Friday, April 05, 2013

A Little Creative Casting

"But it wasn't a dream. It was a place. And you - and you - and you - and you were there." ~ Dorothy Gale
I remember watching The Wizard of Oz when I was young and having that "eureka" moment when I realized that the farmhands, Hunk, Zeke, and Hickory, were the same actors who played the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion. I think it took me a few more viewings to make the connection between Professor Marvel and Oz. After the realization, I wondered if Aunt Em and Uncle Henry had Ozian cameos -- I don't think so. 
With this in mind, I thought it might be fun to recast the movie with people from the Florence Griswold Museum's core story of Miss Florence and the artists of Old Lyme. Of course our own Miss Florence could have made a wonderful Dorothy, especially in her younger years. 
For the Scarecrow, I am casting Arthur Heming, the Canadian painter and illustrator. The Museum is currently featuring his work in the traveling exhibition Arthur Heming: Chronicler of the North which will be on view until June 2, 2013.
For the Tin Man I had to choose Childe Hassam, probably the most famous artist to come to Old Lyme to paint. We often show him in these black and white photographs standing outside the studio he used nestled in the fruit orchard. I can see him standing rusted-tin-man straight observing the landscape and planning his next great painting.

The painter Henry Ward Ranger, credited with founding the Lyme Art Colony, is best for the Cowardly Lion. Although a brave artist to start such a venture in the small village of Old Lyme, the body type and king-of-the-jungle-ness of Ranger seems to suit the Lion. Instead of the wagging tail, Ranger supposedly had a ring of cigar smoke ever-encircling his head. Puddum up! Puddum out!
As for Oz himself, I chose Willard Metcalf, partially based on their similar features. Not at all a humbug, Metcalf made Old Lyme famous with his painting of the front of Miss Florence's house titled May Night which won a great prize and was the first contemporary painting accessioned into the collection of The Corcoran Gallery of Art, the oldest in our nation's capitol. I'm glad somebody paid attention to that man behind the canvas.
David D.J. Rau
Director of Education and Outreach

David D.J. Rau coordinates as well as participates in the Museum’s October creative endeavors. You can contact him at

Upcoming Blog Entries:
  • Illustrating the Museum's October Events
  • Meet the Museum’s New Fantasy Illustrator Aaron Miller
  • Just C’Oz: Other Creative Endeavors Inspired by Oz

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is what happens when you let David Rau loose in the universe!
LOTS of creative ideas!