Wamego # 15
Sept 26, 2014 The Legacy of Oz – Part Two
[Author’s Note: In honor of this weekend’s annual OZTOBERFEST, centered on the Wamego, Kansas, Oz Museum -- and in response to a request from festival organizers – this week and last week’s blogs have examined the magical, mirthful, and sometimes miraculous impact that The Wonderful World of Oz has manifested on the world’s landscape and populace for more than eleven decades.]
Over the years, the success of Oz book series, the MGM/Judy Garland WIZARD OF OZ motion picture, and other incarnations of the Oz chronicles have encouraged charmingly obvious “add-ons” to the legacy. Consider the offshoots of such public embrace: toys, dolls, games, clothing, accessories, fabric, furniture, snow globes, calendars, jewelry, artwork, household goods, ornaments, toiletries, stationery, and coloring, paint, and craft books…and etc. Contemplate the collectability of these items; or the rare, first editions of the Oz series; or the one-(or-a-few)-of-a-kind pieces of M-G-Memorabilia. Marvel at the ongoing references to (and dialogue paraphrases from) the 1939 Oz movie in other films, TV shows, cartoons, editorials, newscasts, and sermons. Ponder the ceaseless parade of major Oz stage works -- dominant among them the ongoing adaptations of M-G-M script and score, and including such dazzling original works as THE WIZ (1975) and WICKED (2003). Finally, there also is a continuing, seemingly endless cavalcade of Oz motion pictures, documentaries, and TV miniseries, including the contemporary OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL, LEGENDS OF OZ: DOROTHY’S RETURN, THE WITCHES OF OZ, AFTER THE WIZARD, TIN MAN, and THE MAKING OF “THE WIZARD OF OZ.”
In recent decades, the public has found its own means of reveling in the greater legend. Major Oz, Baum, or Garland festivals have been launched in more than a score of locales across the past thirty-five years. Some were one-time events, but several have evolved into annual celebrations, attracting anywhere from ten thousand to seventy-five thousand participants in a single weekend. Dating back to 2003, Wamego’s yearly Oztoberfest is a bright addition to such happy madness, but it’s become an event especially deserving of support and participation. The local Kansas landscape, of course, is that loved above all else by Dorothy Gale as she steadfastly advocates her “no place like home” philosophy. Additionally, Wamego boasts the presence of the country’s first genuine Oz Museum, which provides an unparalleled opportunity to actively experience a rainbow arc of thousands of Oz collectables, dating from 1900 to the present.
If the foregoing litany of “mere” details is undeniably impressive, there are a couple of less tangible but infinitely more important means of calibrating the power of Oz. These are based on the wondrously palpable emotional impact of Baum’s stories – however they’ve first been experienced by the now-equally renowned “audience of Oz.” The impressions made by Dorothy & Co. never dissipate, never waver, never wane. They’ve motivated a self-renewing public adulation, whether from those who are easily, joyously dedicated or from those whose obsession has long since passed manic pitch.
Perhaps The Legacy of Oz is best seen in its most immediate and simplest form – sure to be everywhere on view during Wamego’s Oztoberfest. Look for it in the shining eyes of children, who will be captivated, entranced, mesmerized, devoted to (and sometimes wary of!) the company that Dorothy keeps. And watch for their non-gender-specific identification with the brave, individualistic, faithful, sympathetic, emotional, strong, persevering, and radiant Dorothy herself.
For all this, one must credit many – and principally the God-given capacity-to-entertain of Judy Garland, M-G-M, and (especially) L. Frank Baum himself.
The achievement is theirs; the legacy is ours.
One and all are invited and encouraged to participate in the grand events of OZTOBERFEST 2014! Details about the programming and special presentations can be found in the text of the blog for September 12, 2014: JP…AND HIS “FAMILY OF OZ.”
Information is also accessible here on the Oz Museum website or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ozmuseum?ref_type=bookmark
In brief, however, you do NOT want to miss:
Where Kansas is concerned, of course, Dorothy Gale knew best: There’s no place like home! And there’s no better Ozzy “home” than Oz Museum, during Wamego’s OZTOBERFEST!
Article by John Fricke