I wrapped up my latest round of Oz reading with Strange Maps by Frank Jacobs. This is one that has actually been kicking around the house for a while, because we got a complimentary copy when it first came out. You see, while compiling it, Jacobs found my website and the maps of Oz on it, and asked for permission to use it. I told him the map was public domain (it's one of the endpapers from Tik-Tok of Oz), so he didn't need my permission, but that I'd also be glad to provide a high resolution scan. Sure enough, in the chapter on "Literary Creations", there is the map of Oz and the surrounding countries. (What this chapter also needs is Pauline Baynes excellent map of Narnia, but it wasn't included, I suspect for rights reasons as most of the maps in this book are in the public domain.) Anyway, the book is an outgrowth of Jacobs' blog of the same name, and there are some unusual maps here. Some are just looking at our world from another perspective, some are more fanciful, and some just make you scratch your head, like the clouds that look like the British Isles. But it's all in fun, especially for fans of maps and geography. Unfortunately there is a lot more white space in this book than there really should be, and many of the maps are reproduced so small that they're hard to discern any details. Other than my modest little contribution, the only Oz connection I found was a connection to Wicked in a of the history of the American musical based on the famous London tube route map. So if you are just interested in getting this book as an Oz fan, I recommend getting something else. But if this is the sort of thing you'd enjoy anyway, by all means, take a look!
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Monday, August 22, 2016
Saturday, August 20, 2016
Not so long ago, there were quite a few Oz comic books coming out every month. As a fan of both Oz and comics, this was not a bad thing! But that seems to have trickled off to almost nothing now, for a number of reasons. In fact, the most recent book I've received, Legends of Oz: Tik-Tok and the Kalidah #3, appears to be the last one for a while. This is especially bad news for the Wicked West universe, because it is an awful lot of fun. Still, this miniseries went out on a high note. Tik-Tok, Kali, and their unnamed young lady friend are surrounded by a hostile city locking them out behind them, a horde of Kalidahs approaching on the ground, and the flying monkeys on their way through the air. So what do they do? Bust into the city and turn their enemies against each other, of course! This is a pretty action-packed issue, and it turns out this version of Tik-Tok has some abilities he never showed in the books (although some can be readily extrapolated from what he did in some scenes in Return to Oz). They seek sanctuary from the city's ruler — who turns out to be Queen Zixie [sic] of Ix! The Queen comes up with a plan to protect the young woman, get Tik-Tok and Kali out, and get the rest of the Kalidahs and the monkeys off their backs for good. Our little adventure ends as Tik-Tok notices…but no, that would be giving too much away. But let's just say it ties the series very neatly into the main Legends of Oz: The Wicked West series.
Should anyone from Aspen Comics be reading this, hear my plea: Please give us more! Don't let The Wicked West end here!
Friday, August 19, 2016
One might think that just about all the Oz jokes one can come up with have been done — and then along comes one like today's edition of The Argyle Sweater and you realize someone is always going to come up with a new twist. Yeah, there can be issues when you have a large carnivorous beast in your party!
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
I seem to be really zipping through them right now. Too bad the current wave is almost over. Anyway, first up is Leading Ladies by Marlee Matlin and Doug Cooney. This belongs in the behind-the-scenes-at-the-play drama subgenre of literature, and I have picked up a surprisingly large number of these that all have to do with productions of The Wizard of Oz. This time around our protagonist is Megan, a fourth grader who happens to be deaf (and if the name Marlee Matlin means anything to you, you'll understand why). I gather this is not the first book about Megan, but you don't need to know the other books as well, everything you need to know about Megan, her friends, her family, and her classmates is in this book. Her class is putting on an original musical based on The Wizard of Oz (it's a trick by her teacher to get the class to read the book!), and Megan really wants to try out for Dorothy. But when her best friend from camp, Lizzie, moves across town and joins Megan's class, Megan is embarrassed that Lizzie will be auditioning with the exact same songs she had planned to use. Ah, but Megan's new dog, Solo, comes to her rescue! Not only does Megan get the part, Solo also gets cast as Toto. So what happens when Solo digs his way out of the yard right before dress rehearsals, and Megan's classmate who was going to voice her lines gets laryngitis? Don't worry, it all comes out well in the end, but things do take some turns before getting there. I really like Megan, she's a fun character with all the highs and lows any kid gets, and the supporting characters are all well realized as well. I really enjoyed it, even if the Oz content was a little on the light side.
