As we celebrate 75 years of “The Wizard of Oz,” it only makes sense we treat it like a real anniversary.
Be it a toast over Elphaba cocktails (Midori melon and Stirrings Peach Liqueur, Stellina di Notte prosecco) at Snow & Company in the Crossroads or a watch party and quote-along at your house, there are plenty of ways to party like the Lollipop Guild.
And every anniversary deserves a gift. For years, we’ve seen figurines, music boxes, costumes and the like, but this year brings some particularly creative buys for “Oz” fanatics. Seriously, you can legally obtain fake driver’s licenses for every character. Flying Monkeys need drinks, too.
A few of my favorites:
“Oz”-themed Memory is a match game involving the characters, locations and the like. And the game of Life has been revamped to help you find your path down the Yellow Brick Road. But if you’re going to go big, go Monopoly: The Wizard of Oz 75th Anniversary Collector’s Edition. With a pop-up board, it’s the game of real estate like you’ve never seen it.
Artists Otto Struck and Mike Brutus have made over the game to look like Oz. Start in sepia and move into color, just like the movie. The dice are glittery ruby red, and the tokens represent Toto, a Scarecrow diploma, Cowardly Lion’s medal, Tin Man’s heart, Dorothy’s slippers and the Wicked Witch’s hat. The money is issued by the Bank of Emerald City, and forget houses and hotels: This game comes with farmhouses and Emerald Cities. It’s $50, sold at stores such as Best of Kansas City in Crown Center. thebestofkc.com
Books for the babies
If you want to introduce “The Wizard of Oz” to tots, you have a lot of options, but I found two that stood out. “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: A Babylit Colors Primer” is modern, simple and fun. Written by Jennifer Adams and fantastically illustrated by Alison Oliver, it tackles the story through color and characters, making it easy to engage young learners and prep them for the movie. Find it for $10 at Statements in Overland Park. statementskc.com
The “Wizard of Oz Activity Book” by David Schimmell is an old-school coloring book with puzzles, word jumbles, mazes and counting games. For just $5 at the (New) Dime Store in Brookside, you can’t beat it. newdimestore.com
Toys for all ages
Of course I found Hello Kitty dressed as Dorothy, Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion and Scarecrow. I walked into the toy store, and there they were. At $23 each, these are must-haves for the Oz fan who has it all. Because really, who saw this coming? Find them at Toy Time in Crown Center.
Also at Toy Time is a collection of “Oz”-inspired Mr. Potato Head characters. The Wicked Witch is so hot she’s sold out. For $25 each, you can have your pick of Dorothy, Tin Man, Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion. Imagine buying a few and switching around the arms and legs. After all these years, Mr. Potato Head is still bringing the laughs. facebook.com/ShopToyTimeKC
Perfect for any “Oz”-themed nursery, Hallmark delivers a line of “Wizard of Oz” Itty Bittys. These tiny stuffed animals are perfectly baby-sized and so cute it hurts. Find them for $7 each at HMK on the Plaza. hmk1910.com
And there’s no dog like Toto. The cairn terrier may have lost the bid to be the official Kansas state dog, but that doesn’t mean we all can’t have a little Toto in our homes. Find Dorothy’s faithful sidekick at Best of Kansas City for $14.
In the kitchen
The Wicked Witch of the West is a hot seller at the gift shops in Crown Center, so I wasn’t surprised when I saw the “Don’t Make Me Drop a House on You” tumbler for $10 at Best of Kansas City among its dozens and dozens of “Oz” memorabilia. And that includes food, too.
You can get the locally made Land of Oz Friends in the Corn Fields Corn Chowder Soup Mix ($7), or maybe you’d prefer the Tin Man Funnel Cake Mix ($5.50). Now tell me that isn’t the perfect hostess gift to get your Emerald City party started right.
Help us go over the rainbow
Calling all (real) Dorothys and Toto dogs … and anyone else who’s a big fan of the 1939 movie.
The Star is celebrating this month’s 75th anniversary of “The Wizard of Oz” movie with a story every day. We’re calling the series “The Wizard of August.”
Here’s how you can participate:
A group picture: We invite readers and their friends and families to don get-ups of their favorite “Oz” character (or object) and come to the Kansas Speedway at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 16. The Star will take a group photo and aim for the record books. There will be raffles for prizes and, of course, lollipops. Let us know you’re coming by registering at http://wizardofozrecordbreaking.eventbrite.com.
“Oz” memories: Share a personal anecdote about the movie. As a kid did you flee the living room when the flying monkeys attacked? 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 email@example.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. Tell us how you came to be a Dorothy and about life with that name. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and include your name, age, city and phone number. Put “Dorothy” in the subject line. Deadline: 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.
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 Wednesday, we might select it for the print edition as well.
Coming Friday in FYI: Was the tornado really that bad?