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The Wizard Of Oz The Official 75th Anniversary Companion Book Review

The Wizard of Oz The Official 75th Anniversary Companion Book

“The Wizard of Oz: The Official 75th Anniversary Companion Book” is a must own book for fans of “The Merry Old Land of Oz.”

After an insightful foreword by Judy Garland stand-in Caren Marsh-Doll, it is abundantly clear that this meaty book by uber ‘The Wizard of Oz” collectors/fans Jay Scarfone and William Stillman is an absolute love letter to the 1939 masterpiece. While some of the material presented within has been covered in documentaries and DVD and Blu-ray extras, there is still a large chunk of information and photographs that will be new to readers.

If you think this book is little more than unending praise for “The Wizard of Oz,” think again. This companion piece not only delves into the movie’s rich history, but it also details its place IN film history. The beginning mainly deals with the film’s journey to the big screen and its eventual production while also relaying stories about author Frank L. Baum, MGM head Mervyn LeRoy, director King Vidor’s contributions, and the cast (and the characters they played). Of course, many pages are rightfully devoted to Judy Garland (Dorothy) as well. After that portion concludes, supporting characters (think Winkies, Flying Monkeys, and Munchkins) and unsung heroes like costume artist Adrian Greenberg and makeup artist Jack Dawn are given a much deserved tribute. The book ends with a wide range of topics such as special effects, special effects, cut sequences (including “The Jitterbug” song), post-production, the film’s success, merchandise, re-releases, the story of “Over the Rainbow,” and the once annual TV airings.

While the facts and factoids are no doubt fascinating (who knew Maragret Hamilton was a kindergarten teacher?), there’s also a lot of splendid visual elements here as well. Oz fans can expect rare photographs (on and off set) color, B&W and color tinted pictures (some a full page), Judy Garland hairdressing reference stills, neat alternate costumes for the Scarecrow and the Tin Man, photos of the original Wicked Witch with actress Gale Sondergaard, amazing concept art of the Emerald City, Color Glos, lobby cards, and posters and ads from across the globe (including old Jell-O ads). And to think that’s only a tiny portion of the visual elements!

Jay Scarfone and William Stillman saved the best for last, however, as the very last page of the book contains a glued on envelope that is full of an overwhelming amount of goodies like pictures, a bookmark, a certificate of death for the Wicked Witch of the East, a lobby card booklet, the gifts presented by the Wizard, a picture frame, posters and much more.

Overall Thoughts: I could go on and on about the contents within this oversized companion book, but you really owe it to yourself to pick it up and see what is inside for yourself. An absolute must own tie-in book for fans of the timeless cinematic classic.

February 2, 2014 - Posted by | Book review | , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. I have that book, awesome, big W of O fan.

    Comment by Carl Breaux | February 3, 2014 | Reply

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