The Dreamer of Oz (TV Movie 1990) Poster

(1990 TV Movie)

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8/10
Where's the DVD or Video?
artzau28 December 2002
This film deserves to available on video or DVD. As far as I know, this is one of the few versions of the life of Lionel Frank Baum, the author of the Oz series. The film, a made-for-TV film with John Ritter, treats the subject of L. Frank Baum's creating the Wizard of Oz book. The story is largely a fictionalized version of Baum's odyssey to creating the book and Baum purists (myself included) may be tempted to snort at the inclusion of issues that have been added into the mythology of the creation of the Oz books. However, this little slips are forgivable in the overall presentation of the life of a gentle man who truly loved children and whose works remain classics to this day. Baum was a complex individual whose works-- particularly the earlier ones-- were more complex than meets the eye. His themes touched on female voter issues (a hot issue in the turn of century, pre-feminist days), the ethics of creating life and the responsibility of science. This little movie does not go into these issues, nor should it have, for that matter. But, in any case, it should be available for those of us who would like to see it again.
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Beautiful Lies.
Eviey12 November 2003
I remember this movie every time The Wizard of OZ is mentioned and was surprised to discover I was only six years old the one and only time I saw it. It is very clear in my mind still which is clearly a comment on the quality of the film. All of the performances were wonderful but I have one negative comment to make. I recently researched Dorothy Gage and discovered she died at only 5 months old, and although her name is the basis of Dorothy Gale's, the story was always meant to feature a girl not a little boy as the movie depicted.

The movie had the viewer believe that Baum had a strong attachment to a child when really Dorothy was an infant who his wife adored.

Even though the film is inaccurate the story is wonderful on it's own and I would recommend it to anyone as a partly non-fiction, partly fiction film.
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10/10
A Wonderful Film
WTH_MovieFan11 September 2003
I loved this movie. I cried so hard at it, very touching. Even though the truth was stretched highly, it still is a great movie. I really wish they would release this to Video/DVD. It upsets me that they will not. I still have my old VHS version from when i taped it when it was first released on TV. Hopefully we will see a real release sometime in the near future.
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10/10
Please show this movie...
cmarks1413 October 2005
This has to be the best movie I have ever seen. John Ritter was/is wonderful. The writing was excellent, too. If I could get a copy of this movie I would give it a special place in my home. When you watch this movie you will sure to be moved as I was. I loved to see how L. Frank Baum came to write 'The Wizard of Oz'. It is not easy to imagine just how an author comes to compose a story. As many times as I have seen the film, The Wizard of Oz, and that is dozens of times, I never once thought to myself, "I wonder where Mr. Baum got his inspiration... you will be pleasantly surprised when you find out. I am very surprised and a bit dismayed that this film has not made it to the re-run stage. What a shame!
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10/10
Dreamer of Oz
mikeandjean196122 July 2005
I have seen many movies in my time, but Dreamer of Oz is my all time favorite movie. John Ritter was outstanding in his performance as L. Frank Baum. I taped Dreamer of Oz on my VCR about 15 years ago, when it was first televised. My VCR was old and the copy is not that good, but I will never get rid of it, since it's the only copy in existence. Why it was not released as a VCR tape, or DVD is beyond me. It is a classic. I would be the first to buy it if Mr. Kirschner decided to have it available for the general public to purchase it. I wish it could at least be shown on TV again so I can get a better copy. If anyone knows how to get in touch with Mr. Kirschner, please let him know what a great movie this is. If I could get in touch with him, I would let him know myself. Thanks
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The untimely passing of John Ritter.
jsl15114 September 2003
The untimely passing of John Ritter may lead to the rebroadcast and/or home video release of "The Dreamer of Oz".

I remember the scene where one of the kids hearing the story of 'The Magic Land' wanted to know what it was named. Glancing around his office he sees a filing cabinet. One drawer labeled 'A-N' and the other 'O-Z'.

Later, just before being published, he needs a book title. His wife says, whatever he chooses, it should be wonderful.

jsl151
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Really good
gazzo-223 April 2000
I haven't seen this in 10 years, but I remember it quite fondly. The sequences where he is visualizing the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Lion, etc are realized very well, with depth and feeling. And Baum's hard luck life was finally turned to gold after they found a publisher(after 23 attempts...)-his true life story was quite involving itself.

Strange, I remember quite clearly seeing Avery Schreiber play the artist who illustrates Baum's books and helps bring them to life-but failed to see him mentioned in the credits. Was he unbilled or was I wrong? Oh well. No biggie.

