Monday, October 31, 2011

Writing a Better Oz Book

Last week I shared some memories of visiting with Eloise Jarvis McGraw back in 1984. In that blog I mentioned that she donated a first edition copy of John R. Neill's The Scalawagons of Oz to the Winkie Convention auction.

I already had a first edition, but I knew the story behind Eloise's copy and much wanted to win it for myself. The bidding was spirited, but in the end I seized the day and seized Eloise's copy of Scalawagons. After the auction I asked Eloise to write down the tale of how this copy of an often-reviled Oz book played an important role in Oz history. Please note the name Gayla scribbled in pencil above the title on the front cover. Here's the tale as Eloise wrote it down:

"Gayla McCreight is the daughter of my first cousin - This book, which was originally hers, came into the possession of my daughter (and co-author) Lauren Lynn McGraw, who was reading it one day in 1962, looked up at me and said, 'We could write a better Oz book!' Whether we did or not is not for me to say, but we tried - in Merry Go Round in Oz.  - Eloise Jarvis McGraw"

So this copy of Scalawagons prompted Eloise and her daughter to write Merry Go Round in Oz.

Interestingly, Rachel Cosgrove, author of Hidden Valley of Oz, also credited her irritation with Scalawagons as motivation for writing her Oz book! I tried to acquire Rachel's copy of Scalawagons, but was never able to. I thought the two copies would make a neat set.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sis Sez Sunday - 62

So true, Sis - so true!

This installment of Marge and Ruth Plumly Thompson's SIS SEZ page first appeared in King Comics, No. 54, in October 1940. If you love Marge's Little Lulu you're sure to get a kick out of Sis!

Please note that if you click on the image it will expand to a full-size version which will make it much easier to read! All of the other blog images will similarly enlarge.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Annotated Utz and the Mo the Merrier!

The Annotated WIZARD in Hebrew
This weekend Eric Shanower and I are at the World Fantasy Convention which is being held in San Diego this year. One of the nice little extras at the convention has been the chance to reconnect with Oz friend Gili Bar-Hillel from Israel.  Back in the early 1990s I illustrated Gili's first published Oz story for Oziana. A bit later Eric Shanower illustrated her second story.

We finally got the chance to meet Gili face-to-face at the Winkie Convention in 1995 and she still holds the record for traveling the farthest to get to the Winkie Convention by traveling from Tel Aviv to California. I saw Gili again at the Centennial Oz Convention in Bloomington, Indiana, in 2000 where she gave me a book, a Hebrew edition of the first Harry Potter title. Gili had become the official Harry Potter translator in Israel! I was very impressed and have proudly shown the book to Potter fans who've visited.

So, as I mentioned, we got to visit with Gili this weekend, and to continue the tradition she brought me two books: a copy of the Hebrew edition of  The Annotated Wizard of Oz (which she has translated!) and a Hebrew translation of L. Frank Baum's Magical Monarch of Mo. I am most pleased with my presents.

Magical Monarch of Mo in Hebrew

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Toto Tomb

A couple weekends ago Eric Shanower and I were in Los Angeles to see the latest preview of Debbie Reynolds's Hollywood costume auction. Two friends joined us, and after breakfast and a proper perusal of Debbie's old clothes, we set out on an Ozzy adventure to go find the grave of Toto from the MGM Wizard of Oz film.

Me and Toto's Tomb
It seems that Toto's original grave was paved over when they built the Ventura Freeway in 1958. Since then there has been no way to visit or pay tribute to Dorothy's little dog. But a few months ago someone rectified the situation. JP Myers created a Facebook page and publicity drive to get Toto a proper memorial, and on June 18, 2011, it was unveiled at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Alas, Toto's remains are still under the Ventura Freeway, but there is a nice bronze version to commemorate the canine hero. It was a bit of a chore to find the little dickens. We walked around for a long while looking for him, but had no luck.  After we found no help at the cemetery office or in the flower shop we finally brought up a video of the dedication ceremony on my iPhone and saw it was near a high wall. Once we knew that, we set out walking the perimeter of the cemetery and we eventually found him. He is just in front and to the right of the huge Douglas Fairbanks grave and not too far from Johnny Ramone.

