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The Muppets' Wizard of Oz

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Title.woz
Released May 20, 2005
Running time 100 minutes (DVD), 87 minutes (TV)
Director Kirk Thatcher
Written by Debra Frank, Steve L. Hayes (story and teleplay) / Adam Goldberg and Tom Martin (teleplay only) / L. Frank Baum (original story)
Original music by Michael Giacchino (score and songs) / Adam Cohen and Jeannie Lurie (songs only)
Studio Touchstone Television / Muppets Holding Company, LLC / The Jim Henson Company / Fox Television Studios
MPAA Rating TV-PG
Ozposter
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The Muppets Wizard of Oz Promo00:16

The Muppets Wizard of Oz Promo

The Muppets' Wizard of Oz promo.

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The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, the Muppets' second TV movie, aired as a special Friday night edition of ABC's The Wonderful World of Disney.

Adapted from L. Frank Baum's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, this latest retelling of the classic story follows Dorothy Gale (Ashanti) as she journeys through an Oz populated by Muppets to find the Wizard and become a star.

Cast

  • Muppet Performers
Steve Whitmire, Dave Goelz, Bill Barretta, Eric Jacobson, Brian Henson, Kevin Clash, John Kennedy, Rickey Boyd, Tyler Bunch, Julianne Buescher, John Henson, Drew Massey, Allan Trautman, Alice Dinnean-Vernon, Michael Quinn, Gord Robertson, Adam Behr, Jeny Cassidy, Geoff Redknap, James Rowley
  • Human Cast
Ashanti as Dorothy Gale
Queen Latifah as Aunt Em
David Alan Grier as Uncle Henry
Jeffrey Tambor as the Wizard
Quentin Tarantino as Himself
C. Ernst Harth as Earl
Dan Payne as The Weatherman
Kelly Osbourne as Herself (uncredited)
Edward Hibbert as Theater Man (uncredited)

Muppet Cast

  • Muppet Characters
Kermit the Frog as the Scarecrow
The Great Gonzo as Tin Thing
Fozzie Bear as the Cowardly Lion
Miss Piggy as Glinda, the Good Witch of the South
Miss Piggy as the Wicked Witch of the West
Miss Piggy as Tattypoo, the Good Witch of the North
Miss Piggy as the Wicked Witch of the East
Pepe the King Prawn as Toto
Rizzo the Rat as Mayor of Munchkinland
The Rats as the Munchkins
Statler and Waldorf as the Kalidah Critics
Sam the Eagle as the Gate Guard
Johnny Fiama
Scooter as Assistant to the Wizard
Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker as Emerald City Technicians
Sal Minella, Sweetums, Angel Marie, Old Tom, Blind Pew, Black Dog, Spotted Dick, Crazy Harry, Aretha, Calico
  • Small Speaking Roles
Clifford, Animal, Dr. Teeth, Floyd Pepper, Janice, Zoot, The Swedish Chef, Foo-Foo, Camilla, Bubba, Crow, Mulch, Lew Zealand (extended cut only)
  • Background Characters
Rowlf, Bean Bunny, Zippity Zap, Jowls, Zondra, Chip, Hillary the Owl, Cameraman, Bunnies, Penguins

History

The film marked the first major project after the acquisition of the Muppets property by The Walt Disney Company, which The Jim Henson Company is still consulting under.

Since April 2004, the Muppets had been re-introduced to the public by way of low-key marketing and guest appearances on such shows as Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Good Morning America and Saturday Night Live in hopes for a successful turn in the ratings by the time the new telefilm hit the air.

Promotion

The movie was promoted with special Wizard of Oz commercials that spoofed popular ABC shows at the time.

Further, print ads in various magazines, as well as guest appearances of various Muppets on America's Funniest Home Videos, Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Tony Danza Show, Good Morning America and Live with Regis and Kelly helped to get the word out.

In addition, Ashanti unveiled six windows at Macy's on March 20, 2005, for promotional purposes. The windows depicted scenes from the movie in conjunction with the Macy's Flower Show. The Macy's flagship store offered Muppets' Wizard of Oz plush and a T-shirt depicting the main cast during the promotional period.

The movie had its world premiere screening on April 27, 2005, at the Tribeca Film Festival, introduced by Kermit the Frog and Robert De Niro.

The Adaptation

This film departs from the original Oz novel in a number of noticeable ways: Dorothy's family owns a diner instead of a farm; Toto is a prawn; the Tin Woodman is a robot. Many of the characters' personalities and backgrounds are given a show-biz makeover. For instance, this version's Dorothy dreams of being a famous singer, and at first she plans to ask the Wizard to give her fame rather than a way back to Kansas.

However, in several respects the plot follows the novel more closely than does the classic 1939 movie. For example, the Good Witch of the North (who greets Dorothy when she arrives in Oz) and Glinda (who shows her how to get home) are separate characters; the magic shoes are silver instead of ruby; when Dorothy defeats the Wicked Witch of the West, she gains control of the Flying Monkeys; and the Wizard meets with each of Dorothy's friends separately in a different guise.

Another note is that the Flying Monkeys are a biker gang, a trait that is reminiscent of The Wiz.

The Muppets' Wizard of Oz is not the only adaptation of the Oz mythos within a Muppet production, however. The Muppets Go to the Movies featured a sketch incorporating a medley of "If I Only Had a Heart" and "We're Off to See the Wizard", with Miss Piggy portraying the version of Dorothy played by Judy Garland, alongside the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Thing. Additionally, Fozzie Bear portrayed the Tin Man in an episode of The Muppet Show.

MuppetsWizardOfOz-OnlineAd-(2005)

Airdates

World Premiere: April 27, 2005 at the Tribeca Film Festival with Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo and Pepe attending.

Broadcast Premiere: May 20, 2005 at 8/7c on ABC in the US, and on CTV and CBC in Canada.

Notes

Kermit makes a reference to Frank Oz in the film, when he asks the Wizard, "Would you, by any chance be related to Frank Oz?".

See also

External links

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