the Nome King has the Ruby Slippers ("Things have changed since you were last here, Dorothy.  Did you know you left something behind?"), there is nothing about his transformation - he apparently only offers the game for DOROTHY to play, but if she guesses wrong then she and her friends will be turned into ornaments just like the Scarecrow.
Naturally, Dorothy makes a lucky guess "The pincushion! It's green - like the Emerald City!"
* Oddly, despite the image of a GIANT Mountainous Nome King, he is written to "burst angrily through the door" - there is no mention of Mombi following Dorothy to warn him, being caged or any of her demise/punishment being mentioned.  Only the King's demise is retained and Dorothy reclaiming the Ruby Slippers to make her wishes (which is returning to the Emerald City and "all life to be returned to this land" separately).
* Scarecrow suggests Dorothy to be Queen, which she wants to but can't and wishes, allowing the blonde girl to step out from the glass as Ozma, long lost queen of Oz (again, Tik-Tok knows!).
* Ozma is on the throne (only the image shows her wearing the Ruby Slippers - no confirmation in text) and that allows Dorothy to say good-bye promising to never forget her friends, as a mist carries her back to Aunt Em, worried that Dorothy had drowned but is glad to be safe and welcomes her back, saying she will "never worry about your dreams again!"

So here is an actually decent short retelling of the film, even if it loses some vital key details with some minor bad guys and gives Tik-Tok slightly more of a role.

As good as it is having a book that includes rare photographs from the film, I do now wonder what it would be like if it had been given nice new illustrated paintings, like the Disneyland Records?