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Classic Oz


Celebrating the New Century of Oz

PRESS RELEASE, June 1, 2000


A whirlwind of recent adventure has landed Dorothy, her companions, and Toto too right on top of a small North Central Kentucky town.

33 Oz books, their characters, adventures, and more have been dropped at the doorstep of OZ CENTRAL, L.L.C. (www.oz-central.com) in Henderson, Kentucky. Amidst this years 100th Anniversary Celebration of author L. Frank Baum's original book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Oz Central has concluded a license agreement with the L. Frank Baum Family Trust, the preeminent home of the "Royal Historian of Oz".

Oz Central is the culmination of two and a half year's effort by company President, Richard A. Burch. Mr. Burch states, "We've come to a place where [with the Family Trust Alliance] we can be instrumental in helping take the adventures, virtues, and family values expressed in Oz into the next century". Richard Baum, grandson of the original book's author and Family Trust trustee, expresses his delight in having Oz Central aboard in "helping to return the focus of purpose and history of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to a place of prominence in The L. Frank Baum Family Trust".

As well as manufacturing and marketing merchandise related to the 14 Oz books by Baum and 19 Oz books by author Ruth Plumly Thompson, Oz Central is Master Licensor for the marketing and sale of endorsed goods manufactured under the Family Trust banner. Following L. Frank Baum's death in 1919, Mrs. Thompson filled the post of Royal Historian of Oz, penning an Oz book a year until 1938.

The worldwide appeal of the original book has often dwelt in the shadow of the popular MGM movie adaptation which occurred some 20 years following Baum's death. Much has been said of the movie, but little is recalled of Dorothy's original adventure. Whether it regards the fact that Dorothy's adventure wasn't a dream, but an adventure which unfolded following a cyclone whisking her away to the land of the Munchkins, or as originally written, the fact that her magic shoes were silver; Baum's book was the original and true chronicle of Oz. Dorothy's lessons on life, including personal hygiene and modesty, that were offered to the readers than still apply today.

In addition to it's own line of merchandise, Oz Central's current list of licensees includes a broad range of manufacturers from textiles to printed T-shirts, plush toys to board games, and chess sets to candles. Currently, Oz Central is negotiating with an innovative Internet company to produce a "virtual amusement park" using the Classic Oz license of the L. Frank Baum Family Trust.

An "Official" Oz store is currently being targeted to be placed into one of the "big 5" retail store chains. As well as new merchandise, this concept would offer even the most discriminating Oz Collector the opportunity to find the best Wizard of Oz merchandise available from a single source. The Oz Central line of products are already in a number of specialty shops and retail stores from Rhode Island to Iowa and Florida to California. The Oz 100th Anniversary merchandise is also being sold on several e-commerce sites including Shop at Home networks collectibles.com, e-zgiftmall.com, and the Galaxy Mall site WonderfulWizardofOz.com.

Although under wraps, plans are underway for a national promotional event for the 100th Anniversary Celebration of this beloved American fairytale. Fall 2000 will bring new appearances of Oz on television. Scheduled for debut are a weekly series from Columbia Entertainment with motion picture director Tim Burton as Executive Producer for "Lost in Oz" and a separate effort of an animated musical feature with Sony's Sunworks.

For more information contact:
888-TOTO-TOO (888-8686-866)



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