Sunday, December 23, 2012

Getting Carded!

My birthday was a few days ago - and one of the nice things about having artistic friends is the occasional hand-created Ozzy birthday card. This year I got one from my friends, cartoonist Joe Phillips.

Joe has drawn other Ozzy things before, he's submitted art for the Winkie Con Program book and produced the incredible paper-sculpture of the Tin Woodman in the Winkie art show last year.

Anyway, Happy birthday to me!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Getting It All Together

The 2013 South Winkie Get-Together is scheduled for 10 am to 5 pm, January 12, 2013. This is a one-day gathering of Oz enthusiasts in Irvine, California, south of Los Angeles. Everyone is welcome to attend. Speakers will include Kirk Kushin, writer and publisher of the comic series OZopolis; Freddy Fogarty who will speak on Oz collecting; Robert Baum, great-grandson of L. Frank Baum, and others. The $25 registration fee includes lunch. Please register by January 6 so that the organizers can get the total number of attendees for lunch. The Get-Together will take place at the Back Bay Convention Center. Click on the link below for the PDF registration form:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I Want to be Seen - GREEN!

I just got an early Christmas present!  A kind friend procured a few small remnants of some extremely Ozzy cloth. Indeed, this handsome stuff was a custom fabric created for the La Jolla production of The Wiz!

I've no idea exactly what I'll do with it. There would just barely be enough for a jacket - and I'm not sure of that. There is certainly enough for a vest - in any case I shall ponder how best to make use of it. While I thought the La Jolla production of The Wiz rather flawed (and often misguided) I am delighted to have a couple yards of this splendid green and gold stuff!

Y'all got it?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Happy Holidays!

I suppose folks have noticed that I've been blogging a lot less than I used to. There are many reasons - I have been busier at work, I became irritated over a handful of obnoxious people who were leaving obnoxious comments on the blog (I deleted them), and I must admit I felt a little bit of blogger burn-out - a quite common disease! I sincerely hope to begin blogging more regularly again and will do my best to do so.

Today I am sharing an assortment of Ozzy news, but wanted to add a personal touch as the more personal blog posts have always been the more enjoyable to write. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my first exposure to Oz was my watching the MGM film on our black-and-white television when I was four years old. I enjoyed it a lot, but it certainly didn't turn me into a mega-Oz fan. However, not long after seeing the film, my mom and I were walking through the Lobo Bookstore near the University of New Mexico campus, and on an end-cap I saw a copy of The Wizard of Oz - the edition pictured below.

I don't remember if I saw the cover and knew what it was or whether my mom pointed it out. In any case, we bought it and I think it was read to me. However, the main thing I remember was how much the cover illustration fascinated me. I'm still not sure why. Perhaps it was because the characters looked quite different from the way they did in the MGM film? I think it was partly the heavy blue/green tonality of the image. I don't know what happened to the original copy of the book we bought, but when I found this copy about fifteen years ago, I saw the cover illustration and instantly was taken back to being four years old. It was quite a powerful sensation!

The book has proved quite interesting to examine with my adult eyes. The book was published by Avon Books, and this copy says "First Camelot Printing, November 1967." I suspect I encountered the book right after it came out. The interior is an unabridged Wizard text featuring all of the illustrations from the early 1960s Reilly & Lee "white edition." The little book even has a collage of Denslow images printed on the inside covers and fly-leaves, creating an "endpaper" effect. I am sure, in retrospect, that one thing that drew me to want the book when I was little was the fact that it was profusely illustrated. 

So this was my first ever Oz book. I wasn't really hooked until my second grade teacher started reading us the later Baum Oz titles, but I'm really happy to have found a copy of the first Oz book I ever remember seeing or owning.

OK, now that I have made you read this far, I will toss a few bits of Ozzy news into the blog. First, we have posted our December Tiger Tale on the website and I hope you'll take a moment to check it out. It is L. Frank Baum's short story "Aunt 'Phroney's Boy," first published exactly a hundred years ago in the December 1912 issue of St. Nicholas Magazine.

I am also pleased to announce that a new issue of Eric Shanower's Age of Bronze has just been published. Copies can be ordered from our website or found in your local comic book store. Click here to order.

That's about it for today - I'll do my best to not make you wait too long for another blog post.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Getting Ahead in Dunkiton

The third issue of Eric Shanower and Skottie Young's picturesque and picaresque adaptation of L. Frank Baum's The Road to Oz has just come out.

The Road to Oz is one of my favorites of Baum's Oz books - though that is generally for sentimental reasons. Another reason is John R. Neill's sumptuous artwork.

However, I am in awe of Skottie's ability to reimagine Baum's Oz books and be both so totally original and yet feel so faithful.

This cover of this new issue features the Shaggy Man after he's acquired his gift-head from King Kick-a-bray in Dunkiton. I can't help but see a subtle connection to the original Reilly and Britton first printing of The Road to Oz from 1909. Both show Shaggy with his donkey-head and both have a green background. I'm pretty sure it's just a coincidence, but I like the coincidence just the same.

Remember that all four hardcover collections of the Marvel Comics Oz books are available at our on-line store - and each can be autographed by Eric Shanower! Here's a link to Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz. The other three titles will be found at the bottom of that webpage. They make GREAT holiday gifts, too!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fun as a Barrel of Baums

In 1889 L. Frank Baum and Maud Gage Baum's first family residence in Aberdeen, South Dakota, was this house at 211 Ninth Avenue Southeast. Their third son, Harry Neal Baum, was born here. According to A Tour of L. Frank Baum's Aberdeen by Don Artz, this house is where eldest Baum son Frank J. was cruel to a cat, so as punishment Maud dunked him into the rainwater barrel.

