Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The Wonderful Series of Oz Anime


Cinar The Wonderful Wizard of Oz series 1986/1987



I finally have obtained digital copies of all 52 Episodes from the Cinar Wonderful Wizard of Oz Series. Although Cinar didn't actually make the series this is just a well voiced translation from the Japanese Anime Series Oz no Mahōtsukai. The Series was based upon L Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Marvelous Land of Oz, Ozma of Oz and The Emerald City of Oz.

I really enjoyed the Cinar series it was possibly shown in the UK 1989/90 on CITV which rudely and abruptly stopped at China Country episode not even finishing the Wizard of Oz story! I figure it must be around about this time, as I remember it was shown at the same time as Ducktales and I used to love that show as well, at 1989 I would have been 10 at the time! The Cinar series is responsible for me discovering the books due to the end credit listing the 4 books the series was based on, I used this infomration to go to the local library where my mind was then blown by the lists of books that Baum alone wrote!

I used to rent cut down movies of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and The Emerald City of Oz movies from local video store the now long defunct Titles Video regularly at only 50p a day.
Frustratingly this video store or any of the others had the cut downs for The Marvelous land of Oz or Ozma of Oz.
I did fortunately manage to get VHS copies of both to buy eventually,  but frustratingly you couldn't get any copies of The Emerald City of Oz to buy! 

Then series was repeated with the entire 52 Episode run on Channel 4 in Mid 1990's which is when I recorded the show on VHS although I was still missing a couple of episodes and the tapes over time were getting a little worse for wear. Then alas VHS died a death and I junked the tapes as they were no use any more, as a lover of new gadgets VHS was rejected in the early 2000’s in our house to make way for DVD only.

For years I have had a copy of the cut downs movies on DVD from America, I really do hate the front cover to the DVD box-set the drawing is very poor. I am pleased now to have the 52 Episode’s as the stories are much better with the full content! Which come in at around 90 mins, the series version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz runs around 6 Hours! So thats a heck of a cut,

There is though sadly one missing element to the 52 Episode series and that is the theme tune is "Searching for a Dream" by the parachute club for every single episode, which is a great song especially for Oz. although on the Cut down VHS/DVD release each "movie" has it own theme all sung by the parachute club.

"Wonderful Wizard of Oz" retains "Searching for a dream"



"Marvelous Land of Oz" has "Listen to your heart"




"Ozma of Oz" has "Taste the rain"



"The Emerald City of Oz" has "Close your eyes"




I especially think that "Listen to your heart" and "taste the rain" are great alternative Oz intro's "close your eyes" the least strong.

I have searched the Parachute club but cannot unfortunately find any full length version of the songs which is shame as I'd love to have them. If anyone knows where I can get full version I would like to know.

As I now have all 52 Episodes I will post further reviews later and some comparisons with the books.

You can currently watch the whole 52 Episode over on Jaroo although they are only showing 4 episodes at a time. 


On the next post I will be back number 9 in my favourite Oz books chart.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

iBooks of Oz: Illustrated


In the first iBooks of Oz post I wrote about how you can get your hands on all the Baum Oz book for free. This time let's look at Baum's Oz illustrated.

So free will get you text only book from the iBooks store, but for .49p you can get the 14 Baum Oz books illustrated by Neill and Denslow! I would always recommend reading Oz with the original illustration's the two go so well together, especially J. R. Neill's illustration's I find it very difficult to read an Oz book without Neill's drawing.

I'm using a purchased Tin Woodman of Oz illustrated by J. R. Neill for this blog post, a snip at only .49p, this also happens to be the first book where I was first introduced to the Neil's Oz drawings and I was instantly enthralled by them, I love this story it is just pure Baum!

Ok .49p isn't going to give you an exact facsimile of the original, you get many of the illustrations.....but not all.

The original cover is included and all 12 cover plates are present, many of the lines drawings are here, there are a number also missing which is a shame!
The major change is the book is not formatted with same font and layouts as the original Oz books, although you can change to font that suits you. This may explain why the book is missing every chapter title illustration from the original,   Each chapter in this version is only presented in plain text, no illustration's.
It appears that the text was as with the free Oz books I wrote about previously from project Gutenberg, the illustration's  appear to have been placed in with the Gutenberg text.


