Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Wonders Have Begun

I finished the introduction of "The Wonders of Oz" today!

Let me know what you think!

Submissions are welcome! See the previous blog entry.

Monday, May 28, 2007

(Post 60!) The Wonders Are Beginning...

I've finally figured out how to kick off the first episode of "The Wonders Of Oz." I won't tell you how, you'll see it later, but I will say that my Aunt Sharie had a large part in helping create the bit that will kick it off, as well as my mother and my late grandfather. They just didn't know it. (And, for the record, neither did I, at the time.)

Blair Frodelius, if you're reading this, I've taken your suggestions for the opening credits. I've figured out how to fill more title screens and will use a picture where I am smiling. (I've almost got this self-photography thing down.)

The documentary series can also take multimedia submissions in the form of video and audio clips, and pictures. They can be e-mailed to Note that I will not be required to use your submission or make a promise to use it until I've seen or heard it, and even then, I may not use because of time constraints (YouTube will only allow videos to be a maximum of 10 minutes), or because it may not be relevant enough to a certain topic, or someone else simply found another way to cover the topic you are trying to cover that the viewers will get more out of. (Maybe I could do periodic "outtakes" videos with unused material, so folks can still see that their submission is appreciated and was used.) It would be nothing personal against anyone.

Here's a preliminary episode list. Liable to change without notice...

EPISODE 1: Introduction
EPISODE 2: L. Frank Baum & The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
This episode relates the life of L. Frank Baum up to the success of the first Oz book.
EPISODE 3: L. Frank Baum: 1900-1919
L. Frank Baum's life after the publication of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz."
EPISODE 3.1: (May be incorporated into Episode 3 or be separate) The Secret Lives of L. Frank Baum
A documentary about Baum's pseudonymous books.
EPISODE 4: The Oz Books Live On
The other Royal Historians, from Thompson to the McGraws.
EPISODE 5: The Fans of Oz
A treatise on the Oz fans, the International Wizard of Oz Club, and Oz websites.
EPISODE 6: International Oz
About the impact of Oz in other countries, but will mostly cover the "Magic Land" series in Russia.
EPISODE 7: Oz on Stage
From the 1902 musical to stage adaptations of the MGM movie.
EPISODE 8: Oz in Film: 1908-1933
Covers film adaptations from the Fairylogue & Radio Plays to the Ted Eshbaugh cartoon.
EPISODE 9: Leo in Oz
The MGM movie.
EPISODE 10: Easing On Down The Road
Oz in public domain, Oz movies of the '60s and '70s, and The Wiz.
EPISODE 11: Disney Goes To Oz
Disney's Oz projects, "The Rainbow Road to Oz," the read-along records, and "Return to Oz."
EPISODE 12: The Oz Books Live Again
About the rising of Oz books written by Oz fans.
EPISODE 13: Oz In Pop Culture
The MGM's movie's influence on pop culture.
EPISODE 14: Wicked
About the book, it's sequels, and the musical.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Sniff, sniff... Is that... Gingerbread?

Last night, I found another e-mail from Hungry Tiger Press: their new edition of L. Frank Baum's John Dough & The Cherub should ship by the end of June. (If you live close to them and get Priority Shipping, you may get your copy by July 4th, John Dough's birthday!)

I support HTP, but right now am unable to buy anything from them, or any other online retailer. (Lack of cash, hence why I enabled Google Adsense on the blog.) I plan on buying it as soon as I can afford it, though. But that might be awhile... So, right now, I can only support them by enouraging you readers to buy their books, which you should! (BTW, I am under no obligation to HTP to promote anything.)

For a bit extra, you can try for the Slipcased Limited Edition, which will be priced significantly higher, but should be very good quality, as you can expect from all of Hungry Tiger Press' items.

The story (if you want to just read it, click on the title above, but I'd still reccomend getting the book) follows the adventures of John Dough, a life-sized gingerbread man who was brought to life due to a mix-up in the bakery where he was created. (What the mix-up was, you read the book and find out yourself!) He soon gets to the Isle of Phreex (How he got there? Read the book!) and meets Chick the Cherub, the Incubator Baby. (But is Chick a boy or girl?) But John has to keep one step ahead of Ali Dubh, who wants to devour him. (Why? Read the book!) Along the way, we meet one of Baum's most amusing non-Oz characters, Para Bruin, the Rubber Bear. What happens to them all? Read the... well, you know by now!

