Friday, July 20, 2018

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz: Rise of the Nome King

Larking about in the countryside, Toto finds a magnifying glass. Dorothy shows the Tin Woodman how it makes things look bigger, but then the Tin Woodman notices the flower is still bigger even after Dorothy takes the glass away. Sure enough, it's a magic magnifying glass that actually makes things bigger. (Hmm, could this be how the DatWoO version of Prof. Wogglebug got to be the size he is?) Dorothy takes it back to the Emerald City, but not before accidentally looking at Billina, who starts growing. (Ever since her introduction, Billina has had numerous cameo appearances, usually popping out of the TinWoodman's torso.) Dorothy uses the glass to reverse some shrinking spells, but then gets tricked into using it on the Nome King! He grabs the glass, then uses it on himself and becomes a giant! He picks up Ozma and puts her in a jar, and basically takes over as the new king of Oz. Of course, one of his first acts is to ban all eggs and chickens. Overhearing this, Dorothy gets an idea, and the Fab Five go off in search of—you guessed it—Billina! In the ensuing battle, as Billina pelts the Nome King with eggs firing from her hindquarters (!), the Nome King drops the magnifying glass, and Dorothy uses it on herself and her friends! Now that they're bigger than him again, the Nome King runs off. Ozma reminds everyone that she's still in a jar—and that's where it ends! We never see everyone shrink again or Ozma restored to her throne—or, for that matter, all that mess from giant eggs washed off the palace.

Well, I guess they can't all be winners. This was sillier and more disjointed than most of these cartoons, but I wasn't expecting high drama anyway, so I get what I was looking for. In this episode we are introduced to Kaliko (apparently he and the Nome King are the only Nomes in Oz), and one of the Munchkins refers to spending some time in the Valley of Clowns. If this is a reference to Dot and Tot of Merryland, then the producers are looking at books beyond Baum's Oz books! (Since Zog, from The Sea Fairies, is the title character is a later episode, that's probably the case.) The Nome King growing so big could even be a reference to what happened to him in Kabumpo in Oz.

Today's Oz Comic

Today in CowTown, we get a glimpse into what the Oz crew is allegedly doing today.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Lost in Oz, Chapter 25: Escape from the Nome Kingdom

Everyone's thoughts turn to getting back to the Emerald City, but the Nomes have done a pretty thorough job of stripping their kingdom of its magic and other resources. Still, if there's a problem, Dorothy figures there's a way to solve it. Scarecrow, Reigh, and Patchwork try to figure out a path across or through the Deadly Desert. Reigh manages to figure out the controls of Crush Canyon, so that's at least one possibility. Dorothy, Toto, Ojo, Evelyn, and Roquat try to find a means of transportation. They find a hovercar with no magic to power it, but Evelyn spots a whistle box at the edge of the incinerator. The hovercar just manages to limp its way to the box, Ojo opens it, and they use the magic inside to power up the car. The lava of the incinerator starts acting up, however, and knocks the car over, almost spilling Roquat, Dorothy, and the box overboard. Roquat reluctantly drops the box into the lava to save himself, and the resulting magic lava destroys the car, too. So they're back at square one. Meanwhile, West, Cyra, and Glinda are looking for magic, and find a few trace elements. Their big discovery, however, is that the Nome throne acts as a magic amplifier. Back in the Emerald City, the Nomes are enjoying their new life, but Guph realizes they're not actually doing any of the work needed to actually run the city, particularly the farm. He orders the Nomes to start working, and starts turning them into ornaments when they don't work fast enough. Back in the Nome Kingdom, the parties get together and report on their progress, then West discovers a new source of magic: the sand in the Deadly Desert! Using the throne, with a boost from Cyra and Glinda, West manages to channel that magic back into the desert and brings it back to life. As it's neither deadly nor a desert anymore, everyone can just cross it to Oz. Look out, Guph, the people of the Emerald City are coming home!

