Category Archives: News and Events

How Eric Carle Makes His Beautiful Art

Author and artist Eric Carle

Eric Carle’s books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar are linked in the minds of his faithful readers with his very distinctive and beautiful art. But how does he make the art and with what materials? We take a look at his process for making the images in the books and show you how you can do it, too!

Carle credits his influences for his style as ranging from Picasso, Matisse, Leo Lionni, and Ezra Jack Keats. His pictures are actually collages and not paintings. On his website at www.eric-carle.com, the artist says of his process, “I begin with plain tissue paper and paint it with different colors, using acrylics. Sometimes I paint with a wide brush, sometimes with a narrow brush. Sometimes my strokes are straight, and sometimes they’re wavy. Sometimes I paint with my fingers. Or I paint on a piece of carpet, sponge, or burlap and then use that like a stamp on my tissue papers to create different textures.” That’s a fascinating way to go about making a collage, by preparing lots of different surfaces to work with!

Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar

But what does he do with all of this paper? Eric Carle continues, “These papers are my palette and after they have dried I store them in color-coded drawers. Let’s say I want to create a caterpillar: I cut out a circle for the head from a red tissue paper and many ovals for the body from green tissue papers; and then I paste them with wallpaper glue onto an illustration board to make the picture.” Wouldn’t you love to look through all of those drawers of prepared papers?

Do you feel like running out to your local arts and crafts store to make your own collage, or do one with the kids? Carle says, “You might want to try it. It’s messy, but fun.” The artist has also created a handy instruction sheet on how to make a hungry caterpillar at http://www.eric-carle.com/EricCarleCollageMakingInstructionSheet.pdf. Be sure to share your own Eric Carle-inspired art with us! We’d love to see it!

Greatest Books for Kids

What are the ‘greatest’ books for kids?  A February 2012 release by Scholastic Parent & Child magazine listed the top 100 books for kids.  Who is the authority here?  What was it based on?   Well, several things were noted, including literary merit, popularity, a variety of genres, and cultural representation.  Literacy experts and ‘mom bloggers’ nominated over 500 books.   Here are a few, and one in particular that has a new home at The San Francisco Music Box Company:

“Charlotte’s Web” tops the list at #1. Who can not like this classic tale about a spider and farm girl who save a naïve runt of a pig?  It’s a little longer tale to read, but a sure winner!

 

 

“Goodnight Moon” came in a close #2.

I still recall the pictures in this classic book from the many times I read it to my children.  Still one of their favorites!

 

“Where the Wild Things Are” from Maurice Sendak listed at #5.   This wonderful story became a major motion picture in 2009 and is now on our SFMB list of targets for consideration. 

Can you picture some fun musical items in your child’s room of the characters from this great story?  It is especially relevant today with the fun monster craze inhabiting the lives of our 5-10 year olds.

 

Green Eggs and Ham,” the classic tale from Dr. Seuss, ranked # 7.   We read this story so many times that I still recall the words “I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.”   There are only 50 different words in this story! 

Dr. Seuss had an incredible knack for bringing fun into our story time with rhyming dialogue and crazy characters!

 

 

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle is our favorite at #12.  This book has sold millions of copies worldwide and is still a top-seller today.   The story of the caterpillar who ate through everything, eventually becoming a beautiful butterfly, is magical. 

 

Here at SFMB, we created some timeless musical items from this popular story, added a little more magic with some very classic tunes, and are excited to bring them to you in June, 2012!  Here are two of them for you to share with your friends.

 

 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Apple Musical BankThe Very Hungry Caterpillar Musical Cupcake Rotating Figurine

See all our great children’s musical gifts at www.sanfranciscomusicbox.com.

Tradition meets “HIP”!

We’ve been in business for over 30 years and decided it was time to “SHAKE THINGS UP!”  What does that mean?  We have a New Attitude and a New Direction where ‘Tradition meets HIP!’  We’ve created a host of new musical gifts to share with you in 2012!  Our Magic Room has been a busy place… YES, it’s going to be an amazing year!