The marker is very handsome and I'm sure Toto would be very pleased. This was a very spur of the minute visit and I really had no idea what this cemetery was, but many movie stars, composers, and artists are buried there. Take a look at the website link above and plan to spend some time walking around after you visit Toto. And remember Toto prefers dog biscuits over flowers!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Incredible Shrinking Oz Books

A friend and I were recently discussing the Henry Regnery/Contemporary Books releases of the L. Frank Baum Oz titles. These books were available for a short time in 1978-79. They look much like undersized versions of the better-known Rand McNally paperbacks from the 1970s.

Regnery had owned the rights to the Oz books for over twenty years and had tried very hard to reinvigorate the series by issuing abridgments, a new Oz book, major publicity, and finally repackaging the fourteen Baum titles into the "white editions" we all know from the 1960s and '70s.

Around 1971 Regnery struck an agreement with Rand McNally to issue paperback versions of the "white editions." They were the same size as the hardcovers, but much less expensive, retailing originally for only $1.50.

By 1978 Regnery's attitude toward the Oz books was somewhat ambivalent. But not wanting to sever their long association with L. Frank Baum, they decided to cut costs and reissue the Oz books as undersized paperbacks and put the cloth-bound "white editions" out of print. The paperback rights were withdrawn from Rand McNally. Fred Meyer announced that the Rand McNally paperbacks were officially out-of-print at the 1978 Winkie Convention.

Cloth bound "white edition" at left - mini paperback at right.

These new Regnery paperbacks were quite small, measuring only 5" by 7 1/2", and retailed for $3.95, double the then $1.95 Rand McNally had charged for the full-size paperbacks. Regnery created new cover art for the new paperbacks - simplified versions of Dick Martin's "white edition" covers. Some shading lines are removed from the images and the faces are rendered a bit simpler and more "modern" looking. The title and credits were replaced too with more modern looking type.

Back Cover
The new mini-Oz books dropped the back cover illustrations used on the backs of the "white editions" and replaced them with the front cover artwork sans type. The interiors of the books are just a down-sized version of the hardcovers with the end papers eliminated. The mini-edition of The Wizard of Oz has the illustrations printed in colors just like the "white edition."

I bought these little books when they came out. I recall two releases a few months apart. But I was surprised when I noticed the publisher info had changed. Some were published by Regnery. These say Regnery on the spine, "Henry Regnery / Chicago" on the title page, and list Regnery's address (180 North Michigan Avenue) on the copyright page. Other have CBI on the spine and list the publisher as Contemporary Books, Inc. on the title page and copyright page at the same 180 North Michigan Avenue address. Exactly what's going on is unclear. It is my memory that the Regnery imprint came first, followed by the CBI imprint. I bought one each of the books I found. My understanding is that CBI owned Regnery which owned Reilly and Lee.

Just as all this is happening in 1978-'79 Judy Lynn and Lester Del Rey (of Del Rey books) have a notion they would like to try issuing the Oz books as mass-market paperbacks. Regnery/CBI agrees and the mini-Oz books are quickly put out of print, thus ending the last connection between L. Frank Baum's Oz books with their original publisher.

I began this blog by saying a friend and I were discussing these little books. The debate point was how many of the mini-Oz books were issued. I was actively trying to obtain them as they were issued and went so far as to try and keep track by getting on the CBI catalog list. I never found evidence of more than seven of Baum's fourteen being issued - the seven you see in the photo above. Over the years I have kept my eyes out for others, scanned shelves of friends' books, and I have yet to find any evidence the others were ever published in this format.

I did however notice that some of my friend's copies (he doesn't have all seven) have differing publisher imprints than mine: he has CBI versions of Ozma and Rinkitink, showing that those two titles at least got more than one printing. My friend immediately pointed out that the 1988 revision of Bibliographia Oziana says all fourteen were issued. I found it hard to believe that in decades of being on the lookout I had never once seen one of the missing seven titles. And in my opinion it doesn't even seem like there was enough time for the series to have been completed before Del Rey took over. I have asked Peter Hanff and Douglas Greene, who together did the revisions for the 1988 edition of Bibliographia Oziana, about their claim that all fourteen were issued. Neither had much interest in these late printings and the claim that all fourteen were issued seems to have been unverified.

