OzCon International is proud to welcome back Aljean Harmetz, a southern California native who suggested our new Pomona site. A Hollywood journalist and film historian, she is best known for her books on the creation of several classic films: Round Up The Usual Suspects: The Making of Casablanca, On The Road to Tara: The Making of Gone With The Wind, and of course, The Making of The Wizard of Oz.
Aljean interviewed no less than fifty cast and crew members of the film as she put together her book, originally published in 1977. Her research led her to a friendship with Wicked Witch Margaret Hamilton. In 1979, she adapted her book for a television special, The Wizardry of Oz. The book has been revised and updated several times throughout the years, most recently in 2013.
Aljean is also the author of the novel Off The Face of the Earth and has written obituaries of high-profile celebrities such as Shirley Temple and Lena Horne for the New York Times, even after her retirement as their Hollywood correspondent in 1990.
RAYMOND F. WOHL
is an actor, playwright and teacher who has worked and traveled in 20 states. Ray fell in love with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz growing up with his eleven brothers and sisters and later discovered LFBaum with research at the University of Syracuse, Fayetteville, Chittenango, the New York Public Library at Lincoln Center, the Baum Bugle and the wonderful source materials in biographies, letters and articles in Chicago.
Ray is the author of two other plays, Up in the Clouds and Help Santa Go Green! He will be touring the life and stories of L. F. Baum in 2019 and beyond!
Wicked Witch extraordinaire! Kurt has appeared in several productions of The Wizard of Oz where he has channeled Margaret Hamilton's portrayal of the Wicked Witch of the West, as well as presenting the character at several events. He was even profiled for Warner Brother's "The Legacy of Oz" bonus feature for their 2005 reissue of the movie on home video. OzCon is proud to welcome him back!
OzCon is pleased to welcome back Christianna Rickard whose Uncle was Ray Bolger. Chris has recently worked with Holly Van Leauven to access the archives of Ray Bolger. Her memories of her uncle inspired her book, A Legend in Straw, which reveals the secrets she learned from her uncle.
Chris now lives in Texas where she is working with other women to develop new styles of leadership for a challenging world.
She has attended numerous Oz events around the country with her friend Vincent Myrand, who painted the portrait for the cover of her book.
HOLLY VAN LEUVEN
OzCon International is excited to introduce Holly Van Leuven, a writer based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Los Angeles, California. The first researcher to access the personal papers of Ray Bolger, she is the inaugural winner of the Biographers International Organization's Hazel Rowley Prize for first-time authors for her work.
Holly's first book Ray Bolger: More than A Scarecrow was released on the 1st of March 2019 and will be available at OzCon.
Special Guests at OzCon 2019
OzCon again welcomes back Barry Bregman, Compiler of Heart of a Tin Man: The Collected Writings of Jack Haley of Barry is the grandson of legendary actor Jack Haley and son of prolific pop and jazz arranger/composer/producer Buddy Bregman. At 16, Barry began a photography business and quickly became a very sought-after and successful photographer where his work was featured in every major magazine in the world.
Barry is currently producing and writing material for artists and has built "The Room", a recording studio within his home where glorious music is made and where his wife Andee, two dogs and two cats enjoy the vibes.
Kiki Ebsen—daughter of entertainer Buddy Ebsen—a dynamic singer, songwriter, musician, recording and touring artist in jazz, pop, and rock for over 30 years. Kiki’s proud to share about Buddy’s dual history with The Wizard of Oz: originally intended to be the Scarecrow (before recasting with talent Ray Bolger), then cast as the Original Tin Man. After six weeks of filming, a near-death toxic reaction to the aluminum powder makeup caused Buddy’s long-term hospitalization. Producers recast Tin Man with wonderful Jack Haley, but some of Buddy’s vocal tracks and images filmed remained part of the film/credits. Kiki released her 6th solo CD, Scarecrow Sessions, featuring her versions of classics from Buddy’s seven-decade career, including highly acclaimed “If I Only Had a Brain” and “Over the Rainbow.”
Mike known as "The Singing TV Guy" has been performing professionally for almost 50 years, and continues to perform for the 55+ communities in the West and Southwest. As the Primary sport anchor for KTVK-3TV for 15 years and then later as a primarary news anchor.
Music has always been Mike's first love. Mike Performs a show called “Music from the movies, Academy Award Winning Songs." The last half hour of the show is dedicated to the Wizard of Oz. Lots of fun Trivia and graphics wrapped around the music of Oz. Mike has sung "Over the Rainbow" to Margeret Pellegrini who he became good friends with.