Monday, April 30, 2012

Map of Oz Monday - the 1921 Game Board Map

Last week we looked at Reilly & Lee's 1920 promotional Oz map. Since I am trying to tackle the various Oz maps in chronological order, we've come to a very unusual map - perhaps not even a map at all in the big scheme of things. Yet it offers some points of interest - and it's very beautiful, too.

The Wonderful Game of Oz Map (1921) - Click to Enlarge

This is the board game for Parker Brothers' 1921 Wonderful Game of Oz. At first I didn't think I'd have much to say about this map, but there are a few things to point out. Most obviously this map presents Oz as a squarish country - much like the 1909 Fairylogue map - but I am fairly certain that Oz has gone square simply to accommodate the traditional shape of this sort of game-board. The shapes of the countries are clearly based on the shapes from the 1914 Oz maps (note the phallic pan handle of the Gillikin Country).

But there is a huge adjustment to this map that I'd not really considered before. The Munchkin and Winkie countries have been flipped to reflect traditional east/west positions. Both the 1914 map and the 1920 map show the Munchkins on the left (though of course those two maps disagree about where east is located on the compass). The game designer clearly knew that the Munchkins should be in the east as Baum always stated, and the designer made it so. Perhaps a brave choice, since it flew in the face of the 1920 map issued by the Oz book publisher only the previous year.

The map is also the first to show locations from almost all of Baum's Oz books. The only book not represented on the map is Glinda of Oz - there are no Skeezers or Flatheads, even though there is plenty of room for them. This makes me question when the game was being designed. Perhaps the project was begun before the publication of Glinda in the fall of 1920? I don't really know how long games were in the publication pipeline back then. Of course the Skeezers were on the 1914 map - one of the locations Baum had added to the map that he had not yet written about. So this is in fact an omission. So whether the game designer had never seen a copy of Glinda or the game was designed before Glinda's publication, we will likely never know.

Several of the locales on the map are of interest because they show us things seldom pictured in the actual Oz books - such as this full color view of the Tin Woodman's all-tin castle. This is an adaptation of Neill's drawing of the castle from The Road to Oz (1909), but I think it's neat to see it in color

The Tin Woodman's Tin Castle.

Below is a rare view of Professor Woggle-Bug's Royal Athletic College. Note the imposing statue of the esteemed insect on the point of the roof! And I love the giant mortar-board on the large dome, too.

The Royal College of Athletic Arts and Sciences.

The game-board also offered the best view we ever had of Glinda's Castle until Eric Shanower's Blue Witch of Oz.

The Castle of Glinda the Good.

There are many neat spots to explore on this game-board map. It shows so much care and love for the Oz books that I find it impossible that the designer was not a HUGE Oz fan. I wish we knew who he or she was. Another interesting point is that this map unifies the Oz series. It features the locales from The Wizard of Oz which my readers know was published by a different publisher than the rest of the Oz books. Note the Denslow-like Hammerhead to the left of Glinda's castle.

Here's one more curious spot. On the edge of the lake there is an imposing pink structure not referenced in the Oz books. I wonder what it was supposed to be? The pointy end of the lake and the anthropomorphized big tower almost look like a face and word-balloon.

That's about it for this week's map blog. But if you find this game-board intriguing and would like a chance to play The Wonderful Game of Oz, why not join us at the 2012 Winkie Convention, July 27-29 in Pacific Grove, California? Because we have a gigantic version of the game set up for your playing pleasure!

You can read all about our giant version of the game at the Winkie Convention on this previous blog post. It's a lot of fun! OK, that's it for this week. Next week we'll be looking at the 1927 Coloring Contest map.

(Click here for the next Oz Map blog post.)

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Today we have a guest blogger: Eric Shanower, cartoonist of Oz comics and other stuff.

By Gregory Maguire
Illustrations by Douglas Smith
Published by William Morrow, 2011
A Review by Eric Shanower

Back in 1996 I had a mixed reaction to Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. The first half was fascinating, but the second half puttered on to a limp conclusion.  In the early 2000s I enjoyed its sequel, Son of a Witch, although I seem to be in a minority holding that opinion. My favorite moments in Son of a Witch include the visit to the Emerald City prison called Southstairs, and the tryst between Liir, son of the Wicked Witch of the West, and Trism bon Cavalish. After that I felt let down in 2007 by A Lion Among Men, a tedious slog I had to force myself through. Then I recently finished the fourth book in Maguire’s Wicked Years series, Out of Oz.

I loved it.

Do not read Out of Oz unless you’ve read the previous books. (Well, you can skip A Lion Among Men if you want.) Out of Oz is the perfect final act. Maguire has said that he wrote each book intending to go no further (although I might be wrong about A Lion Among Men - he may have been planning Out of Oz by the time he got to that one.) If that’s really so, then what he’s done with the Wicked Years series is an amazing and lovely example of flying by the seat of your pants and having it end up not only working, but having it end in triumph.

There’s lots for Oz fans to especially love about the surface of Out of Oz. References large and small to past Oz works abound. Out of Oz begins with Dorothy Gale’s trip to San Francisco being interrupted by the 1906 earthquake. That clearly intended parallel to L. Frank Baum’s fourth Oz book, Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, hooked me into Maguire’s continuation of his story right off the bat, all trepidation after A Lion Among Men cast aside. A further parallel to Dorothy and the Wizard is a trial as full of sense and sensitivity as that of Eureka the kitten, but it’s not Eureka on trial this time. It’s Dorothy - for the murders of the Wicked Witches of the East and West.

Less plot-centric Oz references proliferate delightfully - from Oz books by Baum and Thompson and illustrations by Denslow and Neill, through Baum’s non-Oz writings such as John Dough and the Cherub and Father Goose: His Book, to stage and screen versions such as The Wiz and Return to Oz. Even Judy Garland impersonators get a false-eyelashed wink. When the characters start conversing in lyrics from the stage version of Wicked, it’s so self-referential in such a sideways manner that I just want to hug Maguire for the clever mischief of it. On top of the Oz references there are plenty of nods to other fantasy literature for children.

