Saturday, September 4, 2010

Babes in Toyland

In addition to Oz collecting I have a strong interest in  early musical theatre - both Ozzy and otherwise. A particular favorite is Victor Herbert's Babes in Toyland (1903).

Not only does Babes in Toyland have a superb score, but it was also the show that replaced the 1903 Wizard of Oz musical after its initial run at the Majestic Theatre in New York. In the photo (at left) you can see workers painting out the Wizard of Oz signage on the side of the Majestic and replacing it with Babes in Toyland.

Many things in Babes parallel Wizard: elements of the plot, the comic animals, opening the show with a pantomime and a storm. Babes was also produced by Fred Hamlin and Julian Mitchell who had produced Wizard. And Bessie Wynn, who played Sir Dashemoff Daily in The Wizard of Oz, went on to play TomTom the Piper's Son in Babes in Toyland where she introduced the still-remembered song "Toyland."

I have a lot of Babes material; but my pride and joy is an original 1903 poster from the show that I got off eBay about ten years ago. It had some problems: a few rips and tears, scotch tape, staining. But Broadway lithographs over 100 years old are pretty rare in any condition! The image on the poster represents the "Birth of a Butterfly," an especially beautiful moment in the show.

A couple years ago I finally splurged and had it professionally restored. The restorer liked my poster so much he made a great little video about the project. I thought you might like to see it.


5 comments:

British Fan Of Oz said...

Wow what a stunning restoration!

Tommy Kovac said...

That poster is beautiful! Don't think I'm lame, but what do you think of the 1934 Babes In Toyland film with Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy? I love it.

Hungry Tiger Talk said...

@Tommy

The Laurel and Hardy film version is one of Eric's and my favorites!

Bill Campbell said...

A lovely job - I actually ran across this video a while back, but had no idea it was your poster!

Hungry Tiger Talk said...

It's a small world after all!