[10/26/05 - 12:00 AM]
TBS to Present First-Ever Telecast of Digitally Remastered Edition of the Wizard of Oz Weekend of NoV. 11

[via press release from TBS]

TBS To Present First-Ever Telecast of Digitally Remastered Edition of THE WIZARD OF OZ Weekend of Nov. 11

Special Presentation Features State-of-the-Art Picture Quality, Follows on Heels of DVD Release from Warner Home Video

TBS will give viewers an early holiday present when the network presents the first-ever telecast of the beautifully restored edition of THE WIZARD OF OZ. This digitally remastered version of this perennial classic will feature the highest-quality video resolution available when it premieres during a special weekend of telecasts: Friday, Nov. 11, at 9 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 12, at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov. 13, at 8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. (ET/PT).

"TBS is proud to introduce this extraordinary version of THE WIZARD OF OZ to viewers, who can see the movie in a whole new light," said Ken Schwab, senior vice president of programming for TBS and sister network TNT. "This digitally remastered edition of the movie provides a remarkably clear picture that surpasses even the original theatrical presentations."

TBS�s presentation comes on the heels of Warner Home Video�s Tuesday, Oct. 25, DVD release of THE WIZARD OF OZ in a three-disc Collector�s Edition and two-disc Special Edition. In addition to digitally restoring the movie�s picture to the highest quality possible, Warner Home Video has remastered the soundtrack, which is now available in 5.1 surround sound. Both DVD editions offer extensive bonus content, including four new documentaries, outtakes, deleted scenes and more.

THE WIZARD OF OZ began life as a series of children�s books by author L. Frank Baum. In 1925, it was turned into a silent film (starring Oliver Hardy as the Tin Man). Thirteen years later, MGM bought the rights to the story and set out to turn it into a musical. Originally, the film was to feature Buddy Ebsen as the Tin Man and W.C. Fields as The Wizard. But Ebsen was hospitalized after make-up tests caused an allergic reaction, and Fields had a scheduling conflict with another film at Universal.

From the outset, MGM�s THE WIZARD OF OZ was designed as a showcase for the studio's fast-rising teen vocalist, Judy Garland. Ray Bolger, Jack Haley and Bert Lahr were ultimately cast as the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion, respectively. And Margaret Hamilton took the role of the Wicked Witch of the West, leaving her mark as one of the silver screen�s most enduring villains, even though she had only 12 minutes of screen time.

The songs for THE WIZARD OF OZ were written by E.Y. Harburg and Harold Arlen. The team went on to win an Oscar� for "Over the Rainbow," a song ironically almost deleted from the film when studio executives felt it slowed the opening moments of the story. MGM chieftain Louis B. Mayer handed down the final decision to keep the number in the picture. Other popular songs from the movie include "Ding Dong, the Witch Is Dead," "Follow the Yellow Brick Road," "If I Only Had a Brain" and "We�re Off To See the Wizard."

Premiering theatrically in 1939, THE WIZARD OF OZ was one of the year�s top-grossing films, a selection on the film critics� poll as one of the Top Ten motion pictures of 1939 and a Best Picture Oscar� nominee. Its high production costs, however, meant that the movie did not fully recoup its $2.7 million cost until a 1949 theatrical reissue. But it has long endured and gone on to become one of the most popular films (and quite possibly the best-known film) of all time.

In 1956, THE WIZARD OF OZ had its first national television broadcast, setting the stage for what would became an annual TV event. In the years since, it is estimated that the movie has been seen by more than 500 million television households, and its popularity has shown no signs of waning.

Additional information about THE WIZARD OF OZ and this new remastered edition can be found online at http://thewizardofoz.com.

TBS�s sister network TNT (and its high-def feed, TNT in HD) will also present the newly remastered version of THE WIZARD OF OZ, with telecasts running Saturday, Dec. 3, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 10, at 5:45 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 18, at 10:15 a.m.

TBS is television�s "very funny" network, serving as home to such hot contemporary comedies as Sex and the City, Everybody Loves Raymond, Family Guy, Seinfeld and Friends; original comedy series and specials, such as the upcoming Daisy Does America and Earth to America!; blockbuster movies; and hosted movie showcases.

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, is a major producer of news and entertainment product around the world and the leading provider of programming for the basic cable industry.

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