Shutterbug Saturday: Land of Oz 2.0
Previous Post: Land of Oz
When the Land of Oz opened, Debbie Reynolds and her daughter, Carrie Fisher, were on hand for the ribbon cutting. Sadly, the owner of the park, Grover Cleveland Robbins, Jr., passed away due to cancer in March, prior to the opening in June 1970. His brother Harry carried on in their company Carolina Caribbean Corporation. Robbins created the Tweetsie Railroad Wild West Amusement Park.
Their father, Grover Cleveland Robbins, Sr., was the Mayor of Blowing Rock, NC (several terms), served as the postmaster, started the Chamber of Commerce in 1922 and helped start the first high school there. Our Blue Ridge Parkway, here in NC, is because Robbins, Sr., was sent to Washington, D.C., by our, then, Governor, to make sure it would not be built in Tennessee.
The designer of the Theme Park was Jack Pentes, a Korean War veteran and, creator of Carolina Clowns and soft-play equipment.
Land of Oz (Official Site)
Five Interesting Things (North Carolina Field & Family)
That Abandoned Wizard of Oz Theme Park? (Popsugar)
Ribbon Cutting: The Robbins Trail (Watauga Democrat)
Snapshots Sunday: Land of Oz
In September of 2017, I paid a visit to a place I had not seen since I was about six years old…the Land of Oz. I remember bits and pieces of the trip. My parents took me in 1972 and two of my strongest memories are of riding on the balloon ride (a converted ski-lift) in a blinding mountain rainstorm and the wet ride in a bus, with no windows, down the mountain, leaving. For years, I wondered what had become of that park.
Originally opening on June 15, 1970, it was a grand place to visit and managed to stay open for a decade, even after a fire in 1975, before falling into disrepair and abandonment. Many things were stolen, vandalized or left to nature.
Appalachian State University had a cultural museum, at one time, that showcased saved pieces from the park including the yellow bricks, some munchkin houses, costumes, parts of the witch’s castle and other assorted props. All artifacts were eventually returned to the park.
In 1991, the park was included in a celebration for Independence Day for Beech Mountain. Watauga High School students dressed in costume. Emerald Mountain, Inc., purchased the property in 1994 and a slow restoration began. An “Autumn at Oz” was started as a reunion for former employees and became a yearly event. By 2010, the park drew 8,000 people.
By the 80th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz movie, 12,000 guests had come through in June of 2019. I have tons of pictures of this place, old and new and, I will be posting them over time. ~Vic
Land of Oz (Official Website)
Movie Monday: Klāvs Mārtiņa dēls 1970
Movie releases were slim pickings. Fifty years ago, today, the Latvian film Klāvs Mārtiņa dēls or Klavs – The Son of Martins was released. Written by Janis Lusis and directed by Oļģerts Dunkers, it starred Juris Kaminiskis, Lidija Freimane and Liga Liepina.
After [his] military service, Klavs, [the] son of Martins Viksna, is returning to his native village [of kolkhoz]. After [the] war, his father, the collective farm chairman […], was killed by guerrillas. Even after many years, the remote village of the Latvian countryside is still under agitation from those old days events. Klavs meets and falls in love with Bille [but], Bille is [the] daughter of Ance, his father’s first love. Klavs starts work in [the] collective farm but, after a conflict, however, decides to leave the village. After the death of his mother, Klavs [returns] and [remains in the village]. [This] is his real home.
Filmas (Latvian Movie Site Translation):
Klāvs, the son of Mārtiņš Vīksna, the first chairman of the kolkhoz, comes out of the service and starts working in his native kolkhoz but, does not understand his colleagues, so he goes to the city. The chairman of the collective farm agrees that he will eat his hat if Klav does not return. Klava’s mother Ilze dies in the hay meadow and the chairman offers the boy to come in her place as a foreman. Bille is waiting for Klava in Ilze’s house, whose mother, milkman Ance, once loved Klava’s father.
Klāvs – Mārtiņš’s son (Google Translate)
Latvian Films (Wikipedia)
TV Tuesday: Mister Jerico 1970
Fifty years ago, today, the British crime-comedy, made-for-tv movie Mister Jerico aired on ABC. Directed by Sidney Hayers, it starred Patrick Macnee, Connie Stevens, Herbert Lom, Marty Allen and Bruce Boa.
Smooth con man Dudley Jerico sets out to rob corrupt millionaire Victor Rosso [sic] of his legendary Gemini diamond.
