Monday, July 24, 2017

Yesterday's Oz Comic

Over in the Wizard of Oz comics group on Facebook, Michael-sensei discovered yesterday's edition of Warped, which seems all topical and up to date—until you realize that I've been using that same gag on my website for over twenty years now.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

This Week's Oz Short Story

The 1981 edition of Oziana opens with "Adventure on Monday Mountain" by Ernest Johnson, with illustrations by Dan Anfuso. William "Piggy" Marston is an American teenager who is both a slob and a guy who doesn't show a lot of respect for his mother. So when Ozma catches the mother wishing her son could change, Ozma sends him on a one-way trip to Monday Mountain. (In case you don't remember, Monday Mountain is that little town Dorothy and Percy visited in Grampa in Oz where they are obsessed with washing clothes.) Being forced to wash clothes all day (spoiler ahead, folks!) sure does the trick, William reforms, and is reunited with his mother a kinder, humbler, and cleaner son. It's a fun little piece that I ended up enjoying a lot on this reread. I couldn't help but think of Ozma as Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle in this story, using magic to help a child see the error of his ways and reform.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Latest Oz Comic Book

The torrent of Oz comic books we had just a few years ago seems to have almost completely dried up, so I was pleasantly surprised to find an Oz-ish story in this year's Spongebob Squarepants annual. Sandy Squirrel stars in "The Wonderful Land of Odd", which sees her all alone on her native Texas prairie, wearing a blue checked dress and a purple sunbonnet, when a furry white sponge (Spongebob, playing the Whit Rabbit) comes floating down the creek. She chases him down the sewer (after commenting on how a sewer got onto the prairie in the first place). When she lands, she squashes Plankton, then finds a yellow road where she encounters a brainless starfish (Patrick as the Scarecrow), a heartless squid (Squidward as the Tin Woodman), and a scared puffer fish (Mrs. Puff as the Cowardly Lion). Sandy then encounters a mad tea party, chases the "rabbit" through a very small door, has a very strange encounter with just about everyone in the Spongebob universe—and then Spongebob wakes her up, ready for a day at the beach in boring old Bikini Bottom. So not a lot of Ozziness, admittedly, but quite enough for a six-page story.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Today's Oz Comic

As we can see in today's edition of Savage Chickens, there may have been a few other witches in Oz not previously accounted for.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Oz in Jeopardy!

Our final post on this topic for 2016 comes from the December 22 show, which didn't have a lot of Oz stuff going for it—until Final Jeopardy! Right before the final commercial break, Alex revealed the category to be:

Promising, but not definitive. Then the clue was revealed:
As this was a video clue, after a few seconds of reading, this image was also revealed:
While playing the famous Jeopardy! "Think" music, both the clue and the picture were displayed on screen. (Presumably, the contestants could see both at all times.) Alex then added, "The White City was an inspiration for another famous city, though not a white one." Then came the reveals. In third place, challenger Amelia, at the center lectern, gave this response:
As Lewis Carroll was not the correct answer, she lost the $6200 she had wagered, ending up with a final score of $0. Next up, Brad, the other challenger, on the right, gave this response:
Carl Sandberg was also incorrect, and he lost the $7800 he had wagered, making his final score also $0. Finally, the response of Sam, the returning champion, was revealed:
Alex helpfully added, "L. Frank Baum, who wrote about the Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz." Sam gained his wager of $7801, giving him the win and a final score of $16,801.

And that's all the episodes I have for now. I will see what I can do about getting the rest of this season's episodes up as soon as I can, but if there is a few days' break, be patient.

This Week's Oz Movie

I was challenged not so long ago to watch Of Oz the Wizard, where The Movie is reedited so that every word is said, or sung, in alphabetical order, from "a" to "zipper". I finally had enough time freed up to watch it last night, and it was—interesting!

I liked the opening and closing credits, where each of the title cards was also rearranged in alphabetical order. (One spelling error I spotted: The producer is Mervyn LeRoy, not Mervin.) As I watched, the more I realized what a technical achievement that must have been. I suspect the titles were totally redone against a new, clean cloud background, because I don't see how they could be done any other way!

