Sunday, May 05, 2024

The Royal Podcast of Oz: Breaking Down The New Volshebnik Izumrudnogo Goroda Trailer

 Russia should really get out of Ukraine's business and make some good movies like the one Sam and Jay watch and discuss in this episode!

To watch the trailer yourself, go here:

Monday, April 01, 2024

Support the Patchwork Girl of Oz on Kickstarter!

 In a special entry of The Royal Podcast of Oz, Jay sits back as Sam Milazzo talks with comics writer Andy Mangels and artist Anna-Maria Cool about The Patchwork Girl of Oz graphic novel, a project you can back on Kickstarter to help bring it to life!

Please consider backing this project. There's a wide variety of perks from pins and digital books about the history of the Patchwork Girl to paper dolls to the comic itself, variant covers, and even original dolls based on the characters! Andy and Anna explain in the podcast that the book is going to be a gorgeous volume. You will want to own this book!

Tuesday, March 05, 2024

The Royal Podcast of Oz: New episodes!

 Well, there's two episodes I haven't posted about on here yet. To stay on top of the podcast, be sure to follow The Royal Podcast of Oz on your favorite podcast service.

Last month, Angelo Thomas and I went frame by frame for the first look trailer for the movie adaptation of Wicked.

Meanwhile, last week, Erica Olivera joined Sam and I to discuss the short film Heartless: The Story of the Tin Man. (This has explicit language. If you know Erica, you get it.)

It had opened on Tuesday night with a great feast and so many more people - but I made it to the end so it was easier to walk around and talk about.
Matt and I looked around the large collection, in a small yet comfortable space, as we talked to the owner Dorothy Overton who said she had left others in order to make the packing and travel easier.  Among the things she said was how she met Munchkin Margaret Pellegrini and got her autograph with a photo.
Eventually we met another Oz fan, Christie Wilson, who was relieved to find other adult Oz fans at a children's funland without any children of their own ... likewise she seemed very knowledgeable of Oz and its various books and films too, without knowing or seeing everything.
We discussed our disappointment with "Great and Powerful", our opinions of "wicked" and a bit about MGM, we had a look at the other Oz displays in the other glass cabinets that are already displayed at Funland - Oz cows and ducks, figures ("Simpsons"), plates, etc. - under a selection of posters for MGM, Wiz and Betty Boop.
It was through Christie that I learned how during Nikki Webster's performance that she was putting on a Californian accent (I never noticed that or gave it much thought before, to be honest, I miss some of those unless they're really obvious or noticeably strong). There were programs and merchandise and a few things for sale . . . but if you wanted Ruby Slippers, they were $150 - however you could get them custom-sized or get some soft slip-ins. Set-up seemed the same as before. The only difference between the first visit and this time was that I was able to drive myself. Exhibition closed after 2 pm, Matt and I both content at our varying Oz collection sizes.
(originally handwritten Friday February 22, 2019, with additional entries on Monday night Feb 25 and Tues Feb 26, from own recollection and second-hand information; slightly revised on typing

* Yes.  5 years ago, to this day.

Happy Anniversary to this special event with a long-awaited overdue Blog (originally intended as a Baum Bugle article, but never happened.)

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

OzCon 2024 announcement

Hello, everyone!

This year, we will return to Kellogg West Conference Center and Hotel in Pomona, California, from July 19-20. Yes, that's two full days of programming at Kellogg. Additionally, we are looking into events outside of Kellogg for an early meet-up on Thursday evening to warm us up for the convention with extra activity in the planning stages for Sunday. To finish, you can once again hang out with your Oz buddies on a trip to Disneyland on Monday, 22.

This year, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of OzCon International, our major theme is celebrating the Royal Historians of Oz. We wouldn't have the Famous Forty Oz books without them! There would be no MGM classic movie musical (which celebrates its 85th anniversary this year) or Wicked (which is getting the first part of its film adaptation this year) without the stories by Baum, Thompson, Neill, Snow, Cosgrove or the McGraws.

In addition, we're also exploring the many Oz games invented over the years, allowing fans to interact with Oz in fun and competitive ways. I've even been preparing a presentation looking at the evolution of Oz video games, even touching base with some of the people who made the earliest games.

Colin Ayres and I have been working on a schedule of events with early volunteer presenters (thank you!) to be sure to have a great convention ahead.

Last but definitely not least, we are celebrating sixty years of OzCon. Our programming will offer plenty of opportunity for cozy chats with new and old friends, one of the features that make our conventions so memorable. We'll still have favorites such as Show and Tell to showcase your treasures; the Masquerade costume contest to channel your favorite characters, and the return of the Treasure Hunt to find some Ozzy treasure.