Eric-Carle-Apple-bank-Revised2-150x150The Very Hungry Caterpillar Musical Bank. We have new licenses with Eric Carle (author of the classic children’s story “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”)

 

 

Gone With The Wind (one of the all time ‘greats’ in film history!), and Bob Byerley (internationally known artist and painter of Our American Childhood).

 

 

 

“Jessica’s Bonnet” Musical Jewelry Box

 Our new formats include musical banks, musical candle holders, vintage music boxes, and glass music boxes with attachments.  We have new sound, with new digital recordings by original artists – you’ll want to get up and dance!

 

 

 

 

 

New categories include Fashion music boxes – glamour, fun, home fashion

Hearts and Kisses Glass Music Box

– and  Tweens – musical gifts for the 6-12 year olds, including gifts for boys and girls.

 

 

 

 

“Jing-A-Ling” Musical Banks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 And we have all new items in our classic categories with Looney Tunes,

 

 

 

Phantom of the Opera 25 Years Music Box

Phantom of the Opera (did you know that this year Phantom of the Opera celebrates 25 years??? – don’t miss our ALL NEW LIMITED EDITION pieces!),

 

 

 

and the Wizard of Oz….a true American classic!

OZ, the Great and Powerful Lighted Figurine with voice clip from original movie

OZ, the Great and Powerful Lighted Figurine with voice clip from original movie. A new movie comes out in 2012 about the Great and Powerful OZ – you’ll want to share in the fun!

 

That’s just a small sampling of what’s in store at The San Francisco Music Box Company.

Top 10 Carousel Oddities and Amazements

After endless hours of researching what we find to be a very fascinating subject, we have amassed a list of the San Francisco Music Box Co. Top 10 Carousel Oddities & Amazements. We warn you, this list is not for the weak of heart. If you are a fan of the Avant-Garde, aren’t afraid of the Artful Dodger and ready to take the road less traveled – we welcome you into a list will take you deep into your imagination and then invite you inside.

10. Carousel Gardens Amusement Park
Come rain or shine, this 1906 carousel building is wrapped entirely of double-fold doors and is topped with a pyramidal roof that keeps it’s guests and antique carousel comfortable and dry.  The stained glass windows of the clerestory and cupola cast a playful spectrum of light on the fully renovated carousel featuring fifty-four carved colorful animals. In the enclosed area of the Carousel Building, guests can sip cocktails and enjoy a succulent meal. Weather permitting, additional guests can be accommodated on the deck surrounding the building.
Location: New Orleans, LA
Ticket Cost: $3
Website

My Kingdom for a Carousel

9. Brighton Pier, United Kingdom Carousel :: Grandfathered In
Take in the sights, eat some great food, do some shopping and ride the historic Brighton Pier Carousel but remember to bring a life preserver. This great Carousel sits atop a pier that has a history that dates back to 1823. It has set the stage for many silent black and white films, served fish and chips to Grace Kelly, Greta Garbo and Bette Davis, and was the set for a plethora of commercials, television shows and photo shoots. These horses have made history and have rubbed shoulders with the stars. What would you do to ride on the back of a carousel horse that quite possibly saddled Johnny Depp?
Location: Brighton Pier, United Kingdom
Ticket Cost: $3
Website

By BunnyHugger, Lansing, Michigan

8. Carousel Columbia, America :: In Honor of the Greats
Although not in the “Historic Registry” club, this Carousel, located at the grand entrance of the Carousel Columbia, America Amusement Park, demands respect in its own right. Each and every animal that rides this double-decker masterpiece is a replica made from the molds of the horses and animals that rode the most famous carousels of yesteryear’s. From the carousel placard, “The inspiration and beauty of the Columbia reflect the artistry of hundreds of workers who dedicated themselves to this splendid carousel. It was conceived and designed by Randall Duell and Associates as the first major new carousel in the world since the late 1920’s, when the art of carousel design was nearly – but fortunately not quite lost.
Location: Six Flags Great America and at California’s Great America
Website