The second photo shows the backyard. Whoever lives there now clearly wasn't expecting people to stop by and shoot photographs.

There I am standing in front of the house in the photo below. Things like air conditioners and satellite dishes are certainly new, but I don't suppose the basic exterior of the house has changed much since Baum lived there.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Baum's Bazaar

In the center of this photo is the location where Baum's Bazaar once stood. Baum's Bazaar was the fancy dry goods store L. Frank Baum opened at 406 South Main Street in Aberdeen, South Dakota, on October 1, 1888. Baum stocked it with all sorts of exotic goods he thought the citizens of the burgeoning town of Aberdeen might want. According to Don Artz's A Tour of L. Frank Baum's Aberdeen, the establishment even featured Baum's Ice Cream Boudoir, an "elaborate soda fountain." Unfortunately Aberdeen's economy took a downturn. Baum's Bazaar closed on January 1, 1890. Baum's sister-in-law, Helen Leslie Gage, took it over as Gage's Bazaar for a few years, while L. Frank Baum moved on to newspaper publishing.

These days the location is the southern part of the County Community Health offices.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Big Little Judy

I'm not much of a Judy collector. While I am a fan,  the Garland/Oz connection is too weak for me to think of that stuff as Oz material. My Garland LPs are just in with the records - the DVDs are just in the shelf in alphabetical order. But a very few things have made it into the Oz collection, including this - another neat find on the great summer road trip!

As you see, it's a "Big Little Book" just like Frank J. Baum's The Laughing Dragon of Oz (1934). Thus the book is tiny - measuring only 3 3/4" x 4 1/2". You may have noted, too, that the book is actually called a "Better Little Book" on the cover, reflecting Whitman's renaming of the series in 1938.

I'm unsure what the actual title of the book is. On the front cover it just says Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland. On the spine it says Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland and how they got into the Movies. And on the title page we get the even bigger mouthful Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland, The Story of their Rise to Fame and Fortune in the Movies.

Whatever the actual title is, the book was written by Edward J. Gruskin and published in 1941. Like other BLBs it is profusely illustrated. At least a third of its 425 pages contains illustrations. The illustrator is uncredited, but at least one BLB checklist credits the illustrations to Henry E. Vallely. The pictures are quite handsome, and most seem to be based on actual photos of Judy and Mickey.

I have only skimmed the book thus far. The narrative is divided into four sections. The first few chapters are about Judy and Mickey together, their friendship and working on the MGM lot. Then we get a long section on Judy's life, another long section on Mickey's life, and finally another section about them together and life at MGM. And in that section, beginning on page 378, we get:
"The biggest thrill of her life, however, was the day Mervyn LeRoy, the famous producer, called her on the 'phone. "Judy," Mr. LeRoy asked, "Have you read 'Wizard of Oz?'"

"Oh yes," Judy said. "Often. It's one of my favorite stories."

"Well, we've just bought it for a Technicolor picture."
"Gee! You mean you're going to make it just as it's written with the Land of Oz and the Emerald City and the Munchkins and - and everything?"

"Everything, Judy. Just as Frank Baum wrote the book. And who do you think is going to play the part of Dorothy?"

Judy held her breath, hardly able to wish for what she hoped he would tell her.

"You - You tell ME, Mr. LeRoy."

"You, Judy. You're going to play Dorothy."
To this day, to anybody who will listen, Judy will sit for hours to relate the wonderful experiences she had making the picture; of the thrill she received each morning when she came to the set and found a real "land of make believe."

For her sensational performance in this picture, she won a special Academy Award.

The next chapter is all about Judy and Mickey planning for the premiere of The Wizard of Oz at the Capital Theatre in New York. But I'm gonna save it for a future blog-post.

It's a very neat little book. I mean a Big Little Book, uhh . . . a Better Little Book . . . it's Ozzy!

I am also just happy to have another BLB to keep my Laughing Dragon of Oz company along with my other Oz-related BLB Little Miss Muffet. If you don't know why Little Miss Muffet is Oz-related you can read about that in this previous blog-post by clicking here.

The three Oz-related "Big Little Books."

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Earth Moved!

I just sat down and read  the newly released Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz from Marvel Comics. Eric Shanower and Skottie Young have made one of their best efforts yet. I'd read a lot of it as it was being serialized but really prefer to wait for the collection to come out.

I enjoyed "seeing" so much of the Mangaboo country - I'd never imagined the gang walking thru the air in low-gravity the whole time they are there. I also found I liked Zeb a lot more than I do in the original - and Eureka is just the best!

The graphic novel is actually a much stronger book than Baum's original as Eric has Dorothy explain how Ozma keeps watch over her via the Magic Picture and that if the gang can just stay alive until Friday at 2:00 PM they'll be OK. With this ticking clock started it adds suspense and deflects from the Deus ex machina quality of Baum's original.

I am also glad to report that we have copies in stock at our on-line store! Why not come by one today! If you order from us your book will be autographed by Eric Shanower and he'll even do a little Oz sketch in it for you!During checkout just let us know how you'd like the book signed in the "Special Instructions" field.

