In the mid-1970’s, I came home from school and my Mom showed me an article about “The International Wizard of Oz Club.” My membership in clubs was limited. I was in Boy Scouts but I wouldn’t consider that a club. I was on the Speech Team but again, not really a club. So I dove in. I sent off a check with a letter stating my interest and the next thing I knew, I received a cardboard membership card, an issue of a magazine called, “The Baum Bugle” and a newsletter. I also received an club member directory and the only person I really connected with was a guy named Rob MacVeigh.
In a few years, pre-occupied with College, I stopped renewing my membership and that was that. More recently, I was curious as to whether the club still existed and of course it did. It was thriving and now online, I was re-introduced to the club and on Facebook found several Oz groups.
My interest in collecting (especially the original books) was ignited and for the first time in my life, I was off to attend the National Oz Convention an hour away from my house. Jason encouraged me to go full throttle and book a hotel room and make a mini vacation of it and that is exactly what I did.
The club celebrates not just the movie but all of the Oz books and all of the various stage, film and televised versions of Oz. I was in heaven as there were discussions on my hero, W.W. Denslow, the original Oz illustrator from the original book that was published in 1899. There were Oz collectibles and books to buy, an auction, viewings of various animated versions of Oz and there was even a Dorothy fashion show that featured all the various Dorothy’s through the years.
The Convention began with a kick off party at the home of Walter Krueger who’s collection fills three plus rooms in his house.
For an Oz fan like me and everyone else at the party for that matter, got an exclusive tour. John Fricke was there and he introduced a re-creation of the 1950 Lux Radio Broadcast of “The Wizard of Oz.” What a joy to look around the room and see everyone beaming, laughing and singing along.
I have met a wonderful new group of friends and I look forward to future Oz conventions and events.
And to the “young at heart,” I dedicate this weekend