Friday, March 30, 2012

Life as an Oz Boy

Back in the early-mid 1980s I was just starting to have an Oz collection that I was semi-proud of. I was also a bit of a closet-case, with zero social life and I had pretty much gone to live in Oz.  

Sigh . . .

Anyway, one of the ways I felt comfortable reaching out of my little oblong fairyland was by showing off my Ozzy treasures to anyone who cared to look at them. Sometimes this meant dragging house guests into the so-called  "Oz museum," but I also used the collection as a social crutch of sorts by hosting the occasional Oz party or offering to show my collection at local libraries and things.

I recently found a little stash of photos from one of the better library displays I set up. These are from a display at the Golden Valley Public Library in Minneapolis - part of the Minneapolis Public Library System. I must say that I think my collection wasn't so shabby, considering I was only nineteen years old.

I had all forty Oz books by this time and several fairly nice first editions. The Hill Wizard above is a little beat-up and is a second-state copy, but I'd gotten it at my first Winkie Convention when I was fourteen for $56, so who's complaining? The seemingly very nice copy of Ozma of Oz was great for displays - sadly there is a bullet hole right through the middle of all the pages. I guess someone set the book up on a fence - covers open - and used it for target practice. The copy of Little Wizard Stories of Oz was one of the few ultra-bargains I ever found. I got it from a local woman for fifteen bucks at a book show.

My first edition copies of Emerald City and Marvelous Land were a bit on the shabby side.

I liked mixing up the displays with a little of everything. So we get a copy of Patchwork Girl, my playing pieces for the 1921 Parker Brothers Oz game, and a miniature version I had made of the game.

I found Dick Martin's Cut-and-Assemble the Emerald City great for displays. The little buildings could always fill a dull niche. The original drawing from Forbidden Fountain of Oz was a gift from Dick Martin at my first Ozmapolitan Con.

Another mixed shelf of Oz stuff. The blue thing is a yo-yo from the Banner Elk Land of Oz theme park.

From my mid-teen years I had a strong interest in foreign editions - at last count I had about three hundred and fifty. The hard-to-see map in the background is also from the Banner Elk theme park, which I'd visited when I was thirteen.

I made the little Oz flag when I was fourteen. You can read a blog about it by clicking here, if you like. I always found pop-up books worked well in displays, too. The paper Gump (another present from Dick Martin) is a favorite, though I don't have him set up anywhere at the moment. He lives flat these days.

So here I sit - decades later - and Oz still plays a huge part in my social life. 

Sigh ...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rachel and the Scarecrow - BLOG 400!

Oz book author Rachel Cosgrove Payes was famous for being "anti-collectible" and trumpeting her motto "Oz is for kids." Yet this same Royal Historian would eventually show up at the Munchkin Con in a Wicked Witch of the South Costume she'd made herself. She happily showed off her "Silver Slippers," a pair of silver leather sling-back pumps, with a girlish grin and twist of her ankle, and she even made a few Oz collectibles! One such was the Scarecrow shown below.

Rachel had either knit or crocheted him and brought him to the convention and donated him to the auction. Several people bid on him, but in the end the person that wanted it most was Eric Shanower. So now he lives with us.His tag (which I didn't scan) was made by Rachel and explains that she made him (I believe from a kit or pattern). I think Rachel thought the Scarecrow would be bought by a kid - but she seemed to be pleased Eric got him. I've no doubt if any other adult had gotten him Rachel would have had quite a chuckle.

I remember once Rachel and Eric and I were sitting around discussing "the collector mentality." She just couldn't believe adults were paying so much money for such odd and Ozzy things - like MGM-inspired plastic tea sets that were selling for hundreds of dollars. I started joking around that maybe she should cash in quick. Perhaps she could put her "Silver Slippers" in the auction? She looked confused and said, "But I've worn them!" I replied, "Oh, Rachel, you just don't understand - that's WHY they'd sell! Can't you just see Fred Meyer happily traveling home with his new shoes, once worn by an actual Royal Historian?" Rachel laughed - but for a millionth of a second I think she might have considered selling her shoes.

