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'Oz' fans flocking to Munchkin Convention

Aug. 13, 2006 at 4:01 PM

PRINCETON, N.J., Aug. 13 (UPI) -- Fans of both the film and the book, "The Wizard of Oz," have gathered in West Windsor, N.J., for the annual U.S. Munchkin Convention.

The Trenton (N.J.) Times reported fans began attending this weekend's 39th annual International Wizard of Oz Munchkin Convention Friday to meet various "Oz" celebrities and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the birth of "Wizard" author L. Frank Baum.

The annual three-day event occurs in an East Coast location each year at the beginning of August.

"It's called the Munchkin Convention because in the Land of Oz, the munchkins were in the east," said this year's co-chair Chris Warkala.

One of the main attractions of this year's event was the visit of Clarence Swensen, who played a Munchkin in the 1939 film and was very appreciative of loyalty the film's fans have shown.

"If it weren't for the public," said Swensen, "'The Wizard of Oz' wouldn't be where it is today."

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