‘Wizard of Oz’ draft scripts head for auction block

Above, an early version of a script to the movie ‘The Wizard of Oz’ being kept in the vaults of the Smithsonian’s American History Museum. (AFP)
Updated 08 November 2018
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‘Wizard of Oz’ draft scripts head for auction block

  • The first three original draft screenplays, dated between April 5 and May 14, 1938, are being sold alongside a fourth draft
  • ‘It is the single most important manuscript in Hollywood history’

LOS ANGELES: A collection of draft scripts for “The Wizard of Oz” and other material from the archives of the 1939 film are going up for auction in December and could fetch up to $1.2 million.
Los Angeles auctioneers Profiles in History said on Thursday four handwritten draft screenplays by Noel Langley were being sold.
Langley, who died in 1980, was one of about a dozen screenwriters who worked on the big screen adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s children’s book that catapulted Judy Garland to fame and became an enduring movie classic.
Langley’s first three original drafts, dated between April 5 and May 14, 1938, are being sold alongside a fourth draft of the screenplay, written by Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf, and a fifth draft from August 1938 by Langley.
“It is the single most important manuscript in Hollywood history,” Brian Chanes, head of consignment at Profiles in History, told Reuters.
Chanes said the more than 150 pages of handwritten manuscript notes and pages were “the genesis of ‘The Wizard of Oz,’” tracing its development and changes from first draft to the final version.
Some 16 photos of special effects, including the tornado sequence that transports Garland’s Dorothy from Kansas to the magical land of Oz, will be included in the single lot.
The archive is being sold by an anonymous private collector who bought it years ago from the late Los Angeles memorabilia collector, Forrest J. Ackerman, Chanes said.
Profiles in History put an estimated sale value of $800,000 — $1.2 million on the archival material, which will be auctioned during its Hollywood memorabilia sale in Los Angeles from Dec. 11-14.
Langley, Ryerson and Woolf all received credits for the screenplay when the movie was released in 1939, but several others also made uncredited revisions and contributions.
“The studio assigned a number of script writers and each scriptwriter did not know the other was working on it. The others kind of fizzled out,” Chanes said. “Noel Langley is the one that really set the stage.”
“The Wizard of Oz” won just two Oscars — for its music — after it was released in 1939 but went on to become one of the best-known musicals in Hollywood history. In 1989, it was among the first to be preserved by the National Film Registry.


‘Age-Old Cities’ exhibition in Riyadh museum breathes new life into ancient sites 

Updated 19 April 2019
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‘Age-Old Cities’ exhibition in Riyadh museum breathes new life into ancient sites 

  • National Museum in Riyadh hosts digital show that tells the story of Mosul, Palmyra, Aleppo and Leptis Magna

JEDDAH: An exhibition that uses digital technology to revive the region’s ancient sites and civilizations that have been destroyed or are under threat due to conflict and terrorism opened at the National Museum in Riyadh on April 18.

“Age-Old Cities” tells the story of four historically significant cities that have been devastated by violence: Mosul in Iraq, Palmyra and Aleppo in Syria, and Leptis Magna in Libya. 

Using stunning giant-screen projections, virtual reality, archival documents and images, and video testimonials from inhabitants of the affected sites, the immersive exhibition transports visitors back in time and presents the cities as they were in their prime. 

It charts their journey from the origins of their ancient civilizations to their modern-day state, and presents plans for their restoration and repair. 

The exhibition has been organized by the Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. Riyadh is the first stop outside the French capital on the exhibition’s global tour. 

The exhibition follows last month’s unveiling of the Kingdom’s new cultural vision, which included the announcement of several initiatives, including a new residency scheme for international artists to practice in the Kingdom and the establishment of the Red Sea International Film Festival. 

Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud, minister of culture, said: “I am delighted to welcome the ‘Age-Old Cities’ exhibition to Riyadh. 

“It highlights the importance of heritage preservation, particularly here in the Middle East, and the vulnerability of some of our historic sites. 

“It must be the responsibility of governments to put an end to this damage and neglect, and to put heritage at the heart of action, investment, and policy.

“I will be encouraging my fellow members of government to attend this eye-opening exhibition in our National Museum, and hope to work in the future with partners, governments and experts to do what we can to secure our region’s heritage.”

The exhibition carries a significant message about the importance of preserving and protecting these precious but fragile sites — one which resonates strongly in the week when one of the world’s most-famous heritage sites, Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral, went up in flames.