Destination Carousel

7. Trimper’s Rides Carousel :: The Legacy
What do you get when you add a 10 mile beachfront, a 3 mile wooden boardwalk and an Amusement Park featuring a 100 year old carousel boasting 12 leaping horses, 11 Standing Horses, 1 Camel, 2 Cats, 1 Deer, 2 Dogs, 1 Dragon, 2 Frogs, 2 Giraffes, 1 Goat, 1 Lion, 2 Mules, 2 Ostriches, 2 Pigs, 2 Roosters, 1 Stork, 1 Tiger, 2 Zebras and 4 Chariots? Days of historic family fun! The Trimper’s Carousel is unique only to it’s Herschell-Spillman Company sister carousel, built around the same time, that sat on Coney Island but later burned in a fire.
Location: Ocean City, Maryland
Ticket Cost: $2
Website

Spillman Carousel

6. Spillman Carousel ::A Work of Art
The Spillman Carousel lives in the Grand Rapids Public Museum in Michigan. Adorned with brightly colored jewels and intricately hand carved animals, The Spillman Carousel has stolen many hearts of carousel lovers from around the world. Forty-Four wooden horses, six menagerie animals and two chariots dance gracefully around this fully restored 1928 Carousel by the Spillman Engineering Company.
Of all the Carousels I’ve had the honor to research and present to you, this one wins the “beauty” contest hands-down. I never imagined ever being humbled by a horse and the menagerie of company he kept.  Image trackback.
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Ticket Cost: $1
Website

Unknown

5. Name That Carousel :: Mechanical Flying Fish vs. Tug Boat
In my search for the most mystifying and magical carousels of the land, I ran across this carousel. The image came with no name or artist. I am going to need a little help with this one!
What I do know is this:
1. The picture was taken in Brussels.
2. It was designed by a French artist.
3. Displayed at a Christmas Festival.
4. Sinterklaas makes a visit.

The Doll Carousel Room

4. House on the Rock Carousel :: Pretty Porcelain and Ponies
Frank Loyd Wright would scoff if anyone would compare him to the architectural antics of one Alex Jordan. Marv Balousek, a newspaper reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal, describes Jordan as “a shadowy figure as reclusive as the late multi-millionaire Howard Hughes.” The House on the Rock is a 14-room house with a complex Möbius of half levels, stairs and corridors. If you visit, allow for at least 2 hours to tour the house and 3 additional hours to find your way out. During your 3 hours of misguided discovery, be prepared to visit what is know to be one of the creepiest carousels in the world. You will be greeted by hundreds of dark, lifeless eyes from hundreds of pale, handcrafted dolls standing about or riding a host of miniature carousel ponies.
Location: Spring Green, WI
Ticket Cost: Section 3 $15.50
Website

Warner Bros. Pictures 1987

3. Looff Carousel :: Star Struck
Does anyone remember when Kiefer Sutherland was the handsome yet terrifying “David” from The Lost Boys and not the dashing and daring “Jack Bower” from 24? Before Kiefer was Hi-Jacking planes from terrorists or saving his family from government thugs he was sucking blood and getting thrown off a carousel in Santa Cruz, California on the Beach Boardwalk. What other movies / television shows have featured this epic carousel? The Killer Klowns from Outerspace, Sudden Impact, Dangerous Minds and countless television commercials. If only those horses could talk . . .
Location: Santa Cruz, California Beach Boardwalk
Ticket Cost: $3
Website

The Riverbank Carousel

2. The Riverbank Carousel :: The Etch-a-Sketch Carousel
As a child, did you ever dream your dazzling doodle could walk off the page and you could come face-to-face with your creation? What if someone told you that it could be done? Would you take the chance and deliver a doodle or chalk it all up to some crazy man with an over-active imagination? Meet Milo Mottola. Mila Mottola dreamed of a carousel designed completely from the drawings of children. Imagine riding on the back of a zebra with plaid legs or a chariot made of two harnessed spiders or better yet, a yellow pickle that strangely resembles a giraffe.  The only “horsing around” done on this carousel will be any pushing and shoving it takes to be the first of your friends to ride the blue deer with the Cheshire smile!
Location: New York, NY
Ticket Cost:
50 cents
Website

In need of a good home.

