Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Jay watched more of Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz

Well, it's been awhile since I sat down to the first thirteen episodes of Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz. Several more episodes were released, finally, I decided to sign up for Boomerang for a month and catch up. If you remember my issues with streaming the series, I now have a phone capable of running the app and using the Chromecast feature was a breeze.

If you're a fan of Looney Tunes, Popeye, Johnny Quest, The Smurfs, The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, the Jetsons, Tom and Jerry or Scooby-Doo, you'll find the Boomerang streaming service well worth the $5 a month. I was also pleased to find that the older Garfield animated specials featuring Lorenzo Music were available, including some I'd never seen before but had seen the comic adaptations of. Apparently, the service is currently featuring the Captain Planet series for a limited time.

The series continues with more adventures of this kid-friendly amalgamation of imagery from the MGM movie and concepts and characters from the books. Characters from Dot and Tot of Merryland and The Sea Fairies pop up and one episode even took a plot element from The Royal Book of Oz. Each episode is only about 11 minutes long, so they never overstay their welcome. Make sure you see my above linked previous blog entry about the setup for the series.

Of course the series doesn't faithfully follow the books, but you never know that it might wind up being what gets new fans to check out the original books for their own.

  • "Wand-erful" - This episode sees the debut of the series' version of Glinda, capably voiced by Grey Griffin as she loses her wand just as she needs to whip up a bubble to protect Emerald City from a storm.
  • "No Sleep Sleepover" - When Ozma and Dorothy have a sleepover with their friends (including the Patchwork Girl), Wilhelmina interrupts it using her magic.
  • "Lion Catches A Bug" - Dorothy needs Lion to face a threat to the forest, but he's come down with a bug.
  • "Tik Tok and Tin Man" - Tik-Tok makes his debut in this episode as Dorothy and her friends find him, but he needs some repairs and joins them to find some new springs. Tin Man feels indignant at the presence of a new metal man.
  • "If I Only Had Some Brawn" - Scarecrow goes for a bulkier body to impress Patchwork Girl, but the new brawn seems to decrease the powers of his brain.
  • "The Beast Royales" - Wilhelmina kidnaps a popular band and it's up to Dorothy and her friends to find them in time for the concert.
  • "Time After Time"- Wilhelmina tries to use a time-turning hourglass to steal the Ruby Slippers.
  • "Kitten Around" - Dorothy and her friends find a lost kitten they name Eureka and help her find her home, which has been attacked by a Rak. (It looks more like a griffin, however.)
  • "Castle Sitters"- Dorothy and her friends have to care for Glinda's castle while she's away.
  • "Stuck on You" - A magic locket makes Ozma and Dorothy get stuck together.
  • "Family Matters" - Dorothy and her friends try to help the Woozy find his family.
  • "The Emerald of Zog" - To defend Emerald City from the Jewel Mule, Dorothy and her friends go to fetch a sea emerald, but a sea creature named Zog demands the gem.
  • "Cooking Up Some Magic" - Dorothy and the gang accidentally make a batch of gingerbread men who come to life.
  • "Copy Cat" - Stealing a magical device that makes copies of things, Wilhelmina clones herself to conquer Oz.
  • "Snow Place Like Home" - When Ozma makes it snow over Emerald City, Wilhelmina attempts to steal the magical snow globe to make the capitol of Oz freeze over.
  • "Mirror Madness" - After stealing a magic mirror, Wilhelmina accidentally creates a monstrous version of herself.
  • "Everything Coming Up Poppies" - Lion accidentally uses poppies from the deadly poppy field to make a float celebrating Ozma. Wilhelmina tries to use the situation to her advantage.
  • "A Cut Above the Rest" - In her first formal function as a princess, Dorothy is nervous about meeting royalty. Too bad Wilhelmina's monkeys Lyman and Frank slipped magic marbles into Dorothy's dress that causes magical mishaps.
  • "Abraca-Oops" - Dorothy accidentally causes Ozma's magic to be temporarily deactivated when the ruler is supposed to compete in a contest in which the winner will get a single wish granted. One of the other contenders? Wilhelmina.
  • "Halloween Heist" - The first part of a Halloween special, Wilhelmina attempts to spoil a Halloween party by bringing to life a pumpkin-headed man, Jack Pumpkinhead, however, Dorothy's friendship might be more effective than Halloween scares.
  • "Haunt Me Not" - Dorothy and her friends go trick-or-treating and come across a creepy house inhabited by a strange being that steals their candy.
  • "Wheelers Of Fortune" - When a stretch of the Yellow Brick Road disappears, Dorothy and her friends have to find the culprit.
  • "Sister Sister" - Glinda's evil twin Belinda is introduced. The Munchkins mix up the twins, much to the detriment of Glinda's reputation.
  • "Moody Magic" - While trying to keep the Hungry Tiger sated to keep him from Dainty China country, Wilhelmina controls a magic mood ring that makes Dorothy act up.
  • "If the Shoe Fits" - When Wilhelmina steals one of the Ruby Slippers, she attempts to use it, sending her to Under, where all broken magical items go. Dorothy and her friends have to find Wilhelmina and retrieve the stolen slipper.
  • "Get Smart" - When the Woggle-Bug releases a book about the Great Rulers of Oz, the Nome King is furious that he isn't included. He hatches a plot to take over Oz so he can be included in the next edition.
  • "Mission Imp-Possible" - When Wilhelmina gets some imps to play tricks on Dorothy, Ozma sends the fabulous foursome to assist the Zoop.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