Now there are several benefits an iBook has that a real paper book does not, with the illustrations, if you want to get at an illustration simply double tap any image and it will display the image on it's own for you to pinch and zoom so that you can scrutinise the image in detail.
I have posted you a picture of Ku-Klip constructing the Tin Woodman, you can see the text version and the image after I have double tapped and expanded it you can actually Zoom into the tiniest detail. The only problem with this feature which require the source image to be very high resolution. Sadly the images provided in this book is of low resolution and there is already notable pixelation when an image is fully displayed on the iPad. 
I have compared the image to the one in my Book of Wonder edition and the detail is greater in the printed book.  Again the iBook is only .49p so you cannot really expect that level of detail.

Now another great feature that isn't just for Oz books, you can highlight text, so if I wanted to copy some text in to my blog like so....

"I must admit that I wasn't at all bad looking before I became tin. You're almost handsome—for meat. If your hair was combed, you'd be quite attractive."


"How do you expect me to comb my hair without help?" demanded the Head, indignantly. "I used to keep it smooth and neat, when I had arms, but after I was removed from the rest of me, my hair got mussed, and old Ku-Klip never has combed it for me."

It is easy peasy just simple tap and scroll with your fingers, copying with a minimum of fuss. You can highlight pages as if you have used a pen highlighter for reference or search the web for any definitions within the text. Again a neat little feature is you can leave yourself sticky notes, great for referencing! This feature is available on any iBook not just this one.

I still prefer to have a physical illustrated books for my collection, but how many kids will later be so bothered with  physical book remains to be seen. I can however see the many advantage of having it electronically. You can carry your Oz collection in one device which is around the weight of Hardback or less than a paper back if you have a kindle. You can mark the pages, without ruining your book.  You can get actually at .99p version of the Tin Woodman of Oz and get audio recording of the book as well. These are referred to as enhanced editions, available for all 14 of Baum's Oz books, great if you are visually impaired to as you can expand the text size.



I will definitely be using my iPad to carry around Oz books for referencing. I do feel there is a potential market out the to charge a little more and have facsimiles of the original books, here is hoping someone gets onto this!


On the next iBook post i’ll be looking at interactive Oz books, something physical books  just cannot replicate!












Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Andrew Lloyd Webber - Wizard of Oz Memories & Memorabilia!

Large Programme

So Nikki Haladay gave us an update on her visit to London at the world famous Palladium, where Judy Garland herself performed, Nikki was lucky to see the Wizard of Oz on Saturday, September the 1st. The show finished on Sunday 2nd after only an 18 months.
I was lucky enough to see the show twice last year, with Original London cast  - 


  • Danielle Hope as Dorothy
  • Michael Crawford as the Wizard 
  • Hanna Waddingham as the Wicked Witch of the West 
  • David Ganly as the Lion
  • Helen Walsh  as Aunt Em

The rest of the cast were as Nikki reported in yesterdays blog post.

Small Programme

Then a Second time with - 


  • Sophie Evans As Dorothy 
  • Marianne Benedict as the Wicked Witch of the West 




I am still very pleased I managed to see the show with both of the main Dorothy’s. I have collected some memorabilia from the show, Two programs one small, one large, the larger one of the two has been singed by Danielle Hope, Micheal Crawford and Sophie Evans. 




Sophie Evans as Dorothy (With Brunette Wig)
The original Cast album and the rare original CD single of Danielle Hope "Over the Rainbow" as her winners song when she won the role of Dorothy in ‘Over the Rainbow” which is a different version to the cast album.
Danielle Hope, I was proud to vote in as Dorothy, made the whole experience that bit more personal to me and she was a lovely person to boot. Her performance as Dorothy was brilliant, although she can sing, I don’t think she was as strong a singer as Judy Garland but then who is? She did give a phenomenal acting performance, with a somewhat feistier Dorothy.


Sophie Evans was great to and she did have a very lovely voice! Again a very lovely to meet.


Hannah Waddingham stole the show her performance of the Wicked of the West was deliciously demonic and it was shame she was only in the role a few months.

Paul Keating made a great Scarecrow,  Tinman - was much tougher than the MGM musical, The Cowardly Lion Gayer than ever actually proclaiming to be a friend of Dorothy.


Danielle Hope As Dorothy &
Michael Crawford as the Wizard
I enjoyed some of the new Musical Numbers

The Red Shoes Blues (see link)
As Good as Home 

I was not a fan of the opening number 
Nobody Understands Me 

Wonders of World for the Wizard is okay.

The only real addition's to production that would appear to have come from L Frank Baum's book that I could note, the Munchkins were all Blue, and the Wicked Witch refers to the Guard as her Winkies, although bizarrely they have Russian accent's, perhaps they were loaned from the Volkov's Russian version of the Wizard of Oz!