A conman hatches a plan to swindle a corrupt millionaire out of his treasured priceless diamond by claiming to have discovered its twin. However, his plot is disrupted by a rival hustler who comes up with the same idea and, the two crooks must each convince their suspicious target that they can be trusted and the other is lying.
This disappointing comedy caper evidently got the green light due to the popularity of Patrick Macnee‘s dapper superspy John Steed in The Avengers. Unfortunately, this attempt to turn Macnee into an equally charismatic jewel thief just can’t compete with its bigger budgeted competition, despite the catchy title track from Lulu and the star’s stunning array of flowery shirts. Herbert Lom is good value as the object of Macnee’s felonious attentions (in a role similar to the one he played in the Michael Caine caper Gambit three years before) but, this lacklustre yarn, ultimately, can’t cut it in the excitement or suspense stakes.
Jeremy Aspinall of RadioTimes
Mister Jerico is one of those charming and fluffy capers that the 1960s did well, quite similar to the higher-budgeted Gambit or How to Steal a Million. The palette is sun-soaked, the plot buoyant and just this side of ridiculous. The second half of the film, in particular, moves along at a nice pace, complicating matters without making anything seem too serious. If you think too deeply about the story, it will all appear very nonsensical but, this is a stylized caper film not intended for deeper scrutiny. It’s a surface film and as such it’s quite enjoyable.
Lauren Humphries of Suddenly, A Shot Rang Out… Blog
A fun film with a very Avengers feel to it, which should be obvious given the cast and crew. Allen is a little out of place but, Macnee and Lom are great, as is Laurie Johnson‘s score. I’ll even admit, against that, Lulu‘s theme song is catchy. Apparently [it was] intended as a pilot for a Macnee series to follow The Avengers but, instead, [was] released theatrically (though, in the US, it only ended up as a TV movie of the week).
Dave W. of Actors Compendium
♦ Filmed in Malta and Associated British Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire.
♦ The lead role was originally offered to Robert Wagner but, he was not available.
Additional Reading & Sources:
Cult TV Blog
Video Link: (Late Update)
YouTube Link (Video will not embed as the owner of the account disabled embedding.)
Throwback Thursday: Memorial Day
Memorial Day, as celebrated, has come and gone. The weekend BBQs and party gatherings are over. Some folks have returned to work after their Monday off while others took the entire week off and, possibly, headed to the beach to herald the “summer season”. I am posting, today, because from 1868 to 1970, Memorial Day was observed on May 30.
Our American Memorial Day has quite a rich, lengthy history and one that has its own area of research. Columbus State University in Georgia has a Center For Memorial Day Research and the University of Mississippi in Oxford has The Center For Civil War Research that covers Memorial Day in their data.
So, what IS the origin of our Memorial Day? That’s a good question and the following took two days to research.
May we remember them, ALL. ~Vic
Warrenton, Virginia 1861
A newspaper article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch in 1906 reflects Warrenton‘s claims that the first Confederate Memorial Day was June 3, 1861…the location of the first Civil War soldier’s grave ever to be decorated.
Arlington Heights, Virginia 1862
On April 16, 1862, some ladies and a chaplain from Michigan […] proposed gathering some flowers and laying them on the graves of the Michigan soldiers that day. They did so and the next year, they decorated the same graves.
Savannah, Georgia 1862
Women in Savannah decorated soldiers’ graves on July 21, 1862 according the the Savannah Republican.
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania 1863
The November 19, 1863, cemetery dedication at Gettysburg was a ceremony of commemoration at the graves of dead soldiers. Some have, therefore, claimed that President Abraham Lincoln was the founder of Memorial Day.
Boalsburg, Pennsylvania 1864
On July 4, 1864, ladies decorated soldiers’ graves according to local historians in Boalsburg. Boalsburg promotes itself as the birthplace of Memorial Day.
Knoxville, Tennessee 1865
The first decoration of the graves of Union soldiers of which there is any record was witnessed by Surgeon Fred W. Byers, of the [96th] Illinois volunteer infantry, now surgeon general of the National Guard of the State of Wisconsin (Spring 1865).
Jackson, Mississippi 1865
The incident in Mrs. [Sue Landon Adams] Vaughan’s life, which assured her name a permanent place in history, occurred at Jackson […] when she founded Decoration Day by first decorating the graves of Confederate and Federal soldiers alike, in a Jackson cemetery on April 26, 1865.
Kingston, Georgia 1865
An historic road-side marker indicates Kingston as the location of the “First Decoration, or Memorial Day” (Late April 1865).