But on to The Movie itself! It's actually an interesting insight into the English language, and how many words are used repeatedly. Common words, notably pronouns, conjunctions, prepositions, and articles, essentially resulted in quick rapid-fire summaries of The Movie. The sequence for "the" and the surprisingly large number of common "w" words were especially notable (or maybe by that point I was just weary of all the staccato deliveries). My favorite was "hhh", used for little breaths and huffs and other pauses to catch your breath. It was almost like watching it as a silent movie, with snippets of the score in the background.

Song lyrics were intriguing, such as the monotone deliveries of "ding", "dong", and "yellow", among others. All the "somewhere"s in The Movie's most famous and beloved song all performed back to back were also of interest.

So, anyway, challenge met. And in case you're wondering, yes, someone has also synched up Of Oz the Wizard to the classic Floyd Pink album Dark Moon of Side the

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Oz in Jeopardy!

From the December 14, 2016 episode, for $800 in the Jeopardy! round category The Broadway Musical's Characters, in which you have to name the musical given only a list of some of the characters:

Defending champion Cindy rang in first and correctly responded with, of course, "What is Wicked?" She went on to win the game, and four more after that, but sadly, she never got to see her wins. You may have seen Cindy's story on the news, but in case you haven't (or forgot), she already had aggressive stage four cancer when she tried out. She asked if, under the circumstances, she could be fast tracked and put on the show as quickly as possible, which the Jeopardy! contestant coordinators were happy to do. Only the contestant coordinators and Alex Trebek knew at the time. Not long after she recorded her games, she passed away. That she did so well despite her disease and pain says a lot about her as a player, and it's too bad she never got the chance to play without distractions, nor in the Tournament of Champions.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Oz in Jeopardy!

Hey, I told you I was going to be busy catching up on these! Here's a pretty straightforward one, from the November 28, 2016 match. It's the Jeopardy! round, and uncovered for $200 in the category Classic Film Music:

Justin, the returning champion, rang in first and correctly responded, "What is The Wizard of Oz?" He went on to win the game, becoming a two-time champion.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

This Week's Oz Short Story

I wrapped up the 1980 edition of Oziana with "A Study in Orange" by Melody Grandy. In his third outing, the Great Detective is called in when some of the most beautiful women in Oz start growing the oddest deformities, barely notice, and don't seem to care. He discovers all of them ate oranges, but truly orange-colored oranges, not the usual blue- or purple-tinted ones of the various regions of Oz. Naturally the Great Detective discovers that orange magic is involved, a truly tricky form of magic that Ozma, Glinda, and the Wizard are not very familiar with. The game is afoot! I don't want to give anything else away, but needless to say the Great Detective solves the mystery and saves the day. Despite the magic involved, the Great Detective uses his knowledge, resourcefulness, and logic (well, maybe a few gut instincts, too) to deduce what's going on and who's responsible, not at all unlike another famous literary detective that, for legal purposes, the Great Detective doesn't resemble at all. As a sensitive twenty-first century sort of male, however, I was a little put off by how shallow the young men of Oz are in this book. They only show interest in the pretty girls, and when they're not pretty anymore, they move on to others. And the issue only gets worse when the not-so-pretty girls become more attractive. I know this was written nearly forty years ago, but this kind of lookism (is that a word?) wasn't that bad (I would hope—and I was there and just noticing girls back then).

Just a quick word on a few other items in this issue before we wrap up: Al Chronic provides a terrific front cover illustration based on a passage from Captain Salt in Oz, there's also a stylish illustration on the inside cover by G. Mohrman, Edith Hollister presents a Queens of Oz word search, and Melody Grandy's whimsical take on Miss Cuttenclip graces the back cover.

Oz in Jeopardy!