Very good show-*** outta ****
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A rewatchable movie
dfcurran29 March 2000
If you've ever wondered why was Wizard of Oz written, you have to see this movie. It's a little sentimental, but it is inspiring. I'd often wondered why he named the little girl Dorothy--and here the sad story is revealed. The part where author goes to the publisher hoping he can get a little money for Christmas is worth watching for alone.
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Memories of Baum
mrs_a_goodwin21 November 2003
I know I enjoyed it too. I was watching the Wizard of OZ on TV and then I remember watching the made for TV movie on the life of L.Frank Baum on TV with the late John Ritter as Baum. I enjoyed it because it told of the real Dorthy, his neice I believe, he wrote it about and for, since Baum himself did not have any daughters. I think it was on ABC when it was originally broadcast so they might be the best bet if you want a video copy of it.
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Simply Wonderful
gapboy42026 April 2003
I remember watching this movie when it first aired on television on NBC and I was fortunate enough to have it taped and I still have that tape today. The story is solid, as are the Oz fantasy sequences. This movie is certainly a classic in its own right.
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8/10
A memory maker
dave2603410 August 2001
My son and I watched this show when it first premiered and we still talk about it to this day. We learned a great deal about the life of L. Frank Baum and you have to admire the persistence of this man. John Ritter did an excellent job in his portrayal. All in all we found it to be very enjoyable and it should be rerun many, many times so that others can enjoy it also.
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I would like to see this movie run on TV again soon.
debbie-6614 April 2000
This movie is as good as, or better than, the original "Wizard of Oz". I find that this movie has more story to it. It's fascinating how the story book of the Wizard of Oz comes about and builds throughout the movie. John Ritter is great in this movie. I would like to see this movie on TV again soon.
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WOW!!! This Was Great!
ztonus8 January 2003
Probably the only complaint I have about it is that I can't find it at any video stores!

This was such a great movie! Like "The Wizard of Oz", it began and ended in Black and White. John Ritter did a good job and so did Annette O'Toole, which also did a great job on "Smallville"

Dorothy was cute, too. What's the actress that played her been doing lately?
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10/10
I Love this Movie!!!
boldkic4 February 2006
Please, who ever can get this on a DVD would be doing a justice!!! John Ritter was so excellent in this movie!!! It would be a great thing in his memory!!!!! I wish I was one of the footnote enough to of tape it when it was on!! I wonder why it is not on DVD...especially now that John has passed on!!! Like I said it would be SO great to have this movie!!!This movie has heart & soul and the characters are ones you can identify with!!! I have John in other movies and his comedy series but this movie showed his acting talent and should be on DVD!!! The feeling of this movie is one that has always touched my soul as I remember watching this movies after I got the kids to bed and it has always brings great memories!!! Please, who can help get this movie on DVD??!!!
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1/10
Great fun-a must see for Wizard of Oz fans!
KAMKMom28 March 2003
John Ritter did a terrific job portraying L. Frank Baum, author of the Wizard of Oz books. It was a moving portrait of an imaginative man and a wonder to watch. Roger Baum (grandson of L. Frank) told me he thought the movie was to be re-released, but I haven't been able to get it, unfortunately.
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Love it!
Brandy Talbott5 August 2010
This is a very moving and telling film. We have watched it about 20 times now!! I must say I missed this TV film when it aired originally. However, in February of this year we purchased the 75th Anniversary collectors kit. If you are an avid Oz buff, it is a must purchase and this movie is included. While it is not an digitally updated as the Wizard of Oz itself, you can really tell the awesome portrayals of two more awesome actors who have left us-John Ritter and Rue McClanahan :( I would recommend on seeing this film for all families. It's almost as magical as the original movie itself! The box set also comes with commentaries, deleted scenes and songs, biographies of the original Wizard of Oz cast and literature as well as a watch.
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10/10
What a movie!
Guitar-89 June 2010
After hearing about Rue McClannigan's death, I remember her role playing the mother in law (whose based on The Wiched Witch of the West). She disliked Frank for being an actor, but then after reading his books, she admits that he's got talent for imagination.

So I dug up the vcr tape & saw that movie. The 2nd time NBC aired it, they deleted some scenes. One is when Frank, his wife & mother in law, discussed ideas for titling the story (since it's superstitious to have a name of a jewel in a book title).

