Friday, October 28, 2016

The Royal Podcast of Oz: Toto Lost In New York

Jay and Sam talk about the first Oz Kids story arc: Toto Lost in New York. Plus, WHAT WAS THAT YOU SAW ONLINE ABOUT AN OZ KIDS MOVIE? Um... Jay explains.

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"It's Halloween soon."

Around this time of year, I often find myself itching to watch Return to Oz (and listening to its score). I think that's because, even though it isn't a true "Halloween" movie, it does have some themes and visuals that pair up nicely with the holiday.

There's the Jack Pumpkinhead character, whose head is jack-o-lantern (and who bears a pretty strong resemblance to Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas, as many fans have pointed out over the years). 

There's the haunting score and occasionally scary visuals. 

And there's even an odd little scene early on in the film in which Dorothy is given a pumpkin by a little girl at the ward who tells her, "It's Halloween soon." 

Anyway, it seems like I'm not alone in my inclination to sort of pair up Return to Oz with Halloween as I've noticed that this is the time of year that I see more people talking about the movie on social media (usually about how "creepy" or "traumatizing" it is to watch), and it's also the time that there seems to be more fan art being done. 

I've come across some pretty great Return to Oz fan art recently, and I thought I would share some of my favorite work here. 

The following pieces are by Brooklyn-based artist Allison Steinfeld, posted on her Instagram account as part of the "Inktober" challenge. I really enjoy her style and think she does an excellent job capturing different moments from the film, especially the film's more bizarre moments.

A photo posted by Allison (@allisonsteinfeld) on

A photo posted by Allison (@allisonsteinfeld) on

A photo posted by Allison (@allisonsteinfeld) on

A photo posted by Allison (@allisonsteinfeld) on

A photo posted by Allison (@allisonsteinfeld) on

A photo posted by Allison (@allisonsteinfeld) on

Steinfeld's artwork reminds me of our own Sam Milazzo's. Sam has done a lot of Oz-inspired artwork, as you can see by taking a look at his Deviantart profile, including his very own comic book adaptation of Return to Oz (yes, the entire film). Sam's attention to detail is impressive, and it's a very nice adaptation of the film. I particularly appreciate the little nods to the books and the inclusion of some of the film's deleted scenes. If Return to Oz is your jam, you should definitely take the time to check it out (link here).

Sam has also created a number of Return to Oz videos over the years, my favorite being the "fan trailer" he created for the film's 30th 25th anniversary. I think too many of the "fan trailers" I've seen for Return to Oz present the film to be much more dark and disturbing than it really is, so I like that Sam's provides what I think is a more accurate representation of the film.

I've only scratched the surface of what's out there in terms of Return to Oz fan art, so I encourage you to peruse Instagram, Tumblr, or your social media platform of choice, and feel free to share any great Return to Oz fan art you've come across (or that you've done yourself) in the comments.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

A fun drawing by the one and only Eric Shanower.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Conserving the Ruby Slippers

In the filming of MGM's The Wizard of Oz, several pairs of Ruby Slippers were created for the film. They weren't the Silver Shoes Baum described in his book, but they served the same purpose in the film: taken from the remains of the Wicked Witch of the East, Dorothy wears them throughout the story until Glinda tells her how she can use the magic power of the shoes to return home. As such, the Ruby Slippers have become an iconic image for The Wizard of Oz as many people know the film.

A screen used pair of the Ruby Slippers was anonymously donated to the Smithsonian Museum, and they became a very popular item, in fact, the Museum would have to often change the carpet under them because it wore out from people frequenting their display case so much.

However, the Smithsonian now has a problem: those shoes weren't made to last forever, and threads are beginning to break on the shoes, the sequins are losing their luster and falling off. However, the Museum's funding doesn't allow for this type of restoration work. So... Kickstarter!

Yeah, the Smithsonian has opened a Kickstarter for conserving the Ruby Slippers for future generations. They started this a couple days ago, and it's already gotten more than half the goal pledged. But even popular Kickstarter campaigns can slump behind, so if you're able to, go ahead and make a pledge to help a piece of Oz history stick around for future generations to enjoy. And there's some specially designed memorabilia being offered for perks, so if you want something nice to add to your collection, here's your chance.

Anyone interested in our historic look at Oz, I'm researching Chittenango and New York at the time of Baum's birth and childhood, so watch this space...

Thursday, October 06, 2016

The Royal Podcast of Oz: How Donald Abbott Came To Oz

Jay talks with Donald Abbott, author/illustrator/cartoonist/screenwriter of How The Wizard Came to Oz and other Oz stories. Donald reveals why his illustrations follow the style of W.W. Denslow, how Books of Wonder came to publish his books, and how How The Wizard Came to Oz has developed over the years.

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