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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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On the 'yellow brick road'

Oz enthusiast and expert celebrates 70 years

"Until age 5, my real heroes were Walt Disney’s ‘Three Little Pigs.’ My whole world revolved around them,” said John Fricke, 58, of his childhood in Milwaukee, where his mother still belongs to Christ the King Lutheran Church in Brookfield.

Stratton Photography<BR><BR>John Fricke
John Fricke welcomes enthusiasts gathering in Wamego, Kan., for the annual OZtoberFest weekend.
Then came Nov. 3, 1956, when CBS aired The Wizard of Oz for the first time. “Everybody with whom I watched it had a nice evening,” Fricke said. “I had the life-changing experience.”

For the next seven years, every birthday and Christmas meant another Oz book or Judy Garland album. That progressed to a teenaged Fricke writing for Oz and Garland fanzines. And now he’s widely considered the preeminent Judy Garland and Wizard of Oz author/historian.


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