So there are parallels between this fourth Oz book by Maguire and Baum’s fourth Oz book. But it’s Baum’s second Oz book, The Marvelous Land of Oz, that Maguire riffs on most closely here, with appearances by Mombey, General Jinjuria, and even Jellia Jamb. That’s not to say Maguire copies Marvelous Land. He doesn’t. It’s more of an underground exploration. Once readers twig to what Baum material Maguire is exploring most intently, there’s the question of which way he’ll go with it. And either way, how will he make it work?

Maguire makes it work richly. The climactic scene plays out so inevitably I can’t believe Maguire didn’t have at least the kernel of it in mind way back when he was planning Wicked. I think it will prove highly satisfying to anyone who loves the Oz books. Which is not to say that the characters end up satisfied. Out of Oz wouldn’t be the deeply human work it is under the surface if everything turned out happily ever after. For the reader, however, this book is perhaps the happiest end to the Wicked Years that could possibly happen. What a treasure Maguire has given us. With the understanding that the first two books (at least) should be read before this one, I whole-heartedly recommend Out of Oz.

All the important characters return. Well, at least those that didn’t die in the earlier books, such as Elphaba, Fiyero, Princess Nastoya, the Glass Cat. Here are Glinda, Liir, Nor, Candle, firmly entrenched within their lives once more. I was glad to see the formerly Cowardly Lion, Brrr, again, despite A Lion Among Men. And many of the minor characters are back, too. Nanny, Shell, Cherrystone, Iskinaary, Mr. Mikko, Chistery, even Dosey the Wren. One character I was longing to see again shows up near the end, but I won’t reveal which one that is. Ah, what joy to be in their company, even though through much of the book most of the characters are suffering from one sort of heartache or another. However, it’s not so much that they’ve all “returned” or “are back.” Out of Oz is simply a continuation of their collective story. With this fourth entry to the series, the first three books become no longer standalone stories, but chunks of a single saga that can no longer stand separately. Out of Oz forces the Wicked Years series into a whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts.

The most important character in Out of Oz is Rain - daughter of Liir and Candle - granddaughter of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West. A singular child, not hard to love, but a bit painful to love - a bit painful for her own solitary sake, a bit painful for the sakes of the characters who are bound to her in love, and a bit painful for the reader. Rain is like so many of the children of the Oz books - she’s an independent child who, if not actually an orphan, might as well be one. This story, no matter how much time is spent with other characters - and plenty of time is well spent with Glinda, Dorothy, Brrr, and Liir - this is Rain’s story, Rain’s journey, both physical and emotional. When it begins, her green complexion has been disguised, her capacity for magic has been suppressed, and her best protection is neglect. Rain’s got a lot to deal with in her - Maguire’s - world of Oz. Her relationship with her parents, her relationship with the lion Brrr, her relationship to her grandmother Elphaba, and most movingly her relationship with the boy Tip. Yes, that Tip. Rain deals with everything Maguire throws at her. And by the end of the story she’s grown. Grown, if not up, then within. And out. Out of Oz.

Memorable scenes include the return to the castle of Kiamo Ko, Rain’s discovery of a stone with a seahorse carved into it, Glinda’s farewell to Rain before bowing to an unexpected but logical fate, and a marvelous secondhand shop in the city of Shiz. Humor is spread around generously, even as the characters face bleak situations: the Grimmerie disguising itself as an unexpected twentieth century classic novel, the purposes Little Daffy has for the baking ingredient she collected in the poppy field, and the general reaction to Dorothy Gale’s unabashed Midwesterness and tendency to break into song at the drop of a hat.

Dorothy Gale is an odd element in Out of Oz. She’s neither Baum’s Dorothy nor Dorothy as played by Judy Garland. Flashes of these other Dorothys appear, but Maguire’s Dorothy is his own. Most of the time she’s not really likeable, but the reader, like the rest of the characters, can’t quite dislike her either. Maguire has successfully transformed Dorothy into a foreign object, which is exactly what a Kansas girl would be in Oz. When the prologue ended, I didn’t know whether Dorothy had been killed in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake or not.  I was happy to find that she survived - to become a victim, an annoyance, and a key player when she performs a well-known song for Emperor Shell in one of the most amusing and poignant moments in this amusing and poignant book.

Maguire’s prose style remains as dense as ever. Where a two-dollar word will suffice, he chooses a ten-dollar one. In a single page I came across two words unknown to me. I wondered whether Maguire simply made them up. Fulguration. Chuntered. From root and context I basically understood the first. But “chunter” was still pretty opaque until I looked it up as I was writing this. Mumble, British origin. Actually, there are many instances where words and phrases Maguire uses smack of British origin. I find this a little uncomfortable in a book set in Oz, the quintessential American fairyland, even if it’s a version of Oz that’s unquestionably a different facet of the Ozziverse than the Oz of L. Frank Baum. I could excuse Maguire’s Britishisms as some sort of reference to Merry Go Round in Oz by the McGraws, that series capper featuring nannies, heraldry, and roundabouts to the discomfort of many Oz enthusiasts (not to this one). But I really don’t think Out of Oz contains any homage to Merry Go Round.

The only other place Maguire’s prose firmly ejected me from the story was when “Rain slumped in the Lion’s forearms and noodled herself toward sleep.” Noodled? Really? I don’t know how one manages to noodle oneself toward sleep or anywhere else.

Are these quibbles? Perhaps. Despite these occasional stumbles, Maguire’s prose spins itself in musical phrasing, and while blatant in its advanced vocabulary, flows gorgeously along. I’d guess Maguire’s style is a matter of taste. If it’s to yours, it works beautifully. If not, then maybe you ought to read above your level more often.

But Out of Oz isn’t about improving your vocabulary - although the ability to comprehend a particular book is a thread of the story. Out of Oz is about finding your place in the world. It’s an echo of Dorothy’s goal in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It also turns Dorothy’s goal inside-out, repeating the phrase “There’s no place like home” with a different meaning. Out of Oz encourages me to cast aside any concerns that my adult love for Oz is simply a nostalgic inertia for a phenomenon that impacted my childhood. Sure, it’s fun to recognize the arcane Oz references strewn through the story. (I know exactly where Maguire got the keys that Mombey uses in a magic spell.) But Maguire’s story is far more than a guessing game to make use of all the Oz trivia that’s accumulated in my head since I was six. Maguire’s Oz deals more deeply - and starkly - with the details of what it means to be a mature human being than Baum’s Oz could. Baum’s Oz speaks directly, openly, to the heart of a child. Maguire’s Oz touches the heart of what it means to become adult. I decry those who accuse Maguire of tearing down what Baum built. Quite the opposite. Maguire has added his own strength on top of Baum’s foundation. As an Oz lover with an adult brain, an adult heart, and the courage to explore them both, I gratefully embrace the journey Out of Oz maps. I welcome Out of Oz into the world.