As Nikki reported the nicest touch is when Dorothy's return to Kansas, her Ruby Slippers appear in the wardrobe right at the ending showing that it wasn’t all a dream, although this did not answer why she ends up back in her old bedroom, and same fair house that had landed on a Witch. But still it's a little bit of an improvement on the MGM original although the dream thing never really bothered me that much.

Although, I won’t get to see it, I look forward to hearing of news from the Toronto performance due to start at the end of this year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pL9mVWw52eA 
Oz Medley


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khRDVCPwPG4 
Oz Medley
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvm3xmf4FPY 
Read Shoes Blues


Me and Sophie Evans
Me and Danielle Hope

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Wizard of Oz production at the London Palladium 1st September 2012

Hey Guys!

So I finally got to see Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Wizard of Oz on Saturday September the 1st 2012 at the London Palladium!

Words will not be able to describe the awesomeness I witnessed, and how it touched my heart....(but I'll try!)

Firstly, I have seen at least 6 different productions of The Wizard of Oz and without a doubt, this was the best one I have ever seen by far. I saw Wicked 5 years ago, which was equally wonderful :)

So..Where to start?.... 

Well to begin with here is a list of cast members who played the main characters in the production I saw... :)


DES O’CONNOR                        
Professor Marvel/Doorman/Tour Guide/The Wizard of Oz

SOPHIE EVANS                       
Dorothy

EDWARD BAKER-DULY     
Hickory/Tin Man

MARTIN CALLAGHAN      
Zeke/Cowardly Lion

PAUL KEATING                     
Hunk/Scarecrow

EMILY TIERNEY                  
Glinda

MARIANNE BENEDICT     
Miss Gulch/Wicked Witch of the West

KATE COYSTEN                      
Aunt Em/Munchkin Barrister/Ensemble

STEPHEN SCOTT                   
Uncle Henry/Philippe/Head Guard/Ensemble

When I got to the Theatre, it was surrounded by Oz fans of all ages....and there were little girls dressed as cute Dorothy's :) It was a really nice warm atmosphere, and it's so great to see that Oz still has such an impact on different generations :)

My seat was Row R, Seat 39 which was in the stalls and really close to the stage! (balcony was above me) Plus I had nobody sitting in front of me so even better!

As soon as the overture music started playing I got goose pimples all over my body; it was so magical! I swear I shed a tear or two as well :) 
It brought back many happy memories for me.

All the way through the production, my eyes were fixed on the stage. I was smiling throughout and sang along to the songs in my head...Andrew Lloyd Webber had written some new songs for the show which were fantastic! Especially the witch's song :) Below I have listed all the songs featured (new songs in bold lettering) :)

           Overture
  1. Nobody Understands Me
  2. Over The Rainbow
  3. Wonders Of The World
  4. The Twister
  5. Arrival In Munchkinland
  6. Munchkinland / Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead
  7. Follow The Yellow Brick Road
  8. If I Only Had A Brain / We're Off To See The Wizard
  9. If I Only Had A Heart / We're Off To See The Wizard
  10. If I Only Had The Nerve / We're Off To See The Wizard
  11. We're Outta The Woods
  12. The Merry Old Land Of Oz
  13. Bring Me The Broomstick
  14. Haunted Forest
  15. Red Shoes Blues
  16. Bacchanalia
  17. Red Shoes Blues (Reprise)
  18. Over The Rainbow (Reprise)
  19. If We Only Had A Plan
  20. The Rescue
  21. Hail-Hail! The Witch Is Dead
  22. The Wizard's Departure
  23. Already Home
  24. Finale

Ok...I'm going to go off on a bit of a tangent now because I am still so excited about it all! ..So here it goes! ….

Oh man! It was so well done! Very funny parts, extra songs, dances, and Tin man sounded like a deep voiced superhero (can't think who he sounded like, but they portrayed Tin Man as being the most hard core one ;) and he had such a beautiful sexy deep voice! Lol. ) , made the Lion out to be very camp but did it really well, Glinda's dress was sparkling silver, so pretty!!!

They used a big cinema screen as a back drop for the big effects like the tornado, and at one point it looked like you were in it yourself, Dorothy's house got lifted into space before it landed in Oz, and they even made all the munchkins blue .... And so much more!!!'

