john baum

Vicki Baum (the author of Grand Hotel) for Modern Screen:

If I say that Greta Garbo as the dancer is much better than I expected, that’s not of small consequence. For I expected the utmost. I expected that she’d be Greta Garbo and that would have been enough! But this time she did more than usual. She played, so to speak, two roles. First, the weary, lonely dancer, aching for success–and then the awakened woman experiencing a great love. I’ve always maintained that the ability to transform one’s self constitutes great acting.

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Lyman Frank Baum (May 15, 1856 – May 6, 1919), better known by his pen name L. Frank Baum, was an American author chiefly known for his children’s books, particularly The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. (Wikipedia)

From our stacks: Cover and illustrations from The Tin Woodman of Oz. A Faithful Story of the Astonishing Adventure Undertaken by the Tin Woodman, assisted by Woot the Wanderer, the Scarecrow of Oz, and Polychrome, the Rainbow’s Daughter By L. Frank Baum “Royal Historian of Oz” Author of All the Oz Books. Illustrated by John R. Neill. Chicago: The Reilly & Lee Co., 1918.

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There are short-cuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them-Vicki Baum


John Phillip Balang: Internet Sensation, Been on Ellen for 4 times, Int'l Dancing

I hope you realize that L. Frank Baum invented the Magical Girl genre.

For real, though—

  • As far as I can see, all his protagonists are young girls.
  • Except for that one boy who, you know, turned out to be the Lost Princess of Oz.
  • And who then made a habit of rounding up ordinary girls from the Real World to serve as her royal companions so that they could go on adventures together and face down whatever evil Oz had to offer.
  • Emphasis on friendship.
  • Glinda the Good. Enough said.
  • Sparkling shoes that take you places.
  • JUST LOOK AT OZMA FOR A SEC.

The Patchwork Girl of Oz. L. Frank Baum. Illustrated by John R. Neill. Chicago: Reilly & Britton, 1913. 

“Horrid?” she replied. “Why I’m thoroughly delightful. I’m an Original, if you please, and therefore incomparable. Of all the comic, absurd, rare and amusing creatures the world contains, I must be the supreme freak. Who but poor Margolotte could have managed to invent such an unreasonable being as I? But I’m glad—I’m awfully glad!—that I’m just what I am, and nothing else.”

Olitz Fanfiction

Was doing some editing, and I want to see something like this SOON. We got Olitz all dressed up, but without much interaction. Bring it on, Scandal!

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The bright light of the bathroom was harsh and frightening. She blinked rapidly at her reflection in the mirror, not quite recognizing the person staring back at her. Dark eyes, already bright and prominent, were made even more dramatic with skillful help of her make-up artist. Her plump lips were colored soft pink and she wondered fleetingly how long she would be able to keep the gloss on before his hungry mouth would kiss away this cherry-flavored cover. Her cheeks were touched up by rosy hue, but she was not sure whether the blush was due to her make up, or her nerves that would just not settle tonight, turning her into a quivering mess.  

Olivia Pope-Grant gave herself another once-over in the mirror, unsure whether to scream or cry, or do both. She refused to recognize the gorgeous woman staring back at her, and desperately wished to take all of this finery off and crawl into bed.

Just then, the door to the bathroom opened and Fitz sauntered in, looking dashing and sexy in his eveningwear. Olivia’s scattered thoughts ran completely amok as she stared at him in the mirror, looking him over and over again, but unable to catch his gaze.

“Damn, you look breathtaking!” – his lazy smile and low voice sent a shiver through her body, and some of the warmth that she was missing from her heart slowly returned.

He slowly approached her and encased her in his warm embrace, setting his chin on her exposed shoulder.

“Are you hiding in here? – Fitz inquired playfully “because I can see that you are ready, and we need to go, but I am sitting there downstairs and my date for the night is nowhere to be found”

Fitz was really looking forward to the benefits gala they were supposed to attend tonight. It would be their first public outing as husband and wife, and the thought of people watching them, judging them, gossiping behind their backs while vying for their attention unsettled and disturbed Olivia.

Fitz could feel her body stiff as a bow in his arms. He knew she was uncomfortable and he knew she didn’t want to go, but she never voiced her concerns and prepared for the evening meticulously and determinedly, as if preparing to enter a long-term confinement in a state prison. He didn’t want her rattled and upset for the evening, gala was important for him, and he wanted to have fun with Olivia, but not at the expense of the ease of mind.

Slowly turning her around in his arms, he stared at her and when she tried to shift around and lower her gaze, he caught her face in his large hands and gave her a deep, thorough kiss, stealing her ability to think and breath.

“Baby, if you are really uncomfortable, we don’t have to go. We can go downstairs, order pizza, and have a nice night in with the kids. I want to go, but we don’t have to. And I hate to see you so upset and nervous. Why are you like this? Talk to me…”

Fitz’ kiss gave Olivia courage but she still lacked some clarity of mind. She could not really explain why the prospect of attending the gala with him made her so uneasy.

“No, we will go. I know it is important for you to be there, there will be tons of speculations all over media tomorrow why you didn’t make it”

“Well, we certainly are not going if it is only to appease the media”

“No, wait Fitz, that’s not what I meant. It is important for you to be there, and I want to be there with you. Just the idea of all these people around us, when they know we are married now, and they will stare and whisper and talk, I just hate it! – she finished with a cry.

Fitz leaned forward and place a gentle kiss on her neck before giving her a small, playful bite. Olivia gasped, but drew him closer to her.