1. The Letenský Carousel :: Holy Horse Hair, Batman.
Built in 1892, this unexpected and under-appreciated carousel predates the famous carousel at the base of Monmartre in Paris by some 20 years. I would say this merits some serious respect, especially if you happen to be a horse. Like the rest of the carousel, the inner construction of each horse is wooden, but each sculpture is then wrapped in horse hair and dressed in a hide that had to be skinned from a dead horse. . . all in one piece. It is said that each horse was slaughtered explicitly for the purpose of constructing the carousel. Sadly, this magnificent Carousel is currently homeless and in great need of an owner with nearly 9 million dollars. Last year, the museum applied without success for European Union funds to help cover the cost. Early next year, the museum plans to reapply.

We hope you have enjoyed our Top 10 Carousel Oddities and Amazement’s tour. We invite all Carousel lovers, aficionados and collectors to add some of YOUR favorites to our list. Are there any carousel horses you would love to see as a San Francisco Music Box Co. reproduction? All comments are encouraged and welcomed.

Thanksgiving Kid’s Crafts – Drip Ball Ornament

Drip Ball Ornament

Difficulty: Easy

Age: 6 and up

Parental supervision is recommended

Holiday Links

These drip ball ornaments are so easy but they look like you spent all day on them! Kids will have fun drizzling on all that paint.

What you’ll need:

  • Glass ball ornaments
  • Acrylic craft paint in holiday colors
  • Empty egg carton
  • Ribbon for hangers
  • Water
  • Paintbrush
  • Clear glaze spray suitable for glass

How to make it:

  1. Remove the hanger top from each ornament and set aside.
  2. Place egg carton upside down and place ball ornaments in the middle of four egg cups to act as your holder (see image).
  3. Place some paint in a palette and water the paint down until it begins to drip off the paintbrush (see image).
  4. Keep the paint palette close to your egg carton holder. Dip paintbrush into the watered down paint, picking up a generous amount. Move the paintbrush to the top of the ornament immediately. Place a dollop of paint onto the ornament. If it doesn’t begin to drip down, add some more paint until it does. Continue this technique around the ornament, alternating colors as well. When finished, allow the ornaments to dry completely (see image)
  5. Once the ornaments are dry, replace the hanger tops and tie ribbon in place.
  6. Hang ornaments on a dowel or strong twig, and then in a well-ventilated area, spray with clear glaze spray. Let dry completely.

 

Tips:

  • Using the egg carton as a holder will cause the paint to stop where the paint drips down and meets the egg carton. You can avoid this by hanging the ornaments on something sturdy while you paint, just be sure that you have newspaper below to catch the drips.
  • The thicker the paint, the darker your drips will be. If you would like lighter drips, simply thin out the paint more.
  • If you paint simply won’t drip, you will need to add more water. Test by holding the paintbrush directly above the paint palette. The paint should begin to drip within 3 seconds.

By: Amanda Formaro http://crafts.kaboose.com/drip-ball-ornament.html

Thanksgiving Kid’s Crafts – How to make a snowglobe!

Snow Globe

Difficulty: Easy

Age: 6 and up, though younger children can assist with adding water and glitter.

Parental supervision is recommended

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! This darling little craft is made from recycled baby food jars, or any other type of jar you have sitting around collecting dust. We suggest making more than one, or you won’t want to give up this little keepsake to your child—they’re great to keep around your own home, perfect for your computer desk. Give your globe a theme and make it a gift for Christmas, Halloween, birthdays or any occasion. Or, you can make a snow globe featuring your favorite characters or animals such as Dinosaurs, Spiderman or Barbie. Enjoy!

