Thursday, November 18, 2010

Return to Oz

The mention of the connection between Blavatsky and Frank L. Baum, the author of the Wizard of Oz, seems to have become mandatory.

In a recent review of two books about Baum, Finding Oz: How L. Frank Baum Discovered the Great American Story, and, The Real Wizard of Oz: The Life and Times of L. Frank Baum, Michael Patrick Hearn, the author of The Annotated Wizard of Oz, found it necessary to cite the author’s assertion that "the name of Dorothy’s 'spiritual guide dog,' Toto, came from Madame Blavatsky's phrase 'the Eternity of the Universe in toto as a boundless plane.' (Loncraine, too, believes it comes from 'in toto.)"Children's Literature Association Quarterly, Volume 35, Number 3, Fall 2010.

Chelsea House Publishers, a leading nonfiction publisher of curriculum-oriented books for children and young adults, in the life of Baum published this year in their Who Wrote That series add a explanatory note headed “Did You Know”: Theosophy is a doctrine of religious philosophy and metaphysics that originated with Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. Frank and Maud Baum had long been intrigued by Madam Blavatsky’s ideas, and on September4, 1892, the couple was admitted to the Ramayana Theosophical Society. —L. Frank Baum by Dennis Abrams, p. 52.

Now comes news that Warner Brothers pictures is in talks with Robert Zemeckis, the director of Forest Gump, to direct a live-action remake of The Wizard of Oz and plans to use the original script from the 1939 classic (Warner Bros owns the screenplay). Disney is also in development for 2013 with Oz: The Great And Powerful, which will focus on the exploits of the wizard. Recent attempts at remaking the story for film have been far from memorable: 1978’s The Wiz (Diana Ross who played Dorothy was 33), Disney's 1985 Return to Oz (dreadful), and Tin Man a 2007 Sci Fi version (why?). Still, this will no doubt add to the ongoing commentary about Blavatsky and Baum.

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