Thursday, March 25, 2010

Kansas and the Wizard of Oz

When I was growing up in California my family had an annual event in late February or early March: Wizard of Oz Night.

My Mom would make homemade pizza, soda pop would be allowed in the living room during the meal and a large bowl of popcorn was passed around. Then we'd sit back and watch the 1939 MGM movie, The Wizard of Oz.

Other than the NBC
peacock my first memory of color television was the year we got a color TV and watched the cinematically dull, drab world of Dorothy Gale’s Kansas fade into the Technicolorful Land of Oz. We oooed and ahhhed as Dorothy and Toto stepped out of the tornado-borne house into the Munchkin village. We jumped as the Wicked Witch of the West appeared out of nowhere in a burst of flame searching for the murderer of her sister, and all the while I wondered why in the world Dorothy wanted to return to Kansas when she could stay in Oz!

Years later, imbued with these stereotypical views of Kansas I went off to college at the University of Kansas and realized upon my arrival in Lawrence that Kansas was not only very colorful but greener than California in August
…. the first of many Wizard of Oz myths about Kansas dispelled.

Like it or not though, L. Frank Baum’s book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and the 1939 motion picture rendition of the tale of Dorothy's journey through Oz have shaped how the world sees Kansas and Kansans. I have been asked many times about Toto's well being and where my ruby-red cowboy boots are. Below are some links to resources on L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Kansas and Oz, Dorothy and yes, her little dog too.

The Book That Started It All...

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (1900)
Online text version
Online audio version
Another Online Audio Version

The 1939 Motion Picture...

The Wizard of Oz (MGM 1939)
1949 Reissue Trailer
1998 trailer/promo of digitally restored film
2009 Blu Ray digitized version trailer/promo

Interpretation And Symbolism...

Secrets of the Wizard of Oz, by Rumeana Jahangir

Oz and Populism, by David B. Parker

Kansas and The Wizard of Oz

Oztoberfest in Wamego

2010 Information
Official Site (2009 information)

Dorothy's House and Land of Oz in Liberal
Tribute site
Official site

Ah Kansas!
During the 1980's the Kansas Department of Economic Development created a series of publications and commercials promoting Kansas with a play on words from L. Frank Baum's books using "Kansas, Land of Ahs."
Listen to a short promo from KNAB Radio dated 1984
Listen to a couple "Ah Kansas" radio commercials from KFH Radio

The Wizard of Oz
(A short introduction on the Kansas State Historical Society’s website)

Kansas Articles and Commentary
The Wiz Lives On In The Land Of Oz
Marketing Kansas
Kansas Is Oz's Home
Film and History in Kansas and the Great Plains

Search the ATLAS Catalog
(State Library, State Historical Society, Washburn University)
Baum, L. Frank (Lyman Frank), 1856-1919
Wizard of Oz

Kansas -- Civilization

The Wizard Of Oz
Other Motion Pictures and Stage Productions
The Wizard of Oz (1902 Musical Play)
The Fairylogue and Radio-Plays (1908)
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1910 motion picture)

The Wizard of Oz (1925 motion picture)
The Wizard of Oz (1933 animated short film)
Catalog of the Oz Movies - 1908 to 1938


Memorable quotes

The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Quotes from the book

L. Frank Baum and the Land of Oz
(Library of Congress)

Oz on Stage and Film

(Library of Congress)

The International Wizard of Oz Club

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Website

The Wizard of Oz Wiki
(Updated by viewers)

Wizard of Oz Events Calendar
(Calendar of events around the world for book, motion picture and staged productions fans)

Other Oz Books and Movies By L. Frank Baum
Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz (1908)
-- Text
The Emerald City of Oz (1910)
Audio -- Text
Glinda of Oz (1920, posthumously published)
-- Text
His Majesty the Scarecrow of Oz
motion picture

Little Wizard Stories of Oz (1913)

The Lost Princess of Oz (1917)

Audio -- Text
The Magic of Oz (1919, posthumously published)

Audio -- Text
The Magic Cloak of Oz
Motion Picture
The Marvelous Land of Oz (1904)

Audio -- Text
Ozma of Oz (1907)
-- Text
The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1913)