Good stuff, even if finding the whistle box full of magic ultimately did no good. And Patchwork refers to a choggenmugger, another reference to the books. Only one more episode to go!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz: Jinxed

Queen Ozma must give her State of the Merry Old Land of Oz speech by sundown, or she can't be queen any more. But while rehearsing, she and Dorothy say "prosperity" at the same time, Dorothy calls "Jinx!" and now, because it actually is a curse in Oz, neither one of them can talk! Ozma can't give her speech, and Dorothy can't command the Ruby Slippers without a voice, so everything is in a bit of a pickle. But Ozma and Dorothy lead everyone to the magic vault, where they find a basket that can take them anywhere if it's covered by a cloth made up of fabrics from all the lands of Oz. Good thing, too, because they have to find the horn of a yak-yakkity-yak to reverse the curse. Fortunately, the Patchwork Girl comes by with all kinds of fabric to make a dress for Ozma. She makes the cloth, the basket is covered and it turns into a balloon, and then Patchwork Girl kisses the Scarecrow right before they take off. Bad move, now the Scarecrow can't talk, either, because he's so overcome by emotion. (Nice bit of continuity with the previous story!) The Tin Woodman now takes over as party leader, but the balloon crashes and the Tin Woodman lands in a river, rusting his jaw shut! So now it's up to the Lion. They find the yak-yakity-yak and the Lion tries to take a horn, but it doesn't work. The yak gets mad, the Lion eats some peanut butter he found in the Tin Man's chest, and now he can't talk, either! There's only one member of the party who can get things worked out now—Toto! It seems the yak can understand barking. So Toto explains the situation and makes a deal to use the horn—which is not on the yak's head, but it's a brass instrument he keeps in his fur! One blast on it restores Dorothy's voice, so now she can fix everyone else's voices, take the yak to a tropical beach to warm up, and get everyone back to the Emerald City and restore Ozma's voice right before she has to give her speech.

Hmm, I don't think I have much to add here. It was funny that Toto managed to save the day in the end. I also liked the switch of the horn not being on the yak's head, but a musical instrument. (They do a lot of fun stuff with magical musical instruments on this show.) And Patchwork Girl is still really cool.

Today's Vintage Oz Comic

This vintage installment of Doonesbury is from the early '90s, as B. D. is off in Saudi Arabia dealing with the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. It just goes to show how ubiquitous Oz is to quickly convey a mood or perception.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Oz in Jeopardy!

There was quite a stretch there of games without any Oz clues. I almost posted one that was about a phrase that was also the title of a song from Wicked (the clue didn't mention Wicked at all, however, so I decided against presenting it.) In fact, this next clue, from the April 27, 2018 match, isn't really all that Ozzy, either, unless you have some background. From the category The Matilda Effect (no, I hadn't heard of it, either) in the Double Jeopardy! round, we had this clue at the top for $400:

Tom, the challenger in the middle who eventually ended up in a very distant third place, at least got this one right when he rang in first and responded, "What is a suffragette?" Matilda Gage was, in fact, one of the most famous and well-known suffragettes of the late nineteenth century, a major figure in the struggle to get women the right to vote. However, she also clashed with other leaders of the movement, especially Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and as a result she was eventually marginalized within the movement. She is also an important historical figure, however, because she was the one who encouraged her son-in-law, L. Frank Baum, to start writing down the fanciful stories he told his four sons and their friends. So she is considered by many Oz fans to be the mother of Oz, even though she didn't live long enough to see The Wonderful Wizard of Oz become a surprise bestseller.

This may have been a particularly long dry spell of Oz clues, but boy, would they make up for it in the coming weeks! I'll tell you more about those in a future blog entry.

Lost in Oz, Chapter 24: The Nome King's Belt

Now that everyone knows about the Belt, both the Ozites and the Nomes are racing to find it. Glinda claims it was destroyed, and even shows a history record of the Wizard destroying the Treasury of Oz, but Roquat isn't convinced. Ojo recognizes the old Treasury as the current home of the Munchkin farm, so the gang heads out to see if they can find it—not knowing that they're being shadowed by Kaliko the whole time. West finally manages to summon a locator charm, and all the old treasures that were thought destroyed are discovered behind a false wall. But where the Belt should be is another element. West uses it to find the Belt, which is embedded under a pillar. But just as they are about to take it to Glinda, Kaliko pops out of the shadows and takes it for the Nomes. Dorothy, West, and Ojo use their flashlights to keep Kaliko out of the shadows so he con't escape, but he manages to get out of the farm and into the city. As son as he finds a shadow, he takes the Belt to Guph, who uses it to transport all the people in Emerald City to the Nome Kingdom, and the Nomes to the Emerald City.

Well, we finally get the Wizard, even if it's only a vague character in a flashback. Now that we're barreling along toward the end of the season, the stakes are really starting to ramp up, and it looks like we'll be in for some exciting times in the final two episodes.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Today's Oz Political Cartoon

It seems North Carolina is having some of the same issues with hog waste as we are with cattle waste here in our neck of the woods (yes, I live in farm country). Dennis Draughon is a cartoonist who has a few comments about the Legislature's attempts to clean up. (Another Ozzy connection is that those pigs might be related to Pigasus, the flying poetical pig from Pirates in Oz and The Wishing Horse of Oz, who was also a favorite character of John Steinbeck.)

