Thursday, December 24, 2020

Podcast catchups!

 So, this year, we have no less than four new adaptations of The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus to enjoy.

First off is one I had a little hand in from The OzConnection, the YouTube channel of OzCon International. The OzConnection presents videos about Oz as well as other fun videos for Oz fans, many in connection with its Zoom hangouts that have served as a temporary substitute for Oz conventions. Some OzCon presentations have even been revived on The OzConnection as videos.

In this adaptation, Raymond Wohl—who previously presented a one man show about L. Frank Baum—prepared and performed a one-man abridgement of Baum's Santa Claus novel, now told through the POV of Claus himself. In the abridgement, however, the story of the Awgwas was dropped. My involvement was helping to promote it when it was streamed live over Zoom, as well as finding scans of the color plates from the Mary Cowles Clark illustrations, which are used to illustrate the story. Raymond Wohl makes for a jolly Santa Claus. The YouTube version is presented in six parts.

Another adaptation is through Lifeline on the Air's podcast, which adapts the story with a full cast, borrowing the adaptation angle taken in the Rankin-Bass adaptation with the Immortals' deliberations to grant Claus the Mantle of Immortality becoming the framing story. It also omits the Awgwas. The

One I haven't listened to yet is from The Empty Space, which offers their adaptation for $10. Listed as an "Audioventure," it seems the Awgwas here become the "Gorpoks."

Finally, Aron Toman released his adaptation of the story as part of The Chronicles of Oz in his Crossover Adventure Productions podcast. It's a largely faithful adaptation, hitting most of the highlights of the book's story, just now tying it closer to Oz. Just as we've come to expect from the first three seasons of The Chronicles of Oz, there's a few twists and turns to keep the purist guessing! There was one point where I expected one twist to happen, and wound up getting another one.

I did get involved with this one as I actually have a cameo in it! The link says who. There's also my dear OzCon friend Erica Olivera. It's a well-produced adaptation with a cinematic-worthy sound design and even features an original song.

In other podcast happenings, Tara and Em Kay of Down the Yellow Brick Pod have concluded their first season, as they read through The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, one chapter a week. The two are not Oz historians, but do turn to some good sources about the work and offer their own commentary on the story and W.W. Denslow's original illustration. Their energetic nature makes the podcast a delightful listen. I'd recommend it even to seasoned Oz fans as it may inspire them to think about Oz in ways they haven't before.

In addition to their commentary about the work, they talk to other Oz fans in special episodes, as well as present the monthly "Yellow Brick Crossroads" episodes in which they talk about their interactions with their listeners. A major way to interact is on their Instagram, in which they post several different illustrations, as well as offer recaps in their stories. They have also launched a Patreon page, which will offer more ways to interact in return for some cash to keep the podcast running. They'll launch their second season soon, which will look at musical adaptations of the story, especially the MGM film.