Wizard of OZ Turns 75
Time has been powerless to erase the enduring magic of this wonderful film which has delighted generations of children, both young and old, for over seven decades. Judy Garland brings to life Dorothy Gale, the child in all of us, who yearns to escape to a perfect place over the rainbow. Along her way to the magical land of Oz, Dorothy encounters a host of unforgettable characters: the clever Scarecrow, the sentimental Tin Man, the courageous Cowardly Lion, witches both good and bad, and the wonderful Wizard of Oz..
More than 40 years ago my family and I would wait months in what seemed like agonizing anticipation for the CBS annual showing of “The Wizard of OZ”. There was no other event on TV that brought the family together like OZ. So, I am not surprised that the 75th Anniversary of the most iconic American movie is being celebrated everywhere across the country. Last week I was at one local mall and noticed a big sign announcing an OZ celebration on Saturday September 14, 2013. (see image to right). Apparently, over 100 Simon Malls across the country will be celebrating OZ’s Diamond Anniversary during the month of September. Also, a local Imax theater is promoting their one week showing of OZ in 3D! (see Imax poster image). As a matter of fact, Warner Brothers and Imax will have a weeklong IMAX run of The Wizard of OZ in 3D in more than 300 theaters in North America, while a five-disc Collectors Edition set hits the streets October 1.
Meanwhile, several major retailers are capitalizing on this iconic celebration. McDonald’s will lead the charge. For three weeks starting September 20, the fast-food behemoth will offer The Wizard Of Oz toys in Happy Meals at more than 14,000 outlets in North America. Other national brands getting in on some OZ action are QVC, Amtrak and even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Ad Council. But, beyond all this sudden OZ frenzy, long time OZ fans and collectors have always had a love affair with this classic Hollywood masterpiece. So, all this attention is no surprise. Vintage Wizard of OZ memorabilia has always been one our most (if not THE most) popular categories of collecting with some of the most serious and intense collector base. . For example, original Wizard of Oz posters, autographs and artifacts are the most highly desired from our customers. Hence, although much of our vintage OZ material sells out fast, we are on a continual treasure hunt for these Oz related jewels.
"75 years later, The Wizard of Oz continues its reign as a multi-generational favorite, with nearly 100 percent awareness among adults and more than 80 percent awareness among children," said Jeff Baker, WBHE EVP and GM, Theatrical Catalog.
Today, only two Oz Munchkins are still with us, as Margaret Pellini passed away last month (August 8, 2013). The only two remaining munchkins are Lollipop Kid Jerry Maren, 93, and Ruth Duccini, 95. Here is a photo of when I met Jerry Maren back in 1996.
So. In the next several months prepare to see Oz related toys, Christmas ornaments, t-shirts, hats, Oz customs, figurines and an endless list of souvenir products to celebrate the last 75 years of Oz Magic! But, if you are looking for original vintage, historical pieces of OZ related memorabilia there are only a handful of places you will find these museum quality treasures…..
And, in case you want to check out our Wizard of Oz Collection Gallery......
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