Speakers

John Fricke

c55019e2a26271e9d279eba56cfe4048John Fricke is widely-regarded as the world’s preeminent Wizard of Oz and Judy Garland historian and is the author of the new book, The Wonderful World of Oz (Down East Books, 2013). For the last year, he has served as a spokesman for Warner Bros. — as host of the Hollywood re-premiere of the film on its 75th anniversary; in publicity for its 3D/IMAX screenings and 3D DVD release, as well as its return-to-vinyl for world “Record Store Day”; and for its merchandising TV special on QVC. Fricke is prominently featured in the new documentary, “The Making of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz” that accompanies the DVD set and also provided the copy for the mini-coffee table book included in the packaging.

​​He is a two-time Emmy Award winner as co-producer and co-writer of the PBS-TV” American Masters” Judy Garland: By Myself and A&amp;E “Biography” special,  Judy: Beyond the Rainbow. Fricke received a Grammy Award “Best Album Notes” nomination for the booklet accompanying the Capitol CD release, Judy Garland: 25th Anniversary Retrospective.  ​<a href=”http://www.amazon.com/John-Fricke/e/B001K8JX36″ target=”_blank”>Click Here to view some of John’s books</a>

Ryan Jay

Ryan Jay is a popular TV and radio film critic, appearing weekly on NBC-TV in Milwaukee and nationally syndicated by Premiere Networks on FM stations across America. He is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

Often on the red carpet at movie premieres and events, Ryan has interviewed many of Hollywood’s A-list celebrities.  As an Oz historian, he has presented about the history of MGM’s “The Wizard of Oz.” At the first annual Midwest Wizard of Oz Fest, he will share his insights and interviews with the cast and filmmakers of Disney’s “Oz the Great and Powerful,” and “Return to Oz,” plus “Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return.”   He will further showcase a clip from the upcoming documentary feature he is directing, “The Sound of Oz,” about the stories behind the making of the songs from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Ryan can be found every other week in the pages of Us Weekly magazine as Fashion Police. Prior to his career as an entertainment journalist, he worked as a television producer of major pop culture programming for networks such as Bravo, Showtime, MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, TLC, and even The Jerry Springer Show.

For more info, including his movie reviews, visit his website RyanJayReviews.com.

Aaron Harburg

aaron harburgAaron Harburg is the great-grandson of Oscar-winning lyricist Yip Harburg who wrote all of the lyrics for the 1939 “Wizard of Oz.” Aaron is the first one in his family since his great-grandfather to pursue a career in the arts. He has over 10 years of video production experience and is presently producing a documentary on his great-grandfather and his collaborator Harold Arlen with director Ryan Jay titled “The Sound of Oz.” Aaron has a passion for music and his family legacy. He has represented his family estate across the country and is the face of the Yip Harburg Foundation.

Yip Harburg was born April 8th 1896 to a poor Jewish immigrant family. In his childhood he befriended the Gershwins and after a disaster in the great depression began pursuing his passion for poetry and lyrics. Already gaining a name for himself with “Brother Can You Spare a Dime” he and Harold Arlen were enlisted to put words and music to a timeless American classic. There are a number of anecdotes about their personalities leading to fascinating stories surrounding the writing of the most famous songs in cinematic history. Aaron Harburg, Yip’s great grandson will be presenting on many of these stories and how they are inspiring him to pursue a documentary to tell them.

Check out his Linked In page here to see all his accomplishments: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aharburg

Mary Ellen St. Aubin

Mary Ellen
“I Married A Munchkin”

The “first lady of the festival,” Mary Ellen St. Aubin — a dimunutive “little person” now in her nineties – recalls her late husband, Pernell, and his role as a Munchkin soldier in The Wizard of Oz film.