My other recent book was volume 2 of Namesake, collected from the webcomic. Emma is still dealing with being a namesake (and not the Dorothy everyone in Oz thinks she is), and discovering all kinds of secrets about those around her as well. What impresses me about Namesake is the rich tapestry of a world that's being woven in the story, and the minimal use of color. It's primarily in black and white, but with just enough touches of color here and there to indicate mood, action, or other bits of atmosphere. If nothing else, it's a very attractive comic, but the story is pretty compelling, too.
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Monday, August 15, 2016
We're almost done! There were only two more clues in the season, and the first one was during the June 27 game, for $800 in the category Margaret Me in the Double Jeopardy! round. Since this one really needs both the picture and Alex's impression to get the full effect, I'm grateful that I can now embed video:
Finally (finally!), almost anticlimactically, on the July 26 episode, in the Jeopardy! round category Books By Chapter Titles for $800:
Monikka, the challenger at the center lectern, correctly responded, "What is The Wizard of Oz?" She went on to almost win, but came up short.
And that is the last Oz clue of the season, since there were only three more games before the show went on its summer break. But I'm sure more Oz clues will show up in the upcoming thirty-third (!) season of Jeopardy!
Saturday, August 13, 2016
The next two games with Oz clues have one thing in common: Both rounds featured another category where one would expect (or at least hope) an Oz clue to be, but Oz shows up somewhere else instead. For example, in the Jeopardy! round of the May 30 game, one category was Female Book Characters. If there was any category built for Oz, that's it. But no, it was in Hotel California that we get this clue, for $400:
Erin, the defending champion, rang in first and correctly replied, "Who is Nixon?" Considering the ties between Baum and the Del, that's a good reason to put this clue on this blog, right?
Okay, no, not really. But since the very next clue was also Ozzy, it was no problem throwing that in before looking at this one for $600:
Yes, this may be perpetuating some untrue, or at least exaggerated, stories, but Bryna, the challenger in the middle, at least gave the correct response of, "Who are the Munchkins?" It was Erin, however, who went on to handily win the game.
A couple of weeks later, on the June 16 game, one category was If You Watch the Movie Backwards which might have been a lot of fun if The Wizard of Oz had been one of them. But it was in Book 'Em where this clue was uncovered for $200:
Jim, the challenger in the middle, rang in first and replied, "What is The Wizard of Oz?" However, he came in a distant third at the end of the match.
We're almost done with all these Jeopardy! clues! One more blog entry should wrap things up.
This was a two-for-one deal, as I bought a book set recently. This was just as much an investment as it was something I really wanted to get, and despite some financial issues right now, Laura and I decided to go for it. Cyclone on the Prairies: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Arts & Crafts Publishing in Chicago, 1900 by my friend, Peter E. Hanff, and its companion, A Bookbinder's Analysis of the First Edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by my friend Michael O. Riley was published five years ago in a limited slipcased edition by the Book Club of California. It recently sold out there, so I thought it would be best to get it now before it gets too far out of my reach. And I am quite glad I did, because Cyclone is a gorgeous book, taking a hard, close look at the circumstances that led to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz being published in Chicago, the state of the publishing industry in Chicago at that time, and the actual process of printing the book. I very much doubt I will ever own a first edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but I've seen enough of them that I can certainly appreciate all that went into it. Hanff also prints many plates, including untrimmed examples of all of the book's color plates, with some variants, as well as original art. The book also goes over the process of turning W. W. Denslow's art into the required printing plates, and the technical issues involved. In short, it is the story behind the publication of one of the most important children's books in American history. And Riley's accompanying volume is equally engrossing (if you are engrossed by this sort of thing), as it is a new bibliographic description of that first edition. There has always been some confusion about many bibliographic points of the first edition, and Riley takes advantage of examining many, many different copies of the book to create the definitive (for now) description, noting where the text change between the two major states. This is all very helpful to many, but all just curiosities to me — for now!
