103days since
Oz-Stravaganza! ’14

Special Guests for 2014 Oz-Stravaganza!


Bob & Clare Baum
BOB and CLARE BAUM have been participating in Oz Fests and conventions for some 22 years. They were Elementary School teachers who team taught for 33 years. Upon retiring Bob and Clare have not only done extensive research on Bob’s great grandfather but also developed a play “Frank and Maud” which they perform both at Oz events and many public schools. Their performance takes the viewers “behind the curtain” to shows how Frank used his imagination to come up with the ideas and characters for this magical Land and even how the very name, Oz itself, came to be. Throughout the show they share many family stories and explore the influence that Maud’s Suffragette mother, Matilda Joslyn Gage had on Oz.
    There family had parts in the TV movie “Dreamer of Oz” starring the late John Ritter and Annette O’toole. Bob was also a technical assistant and supplied most of the books used on the set. Bob has always enjoyed helping writers and researchers interested in L. Frank Baum’s Oz. He is a past Board Member of the International Wizard of Oz Club and often writes for the clubs publication, The Baum Bugle. Bob and Clare love to talk about Oz to all event goers.

Roger & Charlene Baum(Grand Marshal for 2014 Oz Parade)
Roger Stanton Baum is a best-selling children's book author and the great-grandson of L. Frank Baum, creator of the original Oz book series. He has appeared as a guest on Today on NBC as well as Showbiz Today on CNN. Roger has followed in the hallowed footsteps of his ancestor by creating fourteen books to date about the magical Land of Oz. One of his titles, “Lion of Oz and The Badge of Courage,” was made into an animated movie by Sony Wonder featuring the voices of Tim Curry, Dom DeLuise, Jason Priestly and Lynn Redgrave. Another title, “Dorothy of Oz,” was released by Summertime Entertainment and
 Clarius Entertainment renamed "Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return" as a 3D animated musical, featuring the voices of Lea Michele, Martin Short, Dan Aykroyd, Kelsey Grammer, Jim Belushi, Megan Hilty, Hugh Dancy, Oliver Platt, Patrick Stewart and Bernadette Peters. 
    Roger continues to speak at schools to encourage children, of all ages, the young at heart, to use their imagination and think outside the box. Roger and his wife along with their three Cairn Terriers reside in Las Vegas, Nevada.

John Fricke
John Fricke is the world’s preeminent Wizard of Oz and Judy Garland historian and author; 
a two-time Emmy Award-winning producer/writer and Grammy Award nominee; and annual host/emcee of twenty-two of the last twenty-five Chittenango OZ-Stravaganza! events. His new book, The Wonderful World of Oz, is the latest of seven and traces the history of the Baum-founded phenomenon from 1900 to 2013 in text and over 300 color illustrations. In April, he appeared as a special guest presenter at the Turner Classic Movies film festival in Hollywood; he cohosted (with Robert Osborne) Judy Garland’s 90th birthday celebration on that network in 2012, and often appears in their “Word of Mouth” preview segments. Fricke serves as a Warner Bros. spokesman for the current 75th anniversary of Judy’s Wizard of Oz motion picture and emceed its 3D IMAX re-premiere at the Chinese Theatre last September. He is featured in the new “making of” Oz documentary on the current Warner Home Video DVD remastering of the film and delivers the commentary track accompanying the movie itself. He offers similar tracks on the DVDs of Meet Me in St. Louis, Easter Parade, For Me and My Gal, The Pirate, Babes in Arms, and Girl Crazy. John has spoken about Oz and Garland everywhere from “The Today Show” (four appearances), to CNN, National Public Radio, the Museum of Modern Art, The Film Society of Lincoln Center, and The Paley Center -- all in New York, as well as at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles and the Deauville Film Festival in France.

Ryan Jay
Ryan Jay is a popular TV and radio film critic, appearing weekly on NBC-TV in Milwaukee, WI and nationally syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks on FM stations across America. He is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association which annually awards excellence in film at the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards. 
    Most passionate about movies and pop culture, Ryan has cultivated a career celebrating entertainment and sharing his unique perspective with audiences. Often on the red carpet at movie premieres and events, he has interviewed many of Hollywood’s A-list celebrities; most notably, working with the cast and filmmakers of Disney’s Oz the Great and Powerful and filmmakers of Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return during their respective press weeks for their world premieres; marking professional and personal highlights for him, a self-proclaimed “diehard, lifelong Oz fan” and collector. 
    Ryan can be found every other week in the pages of Us Weekly magazine as Fashion Police. Prior to his career as an entertainment journalist, he worked as a television producer of major pop culture programming for networks such as Bravo, Showtime, MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, TLC, and even The Jerry Springer Show. 
    For more info, including his movie reviews, visit his website, www.RyanJayReviews.com.

Myrna Swensen, “Munchkin by Marriage”

As a teenager, Myrna Clifton was scheduled to appear in MGM’s Wizard of Oz, as were her parents. The girl’s emergency appendectomy sidelined the family trip to Culver City, California; by the time they were ready to travel, the film was too far into production for them to be cast. Several years later, however (and still in her native Texas), Myrna caught the appreciative eye–and heart–of movie “Munchkin soldier,” Clarence Swensen. Their subsequent love affair resulted in a 63-year marriage, three daughters, grandchildren, and greatgrandchildren. Since Clarence’s passing in 2009, Myrna has continued to appear at nationwide Oz festivals, where the Swensens were much-admired, much-loved regulars for two decades.

Jonathan Shirshekan 
He is one of the foremost Wizard of Oz and Judy Garland collectors, researchers and preservationists. His fascination with Judy Garland began after watching The Wizard of Oz as a young child. This fascination developed into a passion for collecting and conserving historical pieces that document Garland’s extensive career. In 2009, Jonathan co-authored, with John Fricke, The Wizard of Oz: An Illustrated Companion to the Timeless Movie Classic. He has subsequently contributed materials and research to numerous projects on the topic of Oz and Judy Garland. Jonathan returns for his fifth year at the festival with his display of original film costumes worn by Judy Garland and her costars. Titled, “Among My Souvenirs,” the exhibit celebrates—through textile—Judy’s iconic cinematic achievements. Outside of Oz and Garland, Jonathan is a 2009 graduate of Webster University and is currently in his final year of medical school at the University of Missouri.

Aaron HarburgFrom a very young age, Aaron has had a fascination with music and cine
ma. He eventually discovered he was the first in generations of his family to pr
ofessionally pursue media arts -- the first since his great-grandfather, E. Y. "Yip" Harburg, who wrote the lyrics for multiple Broadway musicals and Hollywood movies, including the songs in MGM's 1939 classic, The Wizard of Oz. In late 2012, Aaron began working for the family estate, primarily to revitalize Yip's extensive catalog and to produce a documentary about the songs of Oz. He additionally has extensive experience in video production, music, and visual design, and while much of his work is intended for the technological industry, he occasionally develops side projects, just for the fun of it. His most recent production, Of Love and Zombies, won the Los Angeles Indie Film Festival Award for "Best Comedic Short" and features an homage to one of his great-grandfather's beloved songs from The Wizard of Oz.