So here's my little query: Does anyone out there have Regnery or CBI paperbacks of Land, Dorothy and the Wizard, Emerald City, Patchwork Girl, Tik-Tok, Tin Woodman, or Glinda? If you do, please comment and let me know what you have. I'd also be happy to hear if you have any different combination of publisher imprint. You can see which titles I have as CBI and which I have as Regnery by looking at the first photo above.

I'm most curious!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sis Sez Sunday - 61

When Sis goes out on the town the men are in black and white but she's blue all over!

This installment of Marge and Ruth Plumly Thompson's SIS SEZ page first appeared in King Comics, No. 53, in September 1940. If you love Marge's Little Lulu you're sure to get a kick out of Sis!

Please note that if you click on the image it will expand to a full-size version which will make it much easier to read! All of the other blog images will similarly enlarge.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Picnic with the Royal Historian

Eloise McGraw and David Maxine - Mount Hood.
I recently ran across a little stash of photos that has prompted me to continue the blog-story I began last December about my friendship with Eloise Jarvis McGraw (author of Merry Go Round in Oz, The Forbidden Fountain of Oz, and The Rundelstone of Oz.) You can read part one by clicking here.

I returned home from the 1983 Winkie Con, determined to change my life. I had always loved the theatre and while I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, I started taking acting classes at the Guthrie Theatre's outreach program. Within a few months I was working there, first as a stage management intern, then as Production Assistant and stagehand. By the next summer I felt I had my life by the tail and could hardly wait for the 1984 Winkie Con. Eloise had invited me to fly to Portland, Oregon, and stay with her and her husband Bill for several days before the convention, and then the three of us would drive down the west coast to Winkies, which was being held for the first time at Asilomar.

Eloise and Bill (who also wrote children’s books under the name of William Corbin) picked me up at the airport and drove me to their home in Lake Oswego. After being shown the guestroom I was to occupy, Eloise gave me a tour of the house, which she and her husband had designed. It was a multi-level home, lots of wood and glass, very inviting.

Bill McGraw (William Corbin) on the deck of his Lake Oswego home.

She shared a writing room/library with her husband. One wall was lined with books: books they had written, reference works, and other children’s books. Near the big window at the end of the room were two facing desks (or was it a partner’s desk?). In any case, it was clear they worked easily in close proximity. One thing Eloise showed me was her computer, one of the first home computers I’d seen close up. Eloise had switched from her Selectric typewriter to the word processor a year or so before. She loved it! I was quite impressed that a woman of almost seventy had made the shift to this new technology so easily and happily.

Eloise critiquing a manuscript for a course she was teaching.

That night Eloise cooked dinner - she showed me all of the neat little bits of architecture she had worked into her kitchen. Eloise was not very tall, and I recall that she had designed the kick-boards under the kitchen counter-tops to pull out as a sort of "stepping-stool" so she could knead bread and do food prep more comfortably - she was a gourmet cook. Alas, I don’t recall what we ate that night, but she had baked a loaf of French bread and she took me down into the wine cellar to help her pick a bottle of wine. The McGraw wine cellar was built into a natural cleft in the rock that the house sat upon, cooled by the earth, a true wine cave. I joked that it looked like her own private entrance to the Nome Kingdom, which she thought very funny.

Eloise working on a multi-block Oz print.
Eloise was an artist and print-maker. The lowest floor of the house was her art studio. She was preparing what would be her only Oz print as a donation to the Winkie Convention auction. She had a little work left to do on it and she showed me how all the various print blocks worked, the different colors, etc. She had a big stack of proofs and samples and little sketches for the Ozzy print. She was planning to throw out these preliminary materials - I volunteered to take them home with me and still have them

The print was a design for a coat-of-arms for Bzz-antium, a kingdom of bees featured in an Oz manuscript Eloise was writing at the time. That manuscript was never published.

