Available October 1, 2018, “The Road to Oz,” a new deluxe hardcover book from authors Jay Scarfone and William Stillman.
The information about this book has been out for a while, but I thought I’d make note of it here not just because it’s news but also because anything from Scarfone and Stillman is a welcome addition to everyone’s library. These guys have co-authored the best books about The Wizard of Oz ever printed: “The Official 50th Anniversary Pictorial History“; “The Wizardy of Oz“; and “The Official 75th Anniversary Companion” ever printed. All are Must-Haves.
You might ask, “what’s left to tell?” Well, plenty! As we have seen in the past several years previously unreleased material has surfaced including material pertaining to the 1939 film and other early adaptations of Baum’s magical books. The fact that it’s Scarfone and Stillman who are presenting this material to us is icing on the cake. I can’t think of anyone better suited to the task. I look forward to getting my copy and learning even more about the film and its ever-enduring magic.
The Road to Oz is a complete retelling of how The Wizard of Oz was influenced and created and attained its iconic status. The new volume by Jay Scarfone and William Stillman will reflect recent research and much more through newly discovered period interviews, media resources of the era, transcriptions and unique contemporary interviews with those who were there. Additionally, never-before-published imagery accompanies the text. In its truth and candor, this new historical contribution is ideal to tie-in with the 2018-19 80th anniversary of the 1939 movie.
Tantalizing highlights of the text include:
- A thorough synopsis of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) and the script, inspired by the book, of the 1903 Broadway musical-comedy extravaganza.
- An overview of the plots of prior silent film adaptations of Oz and how they influenced the M-G-M film.
- An analysis of newly-discovered audio transcriptions of Wizard of Oz radio programs from 1931-32 and 1937-38—all of which were previously unknown.
- A complete accounting of Sam Goldwyn’s proposed (and aborted) 1934 Technicolor musical version of Oz starring Eddie Cantor (including commentary from Cantor’s sole surviving child).
- A thorough analysis of the October 10, 1938, M-G-M shooting script (provided by descendants of comedian and Cowardly Lion actor Bert Lahr) that predates the beginning of production by seventy-two hours.
- Startling revelations about the operetta that seemingly inspired “Over the Rainbow.”
- Judy Garland’s trials and tribulations with the studio, including the threat that M-G-M was grooming a sound-alike who tested for Oz.
- The supporting player who was cast in two roles in Oz’s fantasy sequence—the second role revealed for the first time in Scarfone and Stillman’s text.
- The Munchkin midgets’ pre-1939 Wizard of Oz connection.
- Oz’s film editor with a direct connection to Walt Disney and Snow White.
- Studio nepotism, favoritism, and politics at the height of Hollywood’s golden age on the making of the world’s most famous film.