Friday, April 27, 2012

John R. Neill and the Winkie Convention

Most of you know that in addition to writing this blog I am also the Programming Director for the Winkie Convention, which will be holding it's 48th annual celebration of the Baum and Oz books this July (click here for details).

I am delighted to announce that the family of Oz illustrator John R. Neill has donated an original drawing to the Winkie Con. This drawing will be auctioned off as a fundraiser for the Winkie Program Fund on Saturday evening July 28, 2012.

This wonderful and important piece of artwork was one of the last Oz drawings John R.Neill ever did. It is the best of the cover roughs for Neill's final Oz book The Runaway in Oz and also includes multiple character sketches and illustration ideas on both sides of the same sheet. Neill died in 1943 before completing the illustrations, and the book remained unpublished until 1995 when Eric Shanower picked up the baton - revising the manuscript and preparing his own new illustrations.These wonderful sketches are John R. Neill's vision for his final Oz book. So let's take a look at Neill's drawing.

Click to Enlarge!

The piece we are offering is drawn in pencil on both sides of a sheet of paper measuring 10 - 1/2" x 7 - 7/8". This side of the paper features the most detailed of Neill's cover studies for the book, showing placements for the cover lettering, indications of color: note the word "blue" at the top of the image and Neill's scribble indicating "orange" for the title lettering. Neill has indicated the position of the "credits" by drawing simple boxes at the bottom of the image - though Neill has scribbled in "L. Frank Baum" at the lower right corner. The right-hand side of the image shows Scraps and the spoolicle in another position, as well as what's likely Neill's only portrayal of his character Captain Battery-Bat. The woman drawn on the bottom edge may be Fanny the Weather Witch, although it's hard to tell since her description in Neill's original draft is vague - maybe it's the Queen of the Conse-quinces.

Click to Enlarge!

The back of the sheet of paper is jam-packed with other sketches! The left-side shows multiple facial expressions for the Friendly Cloud. You can see the Patchwork Girl and her spoolicle (very tiny) sitting on top of the uppermost cloud. The right side shows several more views of Scraps and the spoolicle - the central one is especially interesting as it shows Neill experimenting with how he would get multiple characters onto the contraption. Popla the Power Plant is holding on at back and a character who's possibly Fanny the Weather Witch is leading the parade. Scraps has her legs extended over the handlebars. At the bottom of the page are two more small sketches. I'm unsure who the character at the left is - maybe the Twinkler. The boy on the bottom right is almost certainly Alexample.

You have no doubt noticed the mathematical figuring. Neill did this a lot on his sketches. Not quite sure what he was doing, but many of Neill's sketches and the backs of his illustration boards have mathematical doodling all over them.

As I said, this is the most detailed of Neill's several cover roughs for the book, and it was this image that Eric Shanower used as inspiration for the 1995 publication of the book.

Below is another example of how Shanower incorporated Neill's roughs into the final book.

Neill's 1943 sketch at left - Shanower's 1995 drawing at right.
You can see what a truly fine and interesting piece of Oz history this is. While lots of John R. Neill artwork survives, his Oz work is still quite rare. And these preparatory studies are rarer still and perhaps most fascianting of all, as they let us into Neill's mind to see his design process. This really is a marvelous piece featuring one of Baum's most beloved characters, the Patchwork Girl.

Please note, too, that the proceeds from the sale of this drawing will go to benefit the Winkie Convention Programming Fund. The drawing was donated as a memorial to their mother by the children of Joan Neill Farnsworth, the youngest of John R. Neill's three daughters, who passed away early last year.

Portrait by John R. Neill of his daughter Joan.

The Winkie Convention is very grateful to the Neill family for this generous gift, and the monies raised through its sale will, I hope, bring Ozzy pleasure to people at the Winkie Convention for years to come.

For information on attending this year's Winkie Con click here for more details and links to download the info pack and registration forms.  I hope you'll join us!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Oz Fiction Contest at Winkie Con 2012

The Winkie Con is reviving the Winkie Research Table for the 2012 Convention, including the Fred Otto Prize for Oz Fiction.

$100 First Prize
$50 Second Prize

Here's the call for submissions:

Prose story submissions are invited for the 2012 Fred Otto Prize for Oz Fiction.

“Oz Fiction” is defined as any story about or pertaining to the Land of Oz as originally created by author L. Frank Baum in the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and its sequels, but stories need not be confined to Baum’s vision. Submissions about or pertaining to the Land of Oz in any of its forms will be accepted. Stories may follow on from Oz books, Oz plays, Oz movies, Magic Land, or any other fictional version of Oz.

Maximum word count: 10,000 words
Submissions may not be previously published or publicly exhibited in any form, including online and digital publication.
No entry fee.
Deadline: June 30, 2012

Use standard manuscript style: double-spaced, 12 point type, 1 inch margins, page numbers at top right.
Include your name, mailing address, e-mail address, and telephone number at the top of the first page of each submission.
Include the title of your submission halfway down the first page and at the top left of every subsequent page.
Electronic submissions only will be accepted in one of the following formats: .pdf, .txt., .rtf, and .doc

Attach your submission to an e-mail and send to:
Please put the words “Oz Fiction” in the subject line.

Prizes will be awarded at the 2012 Winkie Con of the International Wizard of Oz Club, July 27-29, 2012. To enter and win you need not be present at the Winkie Con, though attendance is encouraged:

To enter and win you need not be a member of the International Wizard of Oz Club, though membership is encouraged:

Winners not in attendance will be notified in the week following the 2012 Winkie Con and prizes mailed in check form.

The Winkie Research Table also welcomes submissions of non-fiction and art. Prizes will be awarded in these categories, but those prizes won't be cash. Submission format guidelines and deadline for non-fiction are the same as fiction above. Submissions of 2-D and 3-D artwork should be brought to the Winkie Con (or arrangements made for delivery and pick-up) and will be judged onsite during the convention.

