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The Wiz Memorabilia and Collectibles

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“The Wiz,” a film adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name, is an enduring piece of Motown’s cinematic legacy that reimagines L. Frank Baum’s classic “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” within an African-American cultural context. Directed by Sidney Lumet and produced by Motown Productions in collaboration with Universal Pictures, the film was released in 1978, aiming to capture the magic and success of its stage predecessor while introducing the tale to a broader audience. We take a look at The Wiz film, its cultural impact and of course a focus on The Wiz Memorabilia and The Wiz Collectibles.

1978 The Wiz original British quad poster
1978 The Wiz original British quad poster. Estimate £30-£50 / $40-$60

The Wiz Story and Cast

“The Wiz” follows the adventure of Dorothy, a Harlem schoolteacher magically transported to the Land of Oz, which is depicted as an urban fantasy version of New York City. Played by Diana Ross, Dorothy embarks on a journey to find the Wiz (Richard Pryor), a powerful wizard who can help her return home. Along the way, she befriends the Scarecrow (Michael Jackson), who desires brains; the Tin Man (Nipsey Russell), who longs for a heart; and the Cowardly Lion (Ted Ross), who seeks courage. Together, they navigate the challenges posed by the Wicked Witch of the West, Evillene (Mabel King), in their quest for self-discovery and empowerment.

Signed Photograph of Michael Jackson as Scarecrow from the musical film The Wiz
JACKSON MICHAEL (1958-2009) American Pop Singer. Signed 8 x 10 photograph, the image depicting the singer standing in full length pose, in costume as the Scarecrow from the musical film The Wiz (1978). Signed by Jackson in bold red ink to a clear area of the image. Sold for £220 at International Autograph Auctions Ltd, September 2017.

Cultural Impact

“The Wiz” holds a special place in cinematic history, marking a significant moment in the portrayal of African-American culture in mainstream media. Its all-star cast and creative team brought a unique blend of R&B, soul, and pop to the film’s music, composed by Charlie Smalls and others, making it a standout musical experience. Despite mixed reviews and a disappointing box office performance upon its release, “The Wiz” has since been celebrated for its groundbreaking representation, vibrant costumes, and set design, contributing to its status as a cult classic. The film played a crucial role in bringing African-American culture to the forefront of the entertainment industry, paving the way for future productions to explore and celebrate racial and cultural identities.

The Wiz Collectibles and The Wiz Memorabilia

At the time of release The Wiz received mixed reviews and a disappointing box office take. This probably reflects the amount of original The Wiz related items on available to collectors. Those that are available include original film posters, music and vinyl records (which features classics like “Ease on Down the Road” and “Brand New Day”), and signed photographs and items.

Robert Peak Original Watercolour The Wiz
Robert Peak (American, 1927-1992) The Wiz, movie poster comp, circa 1978 Watercolor, gouache, and pastel, with collage on paper laid on board 31-3/4 x 24-1/2 inches (80.6 x 62.2 cm). Sold for $4,250 at Heritage Auctions, April 2022.

The Wiz has since become a cult classic and there has been a growth of items available on sites such as ETSY including mugs, t-shirts, and posters.

Original props from the movie are of great significance to collectors.

Michael Jackson Scarecrow sleeves from The Wiz
Michael Jackson Scarecrow sleeves from The Wiz. Vintage original pair of bronze stretch fabric sleeves worn by the future King of Pop in the urban reimagining of the classic MGM film, embellished with braided rope and cloth all painted in putrid greens, browns, and black in keeping with the character’s rags and trash design. Sold for $704 at Heritage Auctions, June 2018.

The Wiz remains a significant cultural artifact, reflecting the vibrancy of African-American culture and its influence on the broader landscape of film and entertainment. The enduring popularity of the film and its memorabilia underscores the lasting impact of this unique cinematic experience on audiences and collectors alike.

The Wiz Signed 10 x 8 photograph by both Michael Jackson the Scarecrow and Nipsey Russell the Tin Man
The Wiz Signed 10 x 8 photograph by both Michael Jackson the Scarecrow and Nipsey Russell the Tin Man. Sold for £240 at International Autograph Auctions Ltd, December 2018.

Related
Wizard of Oz – Collecting Oz Collectables
Collecting The Munchkins of Oz A Tale of the Little People Who Enchanted the World


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