For more Christmas fun, be sure to visit our Christmas crafts, Christmas ornaments crafts page, and our main Christmas area. As well, visit our winter crafts for more snowy ideas!

 

What you’ll need:

  • Baby food jars (medium or large) or any other type of jar with a lid
  • Florist clay (can be found at any craft supply store)
  • Small figurine (see “Choosing your figurine” under “Helpful Hints”)
  • White and/or silver glitter or fake snow
  • Hot glue gun or aquarium sealing glue (hot glue is less expensive)
  • Ribbon or felt (optional)
  • Garland plastic greenery (see “Getting your greenery” under “Helpful hints”)

How to make it:

  1. Wash and dry your jar completely, including the lid.
  2. Attach figurine to inside of jar lid using florist clay. If you are using a small object, it’s a good idea to build up the clay so the object will appear taller. To preview, simply place empty jar over the top of your figurine to see if you have the height where you want it. Attach any optional items with the clay (greenery, berries, etc.). Important: Use your imagination, but make sure whatever you use is waterproof and won’t dissolve.
  3. Fill jar with water to within 1/2 inch (1 cm) of top. Use cold water, warm water tends to cloud. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of glitter, or “ snow” into water. This measurement is based on a medium to large baby food jar. Adjust glitter amount according to your size jar.
  4. Using hot glue gun, line inside of lid with glue. Insert figurine in water and screw on lid.
  5. Dab lid dry if any water dripped or spilled. Apply a layer of hot glue around the rim of the lid to seal shut.
  6. Let stand and dry overnight — lid side up.
  7. Decorating the lid rim is optional, and there are several ways to do it. Attach decorative ribbon with glue, use plastic holly berries for a holiday feel, or use colored felt as we have. This can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. Use white or craft glue to run a squiggly line around the felt then sprinkle with glitter and let dry. Glue on buttons, use stickers, or personalize your globe by writing your name in glue and sprinkling with glitter. You may also paint the lid rather than use ribbon or other embellishments. The possibilities are endless so have fun!

 

Tips:

Keep your globe secure. Make sure the objects are secure in the clay, you could even glue them for added security.

Choose your figurine wisely. Choose a figurine made of a material that will not dissolve or deteriorate in water over time. Cake toppers, small ornaments with the hanger removed, miniature toys and dolls are all possibilities.

Easy-to-find greenery. You will only need small pieces so look for stems in the floral department that are on sale or inexpensive. You can also trim pieces from silk and plastic greenery, or you can even fashion your own small trees out of chenille stems. Another option is to use tiny plastic pine trees found in toy train and car sets.

Glitter tips. Before gluing or sealing the lid, make sure you have sufficient amount of glitter. Depending on the size of the jar, you may need more or less. Be careful! Too much glitter will completely obscure your figurine.

Add color and pizzazz. To make a more elaborate snow globe, add tiny objects to “ float” in the water, use a drop of colored oil to create a swirling effect or use food coloring in the water. Or, instead of using just white or just silver glitter, mix the two colored glitters. Silver tends to fall faster, the white floats more. Putting them together creates a fun effect. These are just some ideas to help you create your one-of-a-kind snow globe. Use your imagination and have fun.

Choose a theme . Make your snow globe for any occasion or theme such as Halloween, birthday, sports, holiday, Victorian and beach (seashells). You can also make two and give one away as a gift.

Save your felt scraps. This craft is a perfect example of utilizing small felt pieces that were left over from other projects so remember to save those scraps.

By: Amanda Formaro –  http://crafts.kaboose.com/snglobe.html

25th Anniversary of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This month marks the 25th anniversary of this nationally respected campaign that strives to increase awareness of the disease and raise awareness on how to become self-empowered about early detection and treatment. According to the American Cancer Society, one in approximately every 1,838 women between the ages of 20 and 30 will be diagnosed this year with breast cancer.