We will be having a single track program this year, aside from having alternate activities during the auction on Saturday. You won't need to miss a thing!

Do you have an idea for a presentation, panel or activity? Do you want to be on a panel about a particular Ozzy topic? There’s still plenty of time to put yourself forward. Don’t miss a chance to join our Ozzy lineup! We’re accepting presentations for proposals until March 31. Go ahead and email Colin and me at

You can follow updates on our social media outlets on Facebook (OzCon International) and Instagram (ozconinternational), The OzConnection on YouTube and for the first time, we have a Discord server! If you're not familiar, Discord is a messaging platform. A server is a space specifically for a group of users to chat and share information with each other, with it being further broken into specific channels for specific topics. Using Discord, OzCon attendees can get breaking announcements, find people to share rooms with, meet up before and after the convention and quickly get in touch with convention organizers. To join the OzCon server, follow this link, sign up for Discord and get in there. Stay tuned for more announcements coming soon!

Jared "Jay" Davis

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Dee and Friends in Oz


Despite being the streaming service that made streaming by subscription a thing, it's not until now that Netflix has turned their heads to having an Oz-based show. (Amazon has Lost in Oz and Warner Brothers' Boomerang had Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz as a streaming exclusive before it moved to broadcast.)

Dee and Friends in Oz is aimed for a preschool audience, featuring child characters inspired by The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in a brightly-colored magical world.

Dorothy "Dee" Davis from New Jersey is visiting her grandmother when she discovers the music box in her room can be unlocked with a key, transporting her to the wonderful world of Oz, where the kind Miss Emerald shares magic with everyone from her Wonderful School of Oz.

The show has three parts currently on Netflix. It's officially broken into two seasons, with the first season being a single 48 minute episode establishing the lore of the show before the 16 episode proper season begins. The episodes break into two 8 episode arcs. (Wikipedia says these are separate seasons, but Netflix lists it as a single season.)

In the prequel, we meet Miss Ruby, the villainous sister of Miss Emerald, who wants all the magic of Oz for herself. We also meet her minion Stuffley, a teddy bear with mechanical wings that allow him to fly. Miss Ruby locks Miss Emerald in her school and begins draining Oz of its magic, while Dee heads down a multicolored brick road, meeting new friends Tin, Scarecrow and Lion who join and help her out.

The first eight-episode arc has Dee begin finding the four magic gemstones that will create the Gemstone Loop, creating a magical transit system around Oz. Stuffley at first tries to get the gemstones for himself, but eventually decides to help Dee and reforms.

In the second arc, Miss Ruby returns to find four crown pieces that will give her great power and let her take the title of the Wizard of Oz, with Dee and her friends trying to find the pieces first.

As you might have guessed, this isn't a straightforward adaptation of Oz lore. Tin, for example, lives in a town of tin people like himself, and doesn't have the tragic origin of Nick Chopper from the original Baum books. Scarecrow is a young boy from a village of living Scarecrows. Only Lion isn't shown to have a family.

In the first batch of eight episodes, we also meet magic-working girls Eastyn and Westyn who happily join the school. Instead of Munchkins, Winkies, Gillikins or Quadlings, we have the Ozlings, humanoids with acorn-shaped heads. They reminded me a bit of the Munchkins as they appeared in Tales of the Wizard of Oz.

There's a few other nods to other takes on Oz. Dee's grandmother looks very similar to Miss Emerald and they are both voiced by LaChanze. Similarly, all five of the other students in the school have counterparts in children who live around Dee's grandmother's apartment with their clothing and hair suggesting the characters they are similar to and being voiced by the same performers. (They seem to have gotten an age-appropriate cast, so I wouldn't be surprised if there's eventual recasts if the show keeps going.)

At the start of the second arc, Dee is reading her own chronicle of her Oz adventures to the neighboring kids who love it and want to hear more, but Dee says that her new adventures haven't happened yet before her key starts glowing and she hurries back to Oz. This struck me as being similar to how Baum eventually settled on the idea that Dorothy relayed him Oz adventures he'd write into books, but now, our Dorothy character is telling her story herself.

Miss Ruby is basically a classic Oz villain, whose wickedness is based around only caring about herself, stealing all the magic and taking over Oz. Miss Emerald is the opposite, wanting to share magic with everyone, keeping Oz a bright, happy and welcoming place.