The problem with real life getting in the way of all this really good stuff I want to do is that once you get to the old stuff, you may find you've forgotten something, or made a mistake and can't easily fix it. Such is the case with today's Jeopardy! clue. I had saved one episode, only to find I was a day off. The episode I needed was long gone, so I'll just have to do it the old fashioned way.

So, from the November 17, 2016 episode, the second semifinal of this season's Teen Tournament, we get this clue in the Movie Villains category of the Jeopardy! round for $400:


Alec, a junior from New York, rang in first and correctly responded with "Who is the Wicked Witch of the West?" He would go on to win the game in a squeaker, and came in second in the final.

Today's Oz Comic Rerun

My Cage is in perpetual reruns, except for the new strips that show up on Mondays. So today's strip is a rerun. Heck, it may even be one I've run in this blog before, But it's still Ozzy, so here it is!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Oz in Jeopardy!

I have fallen way, way behind on this. Real life will do that to you! But I hope to get caught up in the coming weeks. It didn't get off to a good start, however, when I researched the October 20, 2016 episode, as every quick overview I gave of the board didn't reveal any Oz or Ozzy category or clue. So I finally just started the episode in the background as I went on with other stuff. I thought it might have been something in the contestant interview, but that wasn't it. Finally, at the end of the Double Jeopardy! round, this clue popped up in the category A Bette Midler Medley:

Only Doug, the challenger in the middle, was brave enough to give a response—and he said, "What is Wicked?" Um, that isn't even a movie yet! (However, wouldn't Bette Midler make an awesome Madame Morrible?) Needless to say, the correct movie is Hocus Pocus. By that point, however, Doug had a comfortable enough lead that was going to win anyway, which he did.

As a bonus, even though it has nothing to do with Oz, here is the Divine Miss M herself, performing "I Put a Spell on You" live! (I love the audience's reaction when she steps out in costume.)

Monday, July 10, 2017

A Recent Oz Comic

I've been out of town, and am only now catching up on my local newspaper. So when I saw this edition of Lola, I hemmed and hawed about whether or not I should include it here. Then I thought, I did the research (and even had others do the research on my behalf), so yes, this is indeed an Oz comic.

Friday, July 07, 2017

This Week's Oz Short Story

The second story in the 1980 edition of Oziana is "Colonel Cotton in Oz", written and illustrated by Tim Hollis. This is a little slice-of-life story in which the titular colonel, who runs the small Quadling town of Pitt Falls, enters into a deal with his compatriot in the nearby town of Birminooga, General Stonewall, to build a railroad to connect the two towns. In case the names don't already give it away, this takes place in the extreme southern part of the Quadling Country, which resembles the antebellum South of the United States. They even talk in exaggerated Southern accents, eat grits and hog jowls, and the main industry of Pitt Falls is harvesting Spanish moss from the nearby trees for the people og Birminooga to process. The mountain between the two towns has always travel problems, hence the need for the railroad. Surprisingly, things go well until they get towards the top, and a hillbilly (yeah, it's a Southern mountain, you knew there had to be a hillbilly) accuses Col. Cotton and his hound dog, Shortnin' Bread, of being "revenooers". Of course, all works out well in the end, and the railroad does indeed get successfully built. I think the broad caricatures and lack of the Ozian celebrities (they do show up at the very end, but play almost no part in the action) make this one of the most forgettable stories Oziana has ever published. It almost reads like a bad sixties cartoon (Hollis's art style even adds to that perception). Still, it was not an unpleasant way to spend a few minutes this afternoon.