Text -- 1914 Motion Picture
Rinkitink in Oz (1916)
Audio 1 --
Audio 2 -- Text
The Road to Oz (1909)

-- Text
The Scarecrow of Oz (1915)

Audio -- Text

Tik-Tok of Oz (1914)
Audio -- Text
The Tin Woodman of Oz (1918)
Audio -- Text

Article contact: Bill Sowers

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Kansas State Governors

The Kansas State Constitution states that, "the supreme executive power of this state shall be vested in a governor, who shall be responsible for the enforcement of the laws of this state. "

Since Kansas became a state in 1861 there have been 45 governors serving as the chief executive of state. They have come from all corners of Kansas and covered a broad political spectrum. They have presided over our state during wars, drought, insurrection, scandals, floods, social upheaval and economic downturns. The Kansas political environment seen by outsiders might appear to be as serene as the rolling hills along I-70 but a closer look reveals a complicated "ecosystem" in which our governors have played a vital role through the years.

There have been 32 Republican governors, eleven Democrats and two Populists. Some have served for eight years. One served for twelve days. After serving as governor several served terms in Congress; one served as U.S. Secretary of War; another as a U.S. federal judge; one ran unsuccessfully for public office in Canada; another was the Archivist of the United States; one was a Republican candidate for President; and one is currently serving as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Below is some basic information on the office of Governor as well as the individuals who have held that office.

Powers and Duties of the Governor

State Constitution, Article 1
(Outline of powers and duties of the governor set forth by the State Constitution)

Kansas Statutes 75-101 et seq
(You can browse through the Statutes online starting at 75-101. The Statutes on this website are not up to date. Also bear in mind that specific duties and powers of the governor are found throughout the Kansas Statutes, not just in this section.

Legislative Procedure in Kansas
(Check out Chapter 15 for how the Governor acts on legislation passed by the Legislature)

The Governor's Budget, FY 2011, volume 1
(The beginning section of Volume 1 contains an organizational chart of Kansas government and gives a good summary of the governor's duties as they relate to state finance)

The Government of Kansas / by James W. Drury with Marvin Stottlemire (2001)
(This book has gone through several editions and is a good read in understanding the workings of government in Kansas)

Mark Parkinson, Current Governor of Kansas
---Governor's website (
---News Releases
---Capitol Blog

Governors' Speeches, Writings, Records, etc.

Kansas Governors' Messages
(A collection of Governors' messages transcribed or digitzed by State Library of Kansas staff)

Governors' Papers and Records
All state and territorial governors left behind papers and records during their administations. These records give insight into the workings of government and many records are open to the public for research. The State Archives, located at the Kansas History Center in Topeka, has most of the governors' records. Spencer Library at the University of Kansas has two governors' records collections. Governor George Docking destroyed his records after his term of office was over.
---Kansas State Archives
(A list of Kansas territorial and state governors, terms of service, with online finding aids for their records. Provided by the Kansas State Historical Society)
---Spencer Library, University of Kansas
(Governors Robert Docking and Robert Bennett donated their gubernatorial records to the University of Kansas)

Other Resources on Kansas Governors

Kansas Governors
(The Online finding aids linked to in this list also include biographical information. Provided by the Kansas State Historical Society)

Governors of Kansas
(Short biographical entries on the 45 governors of Kansas. Provided by the National Governors Association)

Essay on Kansas Governors
(Short piece on Kansas governors. Provided by the Kansas State Historical Society)

Kansas Memory
(Primary source material on Kansas state governors provided online by the Kansas State Historical Society)

ATLAS Online Catalog
(Search for information about Kansas governors or for government publications issued by Kansas governors held by the State Library of Kansas, Kansas State Historical Society, Washburn University Libraries and the Kansas Supreme Court Law Library)

Internet Archive
(Hits in the Internet Archive using the terms, Kansas and governor. Not all of these titles pertain to Kansas governors but some do. Among them is an excerpt from a speech by Governor Alf Landon, Republican candidate for President, in 1936)

Kansas Governors / by Homer Socolofsky
Lawrence, Kan. : University of Kansas Press, 1990
(A 1990 book with a chapter on each of the governors. View the ATLAS Online Catalog record)

Article contact: Bill Sowers
(My thanks to Kim Harp for her help in putting together this information)