So come order a copy for yourself and maybe even pick one up for a friend! We have copies of Marvel's Wonderful Wizard, Marvelous Land and Ozma of Oz as well as all our usual Oz and Baum titles.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Gage Graves

Last month on our cross-country trip we spent a day in Aberdeen, South Dakota, where L. Frank Baum lived from September 20, 1888, until about May 1891. A major impetus for Frank and Maud Baum to move from New York state to what was then the Dakota Territory was that Maud's siblings, including Helen Leslie Gage and Thomas Clarkson Gage, already lived there. Frank and Maud Baum spent less than three years in Aberdeen, eventually moving to Chicago where Frank would find fame as an author of children's books. But Maud's Aberdeen, South Dakota, siblings resided there for the rest of their lives.

The Riverside Memorial Park on the southwest side of Aberdeen, South Dakota, has a Gage plot where these folks were buried. We went to see it late in the day and took these photos.

Thomas Clarkson Gage (1848-1938), a founding settler of Aberdeen, was Maud Gage Baum's brother. He remained prominent in city affairs until his death.

Sophie Jewell Gage (1855-1945) was Thomas Clarkson Gage's wife, and thus sister-in-law to Maud Gage Baum and L. Frank Baum.

Helen Leslie Gage (1846-1933) was the eldest sister of Thomas Clarkson Gage and Maud Gage Baum.

Charles Henry Gage (1818-1892) was the husband of Helen Leslie Gage. Although he had the same last name, he doesn't seem to have been related by blood, at least not closely.

Matilda Jewell Gage (1886-1986) was the daughter of Thomas Clarkson Gage and Sophie Jewell Gage, and thus the niece of Maud Gage Baum and L. Frank Baum. Matilda was named after her maternal grandmother, Matilda Electa Joslyn Gage, the prominent women's rights activist. Matilda Jewell Gage visited her Uncle Frank and Aunt Maud often, preserved many artifacts related to Frank, and in her later years proved to be a valuable source of information about her famous uncle.

Leslie Gage (1882-1966) was the daughter of Helen Leslie Gage and Charles Henry Gage, and thus another niece of Maud and Frank. This previous posting features a newspaper photo of Leslie Gage.

It was near sundown when we stopped at the cemetery and the sky was spectacular. Who knew that Aberdeen, South Dakota, could be so beautiful?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Winkie Con Collectibles

This week the Winkie Con has been auctioning off a couple dozen Oz collectibles on eBay. all of the proceeds from the auctions will go to the Winkie Con Programming Fund.

Isn't that neat? Here's a chance to add something cool to your collection and support the the Winkie COn at the same time. Click here to see a list of the items being offered. The auctions end on Sunday afternoon at 5:30 PM Pacific time.

All of the items were donated by the family of the late Rik Thompson - a long-time Winkie who passed away earlier this year. Our thanks go out to his wife Haven, and daughter Melissa for their thoughtful generosity.

The many items date from the mid 1970s through the mid 1990s. There are many Ozzy Christmas ornaments, little dolls, stuffed Oz figures, Ozzy Russian nesting dolls - items celebrating the MGM Wizard of Oz film as well as Disney's Return to Oz.

So come on - go check out the auctions and show your support for the Winkie Con! If these auctions are successful we'll do our best to do this kind of thing again!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Baum's History of Fairy Tale Authors

The following interview with L. Frank Baum was published in the Syracuse [New York] Post Standard, on June 28, 1905, taken substantially from the Milwaukee [Wisconsin] Sentinel. The H. C. Baum mentioned is L. Frank's older brother Henry Clay Baum.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the interview is Baum's assessment of his place among fairy tale authors.

Love in Children for Fairy Tales Is Natural, Says L. Frank Baum

To a Milwaukee Sentinel reporter a few days ago L. Frank Baum, the brother of Dr. H. C. Baum of this city, talked interestingly about children’s stories, The Sentinel says.

“L. Frank Baum of Chicago, author of the most fanciful and pleasing fairy tales for childhood since the days when Hans Christian Andersen used to charm readers, both young and old, with his great tales, is in Milwaukee on a business trip, and is registered at the Hotel Pfister. Mr. Baum talked interestingly yesterday about his work and the fascination that folk lore and fairy tales have always had for readers of every age and condition of life.

‘The love for fairy tales seems to be a natural inheritance of childhood,’ said Mr. Baum. ‘The reason for this has been debated by students of psychology and teachers of the young with frequency, and the only plausible explanation they have been able to reach is that the mind of a child, which unfolds with great rapidity during the first few years of life, is conscious of so much of the happenings of the real world it can only wonder at, that any story not containing a great deal of exaggeration and wonderful happenings seems tame to them.

‘In other words, children crave fairy characters and prefer their adventures to any other sort of a story.

‘Childhood seems to be perennial in the human race. Although we adopt grave and sedate airs, we are all children at heart, with the same love for the miraculous and the wonderful as in the days when as tiny tots we listened in round-eyed amazement while mother or nurse read us of the adventures that Jack had with the beanstalk. For that reason adults read my books with the same interest that characterizes the most youthful readers.

‘The recognized authors of fairy tales are few indeed. The Grimm brothers were simply collectors and compilers of tales and old folk lore. This is also true of Andrew Lang who has published so many entertaining books. These men have done work of inestimable value to the world in that they have preserved numerous legends which otherwise must have been lost or forgotten.

‘Hans Christian Andersen was the first author to be recognized as a producer of fairy tales, and he became famous in consequence as there was considerable satisfaction in being able to trace a fairy tale to its legitimate source. After him came Lewis Carroll, the famed author of “Alice in Wonderland,” who was the next author to create a distinct class in fairy literature, and so the list really ends as far as the Old World is concerned.