Stuffley's reformation feels like a nice Oz-appropriate character development. He's voiced by James Monroe Igleheart, who originated the Genie in Disney's Broadway adaptation of Aladdin, recently going to the Broadway production of Spamalot, working with Oz fan Michael Urie and original Wicked Broadway Boq Christopher Fitzgerald and Wicked movie Boq Ethan Slater. He also voiced Calvin Carney and the Jitterbug in Tom and Jerry: Back to Oz.

There's also songs. You won't find show stoppers like The Wiz's "Home" or Wicked's "Defying Gravity," or perennial classics like "Over the Rainbow," but the songs are charming, and a few are catchy. (I missed Stuffley's villain song, which disappears after his reformation.) Dee sings a variation of a journey song every episode, re-establishing that she's her own hero in her own story. LaChanze and Tarriona "Tank" Ball as Miss Ruby also get a number of songs as well.

To be clear, I'm writing this after watching the first ten episodes and the prequel so I haven't watched it all yet, only watching one episode a day, but I've got a pretty good feel of the show.

While this might not be the Oz adaptation of your dreams, it's a fun take on Oz if you need a bright-colored escape for a moment now and then, or if you have appropriately-aged kids who you want to get into Oz.

An additional thing I noticed is that while I have an ad-supported Netflix plan, ads don't play during these episodes. It might be just for Netflix Kids programming, though I don't watch much of that.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Sunday, December 10, 2023

The Royal Podcast of Oz: New episodes!

We have new episodes for The Royal Podcast of Oz!

The Movies of Oz: Tom and Jerry in Oz

It's a double feature as Jay and Sam Milazzo discuss Tom and Jerry's take on MGM's The Wizard of Oz from 2011 and then they turn to its far more worthy sequel in 2016's Tom and Jerry: Back to Oz.

<iframe src="" height="102px" width="400px" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe> 

Angelo Thomas Interviews Kirk Thatcher

Angelo Thomas gives us a holiday surprise with an interview with Kirk Thatcher, director of The Muppets Wizard of Oz.

<iframe src="" height="102px" width="400px" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe>

There's another episode of Movies of Oz coming very soon.

Sunday, September 03, 2023

The Little Wizards of Oz - Review

 In November last year, I spotted a Blu-Ray titled Blood on Melies' Moon in my RSS feed reader for's feed. I was about to scroll past when I looked at the image of the cover and noticed it mentioned a movie titled The Little Wizards of Oz. The Blu-Ray set actually contained three films by Italian director Luigi Cozzi, who's nicknamed "Italy's Ed Wood." (The famous director who would make films on a shoestring budget but clearly really had a passion for doing it.) I didn't pick it up, hoping to hear some feedback about the movie first.

Well, yesterday I saw the movie was on the free streamer Tubi and decided to check it out.

This is not a straightforward adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. We open with a quick rundown of the origin of the book, and a reveal of its sequels and many of its adaptations and a note that children in Italy also enjoy the book while at school.

Moving onto children rapping, we see some what appears to be behind the scenes shots of the crew working with the children who play the students in a classroom that a substitute teacher is taking over the Italian lesson. The children did reports on the first chapter of the book, which get presented with some charming cheap animations depicting how the children are reimagining the story.

The substitute is taken with the children interacting with the story and wants to complete the story with them, despite higher ups at the school wanting her to stick to a lesson plan. This includes scenes from the story, often with twists from the original text, played with the children as Dorothy and her friends and people who work at the school filling in for other Oz characters. The CGI shots are clearly CGI, but given that this is how a class is imagining the world of Oz, we can accept it.

There's a few fun touches, like the Wicked Witch of the West using an Etch-A-Sketch to spy on Dorothy, with the screen claiming it's "TV-OZ STATION 666."

While anyone wanting a great Oz adaptation or a new Oz story in film might be disappointed, I thought The Little Wizards of Oz was fairly charming in how it celebrates Oz stimulating the imagination. I was also reminded of the documentary film Yellow Brick Road about a special needs school putting on a performance of The Wizard of Oz, except that followed a real production at a real school, while the story of Little Wizards is fiction. But both are about people connecting with the story of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

If it wasn't clear above, The Little Wizards of Oz is actually in Italian. On Tubi, the version offered includes "hard subs" (they're actually part of the image and can't be turned off) in addition to a subtitle track. I found it easier to turn off Tubi's subtitles and just go with the subtitles in the image.

As I've picked up DVDs and Blu-Rays with less Oz content before, I might very well get a copy of Blood on Melies' Moon to own a copy of The Little Wizards of Oz in my collection.