Anyway -  this is indeed the 400th blog post on Hungry Tiger Talk. On the whole I am enjoying myself and I hope the blog will continue for years to come. I started the blog to attract people to our on-line store and encourage the sale of our Oz books. It's not been terribly effective thus far. However, if you'd like to support the blog you can click here and go right to our store where you'll find a fine selection of Baum and Oz material, Eric Shanower's Oz comics, and much more. And to celebrate this 400th blog we are offering FREE Media Mail shipping for the next week. Simply enter the coupon code TIGERSHIP during checkout. The coupon is good thru next Thursday. Come buy a book!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

DOROTHY OF OZ hits the streets!

The first issue of IDW's Dorothy of Oz comic book prequel arrives in comic books stores today.

It features a very atypical cover design by Eric Shanower - an interesting twist since Shanower was offered the job of illustrating the original Roger Baum novel back in 1989. Eric had to turn down the project for a variety of reasons, but somehow fate decided to get him back on board. I'm not sure whether to blame the evil Jester or Marshall Mallow!

The comic is written by Denton J. Tipton and features art by Blair Shedd. You can check out an eight-page preview by clicking here.

You can see Eric Shanower's cover for issue one below. Enjoy!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Map of Oz Monday - The Fairylogue Map

Today we begin a new blog series on mapping the Land of Oz. I hope to be be able to cover most of the known Oz maps in the coming weeks, but there are an awful lot of them. The photo above (from a display at an Oz convention in the early 1980s) shows only a few. I hope, too, that there will be a lot of discussion about all this in the comments section of each blog post. Who knows, all this analysis and exploration of Ozian geography might just result in a couple new maps! Shall we set off on our journey? I'm ready - my only advice is to leave your compass at home - they seem to be unreliable in the Land of Oz!

The earliest known map of Oz was created for L. Frank Baum's 1908 touring lecture series The Fairylogue and Radio-Plays. This map was created as a magic-lantern slide and projected on a large screen while L. Frank Baum introduced his audience to his fairyland.

The earliest Map of the Land of Oz - circa 1908

Below is a portion of L. Frank Baum's original Fairylogue script describing this earliest map of the Land of Oz to his 1908 audience:
"I will now show you a map of Oz, so you will understand my story better. You see, the Land of Oz is divided into four parts, that at the North being the Country of the Gillikins, the East the Country of the Munchkins; the South the Country of the Quadlings, and the West the Country of the Winkies. It was in the Munchkin Country, where you see the black cross [sic, actually a star], that the cyclone dropped Dorothy's house.

"Right in the center of these four countries, where their corners come together, is the beautiful Emerald City of Oz, which was just then ruled by a Wonderful Wizard; and all around this favored land, which is rich in fields of waving grain and pretty dwelling houses, and rich in the splendor of the magnificent Emerald City - a city built of gold and silver and set with thousands of precious jewels - all around the Land of Oz is a dreadful desert of deadly sands, which no mortal has the strength or the power to cross on foot. So the Oz people live all by themselves, and Dorothy was almost the first person from the big outside world who had ever come to this beautiful country. . . . So Dorothy took her basket, and followed by her little dog Toto began the journey to the Emerald City, following a road of yellow brick that led directly there."

Sadly there is not much detail on this map and most of the detail shown relates directly to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. We see the star showing where Dorothy's house landed in the Munchkin Country and the yellow brick road leading from it through a wooded area, crossing a large river and going into an even larger wooded area - or is that the Poppy Field? This doesn't follow the text of Wizard particularly closely - but then again this slide was not on screen for more than a minute or two.

Interestingly, when I scanned this map and started cleaning it up I realized there were faint images showing additional detail that has faded or worn off the glass slide over the years. There has always been lettering indicating a lake in the Winkie Country and in this enhanced scan we can see the faint outline of at least part of the very large lake. There is also another star which almost certainly indicated the castle of the Wicked Witch and future home of the Tin Woodman. No detail is shown in the Gillikin Country. I am fairly certain that the area in the upper right corner that looks like it might delineate a border of some sort, is in fact just a fingerprint on the original slide - though above the name of the country there does appear to be some dark residue that could be mountains or woods. The Quadling Country has more detail, though it's very hard to tell what it actually is. Is it a forest for the Fighting trees? The Spider's forest? Hills for the Hammerheads? All of the above? We do, however, get a nice little image of the palace of Glinda the Good. In the lower left corner is an area marked off for a legend or label of some sort. A few faint fragments of lettering are just barely visible, but it seems impossible to tell what it originally said.

