Now 75 years after its debut "The Wizard of Oz" by Warner Bros. remains a beloved film enjoyed by all ages. To mark the 75th anniversary in 2014, Hershey authors Jay Scarfone and William Stillman compiled the book "The Wizard of Oz: The Official 75th Anniversary Companion" in conjunction with Warner Bros.
The writers, who also co-authored "The Wizard of Oz: The Official 50th Anniversary Pictorial History" with John Fricke and other Oz related books, aimed to find unpublished images, new facts and fresh quotes from cast members.
"We spent five years researching this book and scoured everything we could possibly get our hands on," said Stillman on Good Day PA on abc27. "There were a number of Hollywood columnists who would make regular visits to the studio that wrote up about their anecdotes in their columns. That was all information that had not been tapped. And we just had really good fortune to be able to acquire some really rare photographic images that are included in this new volume."
In its description, publisher Harper Collins presents "The Wizard of Oz: The Official 75th Anniversary Companion" as "an entertaining and interactive experience." Harper Collins maintains that the authors detail "the inspiration behind the film's realistic tornado; why Dorothy's shoes were ruby-colored; and how the filmmakers got a fleet of monkeys to fly." The authors showcase artwork from their personal collection including rare stills, Technicolor test frames and costume and set illustrations.
"What we were pleased to be able to present in this book was a visual account of things that had been told before," Scarfone said. "Judy Garland had started in the role of Dorothy as a blond with this long blond wig, heavy
makeup and different costume. This was under a different director. We were able to find some pretty amazing photographic representations as that version of Dorothy."
The wicked witch, now known for her mean, green face, was originally to be portrayed as a beautiful woman, much like the queen in "Snow White." In their many years of research, the authors have uncovered many differences between what was originally visualized for the film and the end product.
"As wonderful and as perfect as so many people think the Wizard of Oz is, there were a lot of obstacles that it had to overcome to be the film that it is now. So it's surprising not only that the film's endured for 75 years up to this point but even that the film was made in the first place," said Scarfone.
On April 6, Scarfone and Stillman will offer a presentation at the Art Association of Harrisburg during which they will discuss the legacy of "The Wizard of Oz," present additional photos not included in the book and engage in a Q&A session. A $10 donation to the Art Association is requested.
"I think it's something that you have to experience as a child for it to really grab hold of you," Stillman said of the film. "I think there's something intangible but magical about it that just stays with you."
"Everybody has their own personal relationship with the Wizard of Oz film," added Scarfone.
The Wizard of Oz: The Official 75th Anniversary Companion Presentation
Sunday, April 6
Please click here for details: Art Association of Harrisburg Events
(We wish you were able to bring you images from inside the book, however, we were unable to meet HarperCollins Publishers requirements for copyright disclosures.)