‘I think I was the first author of fairy tales in America to win recognition. My most famous book is the “Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” The “Scare Crow,” the “Tin Woodman” and the “Cowardly Lion” have all become famous in their way. All of my stories have some sort of a central figure, around which the somewhat gauzy plot is woven.’

“Mr. Baum has published no less than sixteen books of fairy tales.”

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Boy Fortune Hunters in Shasta Lake

I promised to discuss some treasures I found along the way during our great summer road trip - the first goodie I found was this!

As you can see, it's a copy of L. Frank Baum's Boy Fortune Hunters in Alaska, published under Baum's pseudonym Floyd Akers. I found it at an antique/junk shop in Shasta Lake, California. It's in decent condition and seems to be a first edition, third state. It was inexpensive, but not exactly a steal at $35, but I talked the seller down a bit.

I didn't actually have a copy of this title, even though I did reprint it in Oz-story No. 1 and there has been a copy in the Tiger Den as my partner Eric has a copy in his collection. Also, in fairness, I did already have a very nice copy of Sam Steele's Adventure on Land and Sea, which is in fact the same book - just in its earliest incarnation with a different title.

More treasures to come!

Friday, August 31, 2012


While on our great summer trip, Eric and I made our first visit to Aberdeen, South Dakota, where L. Frank Baum lived in the late 1880s and early 1890s. I will blog in more depth about Aberdeen in the coming days, but I mention it here as it makes for an easy connection to this month's Hungry Tiger Tale - the little-known Baum lyric "Haldeman."

Eric and I spent the afternoon at the Alexander Mitchell Library in Aberdeen, which houses a very interesting Baum collection. One of the things I was happy to be able to examine was a copy of the Uplifters Hymnal, a song book for the Uplifters Society that Baum helped form within the Los Angeles Athletic Club.

I had long wanted to look at a copy of the "hymnal," hoping it would contain the music by Louis F. Gottschalk to go with certain of Baum's lyrics that were known to survive. Alas, the hymnal contains only more lyrics and no printed music. One of the lyrics is the song "Haldeman," about Harry Marston Haldeman, Baum friend and co-founder of the Oz Film Manufacturing Company. His grandson H. R. Haldeman was Richard Nixon's White House Chief of Staff who was eventually convicted of conspiracy in the Watergate Scandal.

The song is meant to be sung to the tune "I'll Get You" by Will Cobb and Gus Edwards. So click here to go read "Haldeman."

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

As I Was Saying . . .

Has anyone noticed that I haven't been blogging quite as much as I used to? Well, what with Comic Con, the Winkie Convention, a variety of house guests, and a three week, eight thousand mile road trip - who's had time! Excuses, excuses ...

Well, now that that's out of the way, what better way to get back into the thick of things than with a good old-fashioned White Edition Wednesday post! One of the things Eric and I did on the road trip was scour antique malls and junk shops and little grungy bookstores. At one of the first shops we stopped at I spotted a few "white editions." One of them was a copy of Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz - the oddball variant where Reilly & Lee bound up their leftover 1950s text blocks in "white edition" covers. There are a fair number of these floating around, but I had never actually examined one. I bought it, of course, and I was surprised to see it had blank endpapers, not the usual Road to Oz endpapers. No one who reported to me on this variant even mentioned the lack of illustrated endpapers, so I don't know if this is a new variant or if my bibliographical elves simply didn't notice a lack of illustrated endsheets in their copies.

So, Ta dah! Still another "White Edition" variant!  You'll be getting a number of other reports on my travel finds in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

On the Road Again

Marvel Comics's adaptation of L. Frank Baum's fifth Oz book, The Road to Oz, begins September 5, 2012, with Road to Oz #1. Marvel has just released a peek at Eric Shanower's variant cover to issue #1. Shanower has obviously returned to using Skottie Young's designs for the characters in this series. The color is by Jean-Francois Beaulieu.

Readers of Baum's original book should be able to easily identify this scene where the Shaggy Man first reveals the Love Magnet to Dorothy and Toto.

All the previous entries in this Marvel Comics series - The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Marvelous Land of Oz, Ozma of Oz, and Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz - have been adapted before into other media - stage, screen, recordings, comics. There have been translations of The Road to Oz with new illustrations, and Golden Books published an abridgement, but I believe this is the first time that The Road to Oz has been adapted into another medium, at least for widespread release. I suspect the picaresque nature of the plot and the load of crossover characters at the end have something to do with this lack. But if Shanower and Young's track record is anything to go on, if anyone can make The Road to Oz work in the comics medium, they can.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Winkie Con 2012

Winkie Con 2012 begins on Friday. Hope to see you there! This year's 48th International Winkie Convention includes:

Patch Game, this year's version of the Oz Treasure Hunt.
People Bingo, the live action Bingo Game.
Ruth Plumly Thompson's 121st birthday, complete with root beer floats and birthday cake.
A visit from Caren Marsh-Doll, stand-in for Judy Garland on the 1939 M-G-M film version of The Wizard of Oz.
It's the Baum! a new Oz game show.
Screenings of 1964's Return to Oz, The Witches of Oz, and the Meglin Kiddies version of The Land of Oz.
Original artwork by John R. Neill.
The 160-page Winkie Convention Program Book.
A visit from Susan Morse, singing voice for Dorothy in the 1964 Rankin-Bass animated Return to Oz.
A tour of Sky Island by Eric Shanower.
A display of all of Ruth Plumly Thompson's books and a generous sampling of her magazine, newspaper, and pamphlet work.
A panel on Oz Blogs moderated by J. L. Bell.
Presentations from Jared Davis, Peter Hanff, and Judy Bieber.
Lots of cool goodies for all attendees, including a limited edition Baum Keepsake, typeset and printed by Michael Riley on his own Pamami Press.
And last but not least, a visit from Kabumpo, the Elegant Elephant of Oz.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Comic Con 2012

Well Comic Con 2012 will open for business in just a few hours - if you're in San Diego I hope you'll come by and see me, and Eric Shanower and Hungry Tiger Press at booth #2008 (our usual spot).