There was a lovely touch at the end of the production with the ruby slippers.... The wind blew Dorothy's bedroom cabinet open and there and behold were the ruby slippers!!!! :D

When the boys go and rescue Dorothy from the witches castle..... The Scarecrow asks Tin Man if it's going to get violent and Tin Man replies "oh yeah!" he then smirked, held his axe over his shoulder ready for action and then walked off stage :)

And you know at the end of the film when Dorothy says to Scarecrow "I'll miss you most of all" ? Well Lion was like, " what about us?!" and Tin Man was like " yeah, thanks a lot!" lol! Then Dorothy was like " aww don't be silly! I'll miss you loads too' just that Scarecrow was my very first friend in Oz that's why I'll miss him the most!" lol! The other two got jealous hehe.

Sophie Evans was such an amazing Dorothy! She really played the character well....The best Dorothy I have ever seen next to Judy Garland's portrayal, in my opinion! 
The same could also be said about Edward Baker-Duly's portrayal of the Tin Man :) 

….And phew! There are SO many more parts in that show which I totally loved! But thought I’d share just a few moments with you :) Check out the costumes and clips of the show on You Tube, and you'll see what I mean by it all :)

I am hoping they'll put the show on again in my local area, 
because I'd definitely see it again! :)

Of course, I couldn't take any photos or videos inside the Theatre whilst the show was on, but I did take some pictures outside the Palladium for you all to 
look at :) (below).

And sadly, they sold out of programmes but I am hoping eBay will be my saviour where I can buy one from someone.

So that's my wonderful experience and thoughts of finally seeing Andrew Lloyd Webber's production of The Wizard of Oz. 
A show which will stay with me forever :)

On a similar note, if you haven’t seen Wicked yet, GO SEE IT
That is one great show, trust me ;) 

Ozzy Wishes, 
Nicki Rose xxx



Outside the London Palladium
Inside the Theatre (sorry for the rubbish photo!)

Sophie Evans as Dorothy
Des O'Connor as the Wizard












Sunday, 9 September 2012

The iBooks of Oz

The iBooks of Oz and beyond! Part 1

iBooks for those who don't own an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad is an application from apple that turns your mobile device into an e-reader. The iBooks application is free with the above touch screen products as they run on apple's mobile operative system called iOS. Okay that is the technical introduction out of they way, yes I am an apple gadget geek and Oz fan.

The great thing about, the ibook store is that you can get stacks, of out of copyright books for free!  So it has never been a cheaper time to be an Oz book fan!
There are currently 24 pages of Oz books when you type in "Oz" via the search function on iBooks store, this information is from the British iBooks store. I suspect the inventory will not vary much from the same "Oz" search in the USA.

As a result you can download all of L Frank Baum's 14 Oz books, plus little Wizard Stories of Oz absolutely free! These are text only books for free, but if you are interested in reading and can't afford or don't want to purchase a more expensive illustrated edition these are great starting point for a new Oz fan to explore Baum's complete Oz works. I would have been ecstatic to have all of this available to me as a kid!

The free text only Oz books appear to be the text from project Gutenberg which have been formatted as an iBook, I have been aware of project Gutenberg for years, I never took to the idea of reading a book on a computer screen or printing hundreds of pages at home. The iPad is a far more accessible device to read on and carry around with you.

I have posted two screen shots from my iPad one is my iBooks library the other is page 1 from the iBooks store after typing in "Oz" (something I do often on many websites).

You can also obtain nearly all of Baum's non Oz work for free, Oz books with Neill illustrations for a small fee, interactive Oz books and Oz books by other authors.
All of which I am going to review in future posts.

See the following links discussed in this post

iBooks 

http://www.apple.com/uk/apps/ibooks/?cid=wwa-uk-kwg-features-00431

Project Gutenberg

http://www.gutenberg.org/


Thursday, 6 September 2012

In at 10! The Wishing Horse of Oz


29th in the series 35 The Wishing Horse of Oz.

Yes, this 1935 Ruth Plumly Thompson Oz book, is the only Thompson book to hit my top 10!

What’s not to love Ozma, Glinda and the Wizard and anyone else who could pose any immeadiate threat to the opposition, have not only gone missing but have been replaced by the fat lazy King Skamperoo of Skampavia is now self proclaimed Emperor.
Only nobody in Oz seems to care, or even remember who Ozma ruler of Oz is, not even the Scarecrow! Nobody that is other than everyone's favourite american Dorothy Gale and a flying Pig called Pigasus! 