This year, The San Francisco Music Box Company will be donating a portion of the proceeds from each purchase of its very special “Faith & Doves” Water Globe to a breast cancer organization. This beautiful and inspirational piece features 2 white doves atop a bouquet of pink roses. The base is a soft pink and adorned with delicate scrollwork that enclose the inscription, “Faith makes all things possible.” The tune is Ludwig van Beethoven’s, “Für Elise.”

To participate, visit the official San Francisco Music Box Company website and purchase this water globe anytime during the month of October.

“The Phantom of the Opera” United States High Schools / Colleges Showings

Aug 11, 2011 through
Sep 03, 2011
The Phantom of the Opera
Faulkner University
Montgomery, AL

Aug 23, 2011
through
Aug 27, 2011
The Phantom of the Opera
Snake River High School
Blackfoot, ID

Sep 09, 2011
through
Oct 09, 2011
The Phantom of the Opera
Windward Community College Players
Kaneohe, HI

Sep 16, 2011
through
Sep 25, 2011
The Phantom of the Opera
Elgin Community College
Elgin, IL

Sep 29, 2011
through
Oct 02, 2011
The Phantom of the Opera
Madison Consolidated High School
Madison, IN

Sep 30, 2011
through
Oct 08, 2011
The Phantom of the Opera
East Peoria Community High School
East Peoria, IL

Oct 19, 2011
through
Oct 22, 2011
The Phantom of the Opera
Northern State University
Aberdeen, SD

Nov 03, 2011
through
Nov 19, 2011
The Phantom of the Opera
University of Guam
Mangilao,

Nov 03, 2011
through
Nov 19, 2011
The Phantom of the Opera
Camden Hills Regional High Sch
Rockport, ME

Nov 04, 2011
through
Nov 20, 2011
The Phantom of the Opera
Western Nevada College
Carson City, NV

Nov 04, 2011
through
Nov 05, 2011
The Phantom of the Opera
Los Angeles County High School for the Arts
Los Angeles, CA

Nov 05, 2011
through
Nov 13, 2011
The Phantom of the Opera
Pioneer High School-Pioneer Theatre Guild
Ann Arbor, MI

Nov 10, 2011
through
Nov 20, 2011
The Phantom of the Opera
Southeastern University
LAKELAND, FL

Dec 01, 2011
through
Dec 04, 2011
The Phantom of the Opera
John Glenn High School
Bay City, MI

Dec 02, 2011
through
Dec 11, 2011
The Phantom of the Opera
Chaffey High School
Upland, CA

Feb 02, 2012
through
Feb 19, 2012
The Phantom of the Opera
JJ Pearce High School
Richardson, TX

Feb 03, 2012
through
Feb 12, 2012
The Phantom of the Opera
Portage Central High School
PORTAGE, MI

Feb 16, 2012
through
Feb 25, 2012
The Phantom of the Opera
University of Memphis
Memphis, TN

Feb 16, 2012
through
Feb 18, 2012
The Phantom of the Opera
Legacy High School
Broomfield, CO

Feb 17, 2012
through
Feb 25, 2012
The Phantom of the Opera
Martin County High School
Stuart, FL

Feb 21, 2012
through
Mar 04, 2012
The Phantom of the Opera
Walkerville Collegiate Institute
Windsor, ON

Feb 23, 2012
through
Feb 24, 2012
The Phantom of the Opera
Chatham-Kent Secondary School
Chatham, ON

Mar 02, 2012
through
Mar 11, 2012
The Phantom of the Opera
Hampton Roads Academy
Newport News, VA

Mar 08, 2012
through
Mar 24, 2012
The Phantom of the Opera
Council Rock South High School
Southampton, PA

Mar 09, 2012
through
Mar 17, 2012
The Phantom of the Opera
Mira Mesa High School
San Diego, CA

Mar 15, 2012
through
Mar 18, 2012
The Phantom of the Opera
Papillion Lavista High School
Papillion, NE