I especially enjoyed breakfast at the McGraws. There was a sort of breakfast nook, very sunny, and we just had coffee, juice, and a couple slices of Eloise’s homemade bread, which we toasted. Eloise had me try some very nice marmalade she had brought home from England. It was the first time I’d ever liked marmalade.

Self-portrait by Lauren Lynn McGraw in the breakfast nook.

Hanging on the wall in the breakfast nook was a very large watercolor self-portrait of Eloise’s daughter, Lynn McGraw, co-author of Merry Go Round in Oz and The Forbidden Fountain of Oz.

At one point I asked Eloise if she still had her childhood Oz books. She took me upstairs to look at them. They mostly dated from the 1920s when she had received them as a child. A few more were acquired for her own kids, Lynn and Peter. As we looked through them she decided she ought to give one to the Winkie Auction - I think she asked my advice. She settled on parting with a first edition of Scalawagons of Oz, a book that had crept into the collection via a cousin when Lynn had been a child. That copy of Scalawagons played an important part in Oz book history, but I’ll save that story for another blog. (Click here to read)

My last full day in Lake Oswego was the Fourth of July. Eloise proposed we drive up Mount Hood and have a picnic. She packed a grand lunch and we spent the day on the mountain. That evening, after we got back to Portland, we all went over to Lynn McGraw’s house. I think Eloise and Bill dropped me off and I visited with Lynn for the evening. She showed me her paintings (she is an artist) and I bought two watercolor studies. Then Lynn and Willie (her partner at the time) and I had a light picnic dinner and watched the fireworks.

Lynn drove me back to Lake Oswego. When I went in I found Eloise had already put on her pink flannel nightgown. I was struck by the informality of it, how comfortable Eloise had become having me around. We stayed up and talked for a bit and listened to James Galway playing in a Fourth of July concert. The next morning we began our drive down to the Winkie Convention.

For the most part I’ve been relating all the stories and anecdotes that relate to Eloise. What isn’t included here is the interest she took in what I was doing with my life: the acting classes, my job at the theatre, my story writing. My visit with the Royal Historian turned into more of a visit with a new grandmother.

Eloise McGraw and David Maxine - Picnic on Mount Hood.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sis Sez Sunday - 60

Sis has kind of had it with house guests, and this one has been hanging around since 1940!

This installment of Marge and Ruth Plumly Thompson's SIS SEZ page first appeared in King Comics, No. 53, in September 1940. If you love Marge's Little Lulu you're sure to get a kick out of Sis!

Please note that if you click on the image it will expand to a full-size version which will make it much easier to read! All of the other blog images will similarly enlarge.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Age of Bronze "Seen"

Page One of Age of Bronze "Seen"
The world has made many technological advances since the Bronze Age. Now the ancient story of the Trojan War is being published in the latest technological format - an an app for iPad. The first issue of Age of Bronze "Seen," Eric Shanower's award-winning retelling of the complete story of the Trojan War in comics, goes on sale today for only 99 cents in the iTunes store.

The enhanced digital app includes such new features as a Reader's Guide by Thomas Beasley, Yale Classics scholar, that details the literary sources and archaeological references for each page of the story; a forum for discussion where readers can post their reactions and questions; maps; a list of characters; and for the first time Age of Bronze will be seen in full color by John Dallaire who worked closely with Shanower on the coloring. Further issues will be released on a monthly schedule.

And before anyone asks, yes, the comic book serialization and the graphic novel series of Age of Bronze will continue.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sad Little Oz Boy

My parents divorced in the summer of 1977, and within a few weeks of that, our house burned down. The family badly needed an escape. So my mom and sister and I went to the Winkie Convention in Yosemite, California. It was a life-changing experience.