Like other Thompson Oz books The Wishing Horse of Oz it's not without it's faults, but I still feel this is one of her strongest Oz books. Perhaps it because she doesn't mess much with Baum’s characters as Oz is effectively rewritten so it is expected Thompson's cheery Citizens of Oz are acting oddly.

Thompson's Oz is rarely dark, but this time Dorothy can't even rely on any of her old friends to help her save the day so, so must call upon an old foe of sorts Kaliko king of the “nomes” not Gnomes as Thompson annoyingly changes.

What I enjoy about this book is not only is there some real sense of suspense, when the plot is unravelled, the Villain of the book Skamperoo is punished to an extent but not with total destructionSkamperoo is actually reformed hurrah! something Baum would do more often with his villains.
The way in which Thompson had previously executed other villanous characters in her earlier Oz stories has always jarred with me, especially Glegg who is forced to drink his own deadly concoction, whilst his remains are cheerfully swept away by Scraps in Kabumpo in Oz and even worse Ozma instructing Mombi be put out with a bucket of water in The Lost King of Oz.

Furthermore there are no hidden royalty or obvious transformation's a tired formula Thompson had over used by this point. Pigasus an already a previously established character is a likeable Oz addition. Thompson’s animal characters are often her best citizen additions to the series, she had a knack for writing loveable creatures but she did not have the successful flair Baum had at bringing more unusual objects to life like the Scarecrow and Tin Wooman, her closest to Baum's unusual characters would been Peg Amy the living wooden doll, had she not turned out to be a Princess in disguise.



My edition of the Wishing Horse of Oz is the oversized Del Rey paperback, I was not aware that the Del Rey Oz books  were printed in two sizes, I have are oversized where the cover image is stretched, I only became aware of this when David Maxine pointed this out to me whilst visiting California and showed me an original smaller sized Del Rey where the artwork on the cover is not stretched.

I intend to replace all of my Del Rey Oz books eventually with first edition and vintage colour plate Reilly & Lee books.

See you next time, where I will discuss the ibooks of Oz, then I’ll return with Oz chart number 9. 


Saturday, 1 September 2012

Top of the Oz Pop's!

So I've been thinking about having a Top 10 Ozzy count down. In the UK we had a music television show called the Top of the Pops on BBC 1 that used to count down the weekly music charts sadly this has been cancelled and much missed.

So over the next few weeks, I am going to count down through my top 10 personal favourite Oz books.
These will be favourites that I personally consider to be canonical Oz books, I will not be including any short stories, comic books or alternative variations on the Original series.

This is the entire list of Oz books I have to choose my top 10 from.

Baum 

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz 
Marvelous land of Oz
Ozma of oz
Dorothy and the wizard in Oz
The Emerald city of oz
The Patchwork girl of Oz
Tik-tok of Oz
The Scarecrow of Oz
Rinkitink in Oz
The Lost Princess of Oz
The Tin Woodman of Oz
The Magic of Oz
Glinda of Oz

Ruth Plumly Thompson

The Royal Book of Oz
Kabumpo in Oz
The Cowardly Lion of Oz
Grampa in Oz
The Lost king of Oz
The Hungry Tiger of Oz
The Gnome King of Oz
The Giant Horse of Oz
Jack Pumpkinhead of Oz
The Yellow Knight of Oz
Pirates in Oz
The Purple Prince of Oz
Ojo in Oz
Speedy in Oz
The Wishing Horse of Oz
Captain Salt in Oz
Handy Mandy in Oz
The Silver Princess in Oz
Ozoplaning with the Wizard in Oz
Yankee in Oz
The Enchanted Island of Oz
John R Neill

The Wonder City of Oz
The Scalawagon's of Oz
Lucky Bucky in Oz

Jack Snow

The Magical Mimic's in Oz
The Shaggy man of Oz

Rachel Cosgrove Payes

The Hidden Valley of Oz
The Wicked Witch of Oz 

Eloise McGraw & Lauren Lynn McGraw 

Merry Go Round in Oz
The Forbidden Fountain of Oz
The Rundlestone of Oz

Dick Martin
The Ozmapolitan of Oz

Edward Einhorn
Paradox in Oz
The Living house of Oz

Gina Wickwar
The Hidden Prince of Oz

Sherwood Smith
The Emerald Wand of Oz
Trouble Under Oz

See you next time with my Oz book in at number 10! It's a tough decision to make, as there's a lot of great Oz books, I can tell you one thing for sure you won't a John R Neill book in my Top 10!