12 March 2007

Selig Wizard of Oz and More

Displaying her prowess as a multimedia resource expert, Betsy Bird at Fuse #8 devoted her latest “Video Sunday” roundup to cinematic versions of The Wizard of Oz glimpsable on YouTube.

They include the 1910 Selig short feature, the earliest surviving film of L. Frank Baum’s book. When I was growing up, this was thought to be (a) a re-edit of an earlier movie, made for Baum himself as part of an extravagant multimedia lecture tour that drove him into bankruptcy; and (b) totally lost.

Now it appears that Baum assigned the right to film his book to the Selig Company as part of his bankruptcy settlement, and the company shot their own version of the story. As I recall, Oz expert Michael Patrick Hearn discovered it in a Kodak archive, or some such.

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