What have you learned from L. Frank Baum?

So, today marks L. Frank Baum's birthday. If by some miracle he was still with us, he'd be 162.

To many people around the world, Baum is a little-noticed credit as they watch some production based on or inspired by his works. A slightly more knowledgeable person may say he wrote The Wizard of Oz or the Oz books.

As for me, I can say L. Frank Baum changed my life, even though he died sixty seven years before I was born.

Baum wrote for a couple reasons: one was of course to provide income for himself and his family, the other was to tell a good story. Even at Baum's worst, he was still very entertaining. And he tried many ways to tell his stories, prose, poetry, songs, stage, and even film. (I'm still surprised that he never attempted to record his voice.)

Baum let his imagination run free in his stories, and in his fantasies, he created a world in which people and creatures of all types live alongside each other. In his pseudonymous works, he created daring adventures and tales of civilian life featuring characters who were at least amusing.

So what do we take away from Baum?

If you're creative, create what you want. Find the right avenue, but know that sometimes the audience isn't there for it yet. But they'll never find it it you don't get it out.

If it wasn't for Baum's works, I wouldn't have met a lot of my current friends. The friends who I'm myself with and don't have to lie to. Friends from across the country and around the world. Now I'm chairing a convention celebrating his legacy that a lot of them are coming to.

Thank you, L. Frank Baum. Thank you.

What are your thoughts about how L. Frank Baum affected you? Feel free to sound off in the comments.

The Royal Podcast of Oz: 100 Years of the Tin Woodman of Oz

To celebrate L. Frank Baum's birthday, the Royal Podcast of Oz presents an excerpt from The Tin Woodman of Oz, celebrating its centennial this year, read by Phil Chenevert.

You can download Phil's complete reading of The Tin Woodman of Oz for free from

 You can listen, download and subscribe at the podcast site, or use the players and links below. The Royal Podcast of Oz is available on iTunes, Stitcher, Player.FM, Google Play Music and other podcast services and aggregators that mirror these.

Register for OzCon International today!

Download this episode (right click and save)

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

The Royal Podcast of Oz - OzCon International: James Ortiz

OzCon International Chairman Jay Davis chats with Guest of Honor James Ortiz. Find out why James created the play The Woodsman and what he's looking forward to at OzCon!

 You can listen, download and subscribe at the podcast site, or use the players and links below. The Royal Podcast of Oz is available on iTunes, Stitcher, Player.FM, Google Play Music and other podcast services and aggregators that mirror these.

Register for OzCon International today!

Download this episode (right click and save)

Thursday, May 03, 2018

The Woodsman

When it was announced that I would be chairing OzCon 2018, I knew I wanted to reach out to one potential guest of honor in particular: James Ortiz.

James is the co-creator of the one-act play The Woodsman, a somewhat surreal experience that retells the story of how Nick Chopper came to be the Tin Woodman, based on the account in The Tin Woodman of Oz.

I had to admit, I wasn't familiar with The Woodsman, but I knew about it thanks to editing the Oz and Ends column for The Baum Bugle. A particular contributor sent me several updates about the show, so many that I had to remind him that we couldn't possibly use them all. Just that the show was opening, how long it'd be running, and a broadcast of the recording airing and appearing on BroadwayHD as an exclusive.

Well, now I have seen it. And everything positive I'd heard about the show was true. The show uses mainly music, visuals and human-produced sound effects to tell the story, the most dialogue being in an opening monologue to set the stage of this world. The characters of the Tin Woodman, the Wicked Witch and the animals of Oz are created through puppets, animated by actors onstage dressed as the Munchkins. Being a theatrical production, the audience is to use their imagination to fill in the gaps and pretend those people aren't there.

The show might be considered by some to be dark with the very creepy Wicked Witch and the original story of a man being dismembered being presented faithfully. Yet there's a spirit of whimsy present in the proceedings that feels right for Oz.

Well, luckily for OzCon, James did agree to attend, and he will be talking about some of the creation of the play in addition to screening a video recording of it. So, you can actually see it and learn more about it at OzCon this year if you register for it.