Finding YOUR Oz!

"Remember my friend, a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others."
-Frank Morgan as The Wizard to Jack Hayley as The Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Happy Thursday!

"The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a children's novel written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W. W. Denslow. Originally published by the George M. Hill Company in Chicago on May 17, 1900,
it has since been reprinted numerous times, most often under the name The Wizard of Oz, which is the name of both the 1902 stage play and the 1939 film version. The story chronicles the adventures of a girl named Dorothy in the Land of Oz. Thanks in part to the 1939 MGM movie, it is one of the best-known stories in American popular culture and has been widely translated. Its initial success, and the success of the popular 1902 Broadway musical Baum adapted from his story, led to Baum's writing thirteen more Oz books. The original book has been in the public domain in the US since 1956.

The Marvelous Land of Oz: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman, commonly shortened to The Land of Oz,published on July 5, 1904, is the second of L. Frank Baum's books set in the Land of Oz, and the sequel to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This and the next thirty-four Oz books of the famous forty were illustrated by John R. Neill.
The book was made into an episode of The Shirley Temple Show in 1960, and into a Canadian animated feature film of the same name in 1987. It was also adapted in comic book form by Marvel Comics,
with the first issue being released in November 2009. Plot elements from The Marvelous Land of Oz are included in the 1985 Disney feature film Return to Oz.

(Here I am with Meinhardt Raabe, the coroner of Oz!) Set shortly after the events in the first book, the protagonist is a boy named Tip, who for as long as he can remember has been under the guardianship of a witch named Mombi in Gillikin Country. As Mombi is returning home, Tip plans to frighten her with a scarecrow he has made. Since he has no straw available, Tip instead makes a man out of wood and gives him a pumpkin for a head, naming him Jack Pumpkinhead. Mombi is not fooled, and she takes this opportunity to demonstrate the Powder of Life that she bought from another sorcerer. She sprinkles the powder on Jack, bringing him to life and startling Tip, whom Mombi catches and threatens with revenge.

Song from Filmation's "Journey Back to Oz" (1973), starring Liza Minnelli as Dorothy Gale and Paul Lynde as Pumpkinhead.

Dorothy tells Pumpkinhead not to fear about old Witch Mombi's menaces, and they follow the Yellow Brick Road to get to the Emerald City.
The movie is available on DVD.
Tip leaves with Jack that night and steals the Powder of Life because Mombi plans to turn him into a marble statue in the morning. As they head for the Emerald City, Tip uses the Powder to animate the Sawhorse so Jack can ride him – for even though his wooden body does not tire, it can get worn away from all of the walking. Tip loses them as the tireless Sawhorse gallops faster and he meets with General Jinjur's all-girl Army of Revolt which is planning to overthrow the Scarecrow, who has ruled the Emerald City since the end of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Marching with the Army, Tip meets again with Jack, the Sawhorse, and now the Scarecrow as they flee the Emerald City in Jinjur's wake.

The Quadling Country is the southern division of L. Frank Baum's Land of Oz. It is distinguished by the color red, worn by most of the local inhabitants as well as the color of their surroundings.

Like the Munchkin Country, the outer regions of the Quadling Country are rich, pleasant and beautiful, inhabited by kind and friendly people, while the areas closer to the Emerald City (i.e. most of the regions between the mountains of the Hammer-Heads and the Forest of the Fighting Trees) are forbidding and dangerous."

I hope this finds you well. As I was writing my blog yesterday celebrating the legacy of Judy Garland, I wrote a little bit about FINDING OZ by Evan I. Schwartz.
I ordered the book yesterday through Amazon.
I cannot wait to read it.
My horoscope today says, "You are an intense bundle of erratic thoughts today as familiar ideas combine to create ingenious plans. Luckily, you can showcase your talents without too much effort.

However, there is a huge difference between an adequate job and an awesome one. Putting extra time into your preparation pays off now, so don't take any unnecessary shortcuts." and in the NY Post, "Too often in the past you have given up on your plans because they were not progressing to your satisfaction. That's an awful waste of time and energy!

Whatever you are working on, see it through to the end."

I hope I achieve my goals today and entertain YOU in the process!

Finding OZ by Eric I Schwartz tells the remarkable tale behind one of the world's most enduring and best-loved stories.
Offering profound new insights into the true origins and meaning behind L. Frank Baum's 1900 masterwork, it delves into the personal turmoil and spiritual transformation that fueled Baum's fantastical parable of the American Dream.

But I got to thinking about finding my Oz and perhaps yours in the process.

I've written often about my childhood growing up on a tobacco farm in South Carolina. I couldn't wait to get to New York and become an actor! THAT was and IS my Oz! At the end of the The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy tells her Auntie Em, "But it wasn't a dream, it was a place...It was a truly live place and some of it wasn't very nice, but most of it was beautiful!"