I returned home full of courage and very Ozzed up. My childhood love of Oz shifted into high-gear. I began to eat, sleep, and breathe Oz - whether it was pleading for an advance on my allowance to buy a another first edition or requesting an Oz map on my birthday cake. And it wasn't enough to buy every Oz book in sight and turn my bedroom into the Royal Oz Museum of Greater Albuquerque, I wanted the entire family to be Ozzy. I suggested to Mom we needed a custom license plate for our car. For some reason mom agreed.

As you can see, I picked my favorite character's name. But also because I knew the custom plates in New Mexico were blue and of course were rectangle-shaped. The day it arrived I rushed out to the car to bolt it on. It got a lot of attention! People would honk and wave, they'd also give our car a wide berth. It took several weeks for us to realize that "Woozy" had a very different meaning to the average schmo on the streets of Albuquerque than it did to me (and my Ozzy family). But the car remained Woozy until we sold it several years later.

In 1978 we returned to the Winkie Convention with our Woozy mobile. And to make it even Ozzier, I made an Oz flag to go on the radio antenna. It came out exactly as I'd wanted except that I didn't know how to embroider an "Oz" in the center - so I left it off. When it was finished I carefully folded it and put it in the glove compartment so we wouldn't forget it. After we entered Yosemite and were about five miles from the Wawona Hotel where the Winkies met back then I had mom pull the car over. I got out, attached the flag to the antenna, and we sailed on in to the Wawona, Oz colors flying.

Mom is gone now; but I still have the license plate and Oz flag. I don't like to admit it, but it seems pretty obvious to me now that I used Oz to replace the family that was dissolving before my eyes. It quite probably saved my life.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bradford Exchange - No EUREKA! in Facsimile Land

If this was just an attempt at a lovely edition of Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, this review might be a rave. I keep trying to be positive about the Bradford Exchange "facsimile" series, but after four books, the fact that they still can't get one right has greatly disheartened me. I will begin by saying that this is almost certainly the most handsome edition of Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz currently in print. It's the first of the Bradford books that is at least on par with the Books of Wonder edition and Bradford's lovely cloth and paper-label cover gives Bradford the win.

But when Bradford has stuck its chin out so far with claims that "no detail has been overlooked in recreating the precise specification of the original editions, from the quality of the paper, to the printing of the art plates" and their even more over-the-top "This masterpiece collection is 100% authentic to the ground-breaking first editions of the Wizard of Oz book series in every exacting detail," well, it's hard for me to give a passing grade to the at-best adequate reproduction and sometimes very poor design choices.

As usual with these reissues, the cover is quite lovely and authentic in feel. The color of the cloth, the spine printing, and the gold in the label are very similar to the original 1908 first edition, but the reproduction of the figures is a bit grainy. Another minor quibble, the 1908 first edition is bound in horizontally ribbed cloth and the BE cloth is not ribbed. I realize I'm being picky here - but I'm not the one that claimed the books were "100% authentic to the ground-breaking first editions."

The other problems are a lot more serious than a lack of ribbed cloth. The paper choice is not good. Bradford seems to like choosing bright white paper for these books when the originals just weren't ever printed on such stuff. The paper in Dorothy and the Wizard also suffers from pretty severe show-thru - something the original editions of the Oz books have certainly never had.

The reproduction of the color plates is generally adequate, but they could have been much better. The comparison below shows one of Bradford's more successful color plates, yet it is still far from ideal. Make sure to click on the images below to see the comparison in detail.

Click to Enlarge!

You'll notice the decided graininess in the Bradford plate at left. The colors seem dirtier, less pure. The figures in the doorway seem more gray than blue as seen in the original at right. Perhaps you've noticed that the Bradford image is bigger, too. Well, for some reason Bradford has enlarged all the text pages and color plates. For my money, that just shot any claims of "100% authentic" out of the waters of the Nonestic. What possible reason can Bradford have for enlarging the text and illustrations? Did someone use a wonky scanner?

Click to Enlarge!

Compare the two versions of the text illustration above. Again you can see how much the illustrations have been enlarged. But look how much detail Bradford is losing! The fine shadows in the Wizard's face, the subtlety in Dorothy's eyes, the fine lines in the Wizard's silken hat all dissolve into blobs and murk. I do want to point out that Bradford's reproduction of the line art is much better than the 1960s Reilly and Lee "white editions," yet why is Bradford's so sub par to my quickie 600dpi scan of the first edition for the blog? If you can scan something; you can print something. Plain and simple.