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Get with the Program!

One of the things that has kept me from blogging as much as I'd like is the Winkie Con Program Book. I started doing them in 2009. For those that haven't seen one yet, the Program Book is a 7"x 10" square-bound trade paperback. This year's edition is 160 pages long.

The cover painting of Kabumpo and the Runaway Country was created by illustrator Maurine Starkey just for the Winkie Convention. In addition to the schedule of events, maps, profiles on our special guests Caren Marsh-Doll and Susan Morse, and all the information one needs to get the most out of their Winkie Con, the book also features articles on Sky Island by Judy Bieber, Frederick Wiegand, Dick Martin, Jared Davis, and  J. L. Bell. Robin Hess provides a complex analysis of the travels in Kabumpo in Oz and Eric Shanower has written a pictorial essay on "The Elephants of Oz."

The program also contains a gallery and profile of cover artist Maurine Starkey and our usual section of Winkie artwork. And the entire book is rich with wonderful drawings by John R. Neill, too. And since we're celebrating Ruth Plumly Thompson's Pumperdink Oz books we have a whole section of all her short writings on Pumperdink from the days before she became a Royal Historian. Peter Hanff has continued his "History of the Winkie Convention," and I am very pleased to have acquired a fascinating piece of fiction written by Bob Baum called "Dinner at the Del."

It's a very full 160 pages - and needless to say it took up a lot of my blogging energies! I had thought my job was done when I sent the program files off to the printer, but several people expressed interest in a limited edition hardcover like we did last year, so . . . we are doing it again!

Eric Shanower has drawn a special illustration for the limitation leaf and he has agreed to sign each of the twenty numbered copies. There is also an additional double-page illustration by John R. Neill not included in the paperback version. The hardcover also has a different and exclusive cover design, featuring art from the extremely rare dust jacket of the first edition of Sky Island.

Cover of the LIMITED EDITION hardcover.

If you would like to reserve a copy of this limited edition hardcover please let me know of your interest by emailing me at

Copies are available at $50.00 each. All proceeds go to the Winkie Convention. Several are already spoken for, so if you’re interested don’t delay in reserving your copy!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Winkie Con 2012 Time, Temp, and Travel Tips

Winkie Con 2012 begins 3 weeks from today on July 27. The convention takes place at the Asilomar Conference Grounds, 800 Asilomar Avenue, Pacific Grove, CA 93950-3704. Most Winkie Con activities take place in Fred Farr Forum and the buildings nearby. Fred Farr Forum is across Asilomar Avenue from the Asilomar main gate, on the corner of Asilomar Avenue and Sinex Avenue.

The Asilomar website is here:

Winkie Con 2012 starts on Friday, July 27, at approximately 3:30 PM, and ends after lunch on Sunday, July 29, at approximately 1 PM. If you still haven’t registered, the forms to do so are here:

The Opening Reception will be held on the patio outside of Fred Farr Forum beginning about 3:30 PM. At the Winkie Registration Table pick up your Winkie Con Bag. In your bag you’ll find the Winkie Program Book which provides a detailed schedule of the convention. If you’re staying on the Asilomar grounds you’ll also receive your room key. If you’re eating meals with the group, you’ll also receive your meal tickets for the weekend.

Meals are in Crocker Dining Hall on the main grounds of Asilomar. If you need assistance in traveling the distance to Crocker Dining Hall, Asilomar has a 24-hour jitney service that will pick you up near Fred Farr Forum and take you to Crocker Dining Hall. The jitney can be summoned using the house telephones that are located in every building. Dial 0.

Further Asilomar accessibility information is here:

Weather on the Monterey Peninsula in July tends to be overcast by day - although we often see the sun - and chilly at night. Make sure to bring a sweater, sweatshirt, light jacket, or other appropriate clothing.

Asilomar forecast is here:

The Asilomar Conference Grounds are located on Asilomar State Park & State Beach. The Pacific Ocean is easily accessible by a board walkway. Swimming in the ocean isn’t advised, but walks on the beach by day and night are pleasant. The Asilomar swimming pool is accessible to anyone staying on the Asilomar grounds.

If you’re arriving by car, there is a large underground parking garage beneath Fred Farr Forum. The entrance is accessible from Asilomar Avenue, just south of the intersection of Asilomar Avenue and Sinex Avenue, on the other side of the street from the main Asilomar gate. There are elevators from the parking garage to a couple of the buildings near Fred Farr Forum. The stairway from the parking garage leads to an exit near the Fred Farr patio area.

There is a small outdoor parking lot on the north side of the Kiln building off Sinex Avenue. Street parking is also available on Sinex Avenue.

Asilomar is accessible by bus. Greyhound runs to Salinas, California. Walk around the block from the Greyhound Station at 19 West Gabilan Street to the Salinas Transit Center at 110 Salinas Street, between Central and Lincoln Avenues. Take the local Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST) bus #20 from the Salinas Transit Center to the Monterey Transit Center. Take the MST bus #1 from the Monterey Transit Center to the main gate of Asilomar.

