Eric Gjovaag said he was going to stop doing his quarterly Oz newsletter, The Oogaboo Review. I’d been wanting to do something like it for some time. (I still like the title I'd come up with, The Yellow Journal, the western country of the land of Oz being yellow-themed and the slightly unsavory connotations of “yellow journalism” being appealing to me.) Figuring I might as well save a going concern if I was going to do it anyway, I offered to take over The Oogaboo Review. Eric sent me the OR archives and treasury and subscription list.
I used up just about all the money on the first issue which I typeset and laid-out myself at the typography shop where I’d recently gotten work. (Have computers killed off typography?)
In a Feb ’85 diary entry I was making plans: “I copied an item from a magazine for my new ‘Oz in Strange Places’ [column] I intend to make a regular part of The Oogaboo Review.” You see Oz used as a metaphor (primarily MGM’s Oz) everywhere -- in political cartoons, in sitcom jokes, whatever – once you start looking you see Oz references all the time. I thought it’d be fun to gather up the strangest of these references for a regular column. One of the OR subscribers – Earl C. Abbe – was very helpful in this regard, stuffing envelopes with interesting clippings.
Sadly I only ever did two issues of The Oogaboo Review.
Eric had started a serial in OR, Queen Ann of Oz, the further adventures of Queen Ann of Oogaboo (since her first appearance in Baum’s Tik-Tok of Oz). I wrote a chapter and introduced a new character, Jody Buttons. All the people in Oogaboo have a last name that reflects the crop they grow. The Buttons family grows buttons in their orchard. Jody’s a tough little girl who wants to go out into the world and make a name for herself. She’s not going to be a “Buttons” all her life. When the serial died with OR Eric and coauthor Karyl Carlson finished the story; they kept a chunk of my chapter. I’ve seen the book but I don’t own a copy. I wonder if Jody chose a new name.
Eric Gjovaag maintains an Oz website that’s visited thousands of times a day. He’s also recently started a blog about life as a school teacher.