Palace of Glinda the Good

The most unusual thing about this earliest map of the Land of Oz is that it is essentially square. Perhaps it owes its shape to the aspect ratio of magic-lantern slides? But then again, Baum's basic description of Oz works better as a square where all four countries are essentially equal in size, everything symmetrical in both directions. In the map we discuss next week Oz will have become the "great oblong fairyland" most of us are used to. No doubt the shape of Oz book endpapers contributed a great deal to stretching Oz into the more traditional rectangular shape.

It should be noted that there is no compass on this map and that the Winkies are on the left-hand side and the Munchkins are on the right-hand side. In the Fairylogue text Baum also clearly describes the Winkies as being west and the Munchkins as east, as he consistently does throughout his Oz books.

Another version of this map was published in the quite hard-to-find Wonderful Wizard of Oz Cook Book by Monica Bayley (Macmillan, 1981).

The map is even less detailed than the original, but I always liked that Bayley used the old Fairylogue map. The map is nicely reproduced and it does add a compass using the traditional directions. On a side-note, this little volume is really lovely and beautifully designed. It seems to have fallen off the radar of many Oz collectors. If you don't have one, keep your eyes out for a copy.

I can't close this blog without mentioning the sad history of the original Fairylogue slides. All of Baum's slides had survived and in the late 1970s belonged to Justin G. Schiller. Most of you know that he sold off his wonderful Oz collection in 1977. He sold the Fairylogue slides, too. They were purchased by an anonymous bidder and no one knows where they are anymore. No one has for over thirty-five years. Three of them were printed in full color on the back of Schiller's auction catalog - one of which was this slide showing the map. Justin had wisely made a set of Kodachrome slides as a back-up, which he gave to Dick Martin. These were shown in the early 1980s at each of the three major Oz conventions and then returned to Dick. However, when Dick Martin died, the slides could not be found, so now there is nothing. If the person who bought the original slides should happen to come across this blog, please do contact me and let us know the original slides still survive. They were an important piece of Oz history and it's pretty tragic that someone let them slip through the cracks.

OK, enough of that! Next week we'll look at the most important and influential pair of Oz maps from the endpapers of Tik-Tok of Oz(Click here for the next Oz Map blog post.)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Ozzy Tattoos

I've met a fair number of people with Oz tattoos - but while  Eric and I were at WonderCon last weekend Eric met a couple with an Ozzy  matched set. I didn't get to see these fine tattoos in the flesh - but Eric kindly took a photo and got permission to share it from tattoo owners Guru and Wiggle.

The tattoo images are based on this John R. Neill double-page spread from The Patchwork Girl of Oz.

But Scraps's head is based on Andy Hirsch's Patchwork Girl from Tommy Kovac's Royal Historian of Oz (SLG, 2011). Very Cool!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Emerald City Radio - Michael Riley

David Maxine & Michael Riley at the 1998 WINKIE CON.

This week on Emerald City Radio roving reporter Number Nine conducts an in-depth interview with Oz and Baum scholar Michael O. Riley (author of Oz and Beyond and owner of the acclaimed Pamami Press). The twenty minute interview plays twice daily.

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! 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

White Edition Wednesday - NOT QUITE WHITE

Well, my friends, last week we finished our analysis of the "white editions," and this really must be the last post in the much ballyhooed "White Edition Wednesday" series as today's books are not quite "white."

But they should have been and nearly were! By now you've spotted the images and realize that today's blog will look at Reilly & Lee's 1969 edition of The Sea Fairies and 1970 edition of Sky Island.

Now, you might look at the dust wrapper of the new Sea Fairies (at left) and say, "That doesn't look much like a 'white edition!' " And you'd be right. Not only does the book have a dust jacket, but the book is bound in plain cloth with plain, albeit silver, stamping on the spine. And the dust jacket illustration isn't by Dick Martin.

It's very unclear why Reilly & Lee didn't issue the books in the "white edition" format - but as you'll see as you read on, they came very close - or at least Dick Martin's contributions came very close.

The 1969 Sea Fairies jacket was designed by Lois Axeman and it was based on John R. Neill's cover of the third edition from 1920.