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Today's Oz Political Cartoon

It seems Rudolph Giuliani had some recent words about the investigations into the Trump campaign. It seems that Kevin Siers at the Charlotte Observer had an Ozzy reaction to it.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz: Brain Power of Love

Ozma treats Dorothy to some new clothes, and takes her to the Emerald City's top seamstress, the Patchwork Girl! And I am going to stop here and just tell you that their version of the Patchwork Girl is adorable! Here, let me show you:

Anyway, as Scarecrow wanders by, he gets all weird and goofy, like his brain isn't working. Everyone else thinks his brains are going bad or he's under a spell or something. In fact, here's a video clip:
Yes, this is also the DatWoO introduction of Professor Wogglebug. By the way, nice callback to the Scarecrow's wrong math theorem from The Movie. And how much do you want to bet that Dorothy got that quiz out of an issue of Cozmo? So now that Wilhelmina thinks the Patchwork Girl is a witch who can steal brain power, she kidnaps Patchwork Girl in order to learn her secret. This sets the gang out on a quest to rescue her, and of course it's the Scarecrow who thinks up the plan to save her. All is well, and Patchwork Girl has a new hero to like: Scarecrow!

This is an important episode, because it shows just how much the producers are taking from the books, especially by introducing Patchwork Girl as a recurring character. And she is just a great character in this show. She's not quite as wildly impulsive as she is in the books, and by running a dress shop she now also has elements of Jenny Jump. Okay, the plot is slight and Scarecrow's plan is pretty unlikely (which just goes to show how silly Wilhelmina is), but the characterizations in this one just make it extra special.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Lost in Oz, Chapter 23: Saving Cyra

With everyone back in Oz, job one is to save Cyra, West's mother. Glinda pours every element in the periodic table of magic at the figurine that Kaliko turned her into, but she is unsuccessful. It seems the Nomes have developed their own takes on magic that Glinda can't crack. Desperate and feeling alone, West turns to the only other person who knows anything about Nome magic: her aunt Langwidere! West doesn't really trust her, but Langwidere talks her into creating a door in the picture she's in. But Dorothy, Evelyn, and the gang get to West just in time and convince her to stop and leave Langwidere where she is. They assure West that she's not alone and that they will figure out a way to free Cyra. But West is still upset, and starts crying. Good thing, too, because it turns out her tears can disenchant Cyra! Cyra then has a joyful reunion with West, and then another one with her childhood friend Evelyn. While all this is going on, Roquat is on his way to the Emerald City, tailed by Kaliko who is carrying the ornamentizing scepter. Guph still believes that Roquat knows where in Oz the Magic Belt is, so he's let Roquat escape to lead him to the Belt. The episode ens with Roquat running in and warning Glinda and our heroes that Guph is coming, and Dorothy is determined to stop him.

Yeah, things are really starting to move along now! Things are clearly getting set up for a dramatic conclusion, and I'm looking forward to it. I was also intrigued, however, by a couple of little throwaway signs. Since Langwidere is trapped in a painting in Smith's studio, we see him briefly talking to his partner, Tinker (yes, introducing another new character from the books!) about selling one of their robots to an evil queen. I suspect this is about the Lost in Oz version of either Tik-Tok or the Giant with the Hammer, and setting things up for the next season! I've also decided that I'd like to see a flashback season to Evelyn and Cyra as kids in an '80s version of Oz.

While I'm looking forward to the last three episodes, they may be put on hold for a few days, as I have other stuff going on this weekend that will probably preclude me from watching. But I really hope I can wrap this up next week, as I'm still enjoying this show immensely.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Oz in Jeopardy!

A fun category in the Jeopardy! round of the March 14, 2018 match was Perfect Responses for Jeopardy! because all the correct responses are already questions. And it's even Ozzy, because the $400 clue was:

Allison, the challenger in the middle, responded, "What is 'Why can't I?'" There then followed an amusing exchange between her and Alex about how you don't have to add "What is" to the front, as it's already a question. But that habit is too well ingrained in Jeopardy! fans and players, and they continued to do it anyway fro the rest of the category. Despite her Ozzy success, Allison never got into the groove, and finished in a distant third place.

