As we've already seen, Reilly & Lee promoted the series pretty heavily. They issued a handsome counter-top poster, distributed bookmarks, published a new edition of the Ozmapolitan newspaper, issued a pair of full-color Oz maps in 1968, and produced at least two different full-color flyers.I had meant to include scans of the advertising flyers this week but time has run out. The blog must be posted! So you'll get them next week.
Did any of my readers buy this boxed set from Weekly Reader back in the day? Does anyone have a date for this set or any promotional material?
The "White Edition" Legacy
While no library bindings of the Reilly & Lee "white editions" are known to exist, copies of the Rand McNally "white edition" paperbacks were issued in hardcover library bindings. It's curious that it's the Rand McNally versions that got the library binding as one would think the stitched bindings of the Reilly & Lee hardcovers would be more durable. Perhaps the $1.50 price-point tipped the scale.
|Rand McNally Library Edition|
The books also replaced the text from the "Famous Oz Books" ad with new introductions specific to each title. I'll blog one of them later in the week so you can see what they're like.
|Hutchinson U.K. edition of LOST PRINCESS|
Scholastic Book Services published small size paperback versions of two of the "white editions," Ozma and Magic. The Scholastic Ozma (published September 1975) is especially interesting as the editor improved Dorothy's grammar by eliminating all of her baby-talk contractions. I s'pose someb'dy had to do it.
|Scholastic Paperback Editions|
When these new Reilly & Lee trade paperbacks were published they no longer bore the Reilly & Lee imprint. They were issued under the Regnery imprint (though some copies bear the Contemporary Books/CBI imprint instead). You can read my detailed account of these books by clicking here.
These new paperbacks were much smaller and the Dick Martin covers were redrawn in a slightly simpler fashion, including some subtle changes to the cover lettering.
|Regular "white edition" at left; CBI paperback at right.|
Regnery/CBI had only issued seven of the baby "white editions" when they struck a deal with Del Rey Books who wanted to reissue the Oz books as rack-sized paperbacks aimed at the adult fantasy market. At the time this drove me into fits. All of a sudden Oz books weren't in the juvenile section at B. Daltons and Waldenbooks, but classified instead as "Science Fiction." In many ways I still think the Del Rey deal contributed to a whole lost generation of Oz fandom. In any case, Regnery/CBI put their trade paperbacks out of print and that ended Reilly & Lee's connection to the Oz series.
The Del Rey Oz books were first published in 1979. Until I began work on this blog series I hadn't noticed that the Del Rey editions' interiors were created from Dick Martin's "white editions." While the text has been reset and the pictures are much smaller, the Del Rey versions include almost all of Dick Martin's new illustrations and rearrangement of existing illustrations, such as Martin's new line art drawings of the color-plates from Dorothy and the Wizard and the Kabumpo illustrations in Glinda.
For the record, Coles also issued an oversize hardcover version of Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz using the original 1907 edition as source material. It included the sixteen color plates, making this the first edition of Dorothy and the Wizard with color illustrations since 1935.
Some Things We've Learned
I'd like to be able to say we've learned a bit about how to date certain of Reilly & Lee's various printings of the "white editions," but, alas, Reilly & Lee has made it very difficult. The earliest copies list all forty Oz books and later copies list only the Baum fourteen. The earliest "Famous Oz Books" ad spells out forty - however, there are variants that reset that paragraph to say fourteen, and then they re-typeset the copy in that paragraph completely, simply calling them "the famous Oz books." This would seem like a clear progression, but at some point Reilly & Lee reverted to an earlier set of printing plates and many late copies list forty Oz books all over again.
There are several very distinct versions of Wizard. Some have Denslow endpapers and some have Road endpapers. Also, the Kansas sequences are printed in chocolate brown in some copies and in gray in others.
Some reprints are printed on thinner paper and using slightly narrower boards resulting in the printed cloth not wrapping very well and making the design on front and back appear to be off-center. Alas, these variants seem to pop up in both very early and very late copies.
Most (if not all) of the books also come in variants where the original pale blue ink on the covers is a much darker process-blue. The pale blue is certainly what Dick intended, as the darker one throws off the color balance. Again, this press room choice seems to have happened several times both early and late.
This has been a very enjoyable sixteen weeks exploring these much-loved but little-discussed editions of the Oz books. Next week we will have one final installment. Two guesses where we're headed. Click here to find out!