Friday, August 12, 2016
Yes, more! All from the same week, no less, and all from the same ratings-grabbing event. For one week, the show recorded in Washington, DC for Power Players Week, where politicians, journalists, and others who work in the city played for charity. So, let's see what was so Ozzy about this week.
First, on the May 17 game, Lara Logan of 60 Minutes chose the $800 clue in the Double Jeopardy! category Get Out The Vote, and uncovered a Daily Double. She bet $1000, and saw this:
She correctly replied, "What is a straw vote?" and Alex helpfully added, "Or a straw poll." She added $1000 to her total and went on to win the match, being awarded $50,000 for the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Okay, that one may have been a stretch as far as Ozziness goes, but it got better. The next day, on the May 18 episode, one of the Jeopardy! round categories was Musical Theater. Sure enough, under $400, this clue was uncovered:
Kate Bolduan of CNN's At This Hour rang in first and correctly responded with, "What is Wicked?" She ended up in a distant third, but the show still gave $10,000 to her charity, Free Arts NYC.
Finally, on the May 20 program, in the Double Jeopardy! round Category Echo Category (called that because all of the responses were repeated words or syllables), this clue for $800 was uncovered:
Matthew Weiner, one of the creators of Mad Men, rang in first and replied, "Who is Rin Tin Tin?" Yes, he got it wrong. Nobody else wanted to guess, "Who is Toto?" Despite getting this so very, very wrong, Matthew won the game and Alexandria House received $50,000.
And that was it for Sweeps Week special events for the season. There are a few more Oz clues to come, but they all involve ordinary people, so I'll tell you about them in another post.
Thursday, August 11, 2016
You thought I was kidding? Nope, I have more today!
After yesterday's clues from January, there was a long dry spell until the April 13 episode, where this picture was uncovered for $1600 in the Double Jeopardy! round category Cat and Dog Breeds:
"The Lollipop Guild knows this short-legged breed is fast, takes corners well, and is generally Oz-some."
Christian, the challenger on the right, correctly responded, "What is a Munchkin?" (He knew more than me, I didn't get it even with the obvious hints in the clue!) Sadly, he came in third.
The very next day, there was this clue, again for $1600 in Double Jeopardy! in the category Elements of Song, all about the names of elements appearing in pop song titles (yeah, sounds limited, but it works):
Hannah, the challenger in the center, correctly responded with, "What is the Tin Man?" She also came in third. And in case you were wondering about the song, here is America with "Tin Man":
Finally (for now), on May 9, in the first semifinal of this year's Teachers Tournament, this was the $400 clue in the Double Jeopardy! category What's My Lion?
Kaberi, an elementary bilingual teacher from Joliet, Illinois, rang in first and correctly responded, "Who is the Cowardly Lion?" And guess what? She went on to win the game and advance to the finals, where she came in second and won $50,000. So at least some people who get the Oz clues correct do well on the show.
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Wow, I have got to clear out my bookmarked sites more often! Here's Trivquiz from September 20, 2014. I guess I should have consulted this when I was researching the name of the band that gave us "Hold the Line" and "Africa"!
I just finished reading a book that I don't think you can get any more — at least not under the same name I read it under. I enjoyed Professor Wogglebug and the Frogman of Oz by Cynthia Hanson, however, even if it was a bit simple and straightforward. That is not always a problem with Oz books. It seems the powers of the Truth Pond are catching up to the Frogman, and he not only has to tell the truth (which has been off-putting at times), but he is also reverting to his true froggy nature. His good friend, Professor Wogglebug, tries to help him, and it turns out that a teenager from Ohio named Teresa is the key to breaking the Frogman's curse. Sure enough, once she is brought to Oz, Terry has information that will help. The three of them set off on an adventure, and…well, let's just say everything turns out all right in the end, which I'm sure is not a surprise. I liked the characterizations of both of the two main characters, and Terry also does well working through her issues.
