The Kansas City Star celebrates ‘The Wizard of Oz’ all month long

08/01/2014 2:00 AM

08/04/2014 4:34 PM

Ha ha ha! Ho ho ho! And a couple of tra la las.

That’s how we laugh the day away in the merry old land of Oz …

If those lyrics put a smile on your lips and a skip in your step, you’ll love this: In honor of “The Wizard of Oz” movie’s 75th anniversary, we’re going all Oz all the time, all month long!

OK, so we exaggerate slightly. (We think the Wizard would approve.) But it’s true that for each of the next 31 days, you’ll find a new “Wizard of Oz”-related story here.

We’re calling the series “The Wizard of August” — and we want you to be a part of it. (Keep reading.)

Why August? Because the MGM classic starring Judy Garland and based on L. Frank Baum’s book was introduced to the moviegoing public in August 1939.

Why us? Because the rest of the country thinks Dorothy lived somewhere around here. It’s inescapable.

So why try to escape it? If you’re like us, you relish any opportunity to celebrate and obsess over “The Wizard of Oz” — and watch it one more time.

Stories to look forward to this month: A meteorological assessment of the film’s special-effects tornado. Local “Oz” collectors’ coolest treasures. Life-size Lego versions of Dorothy and Toto, right here in KC. The music of the movie. What became of the ruby slippers. Towns across Kansas that claim Dorothy. An “Oz” quiz. And much more.

We’re also turning to you for help with these stories:

A group picture: According to the Guinness World Records website, “the largest gathering of people dressed as characters from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ ” was 446, set in 2010 in England.

In June, 1,150 fans of “Oz” and Judy Garland dressed up as characters from the film to break that record at the Judy Garland Festival in Grand Rapids, Minn.

But the year isn’t over yet.

Could Kansas be the setting for another record? We think so! We invite readers and their friends and families to don their favorite “Oz” character get-ups and come to the Kansas Speedway at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 16. The Star will take a group photo for the record books.

There will be raffles for prizes and, of course, lollipops. More details to come.

“Oz” memories: Share a personal anecdote about the movie. As a kid did you flee the living room when the flying monkeys attacked? Did you dress as Dorothy at Halloween? Did your family watch it on TV every year? Email your story (no more than 150 words, please), along with your name, phone number and city, to starfyi@gmail.com. Put “Oz memory” in the subject line. Deadline for submissions: 11:59 p.m. Aug. 18.

Local Dorothys: If your name is Dorothy, we want to hear from you. The average age of people named Dorothy is reported to be 74, and here we are at the 75th anniversary of the movie. Coincidence? Tell us how you came to be a Dorothy and about life with that name. Send an email to starfyi@gmail.com and include your name, age, city and phone number. Put “Dorothy” in the subject line. Deadline: 11:59 p.m. Aug. 13.

Toto dogs: Do you own a cairn terrier or a dog named Toto? We want to see your pictures! Upload them into our photo gallery at Mingle.KansasCity.com. Make sure to tell us your name, city and contact information. If you submit your photo by Aug. 13, we might select it for the print edition as well.

We’re about to step onto the Yellow Brick Road. Come on along, and bring your little dog, too!

Come out, come out wherever you are

Some ‘Oz’ events this month

Life-size Lego versions of Dorothy and Toto debut the weekend of Aug. 2 at Legoland Discovery Center at Crown Center. Legoland’s Miniland (included in the admission price) features a “Wizard of Oz” section that includes the Kansas farmhouse, Munchkinland, Emerald City and the Wicked Witch’s castle. legolanddiscoverycenter.com/kansascity

Dorothy and Toto will be available for pictures starting at 5 p.m. Aug. 1 at Crown Center Square. The WeekEnder event continues with the band Outlaw Junkies at 6 and a screening of “The Wizard of Oz” starting at about 9. Free. crowncenter.com

Watch the movie on a 40-foot screen at 8:45 p.m. Aug. 5 at Theatre in the Park at Shawnee Mission Park. Cost: $1. theatreinthepark.org/movies

If you prefer free and indoors, head to the Central Library downtown. The “Oz” screening at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 16 is part of the Kansas City Public Library’s celebration of “Hollywood’s Greatest Year,” 1939. kclibrary.org

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