The Royal Magician of Oz Trilogy is a 3 volume tale of magic and wonder that recalls the cherished values of friendship, loyalty and courage. This timeless tale of Oz reminds us of the value of overcoming our deepest fears and conquering the challenges that might otherwise defeat us.

Volume One; Magician of Oz, Volume Two; Shadow Demon of Oz and Volume Three; Family of Oz are now available for your reading enjoyment, as well as The Ozian Adventure of Pickleless & Blu.

The Emerald Slippers of Oz
, featuring an Introduction by Roger S. Baum; great grandson of L. Frank Baum, as well as Tails of Oz are also
available for your reading enjoyment.

The newest adventure in Oz, entitled: Nomes of Oz is now available and fast becoming a best-seller in the Land of Oz.

All are available in both paperback and Kindle.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Passing of the Legendary Flowerpot Munchkin!

Today is a sad day in the Land of Oz; for we have lost legendary Flowerpot Munchkin Margaret Pellegrini.

From Wikipedia comes the following:

"Margaret Pellegrini (September 23, 1923 – August 7, 2013) was an American actress and one of the last three surviving munchkins from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz,  the other two being Jerry Maren and Ruth Robinson Duccini, making Pellegrini one of only two surviving female Munchkins from the film."

As you can see, this is why she was known as the Flowerpot Munchkin. She was also a Sleepy Head Munchkin.

I had the honor of meeting Margarette Pellegrini on numerous occasions, and though I did not know her well, I'm proud to say that I knew her... and she knew me and my wife.

A kinder, more gentler person you couldn't ask for in Margarette Pellegrini. Her kindness was legendary, as I found out at Oz-Stravaganza 2010 in Chittenango, New York.

I had met Margarette the year before at the Chesterton Wizard of Oz festival in Chesterton, Indiana when I first introduced Magician of Oz to the Land of Oz. It was a brief meeting but she was kind and thoughtful and complimented my shirt.

The following year was Oz-Stravaganza 2010 in Chittenango, New York, to which I was an invited author and part of Author's Alley, which was making its debut that year.

There were so many memories of that festival, but one stands out above all others.

My wife and I had arrived at Oz-Stravaganza! 2010 on Friday afternoon and attended the opening festivities at Chittenango High School, where we saw Margarette and her fellow Munchkins and Munchkins-by-marriage during the stage show. Margarette's banter with John Fricke was incredible and she literally stole the show. Margarette is the one on the far left.

Oddly enough though, our fondest memory of Margarette and her fellow Munchkins and Munchkins-by-marriage came during the evening at our hotel.

Once we checked in and settled down, we decided to grab a bite to eat at the Oz-pitality room down the hall, which was made available to us as guests of Oz-Stravaganza! 2010.

My wife and I had started making up a plate of goodies when the door swung open and the 5 Munchkin guests who we had seen only an hour before at the high school came bounding in, full of energy and life and looking for a "snackipoo."

As I was surrounded by Munchkins, I looked up to see my wife absolutely dumbstruck by the whole event. She had hoped to see these fine folks and was pleased at the evenings performance earlier but, here we stood, surrounded by Munchkins and feeling like Dorothy in Munchkin City. Everyone was polite, cordial and quite entertaining in their excitement.

I introduced myself and my wife to these wonderful people and they returned the introductions with joy, happiness and genuine affection. Jerry Marin sidled up to me and told me that my wife "was a real dish." I had to agree with him wholeheartedly.

Margarette, in particular, remembered meeting me last year in Indiana, which certainly made me feel very special. She then paid my wife the most lovely compliment and we left them with our head in the clouds and over the rainbow.

For the next several hours, we couldn't even think of sleeping as we were quite giddy at our chance encounter with these wonderful legends of Oz. Amanda was particularly taken by Margarette Pellegrini and fell in love with her kind spirit and generous heart.

The following year at Oz-Stravaganza 2011, my wife and I were particularly pleased when Margarette came by to say hi and reacquaint herself with Amanda and myself. Once again, we found ourselves chatting with Margarette and as you can see, my wife is simply enamored by Margarette's charm.

She even recalled meeting Amanda the year before and complimented her once again. Amanda made a concerned remark about Margartte's hand, which had been bandaged and Margarette called it her 'bum wing."

Such was the kindness of Margarette Pellegrini.

