Greetings to all you many fans of The Wizard of Oz! We are Jay Scarfone and William Stillman.
As life-long enthusiasts of The Wizard of Oz, we have been fortunate to author several books about the 1939 motion picture classic. The most recent of our published works is the award-winning, The Wizard of Oz: The Official 75th Anniversary Companion (HarperCollins, 2013). We are both delighted to have the opportunity to share our passion for all things Oz with readers of the official WB The Wizard of Oz tribute blog! Here is how each of us came to know and appreciate The Wizard of Oz.
My Oz fascination is attributed to the 1939 motion picture version of The Wizard of Oz. I can’t remember the first time I saw the film; I just know it was always there in my earliest childhood memories due to the once-a-year television broadcasts. Back then, seeing The Wizard of Oz on TV was an event—as important to me while growing up as were Christmas and my birthday. The excitement of seeing that first television commercial announcing the year’s upcoming telecast was enough to keep me watching as many commercial breaks as I could manage (hoping to catch as many ads for the broadcast as possible), right up until the long-awaited airdate. This excitement was shared by all of my classmates and teachers, to the point of ongoing school-day buzz in the days before and after Oz aired.
The annual Wizard of Oz telecasts were an Easter-time tradition when I was a youngster. I recall more than one airing of Oz happening right on Easter Sunday, which caused a bit of anxiety amidst my excitement. Would my family be spending the holiday at a relative’s house, and if so, would we be back home in time for the start of the movie? If not, would everyone at the gathering agree to watch the movie on the single television set in the house—and would they be quiet until it was over? Fortunately, it always worked out for me somehow . . .
My earliest memories of The Wizard of Oz are twofold. I recall watching it on television in the mid- to late-1960s when it aired annually at Christmastime. In those days, I wasn’t allowed to stay up to watch the whole movie, and I remember having to go to bed about the time that Dorothy met the Scarecrow. Unlike the childhood memories of so many others, I was never frightened by the Winged Monkeys. However I was most unnerved by the Munchkins! There was something about them that made me suspicious. I wonder if the Munchkins made anyone else uncomfortable?
Also at this time, my mother read to me from a picture book edition of The Wizard of Oz. It was a condensed version with charming illustrations by Anton Loeb. (This book was in print from 1950 to the early 1980s so many readers are likely to recall it as well.) I remember learning to recognize words by following along as my mother read to me at bedtime. I especially recall the discussion between Dorothy and the Good Witch about the Land of Oz not being “civilized.”
As an adult, it is a great treat to own three of the original illustrations from this book.
In a joint effort, we have spent our lifetimes researching and collecting The Wizard of Oz, especially the famous 1939 motion picture. Through our published works, including The Wizard of Oz: The Official 75th Anniversary Companion, our mission has always been to share the treasures we’ve discovered on our research odyssey down the Yellow Brick Road. It is always exciting to “spring” new information and—particularly—newly uncovered images in our publications for Oz fans of all ages. We avidly look forward to continuing to be a resource to readers of the official WB The Wizard of Oz blog!
Want to learn more about The Wizard of Oz? Pick up your own copy ofThe Wizard of Oz: The Official 75th Anniversary Companion today!
Commemorating the seventy-fifth anniversary of The Wizard of Oz, the collectible edition of The Wizard of Oz: The Official 75th Anniversary Companion delivers an interactive experience, transporting readers over the rainbow and into the Land of Oz with its host of unpublished artwork, behind-the-scenes stories from the stars, and removable special features.
Open the door to the Land of Oz and travel down the Yellow Brick Road with Dorothy and her companions on the journey of a lifetime. Learn the filmmaking tricks and techniques behind the film's realistic tornado, why Dorothy's shoes were ruby-colored, and how the filmmakers got a fleet of Winged Monkeys to fly. Authors Jay Scarfone and William Stillman reveal filmmaking secrets and information on everything from the film's pre- and postproduction to early reviews and publicity to never-before-published stories from the cast and crew, making it the definitive book on the subject. Beautifully designed with an array of film stills, Technicolor™ test frames, rare artwork and photography, and costume and set illustrations, this collectible edition provides an unrivaled glimpse at the land where dreams come true.
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