TCM Sends 'Wizard' Off to See America

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Turner Classic Movies will turn up the heat on its annual summer celebration of The Wizard of Oz, adding such elements as a sing-along and local ad-sales opportunities.

In a nod to the fictional Dorothy's home state, Kansas City this Saturday (June 8) will be the first stop on the 11-city tour. At each venue, TCM and its local cable affiliate choose an outdoor venue, where the 1939 classic is shown at a free sundown screening.

This year, each audience member will also receive a special Wizard of Oz
kit that includes lyrics for each of the film' s songs, a flashlight to read them by, and props to wave during the appropriate tunes, such as a lollipop when the Munchkins sing "Lollipop Guild."

"Commercial-free networks can still help affiliates make money," said TCM director of affiliate marketing Cathy Boardman. In some markets, local operators could net as much as $100,000 from ad sponsorships, she noted.

The events were also designed to help raise funds for local chapters of the home-building charity Habitat for Humanity. Wizard
-themed T-shirts and other souvenirs will be sold at each event to help raise money at the local level. Nationally, TCM has committed to building two Habitat homes.

The Habitat fundraiser fits into the spirit of The Wizard of Oz
because of the film's catchphrase, "There's no place like home," said Boardman.


In another nod to the children's classic, TCM is encouraging each participating operator to donate three awards — badges to honor courage, heart and brains. Mayors and other city officials will hand out the awards.

In one market, each award will go to a member of the local Habitat for Humanity chapter, Boardman said. In another, a child battling a terminal illness will receive the badge of courage, she added.

TCM plans to promote the local events through tie-ins with top adult-contemporary radio stations recommended by the affiliates. The stations will stage remote broadcasts from the event site prior to the screenings, Boardman said.

In Kansas City, TCM plans to enlist the help of the two surviving actors who portrayed Munchkins. They'll make an appearance at the carnival-like event.

The network will also provide taggable cross-channel spots to help drive attendance and tie in to the event's advertising sponsor.

"There's a sentimental pull to a movie like The Wizard of Oz," said Turner Network Sales senior vice president of marketing and sales Coleman Breland. "Who wouldn't want to sponsor a screening in their market?"

In addition to the local outdoor events, TCM plans to air a sing-along version of Wizard
on July 4.