For further inquiries and questions, e-mail:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Map of Oz Monday - the 1920 Map

Last week we explored the Lost Princess of Oz map of 1916 and that brings us to the trouble-maker! This is, of course, the 1920 map printed by the publisher Reilly & Lee and given away with Oz books for the next year or so.

The 1920 Map of the Land of Oz given away by the publishers.

With one huge exception this is the map printed in Tik-Tok of Oz in 1914 - the exception of course is the "correction" of the compass directions to match our "real-world" compass with east on the right and west on the left. On the last three maps we've discussed (all designed by L. Frank Baum) east and west were flipped - the eastern Munchkins on the left hand side of the map and the western Winkies on the right.

I very strongly believe that Baum liked the wonky directions (no idea why!). He created three maps with this "mistake" and had multiple opportunities to correct them, had he wanted to. Oz retained its Baumian directional compass until Baum died in 1919, and then suddenly ZAP! the publisher pulled a switcheroo and reprinted the map as a give-away and they flipped the compass back to normal and the trouble began!

The trouble being that in 1920 Reilly & Lee hired Ruth Plumly Thompson to continue writing the Oz books and they sent her copies of this map. She then proceeded to describe a Land of Oz with the Munchkins in the west and the Winkies in the east!  I certainly don't blame her - the publisher had just hired her to write new Oz books and sent her the "official" map of Oz. A map that sadly no longer reflected Baum's view of his fairyland - so half the Oz series would come to say the Munchkins are in the east and half the series would say the Munchkins were in the west. Not much else to say. This map has caused people to blame Thompson for not paying enough attention to Baum and confused a whole generation of new Oz fans.

The map itself is very well printed on a nice coated paper. There must have been many copies printed and distributed as this map is not particularly rare. Indeed, it is the most common of all the Oz maps printed by Reilly & Lee! The black and white coloring-contest map seldom turns up, nor does the undersized Who's Who in Oz postcard map, and the 1968 Poster maps are rarer still.

One reason so many of these 1920 maps may survive is that, when folded, they fit perfectly inside an Oz book so children could keep them handy. The back of the map is said to show the Oz flag.

The Royal Flag of Oz

I agree it looks like a flag design, but I've never seen any Reilly & Lee publicity stating that it's the Oz flag. I wonder if there was any? I also wonder why the publisher didn't just print the map of surrounding countries on the back.

The Big Stretch

Reilly & Lee introduced one other mistake into this 1920 Oz map - they are using the same plates they used to print it in the 1914 copies of Tik-Tok of Oz. While they went to the trouble to "correct" the compass they did not get rid of the extra 3/8" space at the middle fold of the map. This space was added in 1914 to accommodate the crease at the hinge of the book. Look up at the top image of the map: The Gillikin mountains and lettering are separated by a blank area. There is a similar gap in the forest of the fighting trees in the Quadling Country. And the Emerald City appears as a widened horizontal jewel, not the circular emerald it should be. Here's how the map should appear without the extra 3/8" stretch:

Now, at first it might seem like the lettering and most of the line art are simply stopped in the gap - that the shapes of the actual countries are drawn "correctly." But looking at the 1914 Tik-Tok maps says differently. The book-hinge falls at a different geographical point in the Map of Oz than in the Surrounding Countries. The stretch in the Oz map is as described above - in the Surrounding Countries the stretch runs through the Winkie Country. Here's an image of a flattened out version of the Surrounding Countries map from Tik-Tok.

Notice how much wider the Winkie Country seems. Because of this added 3/8" the Emerald City is not even in the center of Oz anymore and here the city appears round like it should. These 1914 maps only show Oz correctly when they are viewed as endpapers and have that 3/8" space absorbed into the crease at the hinge. This was a really nice touch and showed a great deal of care and foresight in the design of the 1914 maps. Few people would have taken the trouble to adjust the images of two different maps so that they would each appear correctly when glued into the book.

That's about it for this week. I will add one bonus tale though. This copy of the 1920 map was one of the very first "antiquarian" Oz things I ever bought. I had just joined the Oz Club and the first person I contacted via the old Oz Trading Post was James E. Haff, who had offered a good sales list. I bought two things: the 1954 "Popular Edition" of Magical Mimics and this map. I had two months worth of allowance on hand - I was fourteen. So except for my childhood "white editions" this map is the Oz item I've had the longest.

See you next week for the 1921 Parker Brothers gameboard map.
(Click here for the next Oz Map blog post.)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Looking for Work in 1901

Here in the Tiger Den there is a fair amount of material by and about Fanny Y. Cory, illustrator of L. Frank Baum's 1901 sci-fi novel The Master Key and Baum's 1903 fairytale The Enchanted Island of Yew.

Cory was also a newspaper cartoonist whose work included the one-panel Sonny Sayings, featuring the adventures of a cloyingly sweet toddler named Sonny. But (outside of Oz circles) Cory is perhaps best remembered for her 1930s comic strip Little Miss Muffet - a close cousin of Little Orphan Annie.

I have one piece of original Fanny Cory artwork which I've blogged about here. But I recently acquired a nice little signed letter from Cory written in 1901, the year she illustrated The Master Key.

I find it especially interesting to see this behind-the-scenes peek at Cory looking for work. The letter is to the editors of some unspecified children's page, discussing a project she's been given for "New Year."  In the postscript she asks why she did not receive the alphabet. I'm not sure if she's asking why she hasn't received a certain book or why she did not get a certain job.

It's a neat little letter. Tucked into my copy of Master Key or Enchanted Island of Yew it will likely be the closest I'll get to a Cory inscribed copy.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Jonesing for THE WIZ

One of the more unusual WIZ related items I have is this "promotional" LP recording of an interview with Quincy Jones, the musical supervisor for the movie version of The Wiz (among many other credits). The album was sent out to radio stations in 1978 to publicize the forthcoming film.

The interviewer on the disc is rather lackluster. I suspect the idea was that the local DJ would re-record the questions and make it seem like an actual "local" interview was taking place.