Click to Enlarge!

On first glance the end papers look pretty good, but then one compares them to the original and one starts seeing the deficiencies in reproduction. Why can't Bradford reproduce fine lines? Look at Eureka's whiskers, the finer lines in Dorothy, the delicate speckling of the trees in front of the palace. I can tell you Bradford made it hard on themselves by reproducing these endpapers in a rather idiotic way - they are printed in full color, not in just black and yellow as they should have been.

Click to Enlarge!

A close-up comparison of one of the towers shows how crude the Bradford reproduction truly is. The line art has swollen into a caricature of the original. How did John R. Neill's evenly speckled dots in the tower roof at right turn into the scruffy mess seen in the tower roof at left? It's just a crappy, crappy scan. The blobbiness and softness are no doubt worsened by printing the image in full CMYK color. If you enlarge the image above and look closely at the tower at left, you will see the bits of cyan (blue) and magenta lurking around. This image should be printed in black and yellow only. There would have been nothing wrong in Bradford's scanning the original endpapers in full color, but it's utterly ridiculous to have not split the channels and deleted the magenta and blue from the printing plates. It would have made a crisp clear image, printed in black and yellow just like the first edition. But why bother? What is this, a facsimile?

Bradford claims that their Oz book reprints are faithful reproductions of the first printings, but that's clearly not true. Some aspects of these books make it seem like they're trying to do a good job. The slapdash results of other aspects make it seem as if no one at Bradford cares. Their edition of Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz is an attractive book - much prettier and satisfying than their Ozma of Oz (my review of that book here) - but as a fulfillment of their promises of authenticity, Dorothy and the Wizard falls between the cracks.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sis Sez Sunday - 59

Poor Sis is gonna need a vacation after her vacation!

This installment of Marge and Ruth Plumly Thompson's SIS SEZ page first appeared in King Comics, No. 51, in July 1940. If you love Marge's Little Lulu you're sure to get a kick out of Sis!

Please note that if you click on the image it will expand to a full-size version which will make it much easier to read! All of the other blog images will similarly enlarge.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Winkie Convention 2012

The 48th Annual Winkie Convention
Celebrating the World of Oz and L. Frank Baum
Chaired by David Maxine & Judy Bieber

Hungry Tiger Talk is happy to announce that registration is now open for the 2012 Winkie Convention to be held July 27-29, 2012, in Pacific Grove, California. We are proud to be the longest-running Wizard of Oz Convention in the world! You may download registration materials by clicking here.

Hold tight to your Magic Umbrella! Fly next July to the lovely Pacific coast of California where the annual Winkie Convention celebrates Oz and its creator, L. Frank Baum, at the Asilomar Conference Grounds, nestled among the redwoods and pines. 

The theme for 2012 is Sky Island, the book L. Frank Baum thought his personal best. This borderland of Oz book, starring Trot, Cap’n Bill, Button Bright, and Polychrome the Rainbow’s daughter, is the favorite of many Oz fans, too. The tribes of Sky Island, the Blues and the Pinks, will lend their colors to the rainbow of events awaiting you.

We’ll also celebrate Oz-author Ruth Plumly Thompson’s 121st birthday—July 27—and the royal Pumperdink purple of her beloved books: Kabumpo in Oz, which turns ninety, and The Purple Prince of Oz, which turns eighty. It’s sure to be the most colorful Winkie Con ever!

Double Dorothy!

We’re delighted to announce we have two real-life “Dorothys” joining us this year as our special guests.  

Susan Morse was twelve years old when she provided the singing voice for Dorothy in the 1964 Rankin-Bass animated feature Return to Oz where she sang "Moon Beams" and "Oz Just Can't Continue Without Me."  Susan’s fascinating acting and singing career includes the role of Brigitta in the first National Tour of The Sound of Music and appearing in the original Roxy cast of The Rocky Horror Show.