Later that weekend, while attending a premier of a most astonishing display of dresses worn by Judy Garland, which was courtesy of Michael Siewert and was held at the All Things Oz museum in downtown Chittenango, I happened upon Margarette Pellegrini once more. She was admiring some of the old books on display when I took the opportunity to do a little sleight-of-hand magic for her amusement. It was a simple thing but she reacted wonderfully and hugged me warmly. 

I will never forget that moment for as long as I live. Once again, she complimented me on my choice of shirts. 

At the Sunday closing ceremonies, Margarette again stole the show from John Fricke, who genuinely enjoys being upstaged by his good friend.

The following year, at Oz-Stravaganza! 2012, the Friday evening opening show was stupendous.

It included an appearance by Margarette Pellegrinni (left), as well as Myrna Swensen (middle), Munchkin by marriage and Caren Marsh-Doll (right), stand-in for Judy Garland from the Wizard of Oz movie.

Margarette Pellegrinni did something I've never seen before. She left John Fricke, (our host for the evening and a really nice guy), speechless when she commented on her pay rate for the movie ($50.00 per week) and Toto's higher paycheck ($125.00 per week). "Where's Toto now?" she asked John. After a quizzical look from our host, she replied; "He's pushing up daisies and I'm still here!!!". It brought the house down and John Fricke was speechless. What a hoot.

The next day saw the most amazing gathering of Oz I have ever seen appeared before my very eyes... and of course, there's Margarette Pellegrini, beaming with her usual charm and elegance.

In case you're curious, that's Roger Baum (great grandson of L. Frank Baum) upper left, Andrea DeShields (Broadway star of The Wiz, 1976) upper right, Caren Marsh-Doll (Judy Garland stand-in during filming of Wizard of Oz) center, Myrna Swensen (Munchkin-by-marriage) lower left and Margarette Pellegrini (Flowerpot Munchkin) lower right.

Margarette Pellegrini was the most kind, generous and wonderful ambassador of Oz anyone could ever ask for. She accepted her role with grace and charm and felt honored by her role in the 1939 MGM Wizard of Oz movie. 

We were honored by her presence in our lives and we will remember her for as long as we walk this earth.

She has now crossed the Shifting Sands and joins her fellow Munchkins in Munchkin City. The Land of Oz has grown more lofty by her arrival.

James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison of Oz

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Poor Customer Service at Steak 'n Shake!

UPDATE: AUG. 9, 2013

I received an email message from Steak 'n Shake requesting that I contact them at their toll-free number to provide more information about the poor customer service at the Mattoon, Illinois location. Given that I had loads of final exams to grade and such, it wasn't until today that I was able to attend to this matter. I called at 7:08pm and was placed on hold until 7:14pm. It would seem that long wait times are indicative of the customer service one can expect from Steak 'n Shake. The gentleman on the other end, named Al Jamar was polite enough and I have no complaints regarding his end of the transaction, but I am still NOT satisfied with Steak 'n Shakes' customer service. I'm curious what Time will bring to this matter.


AUG. 6, 2013

So, today I found myself at the local Steak 'n Shake in Mattoon, Illinois for lunch. Normally, I go there after classes but today I thought I would get in between final exams, which is always a maddening time.

I arrived at 12:49pm and was promptly seated, then it would seem that I was forgotten as I sat there for 14 minutes awaiting someone to take my order. I gots a thing for the Chili 5-Way and a Chocolate Shake and I figured I had enough time in between exams to enjoy lunch before I had to get back , administer said exam and then spend the rest of the afternoon grading both sets of exams. 

Now, it should be noted that there were only 5 occupied tables, including my own, so the place certainly wasn't very busy at all. had there been a full restaurant, I would have gladly understood the wait time and probably would have grabbed a quick bite at McDonald's (not my preferred choice but it will do in a pinch). Such was not the case however.

During my 14 minute wait, I observed another couple enter, be seated by a hostess and then promptly attended to and their order taken. In fact, by the time a hostess finally arrived at my table, the other couple's order was being presented to them.

Needless to say, I was none to happy and running short on time. I requested the manager and explained the situation to him. To his credit, he was polite and courteous, though I neglected to get his name. He offered to take my order, but by then, time was against me and I had to get back to school.

Now I'm about to grade exams on an empty stomach and not satisfied with the customer service at
Steak 'n Shake. I will certainly keep this experience in mind when next I choose a place to dine at during my lunch hour, once classes begin anew later this month.

I did notice on the way out a sign that stated "Satisfaction Guaranteed" and let's just say I was NOT satisfied.

James C. Wallace II