Sunday, March 8, 2009
March Has Come In Like A Lion...
...but has it come in like the Cowardly Lion? Puts me in mind of the fascinating but little-known animated use of the MGM version of the Oz characters in the animated anthology TV show, Off To See the Wizard. Broadcast on Friday evenings on ABC in 1967-1968, this MGM show (executive produced by Chuck Jones) featured Dorothy and her friends visiting the Wizard as he conjured up a live-action family film (e.g., Lily, Clarence the Crossed Eyed Lion) from the MGM library. The Cowardly Lion (seen here in a publicity still for the TV series) was a fine re-interpretation of the film character, maintaining enough of Bert Lahr's face, makeup and costume from the classic 1939 movie to be recognizable as the Lahr characterization, and voice artist supreme Mel Blanc did a fine vocal caricature of Lahr's voice. As someone interested in both animation and Oz I have a fascination with this now-obscure TV show, and I hope to be running more about it soon. In the meantime, please enjoy this rarely-seen still featuring the famous foursome, complete with rainbow, emerald and Yellow Brick Road as background.
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I noticed recently there's quite a bit of animation from this and another, bizarrely stylized early sixties OZ cartoon on YouTube.
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