22 June 2013

Phearse Competition

Last night, the first night of this year’s Winkie/International Wizard of Oz Club Convention, director David Maxine recruited me into being one of the players of the “It’s the Baum!” game show. My team, named the Horners, included Miriam Goldman, Robin Olderman, and Jim Vander Noot. Our opponents were the Hoppers—named in honor of the feuding nations in The Patchwork Girl of Oz, published 100 years ago.

The game required pairs from each team to identify people associated with Oz in some way: characters, creators, adapters, performers, etc. One player saw the person’s name on a screen and gave clues to the other, facing away from the screen. This required both players to recognize the people—or to arrive at the correct answer some other way.

My young mind was wired for trivia, and I retain a lot about the Oz books: the predecessor of King Krewel (King Phearse), whose name begins with the word “high” (High Boy), what young hero of an Oz book shares a name with Batman’s partner (Robin S. Brown).

I haven’t absorbed as much about more recent adaptations, such as who played Glinda in the original Broadway production of The Wiz (Dee Dee Bridgewater). But watching this game played last year showed me the importance of being flexible in how one passed clues to one’s partner. Therefore, when faced with the unfamiliar name of the nerve specialist in Return to Oz, I went with “The professional title of a physician…Comedienne Jo Anne” (Doctor Worley).

Some of the names were even more obscure—to the point that we joked their association with Oz was being the person in history least associated with Oz. At one point my partner and I got the name “Bebopma,” which is a throwaway joke in Jack Snow’s reference book Who’s Who in Oz. Game judge Eric Shanower later told me that he got so frustrated that we didn’t just say “Pass” to such a ridiculous challenge that he sounded the alarm for an illegal clue. But that probably saved us time we put toward earning another point.

Which turned out to be crucial. Our team got off to a good start, thanks in part to my juvenile mind. We added a couple of points in the next round. By the Hoppers’ last turn, we Horners were ahead by seven points.

But then Anil Tambwekar and Glenn Ingersoll pulled off a comeback as exciting as a Ray Allen three-pointer and tied the score. And since there were no tie-breaker questions prepared, everyone won a prize. It was the Baum.


Nathan said...

If you want to get REALLY obscure, there's also High Jinx, Joe King's chief counselor.

I wonder if Bebopma was succeeded by Rockma, Discoma, and Rapma.

J. L. Bell said...

I had a discoma once, but it cleared up.

Hiphopma does sound like an Oz character to me.