The book is related to Baum's Oz books (and not because Baum wrote it and John R. Neill illustrated it) because Baum placed John Dough's kingdoms of Hiland and Loland across the Deadly Desert from the Land of Oz. In fact, John Dough, Chick the Cherub, and Para Bruin attend Ozma's birthday party in The Road To Oz. In an unfinished draft of an uncompleted Oz book by Baum, a couple of King Dough's subjects appear in Oz.

Also, the King of the Fairy Beavers and the Mifkets (Read the book!) appear in Jack Snow's The Shaggy Man Of Oz. (Sorry, no link!)

Buy this rare treat from Hungry Tiger Press and read it!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Your Honest Opinion Wanted!

Today, I uploaded a test version of the opening title for my Baum/Oz documentary series to YouTube. Here it is, embedded in the blog.

So... what do you think? Is it good? Does it need more work? Please let me know your opinions and comments and suggestions.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

BAM! Idea!

Okay, so I was looking at the Daily Ozmapolitan, when I found this page:

It is an article about Roger S. Baum, who now resides in Springfield, Missouri, the city where I live.

Did this article make me proud of a new resident of Springfield? (That's funny. I thought he lived in Branson... Oh, wait. That's a tourist attraction.) No! In fact, I got a little annoyed. The article was horribly written (it was a transcript of a video embedded in the page, and it doesn't sound any better, either) and had some innaccuracies. Roger S. Baum setting the record straight? That is funny!

I will let you know now that I have met Mr. Baum TWICE, but was not impressed with meeting him either time. I have a photo of him and me somewhere... Maybe someday, if I can find it, I'll post it.

"Baum said his great grandfather failed at running a chain of movie theaters," the article reads. No, that was not movie theaters, Rog. Those were opera houses his father gave him. AND there was also the Castorine company, Baum's Bazaar and the newspaper in Aberdeen, and he didn't do too well with selling crockery, either.

"The story Baum remembers about the Tin Man was the character was based on a figure the author once made in Kansas out things like cans and a kettle." Um, Roger, that didn't happen in Kansas...

When I talked to Roger, he didn't seem to know much about his great-grandfather, not even when my father brought up the silent films. He did mention how valuable his great-grandfather and great-grandmother's autographs were, not surprising, as Maud was not the famous one.

Maybe Roger is more knowledgeable than I'm giving him credit for, but to me, it's never seemed like it... and he's a Baum, and I'm a Davis who's been studying Baum and the Oz Legacy for about seven years, having learned from folks who've studied Baum's life much longer, like Micheal Patrick Hearn, Eric Gjovaag, Angelica Shirley Carpenter and Jean Shirley, Katherine Rogers, John Fricke, Ruth Berman, and all the other wonderful folk, most of whom are connected with the International Wizard of Oz Club.

So now I'm figuring, if I know so much, why not do something with it? (Well, there is the Dorothy & Ozma Productions website, but I'm thinking of something else.)

So, I came up with the idea of doing a series of short video documentaries on Baum and the Oz Legacy to be posted on YouTube.

Sound good?

Maybe I could do one about the fans and include some footage of a certain Springfieldian kid when he was about 8 sing "We're Off To See The Wizard."

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Oz characters with Night Vision

They expected to reach some other house before it grew dark, but the twilight was brief and Ojo soon began to fear they had made a mistake in leaving the woodchopper.

"I can scarcely see the path," he said at last.
"Can you see it, Scraps?"

"No," replied the Patchwork Girl, who was holding fast to the boy's arm so he could guide her.

"I can see," declared the Glass Cat. "My eyes are better than yours, and my pink brains—"

"Never mind your pink brains, please," said Ojo hastily; "just run ahead and show us the way. Wait a minute and I'll tie a string to you; for then you can lead us."
--The Patchwork Girl of Oz
Wow! The Glass Cat can see in the dark! But was Bungle the first Oz character with night vision?

After an hour or so the light faded away, and they found themselves stumbling along in the darkness. Dorothy could not see at all, but Toto could, for some dogs see very well in the dark; and the Scarecrow declared he could see as well as by day. So she took hold of his arm and managed to get along fairly well.

"If you see any house, or any place where we can pass the night," she said, "you must tell me; for it is very uncomfortable walking in the dark."