Monday, July 03, 2017

This Week's Oz Short Story

Yeah, I'm a little behind. But being at an Oz Convention over the weekend will do that to you. Fortunately I'm pretty much free of major non-career obligations for the rest of the summer, and so I should be able to maintain a regular schedule. So this week's short story is from the 1980 edition of Oziana, marking the end of that journal's first decade. The first story is "How the Cowardly Lion Met the Hungry Tiger" by Judy Bieber (who I got to meet in person that same year at my very first Oz convention), with illustrations by Jay Kelly. The Cowardly Lion, on a visit to a large forest in the Gillikin Country, meets up with a large tiger who's always hungry, and the two of them stumble onto a plot by the wicked wizard Ragej to take over Oz. They decide to do something about it, but their plan goes awry and the Hungry Tiger is transformed into a canary in a cage. So it is up to another new friend, the leopard Gugu, to help the Cowardly Lion finish off Ragej and disenchant all the animals turned into canaries. They succeed, of course, and the Lion takes his friend the Hungry Tiger to the Emerald City, leaving Gugu behind to become king of the forest.

I enjoyed this a lot, and my only two quibbles are both background issues. The first is that it is widely believed by many now that the tiger that Dorothy and her friends meet on the way to Glinda's towards the end of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is the Hungry Tiger. However, although first proposed by Jack Snow in Who's Who in Oz, it hadn't gained a lot of traction by 1980. In fact, it's only a theory, there's no real evidence in Wonderful Wizard that that is indeed the Hungry Tiger. My second quibble is that, as far as I can recall, Gugu doesn't recognize the Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger when they meet in The Magic of Oz, nor they him. But I don't have my copy of Magic here to check, so perhaps it could be interpreted a little more ambiguously.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Today's OTHER Oz Comic

I found this edition of Red and Rover in my local paper today (yes, some of us still get our paper delivered on real paper). As awesome as it is, Brian Bassett got it wrong! That quote is not by L. Frank Baum. It's from the screenplay of The Movie, so it was written by either Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson, or Edgar Allan Woolf (or possibly one of the eight other ultimately uncredited screenwriters and retained by the other three), nearly twenty years after Baum died and forty years after the book was published. Sadly, I've seen this and many other lines from The Movie credited to Baum on many online sources. I don't get why this is so hard to check, but nobody seems to want to do it, or care.


Just a heads up, I have three draft blogs that have been sitting here for a long time, I don't know what they are, but I want to get rid of them, so I'm going to publish them. I suspect they're ones I've already published that somehow got stuck in the draft folder as well, so if they look familiar, that may be why. (I'm looking forward to seeing what's in these mystery posts myself!)

Today's NEW Oz Comic

Yup, Oz hits Six Chix today. And it's by Stephanie Piro, my favorite of the six.

Today's Recent Oz Comic

There are an awful lot of comic strips out there, and although I read a lot of them, I can't read them all! Good thing my friend Michael-sensei reads an awful lot of them as well and shares his discoveries. His most recent find is this installment of Warped from this past Thursday, in which we see the clash of two classic stories (I think, based on the subject of this blog, you can guess what one of them is).

Friday, June 23, 2017

This Week's Oz Short Story

I was really looking forward to rereading the final story from the 1979 edition of Oziana, "The Real Critics" by Geoffrey L. Gould, just because I remember the premise: The folks in the Emerald City find out that there was a movie made about Dorothy's original trip to Oz, released in 1939. So the Wizard and the Shaggy Man make arrangements to show it to the people who were originally there! (Meta, right?) Since this was right before the howe video revolution started, that involved bringing a film print and projectors to Oz, and generating power. The Wizard comes through on all counts, of course.

And what a way to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of The Movie! (What's scary is that we're now approaching the fortieth anniversary of this story!) The entire story takes place in the few minutes after the final scene is shown, and let's just say it got mixed reactions. Most of the characters were fine with how they were portrayed, even if the movie wasn't particularly accurate. Toto let's his role as the hero go to his head a bit, but the Glass Cat helps keep him in line. The Cowardly Lion, however, gets the worst of it. The Hungry Tiger is especially hard on him, teasing the Lion about how Bert Lahr portrayed him, and the Tiger does not let up! Finally, Dorothy encourages the Lion to tell the Tiger what really happened, and all is good again.

Next week I start wrapping up Oziana's first decade with the 1980 issue. Posting may be a little irregular over the next couple of weeks because of OzCon and other upcoming events, but I think I can maintain my once a week schedule.