Charleston, South Carolina 1865
On May 1, 1865, in Charleston, recently freed African-Americans reburied Union soldiers originally buried in a mass grave in a Confederate prison camp. The event was reported in Charleston and northern newspapers and, some historians today cite it as “the first Decoration Day.”
Columbus, Mississippi 1866
Thus was established a custom which has become national in its adoption – Decoration Day – having its origin with the ladies of Columbus. Columbus also claims the distinction of being the first to decorate the graves of both Confederate and Federal soldiers, alike (Friendship Cemetery April 25, 1866). [See the poem The Blue & The Gray by Francis Miles Finch}
Columbus, Georgia 1866
To the State of Georgia belongs the credit of having inaugurated what has since become the universal custom of decorating annually the graves of the heroic dead. The initial ceremonies which ushered Memorial Day into life were held in Linnwood Cemetery, at Columbus, on April 26, 1866.
Memphis, Tennessee 1866
Yesterday was the day appointed throughout the South as a day of sweet remembrance for our brothers who now sleep their last long sleep, the sleep of death. That day (the 26th day of April) has, and will be, set apart, annually, as a day to be commemorated by all the purely Southern people in the country, as that upon which we are to lay aside our usual vocations of life and, devote to the memory of our friends, brothers, husbands and sons, who have fallen in our late struggle for Southern independence.
Carbondale, Illinois 1866
A stone marker in Carbondale claims that place as the location of the first Decoration Day, honoring the Union soldiers buried there. General John A. Logan, who would later become commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, the largest of the Union veterans’ organizations, officiated at the ceremony (April 29, 1866).
Waterloo, New York 1866
On Saturday, May 5, 1866, the first complete observance of what is now known as Memorial Day was held in Waterloo. On May 26, 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson designated an “official” birthplace of the holiday by signing the presidential proclamation naming Waterloo, New York, as the holder of the title.
Richmond, Virginia 1866
The anniversary of the death of Stonewall Jackson was observed to-day by floral decorations of the graves of Confederate soldiers at Hollywood and Oakwood (May 10, 1866).
May 3, 1866 [they] formed the Ladies’ Hollywood Memorial Association, with the immediate aim of caring for and commemorating the graves of Confederate soldiers. All disposed to co-operate with us will repair, in such groups and at such hours as may be convenient, on Thursday, May 31st, 1866, to Hollywood Cemetery, to mark, by every appropriate means in our power, our sense of the heroic services and sacrifices of those who were dear to us in life and we honored in death.
Petersburg, Virginia 1866
It was in May of this year, 1866, that we inaugurated, in Petersburg, the custom, now universal, of decorating the graves of those who fell in the Civil War. Our intention was simply to lay a token of our gratitude and affection upon the graves of the brave citizens who fell June 9, 1864, in defence of Petersburg…
Southern Appalachian Decoration Day
From The Bitter Southerner:
Dinner on the grounds is not a phrase I hear these days. Just reading the phrase takes me back to those times with my grandmother at her church on […] Decoration Day Sunday. I grew up in north Alabama in the 1960s. Dinner on the grounds was a special occasion that followed the work of cleaning up the graveyard and placing fresh flowers beside the headstones. It provided a time to remember and celebrate the lives of the dear departed. ~Betsy Sanders
Today, we are here to eat, remember and bask in the Southern fascination of death […]. It’s Decoration Day. The South claims death with as much loyalty as we claim our children. J.T. Lowery, a former pastor […] misses when Decoration Day meant keeping company with headstones during dinner on the ground. Opal Flannigan is depending on women […] to uphold a tradition so old it’s hard to say when it emerged. German and Scots-Irish immigrants who birthed much of the Southern Appalachia’s culture in Virginia, Tennessee and the Carolinas likely brought these traditions [with them]. ~Jennifer Crossley Howard
From UNC Press Blog:
Many rural community cemeteries in western North Carolina hold “decorations.” A decoration is a religious service in the cemetery when people decorate graves to pay respect to the dead. The group assembles at outdoor tables, sometime in an outdoor pavilion, for the ritual “dinner on the ground.” There are variations of this pattern but, the overall pattern is fairly consistent.
Nationwide Observance 1868
In 1866, veterans of the Union army formed the beginnings of the Grand Army of the Republic, a fraternal organization designed expressly to provide aid, comfort and political advocacy for veterans’ issues in post-war America. In 1868, the leadership of the G. A. R. sought through the following order to have the various local and regional observances of decorating soldier graves made into something like a national tradition.