Greyhound website:
Monterey-Salinas Transit website:

The Monterey Peninsula is accessible by airplane. Fly into the Monterey Regional Airport, then take the local MST bus #13 to the Monterey Transit Center, and then take the MST bus #1 to the main gate of Asilomar. Or from the Monterey Regional Airport take a taxi (approximately 20 minute ride) to the main gate of Asilomar.

Monterey Regional Airport website:
Monterey-Salinas Transit website:

If you want to fly into the San Jose Airport or into the San Francisco Airport, the Monterey Airbus will pick you up and take you to the downtown Monterey Airbus station at 438 Calle Principal. From there catch the local MST bus #1 to the main gate of Asilomar.

Monterey Airbus website for rates and schedule:
Monterey-Salinas Transit website:

For general info on Winkie Con 2012:

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Candyland in Oz

The third issue of Dorothy of Oz Prequel is out, telling the story of what leads up to the forthcoming feature film Dorothy of Oz, based on the 1989 book of the same title by Roger Baum, one of L. Frank's great-grandsons. Denton Tipton wrote the script, Blair Shedd drew it, IDW published it, and the cover--presented below for you--is by Eric Shanower with Joanna Lafuente colors. Comic Book Resources has a seven-page preview of the interior here.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Where There's a Will There's a Fred

Billie Burke, Fred Stone, and Will Rogers
The American stage humorist Will Rogers, who never met a man he didn't like, was a good buddy of Fred Stone, the superstar originator of the Scarecrow role in the 1903 Broadway Wizard of Oz. In fact, they were so close that Will named one of his sons Fred Stone Rogers. So it's no surprise that an early episode of Will Rogers's radio show featured Fred as a guest. You can listen to that broadcast on Emerald City Radio. During the program Fred and Will sing "Travel, Travel, Little Star," a tune Fred recorded years earlier with his stage partner David Montgomery, who originated the Tin Woodman role in Broadway's Wizard. You can hear the Montgomery and Stone recording of "Travel, Travel, Little Star" on Emerald City Radio, too, and it's included on the Hungry Tiger Press CD Vintage Songs from the 1903 Broadway Wizard of Oz (see the sidebar of this blog to click on the link to order your copy).

The photo above is from 1935 during the production of the movie Doubting Thomas, starring Will Rogers and Billie Burke, who later played Glinda in the 1939 M-G-M film version of The Wizard of Oz. Fred Stone visited Will Rogers on the Doubting Thomas movie set and they both dropped in to see Billie Burke and submit to the obvious photo op.

The Fred Stone episode of the Will Rogers show plays about twice a day for the next week or so on Emerald City Radio. You can also hear the Montgomery and Stone recording of "Travel, Travel, Little Star" as part of our regular playlist.

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 give Emerald City Radio a listen. Our current playlist is over 13 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! 

Marvel by Mail

Marvel Comics has just announced a new subscription program for their comic book titles. And The Road to Oz, which begins in September, is among the subscriptions offered. Click here for the details:

Friday, June 29, 2012

Ease on Down the ROAD

The final issue of Marvel's Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz - issue #8 - just came out, so if you missed it, get to your local comic store for a copy to find out what happens when Eureka the kitten is accused of eating Ozma's pet piglet.

And, still on a roll, Marvel's next Oz book has been announced - you guessed it - The Road to Oz. The award-winning creative team of Eric Shanower (script), Skottie Young (art), and Jean-Francois Beaulieu (color) will be back on September 5, 2012, with the first issue of Marvel Comics's adaptation of L. Frank Baum's fifth Oz book, The Road to Oz. See Skottie's cover for issue #1 above. Here's how Marvel describes the contents:

When dusty Kansas roads suddenly turn into magic highways, it's a safe bet that one of them is the road to Oz, but which one? Dorothy's off on another fantastic adventure, and Toto is back, too. This time their companions are strange - an old homeless guy with a magic magnet and a mentally-challenged child named Button-Bright.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Timely and Truthful Topics

Well, we're in our slow season here on the blog. Work, Comic Con, the Winkie Convention always seem to slow the blog down in May and June. But here's a quick post to let you know this month's FREE on-line Tiger Tale is up on the main Hungry Tiger Press website.

This month it is an Our Landlady story written by L. Frank Baum and originally published in the Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer, January 25, 1890. The title of this installment is "She Remarks Emphatically on Some Timely and Truthful Topics." Click here to read it.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Map of Oz Monday - The Ozoplaning Map

Well, dear readers - I am still swamped with chores and such for the Winkie Convention later next month and Comic con which is only a few weeks away - thus blog posting has suffered. But enough of that, let's take a look at the next map!

This map was published as the end-sheets of Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz in 1939. It's interesting as it's the first map giving a sort of "realistic" bird's eye view of Oz. Sadly it's not very detailed. Many elements of Ozoplaning were created to help attract new reader's exposed to the MGM film which was released the same year: the title includes the words "Wizard of Oz," Dorothy and her three best known friends play an important part in the plot; the book begins with a party celebrating the anniversary of Dorothy's first journey to Oz which included a cake featuring a model of her Kansas farmhouse. So I suspect the map of Oz endpapers were also considered a good "introduction" to our favorite literary fairyland.

When I first saw this map it did make me wonder what Oz would look like if it were photographed from a high-altitude. Would the color of the vegetation be apparent enough to delineate borders to a viewer from on-high?  When I have a little time perhaps I'll try to make one in Photoshop. Someday ... someday ...