There's some interesting material in the interview - one being how important Jones thought the new song "Is This What Feeling Gets?" was to the score. The song was a rather angry and bitter lament sung by Dorothy in the Emerald City Hotel after the Wiz tells them to go kill Evillene. The song serves as Dorothy's theme and appears as underscoring in the film - including a big swell just as Dorothy returns home in the snow. Yet, by the time the film hit the screen the song was cut. The full song is included on the published soundtrack album.

So now that I've whetted your appetite you can actually listen to the interview which is playing twice daily on Emerald City Radio for the next two weeks.

It's easy to listen to Emerald City Radio on Live365. Just click here to go to Live365 and click "Sign Up" in the upper right hand corner and join for free for access to thousands of internet radio stations. Then "Log In" and make a search for Emerald City Radio. When the Emerald City Radio logo shows up in your search results, just click on the logo to start listening right away! Listening is free.

So come on and give Emerald City Radio a try. Our current playlist is over 12 hours long with such a wide variety of Oz songs and music that you're sure to hear some old friends and some new delights.

Emerald City Radio - all great, all powerful - all the time! 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Map of Oz Monday - The LOST PRINCESS Map

Last week we examined the 1914 map of the countries surrounding Oz - today we get a look at the last map produced for L. Frank Baum's eyes - and presumably produced to his specifications. This is the black and white map printed on page 75 of the first edition of The Lost Princess of Oz (1917).

Map of events in THE LOST PRINCESS OF OZ - Click to Enlarge

At first glance this map might seem like simply a rehash of the right-hand side of the 1914 map with a few places added in - but there are several very interesting points to be discussed. The map has carefully been copied from the 1914 map, preserving every undulation of the borders, the Ozian river system, and mountains.

A number of new locales specific to Lost Princess have been added: the Merry-Go-Round Mountains, the Great Orchard, Herku, Ugu's castle, Bear Center, and the woods near the Truth Pond. Better delineated is the Yips' mountain in the Yip Country. Also shown is a small house just a bit north of the Yip Country that is probably that of Nellary and Wiljon and another house further north that's probably the home of the Ferryman who can't understand the speech of animals.

Certainly one of the most important aspects of this map is that it preserves Baum's switching of east and west on the compass. To me this just further solidifies my view that the backward compass was a deliberate decision of Baum's. Here Baum had a chance to correct it and did not. Indeed, Baum further pushed the point by explicitly stating that the Yips are "in the far southwestern corner of the Winkie Country" and then providing a little map to show where southwest actually is in Oz.

Further proof that the 1914 compass is no mistake is evidenced by the naming of two sections of the major river on this map. The section on the left of the map (draining into Lake Quad) is labeled East Branch Winkie River. The section on the right-hand side of the map runs from the Quadling County toward the Tin Woodman's castle. It's labeled West Branch Winkie River. This is no compass error - this is explicit naming of geographical points showing that Baum viewed the left side of the Oz maps as east and the right side as west. In the text Baum describes the rivers and terrain in fuller detail:

"At the east [border of the Winkie Country] which part lies nearest the Emerald City, there are beautiful farmhouses and roads, but as you travel west, you first come to a branch of the Winkie River, beyond which there is a rough country where few people live, and some of these are quite unknown to the rest of the world. After passing through this rude section of territory, which no one ever visits, you would come to still another branch of the Winkie River, after crossing which you would find another well-settled part of the Winkie Country extending westward quite to the Deadly Desert . . ."

This careful explanation of existing geographic points proves to me that Baum was looking at a copy of the 1914 map as he wrote. Indeed the 1914 map may have been a crucial plotting tool for Lost Princess. As we've discussed previously, Baum added several countries and locales to the 1914 map that he had not yet written about, such as the Skeezers, Mount Munch, and the Yips. It's possible that Baum had some notion of the plot of Lost Princess back in 1914, allowing him to place the Yip Country near the Truth Pond where the Frogman will bathe, but I think the evidence shows it is far more likely that Baum plotted the book by looking at the map - choosing to begin in one of his unexplored countries (the Yips) and seeing the only nearby landmark was the Truth Pond and he needed to come up with some excuse to make use of it. Either Baum had plotted out a big chunk of Lost Princess much earlier than we've ever suspected or he was studying the map while he plotted the book several years later. Either scenario is quite interesting. 

That's enough for today. Next week we'll take a look at the 1920 map and the whole mess of trouble it has caused! (Click here for the next Oz Map blog post.)

Friday, April 13, 2012

That Wandering Troubadour

The most recent published checklist of the work of "Imperial Illustrator of Oz" John R. Neill was compiled by James Haff. It appeared in 1977, the centennial of Neill’s birth, in the Oz Club’s journal, The Baum Bugle. The 1977 checklist was an excellent advance on the Neill information previously available, but it had errors and omissions. For instance, no one had at that point checked all the Altemus boys and girls series to see which volumes Neill had actually illustrated.

In 1993 Dan Smith, then co-editor and production artist on The Baum Bugle, was working on an updated Neill checklist. That revised checklist corrected some of the 1977 information and added plenty of new information. It also raised new questions. The Dan Smith checklist has never been published, which is a shame. It should be - although at this point it needs its own update.

Case in point: One of Dan’s questions was whether a Neill-illustrated edition of El Trovador, the 1836 Spanish Romantic play by García Gutiérez (the basis for Verdi’s opera Il Trovatore), had ever been published by Ginn and Company.  Preparatory drawings by Neill for an illustrated version of El Trovador were in the possession of Neill’s daughters, but Dan wondered whether anyone had ever seen a copy. Did the book even exist?

Well, the answer turned out to be “yes.” A copy of Neill’s 1926 illustrated version of El Trovador has been hanging out in the Tiger Den for several years now, thanks to an online search prompted by Dan’s question. And now Hungry Tiger Press is happy to present some of those illustrations for your viewing pleasure, executed in Neill’s intricate pen-and-ink style.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Treasury of the Forgotten Forest!

I'm very pleased to announce the publication today of a wonderful and incredibly over-sized edition of Eric Shanower's graphic novel The Forgotten Forest of Oz.

