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There’s No Place Like Oz: Sepia Celebrates 75th Anniversary of “The Wizard of Oz” With New Rarities Anthology

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WizardWhen L. Frank Baum published his novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz at the turn of the century in 1900, could the author have ever possibly imagined that his characters would still be known by virtually every man, woman and child some 114 years later?  Much of that success, however, is attributable to MGM’s lavish, Oscar-winning 1939 musical film adaptation which immortalized Judy Garland as Dorothy along with Ray Bolger, Jack Haley and Bert Lahr as, respectively, The Scarecrow, The Tin Man and The Cowardly Lion.  Thanks to the success of MGM’s The Wizard of Oz – which solidified its place in American culture largely thanks to annual television airings beginning in 1956 – “There’s no place like home” and “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore” have entered the lexicon.  The film introduced the world to Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg’s “Over the Rainbow,” voted the 20th Century’s Best Song  by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts, in front of “White Christmas,” “This Land is Your Land,” “Respect” and “American Pie.”  It also set the stage (pun intended) for further adaptations based on the original source material such as the Broadway blockbuster Wicked, itself based on Gregory Maguire’s Oz spin-off novel of the same name.  Now, U.K. label Sepia Recordings is celebrating the film’s 75th anniversary (already recognized by current rights-holder Warner Bros. with a 3-D Blu-ray presentation and lavish new box set) with an unusual anthology that should pique the interest of Ozians everywhere.

The Wizard of Oz: 75th Anniversary Anthology brings together songs from the film in rare and little-heard versions recorded by its stars such as Judy Garland, composer Harold Arlen and popular performers including Glenn Miller and His Orchestra.  Live radio broadcasts to promote the movie are heavily drawn upon, and devotees will find four recordings of “Over the Rainbow” performed by Garland: the original movie version, a live performance, a “pop” version and finally, one with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra recorded to sell government war bonds. Big bands are represented here by Miller as well as Vincent Lopez and Frankie Masters, each performing their “dance band” version of songs from the Arlen/Harburg score.  This disc, basically a collection of “bonus tracks,” makes a fine complement to Rhino/Turner Classic Movies’ definitive 1995 soundtrack restoration and other associated releases such as 1998’s The Story and Songs of the Wizard of Oz.

After the jump, we have more details including the complete track listing!

Sepia, which has dealt frequently in public domain recordings such as those featured on The Wizard of Oz, releases its Oz compendium alongside other P.D. titles by Sauter-Finegan and Their Orchestra (The Return of the Doodletown Fifers/Pop Concert), teen queen Connie Francis (The International Connie Francis: Connie Sings in Nine Languages!) and composer Morton Gould (the original soundtrack to 1955’s Cinerama Holiday).  The Wizard of Oz: 75th Anniversary Anthology is due in the U.K. on February 4 alongside these other Sepia releases; all titles will be available on Amazon U.S. as of February 11.  You can pre-order below!

Various Artists, The Wizard of Oz: 75th Anniversary Anthology (Sepia 1246, 2014) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

  1. Overture –  The NBC Orchestra and Chorus Conducted By Meredith Willson
  2. Behind the Scenes: How a Picture is Created – Robert Young, narrator
    (a) Judy Garland learns she is to play Dorothy
    (b) Frank Morgan learns that he has won the part of the Wizard
    (c) Bert Lahr rehearses his role as the Cowardly Lion
    (d) Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg demonstrate “Over The Rainbow” for Judy Garland/Judy Joins In
    (e) Bobby Connolly rehearses the Munchkins who demonstrate “Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead!”
  3. Over the Rainbow (Debut Live Performance) – Judy Garland
  4. The Wizard of Oz Medley 1
    (a) Robert Young introduces Ray Bolger and Bert Lahr
    (b) Ray Bolger & Judy Garland introducing “If I Only Had A Brain”
    (c) Robert Young (for Jack Haley) introducing “If I Only Had A Heart”
    (d) Bert Lahr introducing “If I Only Had The Nerve”
  5. Munchkinland Musical Sequence 1
    (a) “Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are”
    (b) “It Really Was No Miracle”
    (c) “Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead” Judy Garland & the NBC Chorus & Orchestra
  6. If I Were King of the Forest – Bert Lahr, Judy Garland and Ray Bolger with the NBC Orchestra
  7. The Wizard of Oz Finale Medley
    (a) “The Merry Old Land Of Oz” – Frank Morgan
    (b) “Over The Rainbow” (Reprise) – Judy Garland
    (c) “If I Only Had A Brain (Reprise) – Ray Bolger
    (d) “If I Only Had The Nerve (Reprise) – Bert Lahr
    (e) “We’re Off To See The Wizard (Reprise) – NBC Chorus
    (f) “Over The Rainbow” (Reprise) – NBC Chorus
  8. Over the Rainbow (Pop Version) – Judy Garland with Victor Young and His Orchestra
  9. Munchkinland Musical Sequence 2
    (a) “Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are”
    (b) “It Really Was No Miracle”
    (c) “We Thank You Very Sweetly”
    (d) “Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead”
    (e) “As Mayor Of The Munchkin City”
    (f) “As Coroner, I Must Aver”
    (g) “Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead” (reprise)
    (h) “The Lullaby League”
    (i) “The Lollipop Guild”
    (j) “We Welcome You To Munchkinland”
    (k) “Follow The Yellow Brick Road”
    (l) “You’re Off To See The Wizard” – The Ken Darby Singers with Victor Young and His Orchestra
  10. Follow the Yellow Brick Road/We’re Off to See the Wizard – The Ken Darby Singers with Victor Young and His Orchestra
  11. If I Only Had a Brain – Harold Arlen with Victor Young and His Orchestra
  12. If I Only Had a Heart/If I Only Had the Nerve – Bud Lyon and Garney Bell with Victor Young and His Orchestra
  13. The Merry Old Land of Oz – The Ken Darby Singers with Victor Young and His Orchestra
  14. The Jitterbug – Judy Garland, Harold Arlen, Bud Lyon and Garney Bell with Victor Young and His Orchestra
  15. Over the Rainbow – Glenn Miller and His Orchestra with vocal refrain by Ray Eberle
  16. Ding-Dong! The Witch is Dead! – Glenn Miller and His Orchestra with vocal refrain by Marion Hutton
  17. If I Only Had a Brain – Vincent Lopez and His Orchestra with vocal refrain by Sonny Schuyler
  18. The Merry Old Land of Oz – Frankie Masters and His Orchestra with vocal chorus by Frankie Masters
  19. The Jitterbug – Vincent Lopez and His Orchestra with vocal refrain by Betty Hutton
  20. Over the Rainbow (Film Version) – Judy Garland with the MGM Studio Orchestra
  21. The Wizard of Oz Medley 2
    (a) “If I Only Had A Brain” Ray Bolger and Judy Garland
    (b) “If I Only Had A Heart” Jack Haley and Adriana Caselotti
    (c) “If I Only Had The Nerve” Bert Lahr
    (d) “We’re Off To See The Wizard” Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley and Bert Lahr
  22. Dialogue: Dorothy’s Farewell/End Title -Judy Garland, Clara Blandick & Charley Grapewin with the MGM Studio Orchestra
  23. Over the Rainbow (War Bonds Version) – Judy Garland with Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra

Written by Joe Marchese

January 20, 2014 at 14:00

One Response

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  1. I am guessing that most or all of this has been on bootlegs before (Stash group of labels). Do you know if any of the Over the Rainbow or Judy songs is a true rarity?

    Kevin

    January 23, 2014 at 08:45


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