Mar 15, 2012
through
Mar 18, 2012
The Phantom of the Opera
West High School Masterworks
Painted Post, NY

Mar 15, 2012
through
Mar 17, 2012
The Phantom of the Opera
Frenchtown High School
Frenchtown, MT

Mar 15, 2012
through
Mar 17, 2012
The Phantom of the Opera
Unionville High School
Kennett Square, PA

Mar 16, 2012
through
Mar 17, 2012
The Phantom of the Opera
Winston Churchill High School
Potomac, MD

Mar 22, 2012
through
Mar 24, 2012
The Phantom of the Opera
Devon Preparatory School
Devon, PA

Mar 22, 2012
through
Apr 01, 2012
The Phantom of the Opera
St. Francis High School
La Canada Flintridge, CA

Apr 05, 2012
through
Apr 15, 2012
The Phantom of the Opera
Minnesota State Univ., Mankato
Mankato, MN

Apr 20, 2012
through
Apr 28, 2012
The Phantom of the Opera
Franklin High School
Somerset, NJ

Apr 20, 2012
through
Apr 22, 2012
The Phantom of the Opera
Pius XI High School
Milwaukee,

May 03, 2012
through
May 06, 2012
The Phantom of the Opera
Grand Ledge High School
Grand Ledge, MI

The Great and Powerful? Who will be the new Oz?

Shooting Begins on ‘Oz: The Great and Powerful”
The Disney film has a March 8, 2013, release date.

As I sit and listen to my daughter read from Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz* I wonder why, when there are so many of the original L. Frank Baum Oz books yet to be adapted, would yet another spin-off of “The Wizard of Oz” surface. For arguments sake, yes – I would dare say that “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” could possibly be the most fascinating of the 14 original Baum books. But wait, haven’t 90% of all on-screen adaptations been in some form or the other, a re-adaptation of  Victor Fleming’s 1939 version of 1900 book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”?

It is almost like that summer in 1996, when Baz Luhrmann took  Leonardo Dicaprio and put him opposite of Claire Danes in Shakespeares epic story of, “Romeo and Juliet.” Coincidentally, my 14 year old brother had been given the assignment of reading and reporting on the play. There was no getting him into this story. I asked him what the problem was and he responds, so what exactly does, “It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night like a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear” mean? Who is Ethiope and why stick a jewel in his ear? He had a point. So off to the cinema we go, not sure of what to expect and if Shakespeare would’ve approved of Leo in the lead. To my surprise, the modern adaptation was riveting and engaging, especially to a young boy whom understands the “street” Shakespearean over the “classic”  Shakespearean rhetoric.

The Problem:
Is understanding synonymous with appreciation?
My point: Many ‘great’ pieces of literature and cinema are being replaced by adaptations.
The concern: Are we forgetting that Shakespeare has written over 37 comedies and tragedies combined and this beautiful writing is being repeatedly diluted into mediocre over-adaptations. Are we teaching our children that there is more that just The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in the Oz Book Series, to be precise…14 more?

So what does this all mean and what does it have to do with The Wizard of Oz? For my grandmother (who grew up blocks from the original 1939 set), nothing will ever be as memorable as the 1900 book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. My mother would politely agree but whisper to the child version of me, “The Wizard of Oz with Judy Garland is by far better than the book.” I would have to agree with my mother but in high school, The Wiz with Micheal Jackson was pretty amazing.

“According to an article published by Moviefone, Disney hopes that Oz: The Great and Powerful will replicate the commercial performance of a similar 3-D fantasy film; Tim Burton‘s Alice in Wonderland (2010).” ~ Wikipedia

After the adult mom version of me finishes listening to her daughter read from, Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz*,  she asks her daughter, “So what do you think about the new movie Oz: The Great and Powerful? It will be similar to the style of Tim Burton’s (my daughter is a HUGE fan) Alice in Wonderland?” My daughter rests her cheek on her arm and responds, “What book is that?” and I say, “It is a made-up movie based on The Wizard from Oz.” She thinks for a minute and says, “Maybe if it were more like the real The Wizard of Oz,” surprised, I reply “Honey, I thought you loved Tim Burton! Why do you want it to be like the original?” She smiles and says, “Because it isn’t as like, crazy and stuff.”