“Of course everyone will stare, do you know how gorgeous you are?? As for whispering, I think the worst of it is over. So let’s go and party! I am dying to dance with you in public, and only with you, all night long”

His joyous voice and suggestive tone restored some of Olivia’s equilibrium. She nodded her head and turned around to re-applying her lip-gloss, smirking to herself that she didn’t even make it out of the bathroom without losing it from her lips.

They descended the stairs to the first floor of their house to be greeted by boisterous sounds of a PlayStation game. Karen was home for the spring break, and she and Teddy loved to compete with each other playing Tomb Raider.

“Hey you two! No playing all night long! One more hour, and then please give it a break” – Fitz’ voice was gentle but stern.

“Yeah, dad” – they both chorused.

Olivia approached the kids, and Karen abandoned her game, to Teddy’s protests, squealing at Olivia’s outfit and overall look.

“Liv! OH MY GOD, you look awesome!!”

Teddy chimed in, saying that Olivia looked very nice which caused her to blush and she hugged both of them to her side. Out of all things they went through with Fitz over the years, the relationship with his kids was something that was surprisingly effortless and loving. Karen displayed her moods from time to time, but she truly loved and admired Olivia, and Teddy worshipped the earth Olivia walked on.

“OK, you three, please break your love fest, we really need to go” – Fitz felt left out of the group-hug his family was currently engaged it, so Olivia decided to placate him by giving him a nice “I love you” kiss. They walked out of the house to the chorus of “Ewwww” from the kids behind them.

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Olivia stepped into the ballroom holding Fitz’ hand and felt multiple eyes zeroing on them. The host greeted them warmly and walked them to their seat. Olivia walked past the tables, recognizing some of the people and nodding a polite hello to them, all the while clutching Fitz’ hand like he was her life savior.

When they finally settled down at the table, Fitz leaned in closer to her and whispered “Breath, baby, it’s OK”

She smiled at him, scrunching her nose, and made her shoulders relax. Turning around the table, she greeted the companions they had for the dinner and started the small talk.

Two hours later, the dinner and the evening’s entertainment were over, and the orchestra started to play some quiet music. Olivia walked into the ballroom after spending the last couple of minutes in the ladies’ room, trying to locate Fitz to no avail.

“Olivia!” – John Baum called for her, and she figured it would be totally impolite to ignore US Secretary of State. She made her way to him, trying to figure out if the gentlemen and ladies from his circle were familiar faces to her, simultaneously preparing for unpleasant conversation to follow.

“So good to see you” – John declared insincerely, “how is married life treating you?”

Ah, he is not beating around the bush.

“It’s going really well, thank you. How is yours?” – she should have cut on the sarcasm, it was the worst kept secret that John had a lot of lady-friends that his wife was very aware of. The lady in question spoke up next:

“How is your business going? Are you still solving DC’s worst problems? We haven’t seen you on TV in a while”

“I am more behind the scenes now, my associates are very capable of handling the majority of cases by themselves. I just consult”

“Ah, and what do you spend your days on? Have you taken crocheting?”  - false and annoying laugh filled the group and Olivia tried her best not to snap at the preposterous woman. Before she could come up with a polite rebuke, she felt a familiar warm hand hug her waist and the scent of his cologne filled her nostrils, calming and soothing her irritation.

“There you are, I have been looking for you” – Fitz gave her a quick kiss on her temple and turned back to the rest of the group – “Linda, gentlemen, good to see you again”

“Mr. President, how are you doing, sir?”

“Great, great, very good, keeping busy with the library, the memoirs and all my speaking engagements”

“Right, right! I saw your speech at the United Nations last week, Mr. President, and it was truly inspiring and impressive!”

“Oh really, yeah, the speech turned out great, didn’t it? Olivia wrote it”

Fitz turned to beam at Olivia with pride, but the mischievous and slightly devilish gleam in his eyes confirmed Olivia’s suspicions that Fitz heard Linda’s dismissing comment about crocheting. She hugged him tighter to her side and smiled back, trying very hard not to give in to her instincts and give him a thorough kiss right in front of these judgmental morons.

“Oh, I didn’t know Olivia did speeches too…”

“Yeah, she worked on quite a few speeches of mine over the years, and they all turned out to be amazing. Now, if you will excuse us, I want to dance with my beautiful wife before the evening is over”

Not bothering to wait for their response, Fitz tugged Olivia behind him, and she found herself on a dance floor, wrapped in his arms protectively.

“Are you alright, baby?” – his voice in her ear made her wanton and needy, she just wanted to have him and at once, but that could definitely not happen right there in the middle of the gala.

“Yeah, I am good. It was actually kind of funny. Thank you for coming to my rescue, kind sir, you deserve an award for that”

“An award?” he drew back at her suggestive tone and looked her deeper in her eyes, trying to read her. She shook her head yes, teasing him and enjoying herself immensely.

They continued to sway to the gentle sounds of jazz, quite oblivious to all stares and whispers that surrounded them.

“Fitz?”

“Yeah?”

“I really enjoyed myself tonight” – it was her turn to draw back so that she could watch him – “ I loved holding your hand in public, and I loved referring to you as my husband, and now, dancing with you in front of all these people, it’s just… everything” – her voice caught in her throat when she finished talking.

Fitz could not help himself but drew her closer and joined their lips in a tender kiss. They heard the gasps around them and broke the kiss reluctantly, smiling against each other.

“We will make the front page of tomorrow’s papers after all!”