John Fricke's latest book is on Oz, which makes sense since his last book was on Judy Garland following a pattern he has set in the last few years with books on the two subjects he knows best: Oz and Garland, beginning with The Wizard of Oz: The Official 50th Anniversary Pictorial History (1989) followed in succession by Judy Garland: World's Greatest Entertainer (1997); 100 Years of Oz: A Century of Classic Images from The Wizard of Oz Collection of Willard Carroll (1999); Judy Garland: A Portrait in Art & Anecdote (2003); The Wizard of Oz: An Illustrated Companion to the Timeless Movie Classic (co-authored with Jonathan Shirshekan, 2009); Judy: A Legendary Film Career (2011); and now The Wonderful World of Oz: An Illustrated History of the American Classic (2013). This current book is similar to 100 Years of Oz, in that it is virtually a catalog of Willard Carroll's and Tom Wilhite's incredible collection of Oz memorabilia (one of the largest in the world) much of which is now on view in their recently opened museum in Camden, Maine, including such rare items from the 1939 film as the Wicked Witch's Hourglass, the Lollipop Kid, Jerry Maren's costume, an apron tested but not worn by Garland and a blouse she wore during the first two weeks of filming.
But it isn't just the book's marvelous pictures of Carroll's and Wilhite's collection since added to that is Fricke's wonderfully illuminating text covering a nearly complete history of the Oz phenomenon: the books (even foreign editions), the films, the stage productions and L. Frank Baum himself. And it couldn't be more up-to-date,including as it does, a poster of the Broadway musical, "Wicked" (now celebrating its 10th anniversary), one of the new graphic novel treatments of the Oz books by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young and memorabilia from the latest Oz film, "Oz the Great and Powerful" (2013). For all you Oz fans, be you collectors or not, this book is an absolute "must have."