This new "Treasury Edition" from comics publisher IDW measures 10" x 13 1/4" so that Shanower's art is printed larger than ever before, allowing full appreciation of the fine, detailed linework and the rich tones of each watercolored panel. But there's more than just the acclaimed story of The Forgotten Forest of Oz. Aside from the dramatic new cover painting, this Treasury Edition features over sixteen pages of bonus material, including previously unpublished color versions of the original endpapers, never-before-seen character sketches, the artwork and script for the very first version of this tale called "The Story of Nebelle," and the preliminary art and script for the original ending of Forgotten Forest which was quite different and hasn't been published in its entirety until now!

I'm also happy to let you know that this spectacular new reprint is available to order at our online store. And as a special offer,  the first hundred copies ordered from Hungry Tiger Press will come with a signed and numbered bookplate designed especially for this offer by Eric Shanower.

Also, if you would like your book personally autographed, Mr. Shanower has agreed to do so. Simply make the request in the "special instructions" field during checkout.

You can look at a preview of the new edition of The Forgotten Forest of Oz by clicking here.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Map of Oz Monday - The Surrounding Countries

Last week we looked at the 1914 Map of the Land of Oz from the first edition of Tik-Tok of Oz, so this week we'll be exploring the Map of the Countries Near to the Land of Oz from the back endpaper of that book.

Map of the Countries Surrounding the Land of Oz - CLICK TO ENLARGE

The most obvious and important detail on this map is that Baum has filled in the the countries beyond the desert with the geography from most of his non-Oz fairy tales: The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, Dot and Tot of Merryland, Queen Zixi of Ix, and John Dough and the Cherub. Baum had first shown us that these places were in the same universe in The Road to Oz - but now we have geographical evidence of their proximity

It's interesting that Baum did not work Mo into the map, although he'd already introduced Mo into the Oz books with the Wise Donkey in The Patchwork Girl of Oz the previous year. And of course Trot, Cap'n Bill, and Button-Bright visit Mo before they travel to Oz in The Scarecrow of Oz the year following this map.

As in the 1914 Map of the Land of Oz Baum has added a couple locales that readers were not yet familiar with, such as Rinkitink, Boboland, and the Island of Pingaree. I wonder whether Baum added them to this map because he had hopes of one day publishing the 1905 manuscript King Rinkitink or if he already knew he would turn that manuscript into Rinkitink in Oz in 1916.

There are a few oddities and mistakes on this map. Hiland and Loland should be an island as it is clearly described as such in John Dough. If I were to put on my "rationalist" hat and say Baum makes no mistakes, I think I'd solve this by suggesting that when the tide comes in from that side of the continent - perhaps it isolates the central part of the two countries - surrounding them with water - rather like Mont Saint Michel on the Normandy coast of France. But in reality I think Baum just messed up. The Mifkits are supposed to be on an island as well.

The Country of the Gargoyles ought to be on top of Pyramid Mountain. And indeed the Gargoyles, Pyramid Mountain, and the Valley of Voe ought to be shown as being underground along with the vegetable kingdom of the Mangaboos. It's sort of odd to think that most of the events in Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz were happening in Boboland!

The Land of Ev also has some problems. In the Oz Club maps which we will be discussing in a few weeks Dick Martin and Jim Haff felt that Ev should be expanded to include the area designated as the Dominions of the Nome King, as those dominions are supposedly under the Land of Ev. I'm not sure I like expanding Ev that much. I think the area shown as being the Nome King's is a sort of no-man's land - an inhospitable rocky area not fit for much life. Clearly the Nome King has control over some of the lands above ground as he had authority to install the Giant with the Hammer.

There is a bigger problem with Ev though - the geography and position of the Castle (actually the City of Evna) is supposed to be on a strip of land thin enough that from the castle tower Dorothy can see both the Nonestic Ocean and Ozma approaching on the Deadly Desert. A massive harbor would have really helped solve this problem!

Another problem is that the island of Pingaree is shown to be far too large. Pingaree is one of the few locales in the Oz books for which we have exact measurements: three miles by four miles. If that scale is applied to this map the Land of Oz is only about forty-five miles wide - this seems a little bit undersized. That said, if this section of the map is accurate to scale, perhaps Dorothy could just barely have a view of both the desert and the Nonestic from a very tall castle tower. Especially if Evna is at a substantial elevation. At this scale the Castle of Evna is about seventeen miles from the Nonestic shoreline. The track of the Magic Carpet shows the crossing as occurring near the country of Oogaboo. Yet in Ozma of Oz the party returns to Oz and visits with the King of the Munchkins. If the position of the Evian castle is correct it's hard to imagine any path that would take one from Ev to the Munchkin Country.

One thing I do find rather neat is the way Baum shows the mountain of the Phanfasms. It almost looks like there could be two peaks. We know from Emerald City that the Phanfasm's peak is tall and cylindrical  - rather like Mount Munch or "Devil's Tower" in Wyoming, better known as the mountain in the film Close Encounters.

I just wonder if seeing this indication of a double peak on the 1914 map might have been what sparked Jack Snow to write about a second mountain for the Magical Mimics. 

The one place shown on the map that Baum never wrote about is the oddly named Kingdom of Dreams. This has never sounded like a Baum locale to me. I hate to think what the dreams in such a place are like considering the unfriendliness of its geographical neighbors.

Many of the inconsistencies or oddities on this map might be blamed on the Woggle-bug, who presumably drafted this map since he's credited with the other one. I doubt he did his own explorations, so some error and misinformation are bound to have crept in. Perhaps he interviewed people when they were visiting the Emerald City for Ozma's birthday party?

This map, like last week's, features the non-traditional compass. This raises a question. Since this is an Oz map made by an Oz character from an Ozian point-of-view, does this imply that the whole continent of Nonestica had the east/west reversal?

And I have a question for all my readers - post your thoughts in the comment section. Given the backward compass in use in the 1914 maps there are two ways that could play out in the physical world. Do Oz folk simply call east what we call west - essentially just swapping the names. Or do you assume this means the sun still rises in the east over the Munchkin Country and from an Ozian point-of-view travels backwards from our own?

For a variety of reasons I think the sun rises over the Munchkin Country and sets on the Winkie horizon. I suspect there might even be some mentions of such in the post-Emerald City of Oz books, though I have not looked for one yet. But none of the mortals has ever mentioned that the sun appears to travel backwards through the sky compared to normal earth rotation. Any thoughts?