And the Winkie Con is being honored with a visit from the wonderful Caren Marsh-Doll who was Judy Garland’s stand-in during the filming of the MGM classic The Wizard of Oz. Come hear Caren’s memories of being on set, hanging out with Judy at the commissary, and going through MGM’s wig, make-up, and wardrobe departments. Her other credits include appearing as an extra in Gone with the Wind and dancing and acting in a plethora of films such as Rosalie, Best Foot Forward, and The Adventures of Don Juan with Errol Flynn.

Other convention features include a presentation by Oz-cartoonist Eric Shanower, a talk on Ruth Plumly Thompson's Land of Oz by Jared Davis, and much more to be announced in the coming weeks.

Of course we will have our traditional Winkie Costume Contest, Treasure Hunt, and Winkie Quizzes—not to mention the fabulous Winkie Auction of rare Oz and Baum material. All attendees receive the Winkie Con Program Book, over 130 pages of Oz essays, artwork, interviews, and everything you need to help you have a great Winkie Con. We’re sure to have a few surprises, too!

A Few Words About Our Convention Site
We meet each year at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in beautiful Pacific Grove, California. It is located a few minutes from Monterey, about five hours north of Los Angeles, and two-and-a-half hours south of San Francisco. The Asilomar grounds are heavily wooded, beautiful and atmospheric, situated directly on the Pacific coast. Please note that our base convention rates are per person in a shared room with two beds. We do have a few single rooms available. The rates cover all programming costs, your lodging at Asilomar, and dinner Friday, three meals on Saturday, breakfast and lunch on Sunday, and all taxes and gratuities. All this is included in one price! The food is better than ever, the rooms are great, and many have fireplaces.

Please Register Early!
Registration is open until May 20, 2012, after which registrations will be handled on a space-available basis. But we would greatly appreciate receiving your registration and payment to guarantee your room by December 1, 2011. Over the course of the year the Winkie Con must make several substantial downpayments to Asilomar for the convention. If everyone waits till the last minute to register this can be a problem, so please register as early as possible. As the registration deadline approaches, the Winkie Con tends to run out of rooms on the Asilomar grounds. We always do our best to accommodate late registrants, but early registration will guarantee your Winkie Con accommodations and help us with our cash flow. Click here for PDF Registration Forms

The Winkie Convention has a Facebook page. If you’re on Facebook, come check us out at We also issue a monthly Winkie Con e-mail newsletter which contains updates and much other helpful and interesting information to enrich your Winkie Con experience:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Scarecrow Goes to College!

In doing much research on the 1903 Wizard of Oz musical for my 2 CD set of Vintage Recordings from the show and my current book project, I have become a fan of Fred Stone who created the role of the Scarecrow. While I have only read of his amazing, amusing, and acrobatic antics on stage, I have seen quite a few of his films from later in his life, and I've got quite a little scrapbook of photos, clippings and odd bits relating to Fred Stone.

One thing I did not have until today was one of his Scarecrow sketches. Occasionally when he signed his autograph he would doodle a Scarecrow. I've seen a dozen or so of these over the years, but either lost out in the bidding, or thought the asking price was too high, but I knew I'd eventually find one.

I'm quite happy with this one. It is large, measuring about 6" x 9" and drawn in pencil which I think adds some subtlety to Stone's drawing. This particular sketch is on the back of a guide book for Knowles Memorial Chapel at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida dated 1937.

I have not yet deciphered the second autograph. Any guesses?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sis Sez Sunday - 58

Well, Sis is out in the wilderness on a camping trip and I'm here typing out blog post 300. Time sure does fly! Thanks to all of you who read the blog and get some enjoyment from our tiger-striped antics. Now on to this week's Sis Sez. This is actually one of my favorites.

This installment of Marge and Ruth Plumly Thompson's SIS SEZ page first appeared in King Comics, No. 51, in July 1940. If you love Marge's Little Lulu you're sure to get a kick out of Sis!

Please note that if you click on the image it will expand to a full-size version which will make it much easier to read! All of the other blog images will similarly enlarge.