The Wizard of Oz

10 Surreal Characters from the L. Frank Baum ‘Oz’ Series

Next week marks the 158th birthday of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum, whose 14-books series set in a faraway fantasy realm has captured the imaginations of generations of readers. The surreal landscape, which is downright psychedelic as the movie version demonstrates in bold Technicolor, is home to colorful creatures who are wonderfully odd-looking and truly weird. Many of Baum’s characters were written as icons of the cultural and political allegories woven throughout his tales, but that doesn’t make them any less strange. We’re celebrating ten of the most bizarre characters in Baum’s Oz canon that often get overlooked when discussing the author’s legacy. … Read More

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50 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘The Wizard of Oz’

It was a modest box officer winner when it was released on this day back in 1939, but MGM’s grand Technicolor fantasy film, The Wizard of Oz, won the hearts of millions more when it debuted on TV for the first time in 1956. It became an annual tradition for many families to huddle around the telly and watch the tale of a girl and her dog traveling the Yellow Brick Road. We’re honoring the film’s theatrical release with an epic list of facts, many strange but true, that shed light on one of cinema’s most beloved movies. … Read More

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10 of Hollywood’s Most Legendary “Troubled Productions”

This Friday, Paramount unleashes World War Z, the Brad Pitt-fronted zombie apocalypse tale that has been on the receiving end of an inordinate amount of pre-release bad buzz. Stories of third-act rewrites, tension between star and director, shifting release dates, and massive budget and schedule overruns have dominated WWZ’s advance publicity, far more than anything of note about the film itself (which is unfortunate, as it’s a frequently gripping and reasonably intelligent disaster flick). But that’s nothing new in Hollywood; for decades we’ve been fascinated by stories of high-profile productions run amok, and by guessing whether those on-set woes would actually impact the final product. … Read More

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This Is a Thing: The All Little-People Western ‘The Terror of Tiny Town’

Welcome to “This is a Thing,” a monthly feature where your humble film editor will examine a piece of popular culture — a film, an album, a television special, whatever — that I wouldn’t believe existed, had I not laid my own eyes upon it. This month: the stunningly ill-conceived 1938 Western, announced in its opening titles as “The Terror of Tiny Town, with an all-midget cast.” 

The story goes that low-budget producer Jedd Buell was inspired to make his magnum opus by an offhand comment from a subordinate: “If this economy drive keeps on, we’ll be using midgets for actors.” And like that, The Terror of Tiny Town was born. Buell took out ads in newspapers around the nation, offering “Big Salaries for Little People.” He hired 60 actors (averaging 3’8”) to fill the roles of his $100,000 production. … Read More

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Imaginative Ads for Pop Culture’s Most Famous Fictional Products

Few institutions hold the key to our pop culture-obsessed heart like Gallery 1988, the dual-location Los Angeles art gallery that showcases art celebrating our favorite films, music, and TV. The latest exhibit for the Venice Gallery is Product Placement, consisting of imagined artwork for fictional products from all points of the pop culture universe. Join us after the jump for a preview of the show, which opens Saturday and runs through March 30th, including inventive ads for Red Apple cigarettes, Soul Glo hair products, Dapper Dan pomade, and more. … Read More

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The Greatest Movie Endings of All Time

All things must come to an end, but the greatest finales leave a lasting impression. We’ve already explored the best opening scenes in cinema, and now it’s time to dig into a few of film’s greatest movie endings. Not all stories provide audiences with closure, happy resolutions, and loose ends neatly wrapped in a bow. Some of the best tales reveal jaw-dropping truths, narrative twists, and allow questions that go unanswered to linger in our minds. We’ve rounded up some of the most epic film endings past the break. There’s plenty of room to discuss your favorites in the comments, so chime in with your thoughts after clicking through our gallery for more memorable movie goodbyes. Oh, and consider this your big-time spoiler warning. … Read More

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Incredible Sculptures Made from Your Favorite Children’s Books

If you spent hours as a child fantasizing about leaping into the pages — and fictional world! — of your favorite book, then these mind-blowing sculptures spotted by Maria Popova should put a smile on your face. “I still have a connection to Stuart Little and the Borrowers,” explains Kelly Campbell Berry, the Oklahoma-based artist behind the work. “Books, for me, come alive… My book sculptures are my way of showing what the words on the pages create in the imagination of the readers.” Click through to check out a few of her loveliest pieces, and take note: many of them are currently available for purchase in her shop on Etsy. … Read More

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