Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Literary Toons: Journey Back to Oz (1972)

Filmation's adaptation of the sequel to The Wizard of Oz took 10 years from development to theatrical release in the UK, and another 2 before it saw the light of day in the US. Journey Back To Oz sends Dorothy Gale back to the land of the yellow brick road to visit her friend, the Scarecrow, but a new wicked witch, who happens to be the sister of the two that Dorothy killed previously, sees an opportunity for revenge.

Journey made its television debut in 1976, airing on ABC, with live-action wraparound segments added and hosted by Bill Cosby (Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids), who landed the gig because he was fronting a Sunday night variety show for the network that year. It wasn't until about a year or two later when I finally saw the movie, after it was shown on the syndicated SFM Holiday Network, a periodic series of movies that aired on Saturday afternoons.

Only one cast member from the original movie adaptation of The Wizard of Oz returned for the sequel, but this time, Margaret Hamilton was playing Dorothy's Aunt Em. Dorothy herself is voiced by Liza Minelli, whose equally famous mom, Judy Garland, played the role in Wizard more than 30 years earlier. The all-star cast also includes Ethel Merman, Milton Berle, Danny Thomas, Paul Ford, Paul Lynde (this came a year before Charlotte's Web), Mickey Rooney, & Herschel Bernardi.

Here's the trailer:

We'll do a review on the SFM Holiday Network another time.

Rating: B-.


magicdog said...

Oh how I remember this!

It's still great to hear all those great voicework after all these years! Ironic that Margaret Hamilton was selected to be Auntie Em; maybe she didn't have the voice to be a wicked witch anymore.

Also listening to Liza Minnelli was glorious! She sounded so much like her mother, both in her speaking and singing voices.

At least this toon proved that it wasn't just a dream of Dorothy's afterall! Of course that was before I had known there were several OZ books published back in the day!

hobbyfan said...

Margaret Hamilton was doing commercials for Maxwell House back in the 70's, and I think at that point in her career, she wanted to try to play more positive characters.

I didn't find out until later, too, that there was a whole series of Oz books, all of which have been adapted to comics in recent years.