That sums up everything! At least it sums up my life. Every time I'm on stage, I find an inner peace that I don't always find in the "real world". It's the "behind the scenes" issues that we deal with on a daily basis.
What is YOUR Oz?
I would love to hear your stories!

When I was a kid, I found THE LAND OF OZ! And through the internet, I have found it again!

THE LAND OF OZ opened on Beech Mountain in Banner Elk, North Carolina. It was a theme park based on The Wizard of Oz.

I begged my parents to take me there. We finally made it there one day and the park was closed! I never got a chance to see it! But I've seen pictures! I used to have a brochure about it.
The following information is from their website: Oz was dreamed and designed by Jack Pentes, on behalf of Carolina Caribbean Corp., and headed by Grover Robbins, of Tweetsie RR.
(We used to go to Tweetsie every Fall!) Both men were exceptional "visionaries". It was their plan to create something special for children - something that would be fun and financially compatible with the ski slopes of Beech - and, in turn, would bring parents, purchasers of resort property. Just as important, local talent and craftsmen were employed, bringing pride and opportunities to the area. It was a grand dream and was done in a grand fashion. OZ exceeded everyone's expectations of success.

Six months before its opening, however, Mr. Robbins contracted bone cancer and passed away. He was young and handsome and lived a "whirlwind" life. (Everyone who ever met him has stories to tell of Grover.)

He left behind OZ, Tweetsie, Hound Ears, Beech, Land Harbor, and what is now Elk River Club, as well as North Carolina and Caribbean coastal properties. Each met their own destiny, and Mr. Robbins was given a memorial marker on the pinnacle of Beech, where he could forever soar, one of his most favorite joys in life.

OZ was operational from 1970-80, but changing times, economics, liabilities, maintenance, and other interests of its owners, along with the lack of change at OZ, took their toll on the park. Ten years passed with the property reverting back to its original owners. Vandalism and nostalgia seekers destroyed much of the remains. Even today, people try to take a "piece" of OZ, to their despair.
In 1990, the 450 acre project known as Emerald Mountain development was begun, the concept of creating homesites with respect to The Land Of OZ being one of their goals. In the past eight summers, OZ has gone from being an "archeological dig" to an enchanting private garden, with Dorothy's farm restored, gazebos renovated, fountain, pond and waterfall made operational, and the yellow brick road unearthed and patched. For now, the character houses and Emerald City are gone. But each summer they add something back to OZ. Sometimes it is original items returned to them from caring friends.

The park is not, nor will it ever be, what it once was. However, with its maturing flora and graceful aging, it has evolved into its own unique entity. Dorothy's house is a lovely cottage they now rent to romantics wanting to escape.

Each year they share the park and their memories on a special weekend. They call it their Autumn at OZ party, where they all take a nostalgic stroll down the yellow brick road and see some of the original cast perform again. Volunteers and local charities help them with the event, and everyone is invited. Proceeds pay for the party and help with restorations. It's a wonderful chance to meet other Ozzies and relive their childhood....."We're off...."Cynthia Keller, Broker

2669 South Beech Mountain Parkway
Beech Mountain , NC 28604
(828) 387-2000 (phone)
(828) 387-2007 (fax)
Email Emerald Mountain
Check out their website!

Could this be part of the yellow brick road that inspired L. Frank Baum?
(Eric I Schwartz pictured here)

How could such a segment still exist after more than 140 years?

And why isn't anyone taking proper care of it?
The episode of how a teenage Baum must have come upon this road is told in Finding Oz. And a recent front-page story in The Wall Street Journal has brought renewed attention to what should be a famous footpath.

These shoes are mine! They are an EXACT replica of one of the pairs worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz! Right down to the label inside!

The tradition continues! The Wizard of Oz is my dog's Horace's favorite movie! Actually, he has a thing for Toto!

Check out The Wizard of Oz News page.

The Wizard of Oz is LIVE on stage in London

Order Eric I Schwart's FINDING OZ on Amazon

MEMORIES OF A MUNCHKIN by Meinhardt Raabe with Lieutenant Daniel Kinske U.S.N.

I hope you find your Oz today!

For the latest on Judy Garland, check here: THE JUDY ROOM

I own nothing, no copyright infringement on anything included in this blog intended.

Thanks for being a loyal reader of my blog!

Become A Facebook friend of mine!
Follow me on Twitter
If you've seen one of my appearances/shows, add your thoughts to my guestbook at

Tomorrow's blog will be you tell me...I'm open to suggestions!


Richard Skipper,


Popular Posts