Soon after the Scarecrow stopped.

"I see a little cottage at the right of us," he said, "built of logs and branches. Shall we go there?"
--The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
So, wait a minute, how can these two see in the dark? I believe it is because they do not have natural eyes. Our eyes see by detecting light and the way it reflects from different objects. However, the Scarecrow's eyes are painted, and the Glass Cat's eyes are glass. (Although it is a long-thought of idea that cats can see in the dark.) They can use these to see because their eyes are enchanted to see. So, wouldn't some other characters be able to see in the dark? Here's a list of the characters from Baum's books who would...
  • The Scarecrow
  • The Tin Woodman
  • Jack Pumpkinhead
  • The Sawhorse
  • The Gump (NOTE: Stuffed animal skins usually use glass eyes, so he would have night vision, although in The Marvelous Land of Oz he can't stop in the dark, but this could be because he does not know what Glinda's palace looks like. However, shouldn't the Scarecrow or Tin Woodman have known?)
  • Tik-tok
  • The Wooden Gargoyles (Although they live in a land with no night.)
  • The Scoodlers
  • The Cuttenclips
  • Bungle the Glass Cat
  • Scraps the Patchwork Girl
  • Captain Fyter

Interesting, no? Nine characters and three people groups who could see in the dark!


I really need more ideas for blog entries...

Friday, May 04, 2007

I hate to do it...

I have decided to let advertising appear on my blog. They say I can earn a bit of money that way, and, although I finally have a job, I am currently in need of a slightly bigger cash flow to pay a few debts. (As I've said, I don't live in Oz...)

They also say the advertising will be related to the blog, so I hope (though there's not much) that some of you can find useful items because of it.

If it doesn't work out, I'll see if I can remove the ads.

Oh, and the ads will only help if they're clicked on. (So if you got some spare time...) I'll see how much it's worth, and if it's worth it, I might use the money I get from them for Oz merchandise or something after I pay off those bills.

I really hate to do this...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Episode 21 reviewed

Okay, here's my review for "Returning to Oz" episode 21.

This is one of the best episodes, if not the best, that Aaron Pacentine has put together. Not because I'm on it, but because the many people Aaron interview in this one 64 minute episode are able to present a well-rounded scope on Oz in general. (Though not too much about the books is spoken, or Wicked.)

After regular introductions, Aaron announces that this is Travis Black's first episode. In fact, you may notice that Aaron even mentions that this is episode 18, though you believed it was 21. No, you haven't been lied to, this is the 21st episode. Aaron used the unreleased version of episode 18 to "frame" this one.

Producer Aaron Schultz takes time to talk about Emma Ridley, the actress who so beautifully played Ozma in Disney's Return to Oz. Some of this information is also on Aaron Schultz's website: I'd suggest reading it as well as listening to this part.

Then we Ease On Down The Road to Yours Truly, who pauses and says "um" a LOT near the beginning. Later on, I get over it. I should sound better in any possible future episodes that I may appear in. We'll see.

Anyhoo, Aaron and Jared Davis (me) talk about a variety of subjects, including the two most Popular Oz movies of all time, their scores, the Dorothy & Ozma Productions website, the Oz screenplays that I'm working on with Sam Antony Milazzo (though I didn't mention him, sorry, Sam!), the title Return to Oz had in Italy, the movie The Tramps & The Wizard of Oroz from Brazil, and the Russian Adventures in the Emerald City series.

Next we move on to Derrick Davis (as far as I know, no relation, though I wouldn't mind), who has many comments on Disney's Return to Oz.

Travis Black closes the show with his story of actually seeing a pair of Ruby Slippers used in MGM's The Wizard of Oz.

Enjoyable music is used to transition between the interviews.

All in all, a very solid episode, well worth the time it takes to download it... except now, you don't have to do that anymore! Episode 21 is hosted in eight parts on, and when you click on the link to a certain episode, it will open a page where the file will actually play, thanks to Flash technology. You can also follow links to download each part. (Note: on the final downloading page for each part, Internet Explorer 7 will block the download, but right-click on the "please click here to start it now" link and selecting "Save Target As..." will let you download it.) It has also been announced that all future episode will be released this way.

While using the new feature to listen to each part may be preferable to some, I reccomend downloading them, so you can play all eight parts without having to load the next part.

So what are you waiting for? Go listen to (or download) it!