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz: Rules of Attraction

It's Valentine's Day, which is Dorothy's favorite holiday. She has to teach her friends about it, however, as it's apparently not an Ozian holiday. Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion make her extravagant gifts, but Ozma gives her something from the magic vault: the Love Magnet. It's a little too powerful, however, as everyone falls in love with Dorothy while she's holding it, even the Lollipop Guild. The smothering gets a little overwhelming. Dorothy figures out that she can give the Love Magnet away, so then everyone falls in love with Scarecrow, then Tin Man while they have it. (I think I understand why Ozma keeps it in her vault!) Finally, Dorothy tosses it up as high as she can, only for Wilhelmina to catch it! She's been watching, and figures that if she has the Love Magnet, Dorothy will love her so much she'll give Wilhelmina the Ruby Slippers. Only trouble is, the Magnet only works on native-born Ozians, so Dorothy is immune! Last we see of it, Wilhelmina is zooming away with it on her broom, followed by lovesick Frank and Lyman.

So now we have this cartoon's version of the Love Magnet. This is some powerful stuff! Not much else is added to this version of Oz. This is a particularly light and frothy episode of this generally light and frothy series, but any fans of old movies or classic cartoons will get a kick out of the various comedic chase scenes as Dorothy is running from her admirers, including the classic corridor gag.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Lost in Oz, Chapter 22: The Eclipse

Timing is everything in this episode. Axel figures out the exact time and place they need to be to maximize the effectiveness of the eclipse's influence over the magic journal. Trouble is, Reigh is still locked up, and they have to rescue him first. So it's off to the local animal shelter where Dorothy, West, Toto, Patchwork, and Evelyn have concocted a plan. Of course it doesn't go quite right. It doesn't help that Reigh is heavily sedated—he is a wild lion, after all. But they eventually get him out, and everyone meets in the woods so that the Ozians can head home. Without the penny, however, they can't go fourth. With no time to go back and find it, West has to use her innate magic, which she can't access without Dorothy. So Dorothy, to help her friends, tells Evelyn she's going back. Having only just gotten her back, however, Evelyn isn't letting Dorothy out of her sight—so she goes with them, too! This episode ends with Dorothy, Toto, West, Scarecrow, Reigh, Patchwork Doll, and Evelyn all whirling back to Oz in the Gales' white station wagon! Axel, meanwhile, has been put in charge of the museum until Evelyn gets back.

Another episode light on actual story advancement, but the rescue of Reigh is played for laughs as it pads the episode out. Best new character is Brenda, who appears to be the only human at the shelter. She's not much of a people person, and isn't too fond of cats, either. When she sees Patchwork running around as Reigh screams in fear of her, she loses it and drives the van off at top speed. I suspect she may be thinking about a career change. We also get a couple of flashbacks to when really little Dorothy first adopts Toto as a puppy, and they are even cuter together than they are in the "present" day. And no, we didn't see anything with Guph and the Nomes, so we'll just have to wait until the next episode to see what's been happening in Oz.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Oz (sort of) in Jeopardy!

A quickie today, and not actually about Oz but an important contributor. It was the February 20, 2018 game and two of the categories, next to each other, were March, and Of Dimes. In Of Dimes for $800:

Rob, the defending champion, rang in first and responded, "What is, 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?'" which was wrong. John, the challenger in the middle, then rang in and came closer with, "What is, 'Hey Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?'" which was also wrong. The other challenger, Damien, wisely didn't try. The correct response is "What is 'Brother Can You Spare a Dime?'" and this is Ozzy because Harburg also wrote the lyrics for the songs in The Movie, including "Over the Rainbow".

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz: Lion's Share

The Cowardly Lion is invited to officially become the King of Beasts. Of course, he's afraid of the forest! Dorothy, Scarecrow, and Tin Man go along for moral support, however, and along the way meet Lion's old friend the Hungry Tiger, who acts as a guide. They have trouble crossing the Trick River, and head up Sky High Mountain. Already dealing with his fear of the dark and water, the Lion just can't cope with his fear of heights, until a rak snatches Dorothy and carries her to the top of the mountain. That does it! The Lion overcomes his fear, races to the rak's nest, and saves Dorothy. He's earned his crown!

This was a nice spotlight on the Lion and the true meaning of courage. And for fans of the books, we get the Hungry Tiger, the Trick River, a rak, and I believe the DatWoO debut of the intertwined O-Z logo. (And I will add, I forgot to mention the orks in "Ojo the Unlucky", although they're not a lot like the Ork in The Scarecrow of Oz.)