NBC should've aired this movie the week CBS had The Wizard of Oz, which would be tradition (until cable took it away from CBS).
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the direct tie between the book and the movie
rye-bread8 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
It's been years since I saw the movie. I tried taping it when it was first broadcast--the reception was awful. I thought the tape unwatchable. It was broadcast again. I think we were taping some other show.

But I watched the tape again--I had misplaced it--or thought I hadn't gotten the whole movie. I was pleasantly surprised.

The beginning of the show is the widowed Mrs. Baum at the Hollywood premier. Scads of reporters are trying to interview the cast. A single sharp young correspondent notices the elder lady. She's been invited as a token guest. No one really notices her--except the reporter. They sit on the front steps of the replica of the Henry and Em Gale house. She gives him the straight dope. The movie is told in flashback.

The end is pure shameless schmaltz. The interview ends. She doesn't even bother going in to watch the movie based on her husband's beloved book. She just stays outside reminiscing. The sounds of the opening theme music we're all familiar with are heard from the theater. The circle is complete. It's a lump-in-the-throat moment.
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8/10
Wish You Had A Copy of This To Show Fans of The Wizard of Oz?
blairf2729 March 2008
This sentimentalized biography of Oz creator L. Frank Baum (1856-1919) stars John Ritter in the title role. Richard Matheson's teleplay accurately depicts Baum as a business failure with the singular gift of being able to communicate with children. In keeping with Matheson's grounding in fantasy and the supernatural, Baum's characters occasionally come to life to palaver with the author and bring him inspiration. Annette O'Toole co-stars as Mrs. Baum, while Charles Haid is seen in the dual role of "Badham" and the Cowardly Lion. Also on hand as a Munchkin is Jerry Maren, who played one of the Lollipop Guild in the 1939 Hollywood adaptation of The Wizard of Oz. Made for television, Dreamer of Oz: The L. Frank Baum Story debuted December 10, 1990.

If interested in a DVD copy of this film email sojourn (at) frodelius (dot) com
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other forces at work
buchande11 January 2007
The first time I saw this movie, I loved it right away, and here I always thought the Wizard of Oz was my favorite. I copied this movie off of TV the second time it aired. Then by accident, my husband taped over it. About 6 months later, I got lucky, I found a copy on ebay. I took a chance (never ordered off of ebay before) but I got it and low and behold it was the original Dreamer of Oz and it was wonderful. I probably watched it a dozen times. I went looking for that movie just before Christmas this year, but I found the CD case empty, OH MY the movie was gone. We searched high and low in every DVD case we have and I can't find that movie anywhere.

This was a great movie and if this website really has people from the movie industry as members why doesn't someone put this movie on DVD and sell it, they would make a fortune. But then again, I sometimes wonder if there are other forces at work here and I'm not meant to ever own this movie.

I would even be willing to just have a chance at watching this movie on TV (maybe once a year would be nice).
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10/10
Only One Dreamer of Oz:But still many faces.
Stebaer43 December 2006
You'll be taken away most immediately starting with the prologue to the movie as you will the start of the movie as many prologues to TV-Movies are supplementary but it's also very interesting to see the many faces of Oz as L.Frank Baum dreams them up.to see how he gave a boy guts while he was sitting in a widow sill & told the story of a farm boy & later to a girl on her ailing bed "Remember that story,I told you of The Boy on The Farm?;Well it was really a girl." and then he kept it this way in her memory as she passed away.You'll find it intriguing as you see Lyman as all of the characters in his dreams and as he is then suddenly it's just as intriguing when you see his wife then yelling at him "Frank!"as she tries to get him back to reality.It was also most intriguing as he was telling these stories to the kids how one of them even asked "Well what's the name of this place?"and then he looked on the bottom drawer of the file cabinet and said " Oz."As I also know from another source it was his Mother-in-Law of whom said to him "You'd be a fool if you didn't publish them.But as this TV-Movie also shows one publisher after the other rejected them and so out of despair he actually going to rip them up and discard them but his wife had then stopped him insisting that they'd still make it big some day and she was right and as the movie ends with the interview of Baum's widow wrapping up she was then asked "You mean to tell me that if it wasn't for you then The Wizard of Oz would never have been?"She then said to him "Young man their's only one dreamer of Oz and That's L.Frank Baum." of which to some like my Mom said makes totally no sense but to others like me it's more than just a blind metaphor like many of them that are in the movie itself and means "What difference does that make if there's only One Dreamer of Oz?"Truthfully Stephen "Steve" G. Baer a.k.a."Ste" of Framingham,Ma.USA
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