Friday, June 15, 2012

Shanower Speaks

Tonight on the internet radio program Karl Show! (starring Jason) join Jason Lamb as he interviews Eric Shanower about his life and work, including Oz, Age of Bronze, and just being a cartoonist. They'll also play some music that Eric picked especially for the show. It runs from 8 PM to 10 PM PST, and you can listen here at Portland Radio Authority:

If you can't listen live tonight, the show will be available for your listening pleasure in a few days at:

Monday, June 4, 2012

Map of Oz Monday - Thompson's Map

One of the most intriguing and important maps I'll be talking about is this map from 1938 that was drawn by Ruth Plumly Thompson, the second Royal Historian of Oz and successor to L. Frank Baum.

Click to Enlarge
This particular map was drawn for Oz fan Henry S. Blossom. It is extremely similar to (and probably a tracing of) an earlier map Thompson created when she was trying to convince Oz book publishers Reilly & Lee to issue revised maps of the Land of Oz that would incorporate her own additions to Ozian geography. For that map Thompson simply inked in her own locales on Reilly & Lee's black and white promotional maps of the Land of Oz and Surrounding Countries. Here she has seemingly traced her master map - and since the two halves don't line up perfectly I suspect she traced it on typing paper.

In general this map speaks for itself. I have scanned the map at a fairly large size so you may explore it in detail. I look forward to reading your comments. There are a few things to point out.

Thompson did provide a compass rose in the margin of the map. It is the traditional style, matching our own east/west orientation. The map shows locales through Handy Mandy in Oz. Note, too, that Thompson added in many of the locations from the later Baum books that had been missing from the previous maps: the Frogman, Reera's house, the Hyups on Mount Munch, the Flatheads, and others as well.

Of Thompson's own additions the only thing that surprises me is that her little countries are drawn somewhat larger than I have usually imagined them. Lake Orizon is a good bit larger than Lake Quad, and Kimbaloo and Pumperdink seem much larger, too. Perhaps Thompson was trying to keep her own additions to Oz geography as large as Baum's were - after all, Oogaboo and the Yips are shown a good deal larger than the Baum texts would indicate.

So, enlarge the map above and go exploring for a few minutes! It's not every day we get to explore a map of Oz that was actually drawn by the Royal Historian herself!

Read Part II of Thompson's Map here!

This map was originally published in the Autumn 1970 issue of THE BAUM BUGLE.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Wicked Pair of Shoes

No this blog post has nothing to do with Wicked or Ruby Slippers - it has to do with the newest Tiger tale that's been posted on the Hungry Tiger Press website.

The Trial of the Proud and Wicked Pair of Shoes was written by Ruth Plumly Thompson and first published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger December 3, 1916. It's certainly not her best story - but then this isn't my best blog post either. Sometimes people are just too busy. But go read it anyway by clicking here.

And remember that we'll be celebrating Thompson's 121st birthday on Friday of the 2012 Winkie Convention this July. It's not too late to make plans to join us! You can download information and registration materials here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Spouse and Thompson

One of the comments on this week's Map of Oz Monday blog asked if anyone had noticed that Ruth Plumly Thompson's characters Roger and Pigasus were pictured in the decorative border. To be honest I had forgotten and failed to mention them. When I went to inspect my scan of the map I found a number of Thompson characters in the border design - all from Thompson's 1931 Pirates in Oz. Peter and Clocker, Samuel Salt, Roger, and Pigasus.

There is a mystery character though - a goose named Lonnie wearing a top hat! Anyone have any idea who Lonnie might be? The other oddity on the map border is that Tip appears in it twice!

It's kind of neat to see Walt Spouse's renditions of these Thompson characters. If the Wonderland of Oz strip had run for a decade or so, Spouse would have gotten to Thompson's Oz books. It's interesting that he only included characters from Pirates in Oz (then the most recent book). It would have been nice to see Kabumpo or Sir Hokus on the map, too.

Click to Enlarge

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


This week on Emerald City Radio roving reporter Number Nine conducts an in-depth interview with me about my work as Programming Director of the Winkie Convention. The fifteen minute interview plays twice daily. So come give a listen as I tell the tale of how I first went to Winkies when I was fourteen and what I have in store for attendees this year!

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, May 28, 2012

Map of Oz Monday - The Wonderland Map

Today we look at one of the rarest but most intriguing of all Oz maps - the map given away to promote Walt Spouse's comic strip series The Wonderland of Oz in 1932.

1932 Wonderland of Oz Map

The map is quite beautiful - Walt Spouse has based it very closely on the 1914/1920 Wogglebug map, but he has added a decorated border using his character designs from the comic strip. There is a new legend at bottom center and a new and very ornate compass rose featuring traditional east/west directions.

The most obvious change Spouse has made is to color each of the lesser countries its own color: Oogaboo is blue, the Yips are pink, Jinxland and the Skeezers are orange. I don't think Spouse is suggesting those are favorite colors of the countries, he is simply using color to delineate borders like most real world maps do.

If you look closely you will see that Walt Spouse has added a good deal of detail to the map. He has extended a river to run through the Skeezer Country and actually drawn in Skeezer Lake. He drew in a little house icon for Mombi (an important location in the first book serialized in the comic strip).

Spouse has also drawn topographical lines around the Yip Country showing that the entire triangular area originally drawn by Baum is the Yip's mountainous plateau. This is what I always imagined when I first read The Lost Princess of Oz. The later Oz Club map turned the Yips into a little round mountain - contradicting previous Oz maps.

