is a fictional land
conceived by L. Frank Baum
and first described in his book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
). He wrote 13 sequels before his death in 1919
Upon Baum's death, Oz publisher Reilly & Lee commissioned a 19-installment continuation of the series from Ruth Plumly Thompson; long-time Oz illustrator John R. Neill added three more books to the series. Four other books by other authors were added over the years. These books make up the "Famous Forty," often referred to as the "canonical" works of the Oz canon—though many other "Ozian" works have been written, some as pastiches or parodies, some intended as sincere "imitations" in the best sense of the word.
The most treasured depiction of Oz in the twentieth century was the 1939 Technicolor musical adaptation from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, The Wizard of Oz. The film was used as a star vehicle for budding starlet Judy Garland, but despite a massive publicity campaign, the movie was only moderately successful in its initial theatrical run. It achieved its iconic status after decades of airings over network television, beginning on November 3, 1956. The viewing audience for the TV premiere, broadcast in full color in the earliest years of that broadcast technology, was estimated at 45 million people. Thus began a tradition. For decades to follow, the movie was aired in the United States on or near Easter. Currently the Turner cable networks hold the television rights, and the film is generally shown during the summer and Christmas seasons. Presently the rights to its public distribution are held by Turner Entertainment (via Warner Bros.). As the present century opens, the film has become generally available, digitally restored for private viewing on DVD.