Next week we will continue this discussion with a look at the map from The Lost Princess of Oz.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

I Was a Pre-teen Margolotte

You may may be wondering why I'm sharing a photo of myself at nine years old playing with Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch. It has nothing to do with my fondness for vintage SESAME STREET toys, but everything to do with the patchwork coat I am wearing.

I don't recall where that little patchwork coat came from, but I do remember I immediately thought of the Patchwork Girl when first I saw it. I had nearly outgrown it in this photo. My sister wore it sometimes; she was five years younger than I was, but big for her age. Anyway, about a year after this photo was taken I got it in my head to make a Patchwork Girl out of it.

My mom took me to a fabric store and - wonder of wonders - they even had some patchwork-printed fabric! We bought several yards, I chose a pair of buttons for eyes, a yellow pom-pom for a nose, and some brown embroidery thread for her hair.

To make the body I spread a double layer of the patchwork fabric on the floor and had my sister lay down on it. I then traced my five-year-old sister and cut out the shape. When my dad came home from work I asked him to sew the basic seam around the edges, which he did. (Mom wouldn't have been caught dead near a sewing machine!) After Scraps was sewn I stuffed her with shredded foam rubber.

I sewed the head myself - by hand. I didn't really grasp the concept of research and failed to reread the description of Scraps in the book. So she ended up with blue eyes and the pom-pom nose. I had remembered her nose was yellow. I gave her some tan cotton gloves (now lost), and she wore socks and a pair of my grandmother's high-heels at first (they are now long-lost, too).

Over the years she wore out some. I think my mom's last dog got ahold of her, too. In any case her head ripped, foam bits started to fall out, and she's been a mess for a long time now. I finally decided she needed some basic refurbishment. I bought some poly-fil batting a few days ago, came home, took off her coat, and began the overhaul.

Because of the way I made her there was no easy way to get to the foam, so I made a neat incision in her back and pulled out all the foam rubber and restuffed her with the poly-fil batting. I must add that I get very sentimental over some stuff and it is really hard to throw the old foam rubber away. I stuffed it all in her when I was ten! Yet it's aging badly and if she was going to survive she needed a more stable stuffing. I still have to make some repairs to her dress, too.

When it came time to repair her head I pulled out the foam bits and inside her head I found a big hard wad of cotton balls. I had totally forgotten I had put them in her head. It was an un-researched attempt at giving her brains. I repaired a big rip around her mouth and decided she was restored enough. I had sewn pearls in her mouth for teeth when I was ten - but they eventually fell out and I've chosen to keep my restoration efforts to a minimum - limiting myself to preservation - not restoration. I will probably try to find a pair of kid-sized white cotton gloves for her hands, though.

A couple years after I made this Scraps I made an eight-inch-tall version to go with my Mego Wizard of Oz toys. That one is long gone. I'm glad I still have the big one - but I wish the cat didn't look at her so longingly!

Saturday, April 7, 2012


A few days ago a friend called to ask if I wanted some Oz books he'd found at a local book sale. He said there were fourteen of them so I assumed it was a set of Baum titles. He didn't tell me the titles but he said they were older editions probably all from the 1940s. I asked how much they were and was told five bucks for the lot. I said, "Sure!"

My friend called back a bit later and said he'd been misinformed - that the books were $5 each. But if I was gonna take all fourteen I could have them for $50. I said, "Sure," again. This is what I got.

Needless to say I am quite pleased. All but one (a 1950s edition of  Wonder City) are indeed from the 1940s; most have gift inscriptions from 1944 to 1946. They are all in quite nice condition and nearly all have their pictorial endpapers. There are three first editions: Captain Salt, Scalawagons, and Lucky Bucky as well as a 1944 first printing of the Evelyn Copelman edition of Wizard from 1944.

I'm quite excited for my little treasure trove - but I am beginning to think the value in Oz books is starting to come crashing down. I am seeing so many now. In the 70s, 80s, and 90s, Oz books were hard to find. One seldom walked into an old bookstore and saw a row of old Oz titles. Now I see a few at least  in most every old bookstore I go into. And it's not just in San Diego. When Eric and I were driving across the country this past Christmas I saw quite a few Oz books along the way in Antique Malls and bookstores. The internet and eBay are overflowing with bargains! Multiple copies of Thompson first editions in dust jacket for under $300 - half the price such books would have been five years ago. All I can assume is that supply has caught up with demand and the Ozzy market is saturated.

Clearly very fine first editions, signed books, and the like hold a certain value - but from the prices I'm seeing online and in bookstores I doubt I could sell books I bought in the late 1970s for what I paid for them back then. There is a very decent first edition of Hidden Valley of Oz on eBay right now going for under $18 and no one is even bidding. There is another lovely (and overpriced) first edition in dust jacket going for almost $500, too. No one is bidding on that one either.

So while I'm really pleased with my little trove I do wonder what's happening to Oz and book collecting. Never has it been so easy and so affordable to build a decent collection. Sadly so few people seem to have an interest in doing so. That said, it's nice to have friends who will call when they find Ozzy treasure!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Kabumpo Goes to Moscow

As you have undoubtedly read on this blog, we will be celebrating Ruth Plumly Thompson's birthday at this year's Winkie Convention. It promises to be a grand time and in addition to some great Thompson programming on Friday evening the convention will also feature an elaborate display of Thompson's work. And over the next few months I will try to give you a few sneak previews of some unusual and little known Thompson material.

Today I want to share a quite lovely Russian edition of Thompson's second Oz book Kabumpo in Oz. Only seven of Thompson's Oz books have ever been translated into any language and all seven were published in Russia.

The Russian Kabumpo was published in 2001 by Vrymy. And it is almost certainly the most beautiful and luxurious edition of Kabumpo ever published. Can any of my readers translate the title of the book for me?

The cloth binding is stamped in gold on the front cover and spine and features an undersized version of the original pictorial cover label - slightly reworked to omit the lettering.

The book also features John R. Neill's  original pictorial endpapers  printed in plum-colored ink.

The interior of the book is beautifully designed, too. The handsome new title page can be seen at right and there is a two-page introduction explaining how Thompson acquired the mantle of Royal Historian of Oz and offers a few biographical details..

The volume includes all of Neill's original illustrations which are printed in the same plum-colored ink as the end sheets - as are the running titles. The text of the story is printed in black creating a vibrant contrast.