As I said, this book appears to no longer be available. But it also appears to have been reissued under another title, Mr. Wogglebug, the Frogman, and Terry Volume 1: How the Truth Can Heal. I can't tell if all of the book I read is in this book or only part of it, but at least it looks like there will be more adventures with this trio of characters.
Now that I've got those videos out of the way, it's time to get all of the Oz and Ozzish clues of 2016 (so far) up. So let us start with the January 14th episode, in which the writers had a lot of fun in the Jeopardy! (i.e., first) round, with the first category being:
Four days later, the January 18 game was also pretty unusual. There was only one challenger, as it featured two returning champions. One was from the previous show, and the other could not immediately return after her win, so she was back as well. The game itself, however, was pretty straightforward. The very first clue chosen in the Double Jeopardy! (i.e., the second round), for $400 in Whose '70s Number One Album? was:
More Oz clues from Jeopardy! coming soon!
Tuesday, August 09, 2016
It has been a very long time since I've posted an Oz clue from this past season of Jeopardy! But even though I have been very busy, I have still managed to keep track of them all so that I can blog them once I have time. Well, I now have the time, and hope that I can get caught up over the next few days — just in time for the new season to start next month!
One other reason for the delay is that the first bit I wanted to show you was a video, and so I had to figure out how to do that. Before I jump into the Oz content of a particular episode, however, I want to show you the opening of this past season, as it kind of reminds me of the Yellow Brick Road. And since I now have the capacity to embed video, I thought I'd do that first:
Pretty neat, huh? What is especially neat about this is that Jeopardy! is shot at what is currently the Sony Picture Studios. Way back in the day, however, it was the old Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios, which means The Wizard of Oz was shot there, and very probably even in the Jeopardy! studio. This is even discussed a bit from this clip from the Christmas Day 2015 episode, in which Dee, the first contestant, shows off one of her talents:
Monday, August 08, 2016
Between the end of Anglicon and the start of the Olympics, the past few days have been crazy. So crazy, in fact, that I glossed over yesterday's Rhymes with Orange. Granted, it's really subtle, and some may not consider it Ozzy at all. But my Man in Japan, Michael-sensei, reminded me, so here you go!
Wednesday, August 03, 2016
Two things I read recently aren't Oz, but have Oz references, so I thought I'd report on them:
- First, the Back to the Future comic book, issue nine (and if you are any kind of BTTF fan, you really need to get this book) sees Doc developing a version of his time machine that involves jumping from a balloon! (No, it's not terribly safe.) Jennifer, Marty's girlfriend, asks in the very first panel, "I assume you tried clicking your heels and saying, 'There's no place like home'?" Doc, suffering from amnesia, asks, "Why would we—?" before Marty interrupts with, "It's a movie, Doc, I'll explain later." Doc adds, "I'm familiar with The Wizard of Oz—I read the books as a child. I was merely pointing out we're not traveling home." The beautiful part about this is that Doc has read the books—plural. We know Doc is well read based on his love of Jules Verne in Back to the Future III, this just cements it and broadens his reading.
- The Poe Estate by Polly Schulman is her third book about the New-York Circulating Material Repository and one of its special collections based around objects from fiction. The first book, The Grimm Legacy, dealt with fairy tale items (including a certain pair of silver slippers) and the follow up, The Wells bequest, dealt with science fiction (rockets, ray guns, time machines, and the like), so naturally this book deals with ghost stories and gothic horror. Sukie has to deal with moving into her cousin's house after the death of her older sister and her family's economic problems. Helping out her parents at a swap meet in New York City, she gets creeped out by the strange man who wants to buy her cousin's broom from her. So when Andre and Dr. Elizabeth Rew from the Repository find a few interesting items and buy them from her, she enlists their help to find out what's going on. It turns out that not only her cousin's house, but even Sukie herself may have their roots in an unfinished story from the nineteenth century. Like the other two books, this is a fun read, even if we don't see as much of the Repository this time around. And yes, The Wizard of Oz does get a name check.