I'm looking forward to OzCon a lot this year because of two things--an article I wrote for the OzCon 2019 Program Book and a presentation I'll be making on Friday evening at the convention. Themes of this year's OzCon include: the 13th Oz book by L. Frank Baum, The Magic of Oz, which was published 100 years ago; the life and legacy of L. Frank Baum, who died 100 years ago; and the 80th anniversary of the MGM motion picture version of The Wizard of Oz.
I've always been more of an Oz book enthusiast than an Oz movie enthusiast. So I'm amused that both my contributions to OzCon this year are tied to OzCon's celebration of the 1939 movie starring Judy Garland.
|Hank the Mule, drawing by John R. Neill|
My presentation for OzCon 2019 will be "Hank's Hidden History: The Life and Legacy of Fred Woodward." The name Fred Woodward should at least ring a bell for anyone familiar with stage and screen Oz history. Most famously in Oz circles Fred played Hank the Mule in The Tik-Tok Man of Oz, L. Frank Baum's 1913-14 stage musical. But he did so much more--more, I think, than anyone else now alive but me is aware of--including having a role in Mamzelle Champagne. (There I go, revealing another of Mamzelle Champagne's Oz connections after I said I wouldn't.) How is Hank the Mule tied to the 1939 MGM Wizard of Oz? In two ways. But I'm not going to tell those here. Really. You'll have to wait till Friday evening of OzCon 2019 to find out.
Copyright © 2019 Eric Shanower. All rights reserved.