What makes this Russian edition even more special is the inclusion of all twelve of Neill's color plates.

There are similar editions of The Royal Book of Oz and Captain Salt in Oz - but I chose to show you Kabumpo as we are putting a special Winkie Convention focus on Thompson's Ozzy "Pumperdink" stories.

So come on, stretch your ears and pack your trunk and come join us at the Winkie Convention this summer! Click here or on the WINKIE CON tab at the top of this page for further details.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Map of Oz Monday - The 1914 Map of Oz

Last week we looked at the earliest Map of the Land of Oz. Today we explore the first detailed map of the Land of Oz, and to my mind, the most important - the map included as the front endpaper of the first edition of Tik-Tok of Oz in 1914.

1914 Map of the Land of Oz - CLICK TO ENLARGE

I have no doubt L. Frank Baum drew and designed this map (though publisher Reilly & Britton probably had a staff artist prepare the final inked drawing). Indeed, Baum's involvement in the creation of this map is what to me gives it such authenticity. L. Frank Baum decided on the shapes of the countries, their borders, mountains and rivers, etc.

One can truly see Baum's mind at work in many of the choices he made - especially in the fact that he added locations to the map that he had not yet written about, such as Mount Munch, Jinxland, the Yips, Skeezers, as well as a vast forest in the Gillikin Country and a large lake just outside the Emerald City. Baum eventually used the forest in The Magic of Oz when we learned it was the Forest of Gugu but he never made use of the lake.

Before I go any further in my analysis of the Tik-Tok maps, I guess I had better address the most controversial aspect of this map - that east and west are reversed in the Land of Oz. Again, I have no doubt this is L. Frank Baum's intention. Mainly because no other explanation makes sense. In the Oz books Baum always has the Munchkins in the east and the Winkies in the west with no exceptions.

There have been many half-baked notions on how Baum might have made such a supposedly grievous error. One of the silliest is that he based his map on the glass Magic-Lantern slide of the "Fairylogue map," and that Baum simply viewed the slide from the wrong side. Could you look at the glass slide below and not realize it was backward?

Perhaps Baum just confused his east and west directions? Uh huh ... and neither Baum, nor his wife, or the artist who redrew it, or John R. Neill, or the publisher ever said, "Hey LFB, you got your compass points wrong!" If Baum had some moment of directional dyslexia when he drew the rough map, there are just too many eyes and too many steps, from his sketchy doodles to finished drawing, to making proofs, to printing the book, for this not to have been EASILY corrected. If it wasn't corrected - it wasn't an error - thus, this is how Baum viewed Oz.

This seemingly wonky choice of Baum's may well have rankled Reilly & Britton because soon after Baum's death the publisher reissued the map with a "corrected" traditional compass and THAT caused a whole fairyland of trouble! But I'll save that discussion for a future blog post!

We will never know why Baum flipped east and west. Perhaps he planned to tell a tale about it he never got around to. My favorite theory in an "Oz as a real place" frame of mind is that the east/west flip has to do with how Glinda created the Barrier of Invisibility at the end of The Emerald City of Oz. After all, on the 1908 map the eastern Munchkins are seen on the right and the western Winkies are seen on the left - just like our directions. So this "Barrier of Invisibility" idea explains and validates both maps. In 1908 directions were normal, after 1910 they were flipped. This rationalization even solves the seeming error at the end of Ozma of Oz when the rescue party returns home from the Land of Ev and visits with the King of the Munchkins. In 1907 Ev was indeed across the desert from the Munchkin Country. After 1910 it was not. Is everybody still with me?

There are certainly a few problems with this mirror-flip Barrier of Invisibility theory. For one, the path of the sand boat doesn't work. And in the Map of Surrounding Countries (which we will discuss next week) the compass directions match those of Oz. Did Glinda flip directions for the entire continent?

There are a few small errors on this 1914 Oz map. The Truth Pond looks rather like the Truth Lake and the Yellow Brick Road is shown as being totally straight. It's certainly possible, but I think few people imagine it as such. It's interesting to note that Baum has it extend out of Oz and on into the Desert. It could be Baum failed to erase guidelines and the cartographer simply inked it all in? Or perhaps there was to be a story about this someday.

I've given some more thought to the fact that the Fairylogue map is square. Last week I suggested Baum had drawn Oz to be a square-shaped. I don't think so anymore - the map is too stylized. I think the Fairylogue Map is simply showing a smaller portion of Oz and the map simply doesn't extend to show the actual and perhaps then unknown borders. The Fairylogue Map's double-ruled delineation of the deadly desert does not show the actual border either, but only indicates that an unknown desert barrier surrounds all of Oz.

Overlay of 1908 map on top of 1914 map.

Perhaps the Fairylogue Map is simply an old and not very accurate map from the days before Ozma came to power, the poor quality of said map being what prompted Ozma to commission a new set of maps to be made by Professor Wogglebug (who researched and drew the Tik-Tok maps according to the map legend). It's interesting to note that overlaying the two maps like this almost exactly creates that weird little triangular bite out of the north-western Gillikin Country. Perhaps Baum did use the 1908 map as a starting point! That said, I still think the only clear reason for the east/west reversal can be a deliberate choice on his part. Might Ozma have more clearly delineated and expanded the green area around the Emerald City? It's not shown at all on the 1908 map yet seems almost a country in itself on the 1914 one.

Lastly, I was surprised to see that the 1914 Map of the Land of Oz has never been reprinted anywhere except for the Books of Wonder and Bradford Exchange reprints of Tik-Tok of Oz. The first edition of The Annotated Wizard of Oz claims to have reprinted them, but in fact used the "corrected" 1920 version. The first edition copy of Tik-Tok here in the Tiger Den was missing a portion of the upper right free endpaper. I replaced it from the Bradford Exchange reprint (notice the non-matching whiteness of the desert area). I've complained about mediocre reproduction in these Bradford Exchange books before and, alas, I have still another fresh complaint! Bradford has distorted the map endpapers - I had to squash and stretch that little corner to make it fit, so don't count on the BE Tik-Tok maps for accuracy - they've been reproduced somewhat warped.

Next week we will take a look at the map of Countries Surrounding the Land of Oz. (Click here for the next Oz Map blog post.)