This Week's Oz Short Story

I'm going to do something I don't usually do with this week's story: There are going to be some major spoilers in this write-up on "Ghosts in Oz" by Marie Richardson, with illustrations by Benjamin Fang, in the 1994 issue of Oziana. So if you really don't want to know more, you may want to stop reading now. But the joy in this story is in where it goes, so I think, in this case, it may be worth it. It starts off pretty simply, with Dorothy, the Wizard, and a few other celebrities, on their way back from Glinda's in the Red Wagon, meet up with Simon T. Inphinium. He was the last person to die in Oz, right before Oz became a fairyland and its inhabitants made immortal. The nature of the spell gave him a sort of incorporeal immortality, not at all unlike a ghost. He was, so far as anyone knew, the only ghost in Oz—until more ghosts started showing up at his place. He was eventually crowded out of his home by the mischievous spirits, so Ozma transported them all to the palace, where they at least had some room. It doesn't go much better there, however, and more ghosts keep coming into the country! Ozma and the Wizard finally figure out why, and the new penchant in the Great Outside World for busting ghosts is responsible! Yes, believe it or not, this is a tangential crossover with Ghostbusters (without actually using any copyrighted or trademarked names, naturally)! Once they know why it's happening, the Wizard then creates a machine to send them back to the United States— or so he thinks! The machine works, the ghosts are gone, but the Magic Picture shows them now in a land of perpetual winter with only a single lamppost illuminating the woods. So yes, this is also a crossover with the Chronicles of Narnia (again, without actually violating any copyrights)! I thought this was very clever back when I first read this nearly twenty-five years ago, and I still think it's pretty clever now. Plus, just seeing the affect of having so many ghosts in Oz is fun. The Cook in the Emerald Palace seems to be a formidable character who really doesn't like so many visitors in her kitchen. She should get a story of her own.

And that's it for 1994. I have big plans next weekend, and so may take the week off, but before too long I will crack open 1995 and see what's in store there.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Lost in Oz, Chapter 21: Kansas Magic

Dorothy and the gang all start exploring the museum, and West manages to find several stones and gems with magic, nearly enough to recharge the journal. But four elements are missing, so Reigh, Patchwork, and Toto head out into the city to find them (once Axel and Reigh discover what properties all of the items with magic have in common so that Reigh can create a magic detector). Dorothy, Scarecrow, West, Evelyn, and Axel find a few more items in the museum, including an old penny. It appears to be enough to recharge the journal, but when Axel, reading the page, says "Go forth," the resulting tornado kind of fizzles out. It seems Kansas just isn't quite magical enough to pull it off. Reigh, meanwhile, discovers that the Kansans are afraid of him, making him overconfident when confronted by Animal Control. They sedate Reigh and capture him, and the gang must save him in the next few hours before the solar eclipse passes through town, because an eclipse can enhance magic (as Ojo discovers in Evelyn's old issue of the Tin Man comic book—which is based on a true story, you see). Of course, in their haste to gather up all the magic and rescue Reigh, nobody notices the penny rolling away. Meanwhile, in the Nome Kingdom, Guph wants Roquat to tell him where the Magic Belt is, but Roquat has no idea. He regrets all the bad decisions he made as king and all the people he turned into ornaments. Xandort, Guph's lackey, who is having second thoughts, releases Roquat.

Now things are starting to ramp up again! It's fun seeing the Ozians' reactions to Kansas, as well as Dorothy, Evelyn, and Axel discovering that there's real magic in Kansas. It looks like this eisode took place last year on August 21 (Ozma's birthday, no less), as seen in this website about last year's eclipse in Kansas. And yes, the Tin Man finally makes an appearance in this show, even if is just as the lead character in a comic book (which first showed up in the previous episode and I forgot to mention). We also get name checks for the Phanfasms, the Growleywogs, and Bunbury, so the writer of this episode has read at least The Emerald City of Oz.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Today's Oz Comic

Well what do you know! It turns out, according to today's edition of bacön, that Toto could talk in The Wizard of Oz after all. And he appears to have something very important to say.

Oz in Jeopardy!

When I saw the category Authors' Fictional Places in the Jeopardy! round of the February 7, 2018 game, I was hopeful that this would yield something Ozzy. But they got through the whole category and found this clue at $1000:

So, yeah, no Oz. So imagine my surprise when the defending champion, Sean, rang in and responded, "Who is Baum?" Okay, it turned out to be Ozzy after all! But because he got it wrong, Sean lost $1000. Neither of the challengers even tried to guess, "Who is C. S. Lewis?" (Those who know of it know, I'm sure, that Calormen is south of Narnia.) Sean did not go on to win the match, and ended up as only a two-day champion.