Walt Spouse put a lot of effort into this new map of Oz. He carefully followed the 1914/1920 Baum map, but with equal care he refined it as if he was working from updated surveyor's reports. Look at the comparison of the Winkie River system below. The general shape matches Baum's map, yet there are subtle undulations and new tributaries shown.

Baum's 1914 map (at left) - Wonderland map (at right)

It's a great map. I don't own an original copy of this map, but I'd dearly love to have one. If anyone reading this has a copy of the map they'd like to sell, by all mean drop me a comment and let's talk! 

That's it for this week. Next week we'll be looking at another intriguing map!
Click here for the next Oz Map blog post.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Slightly Swamped

Greetings dear readers -

It has been a very busy week on several different fronts. But don't despair - Map of Oz Monday will be up soon.

Friday, May 18, 2012

WInkie Con Approaches!

It's time to send in your registration for the 2012 Winkie Convention! The deadline to guarantee your accommodations on-grounds at Asilomar is May 20, 2012 - after that date we will need to handle each request for on-grounds lodging on a case-by-case basis. So here's a PDF of the information sheet and registration form. Make your decision to join us and send in your registration today! Oz about it! You may also e-mail our registrar, Peter Hanff, to reserve your room. His e-mail address can be found on the registration form.


Winkie Con 2012
 The 48th Annual Wizard of Oz Convention
Celebrating the World of Oz and L. Frank Baum
Asilomar Conference Center, Pacific Grove, California
Chaired by David Maxine & Judy Bieber

Come west for the 48th Annual WINKIE CON where you can join Polychrome the Rainbow's daughter, and Kabumpo the Elegant Elephant as they journey over the rainbow to the best Oz convention ever! Registration is now open for the 2012 Winkie Convention to be held July 27-29, 2012, in Pacific Grove, California. We are proud to be the longest-running Wizard of Oz Convention in the world! You may download registration materials by clicking here.

Hold tight to your Magic Umbrella! Fly next July to the lovely Pacific coast of California where the annual Winkie Convention celebrates Oz and its creator, L. Frank Baum, at the Asilomar Conference Grounds, nestled among the redwoods and pines. 

The theme for 2012 is Sky Island, the book L. Frank Baum thought his personal best. This borderland of Oz book, starring Trot, Cap’n Bill, Button Bright, and Polychrome the Rainbow’s daughter, is the favorite of many Oz fans, too. The tribes of Sky Island, the Blues and the Pinks, will lend their colors to the rainbow of events awaiting you.

We’ll also celebrate Oz-author Ruth Plumly Thompson’s 121st birthday—July 27—and the royal Pumperdink purple of her beloved books: Kabumpo in Oz, which turns ninety, and The Purple Prince of Oz, which turns eighty. It’s sure to be the most colorful Winkie Con ever!
Double Dorothy!

We’re delighted to announce we have two real-life “Dorothys” joining us this year as our special guests.  

Susan Morse was twelve years old when she provided the singing voice for Dorothy in the 1964 Rankin-Bass animated feature Return to Oz where she sang "Moon Beams" and "Oz Just Can't Continue Without Me."  Susan’s fascinating acting and singing career includes the role of Brigitta in the first National Tour of The Sound of Music and appearing in the original Roxy cast of The Rocky Horror Show.

And the Winkie Con is being honored with a visit from the wonderful Caren Marsh-Doll who was Judy Garland’s stand-in during the filming of the MGM classic The Wizard of Oz. Come hear Caren’s memories of being on set, hanging out with Judy at the commissary, and going through MGM’s wig, make-up, and wardrobe departments. Her other credits include appearing as an extra in Gone with the Wind and dancing and acting in a plethora of films such as Rosalie, Best Foot Forward, and The Adventures of Don Juan with Errol Flynn.

Other convention features include a presentation by Oz-cartoonist Eric Shanower, a talk on Ruth Plumly Thompson's Land of Oz by Jared Davis, Peter Hanff will tell us about the Book Club of California's stunning Oz publication this year, John Bell will lead a discussion on Oz blogs, and we'll debut a new Oz game show called It's the Baum! 

Of course we will have our traditional Winkie Costume Contest, Treasure Hunt, and Winkie Quizzes—not to mention the fabulous Winkie Auction of rare Oz and Baum material. All attendees receive the Winkie Con Program Book, over 130 pages of Oz essays, artwork, interviews, and everything you need to help you have a great Winkie Con. We’re sure to have a few surprises, too!

The Winkie Research Table is back! Submit your Fiction, Non-fiction, and Works of Art to the 2012 Winkie Research Table. The Fred Otto Award for Oz Fiction gives a $100 First Prize and a $50 Second Prize for Oz Fiction. Submission guidelines for Oz fiction are here.

A Few Words About Our Convention Site
We meet each year at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in beautiful Pacific Grove, California. It is located a few minutes from Monterey, about five hours north of Los Angeles, and two-and-a-half hours south of San Francisco. The Asilomar grounds are heavily wooded, beautiful and atmospheric, situated directly on the Pacific coast. Please note that our base convention rates are per person in a shared room with two beds. We do have a few single rooms available. The rates cover all programming costs, your lodging at Asilomar, and dinner Friday, three meals on Saturday, breakfast and lunch on Sunday, and all taxes and gratuities. All this is included in one price! The food is better than ever, the rooms are great, and many have fireplaces.

The Winkie Convention has a Facebook page. If you’re on Facebook, come check us out at

We also issue a monthly WINKIE CON e-mail newsletter, featuring news, updates,
and cool stuff about the convention. You may subscribe by using the URL below: