Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Russia's CG-Animated 'Magic Land' Adaptation Now Has a Poster, Trailer, & Release Date

Urfin Jus and His Wooden Soldiers (Урфин Джюс и его деревянные солдаты), a CG-animated feature film adaptation of the second book of Alexander Volkov's Magic Land series (which itself is a loose translation/adaptation of the original Oz books), seems to have hit some bumps in the road since I first heard about the production, but we now have a trailer and a release date – well, Russia does, at least.

The film was produced in Russia by Rossiya, CTB Film Company, and Melnitsa Animation Studio, and will be released there on April 20, 2017 (which happens to be my birthday). Even though it's a Russian production, it's pretty common nowadays for foreign films, especially animated films, to be dubbed over in English and eventually released in the U.S. and elsewhere. This is the case with the Indian/Mexican animated film Guardians of Oz (Guardianes de Oz), which has been dubbed in English and picked up by Lionsgate for a home video release in the U.S. next month. (You can read more about that film and its release by clicking here.)

I do hope that Urfin Jus is released in the U.S. at some point, even if not dubbed, because it looks pretty good to me. The animation looks nice, the characters are generally well-designed, and it looks overall like a fun and interesting take on Oz, very different from something like Legends of Oz or even Amazon's just-launched Lost in Oz series. Check out the trailer, synopsis, character posters, and some of the newly released stills below, and feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts on it!


The cunning and wicked Urfin Jus decides to become ruler of the Wonderful Land of Oz, take over the Emerald City with his Wooden Soldiers, and rename it to Urfinville. He is all but ready to celebrate victory, when his plans are ruined by Elly — an ordinary girl who ends up in Oz just at the right time. She must return home, but not before she helps her friends — the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion — defeat Urfin. But before they can defeat him, they must find out who he really is.

Update: It looks like the film has already been dubbed in English and is being sold as Fantastic Journey to Oz, a title that could very well change by the time the film reaches us. Animation Magazine's got stills, a trailer, and some more nuggets of information about the film that you can peruse by clicking here.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

The Royal Podcast of Oz: Little Oz Stories read by Ray Bolger

As a Christmas present, here is the audio of the out of print album Little Oz Stories read by Ray Bolger. The stories are actually from L. Frank Baum's Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz, featuring several Oz characters visiting the United States.
  1. The Scarecrow Presents A Magic Automobile To A Little Girl
  2. The Two Wishes
  3. Jack Pumpkinhead Pawns The Sawhorse
  4. The Scarecrow Tells A Fairy Tale To Children And Hears An Equally Marvelous True One
  5. A Magnetic Personality
  6. How The Scarecrow And The Tin Woodman Met Some Old Friends
  7. How The Sawhorse Saved Dorothy's Life
  8. Dorothy Spends an Evening with her Old Friends and is Entertained with Wonderful Exhibitions
  9. How The Woggle-Bug And His Friends Visited Santa Claus
As always, you can listen, download and subscribe at the podcast site, or use the player and links below.

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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Christmas is Coming . . . Holiday Oz Videos!

In one more week it will be Christmas;
and Oz fans know that the Holiday season has many times crossed over and been combined together with L Frank Baum's fairyland, whether it's his own "origin" of how Santa Claus came to be with his life and adventures, the jolly man coming to Ozma's birthday, new stories in books or videos being written made set during the time ... or even with some fan-made videos.

I made two versions of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas";

Above is a more "Youtube friendly" version, one that avoids getting into trouble with copyright issues (such as using Judy Garland's voice from "Meet Me in St Louis", or the two animated "Santa Claus" versions; which is what I did for that other version).
 I hope to be able to share my Definitive version with you someday ...

"We Wish You a Merry Christmas";
(I also made an alternate video with the same song, but used my own hand-coloured versions of Eric Shanower illustrations - until further notice I won't share that version) ...

... a Tribute celebrating 110 years of L Frank Baum's "Santa Claus" book;

And then there's this classic;

There are many, many other videos that combine Oz and Christmas, so check them out on Youtube.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Royal Podcast of Oz: The Oz Kids Christmas

Jay and Sam talk about the Christmas stories in The Oz Kids series: Who Stole Santa? and Christmas in Oz. What stories are these based on, are they good stories or just saccharine Christmas fluff? Also, did Jay and Sam make a mistake with their chronology for the series?

You can listen, download and subscribe at the podcast site or use the player and links below.

Download this episode (right click and save)