Sometimes being truly “original” makes something “new” more memorable.

* The #4 book in the Oz books by L. Frank Baum.

How to Host a Phantom Party or Event

Have you been put in charge of this years Fundraising Event or Halloween Party or are you a Bride looking for the Perfect Theme for your Wedding? Why not try a Phantom of the Opera™ Masquerade Ball theme? We have comprised a simple preparation guide that should make the process relatively simple. We do however strongly suggest if you haven’t seen the musical live, rent the movie for even more ideas!

Phantom of the Opera Brief Synopsis

  • The Phantom of the Opera™ is set in a Paris Opera House.
  • Christine, a chorus girl, hears an unearthly voice which sings to her and speaks to her.
  • This mysterious masked ghost haunts the Opera House and begins tutoring Christine.
  • The Phantom (Erik) demands that Christine be given all lead roles.
  • The Phantom is denied his demands and during a performance, nearly kills Carlotta (the lead) with a falling chandelier.
  • Love Triangle – Christine falls in love with the handsome Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny, with whom she was a childhood friend. The Phantom is deeply in love with Christine.
  • The Phantom becomes incensed and kidnaps Christine to his home in the cellars in hopes of making her love him.
  • Christine eventually finds herself attracted to the mysterious Erik.
  • Christine removed his mask and the Phantoms horribly disfigured face is revealed.
  • She requests release and the Phantom grants her wish but makes her promise faithfulness and wear his ring.
  • Raoul is told about the abduction and promises to take her away. Christine agrees.
  • Christine must sing to the Phantom one last time.
  • Erik, again, takes Christine and threatens if she doesn’t agree to marriage, he would blow up the entire theater and everyone in it including Raoul.
  • Christine agrees. Erik lifts his mask to kiss her and admits that he has never been kissed, even by his mother. They both cry and Christine kisses him back.
  • Erik permits Christine to leave and marry whomever she wants because he knows she loves another. Christine agrees and makes him promise to let her bury him at his time of death.
  • Three weeks later, unknown to Christine, Erik is said to have died of a broken heart.

The Ambiance:
Haunting, Romantic, Dramatic

The Colors:
Gold, Black, Deep Purple, Blood Red

The Props:

  • Chandeliers (Check CraigsList, Antique Mall or simply create your own with shimmery Christmas lights.)
  • Masquerade Masks for the Women
  • The Phantoms Half-Mask for the Men (You can usually find them online ranging from $2 – $20.)
  • Candelabras – Electric Candlelight
  • Sheet Music
  • Red Roses
  • Dark Red Velour Fabric or Velvet (if it fits your budget) lining the walls and doorways.
  • Fog Machine for Effect
  • Phantom Posters
  • Phantom Music

The Invites:
Masquerade Themed Invitations (You can find these online.)
Red Wax Seal (These can be found at most craft store.)
Note: Make sure to inform your guests of the dress code.

The Activities:
Hire ballroom dancer for a couple of hours to teach your guests how to glide gracefully.
Masquerade ballroom dancing.
Hire a Phantom decoy to play devilish tricks throughout the night.

Charity or Fundraising Ideas:
Sell raffle tickets for $5 a piece, guests can purchase as many as they choose to win a Phantom of the Opera™ themed gift.
Hold an Auction, hosted by The Phantom, with Phantom of the Opera™ themed memorabilia.
SFMBC carries a beautiful collection of Phantom Memorabilia.

With a little time and research, your Phantom of the Opera™ event can be an unforgettable and exciting event.

We invite ALL of our Phantom fans to add to our list of ideas! Good luck & happy planning!