Headquarters Grand Army Of The Republic
Adjutant-General’s Office, 446 Fourteenth St.
Washington, D. C., May 5, 1868.
General Orders No. 11.
From The History Channel:
By proclamation of General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, the first major Memorial Day observance is held to honor those who died “in defense of their country during the late rebellion.” Known to some as “Decoration Day,” mourners honored the Civil War dead by decorating their graves with flowers. On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried in the cemetery.
The 1868 celebration was inspired by local observances that had taken place in various locations in the three years since the end of the Civil War. In fact, several cities claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, including Columbus, Mississippi; Macon, Georgia; Richmond, Virginia; Boalsburg, Pennsylvania; and Carbondale, Illinois. In 1966, the federal government, under the direction of President Lyndon B. Johnson, declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day. They chose Waterloo, which had first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866, because the town had made Memorial Day an annual, community-wide event, during which businesses closed and, residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags.
By the late 19th century, many communities across the country had begun to celebrate Memorial Day and, after World War I, observers began to honor the dead of all of America’s wars. In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday to be celebrated the last Monday in May. Today, Memorial Day is celebrated at Arlington National Cemetery with a ceremony in which a small American flag is placed on each grave. It is customary for the president or vice president to give a speech honoring the contributions of the dead and to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. More than 5,000 people attend the ceremony annually. Several Southern states continue to set aside a special day for honoring the Confederate dead, which is usually called Confederate Memorial Day.
30-Day Song Challenge: Day 29 & Day 30
A song you remember from your childhood…
As the challenge comes to a close, this is the final post.
I’ve covered everything in the 70s back to 1972, specific to my childhood. Rolling back a little bit more, I remember liking these though I was very young.
No Sugar Tonight
I just barely remember this playing. I was so little but, it is burned into my young memory.
Love Is Blue
Past that, everything I know of music was learned later in life. The above are my earliest true music memories of what I liked, even as a child.
A song that reminds you of yourself…
I’ve never really found a song that reminded me of myself but, there are four songs I really identify with in terms of wandering thru life and the subsequent lessons.
The opening line to the movie:
“On a Saturday (March 24, 1984), five high school students report for all-day detention.”
This is my generation, though I was never in detention. I graduated in June 1984. Ditto Footloose.
Don’t You Forget About Me
Also released during my senior year…
Going Down To Liverpool
What I have turned into (tongue in cheek)…minus the nail-biting. *wink*
30-Day Song Challenge: Day 27
A song that breaks your heart…
“Living in the memory of a love that never was…”
“I wish you never even loved me…
It makes it so hard to live without love, now…
I had a handle on my sorrow…
My composure was in order…
If not sufficiently intact…
But, every reminiscent echo brings a blow…
To chill my senses and my heart quakes…
And tenses ’till those moments pass…
Every trace, every vision…
Brings my emotions to collision…
Past love’s lost tokens…
Every cherished thought once spoken…
False hope of reconciliation…”
Darius Rucker could sing the phone book to me.
“Don’t fall away…
And leave me to myself…
Don’t fall away…
And leave love bleeding in my hands…
“Since, I was young, I knew I’d find you…
But our love, was a song, sung by a dying swan…
And in the night, you hear me calling…
You hear me calling…
And when the nights are long…
All those stars recall, your goodbye, your goodbye…
Breathe in the light and say goodbye…”
30-Day Song Challenge: Day 25
A song you like by an artist no longer living…
I’ve already posted some Prince videos and I will have to work hard to keep this post trimmed down.
Can’t do a post like this without The King of Rock and Roll…Elvis. I grew up with this music.
Then, we can’t do a post with The King of Pop…Michael. His Off The Wall album was the third album I ever owned, behind Surf & Drag and Grease.
Next up, The Queen of Disco…Donna. Her music covered my life from 10 years old to 18.
The Beatles were never played in my house. Their music was just not part of my childhood. I discovered who they were after they split up and I liked a lot of solo stuff that came out. My favorite was George. I liked his scratchy, squeaky voice. Paul came in second.
This one covers two that have left us…Freddie and Bowie. This song spoke to me at 15 and still does to this day (and I was extraordinarily annoyed when Vanilla Ice ripped it off).
This came out after I started college. Teena was the Ivory Queen of Soul.
Ok. I’m stopping at seven (I could be here all night). I grew up with this music, as well and still remember all the words. I previously posted my favorite of his songs related to the Gold Rush of 1896. So, I will post my second favorite. I give you Johnny Horton.