I had always wondered why Dick Martin hadn't designed the new jacket and, alas, I have no clear-cut answer. Dick did design a Sea Fairies cover for this edition and it closely followed the "white edition" format, yet for some reason Reilly & Lee seems to have rejected it and opted for the bubbly Lois Axeman design. I suspect the publisher simply wanted to try a more modern and contemporary look. Dick's semi-retro art-nouveau cover rough (seen below) is no where near as "groovy" and "with it" as Lois Axeman's design.

Unused SEA FAIRIES cover design by Dick Martin.

It's easy to see that Dick intended this new edition to match the "white editions." His design is based on John R. Neill's original Sea Fairies endpaper design from 1911 (below). Dick used both the poses of Cap'n Bill and Trot as well as the red and green color scheme. The fish on Dick's spine is based on the fish on the spine of the first edition.

The following year Reilly & Lee put out a new edition of Sky Island, and this time Dick Martin was allowed to create the cover design.

The front dust jacket panel is based on Neill's cover label to the 1912 first edition. The orange and purple color scheme is very attractive. It certainly looks like Dick was thinking "white edition" when he was designing it.

Like Sea Fairies, though, this book got a dust wrapper and plain cloth - this time the spine being stamped in iridescent blue.

The back panel is based on Neill's color plate showing the Boolooroo with Button-Bright's magic umbrella. The umbrella on the spine is based on the spine vignette used on the first edition.

Unlike the "white editions," Dick Martin and Reilly & Lee made no alterations to the interiors of these editions of The Sea Fairies and Sky Island. They are essentially identical to the first editions (minus the color plates and pictorial endpapers). Both of these reprints have blank endpapers and each has a list of the fourteen Oz books in the forematter.

Dick prepared a new issue of The Ozmapolitan to publicize these two new books as the "Borderland of Oz" stories. You can read the entire issue of the 1970 Ozmapolitan by clicking here.

This really does seem to be the end of "White Edition Wednesday." It has been very popular. As a final little fillip of "white edition" goodness, here are the two advertising brochures that Reilly & Lee prepared. The longer brochure mentions that there are "twenty additional Oz titles available" by other authors. This means six of the forty Oz books were out of print.

I'm curious which six were unavailable and how long Reilly & Lee had any of the post-Baum Oz book in print. I know Merry Go Round in Oz was supposedly available new until the early 1970s. I must thank Michael O. Riley for the scans of the two brochures. Here they are.

Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge

We have one more post in this series, and you can read it here! Have fun!

Next week a new blog series will begin - Map of Oz Monday!

Monday, March 19, 2012


In last week's "White Edition Wednesday" post I mentioned that the 1974 Hutchinson editions from England had replaced the "Famous Oz Books" advertisement with a new introduction and I promised to share an example this week. So here it is!

These new mini-forewords are rather a trifle, but I found it interesting to see how a foreign publisher explained the Oz series to new readers.

I also forgot to thank Freddy Fogarty in last week's WEW post for supplying the scans of the Hutchinson Oz books and the library binding of the Rand McNally Road to Oz. The copy of the Hutchinson Tin Woodman (at right) was a present from Freddy, too. He had recently upgraded his copy and I got this very nice hand-me-down. And that was how I discovered these unusual little forewords. Here's the one from Tin Woodman. Enjoy!

Friday, March 16, 2012

WonderCon 2012

This weekend Eric Shanower and I will be at WonderCon in Anaheim, California at the Anaheim Convention Center. If you're planning to attend or live in the greater Los Angeles area, come on by! We will be set up in Artist Alley at table AA-075. The con runs all weekend March 16 - 18, 2012.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

White Edition Wednesday - OFFSPRING

Last week we looked at the "white edition" of Glinda of Oz so we have now examined all fourteen of L. Frank Baum's Oz books as redesigned by Oz scholar and illustrator Dick Martin.

As we've already seen, Reilly & Lee promoted the series pretty heavily. They issued a handsome counter-top poster, distributed bookmarks, published a new edition of the Ozmapolitan newspaper, issued a pair of full-color Oz maps in 1968, and produced at least two different full-color flyers.I had meant to include scans of the advertising flyers this week but time has run out. The blog must be posted!  So you'll get them next week. 

The Weekly Reader Book Club issued a boxed set of seven "white editions" called The Treasury of Oz. I've not found an original advertisement for this set, and the books one finds in these boxes are usually random. But at least one box claiming to be "as issued" contains the seven titles shown at right. The first seven Baum books (Wizard through Patchwork) do not seem to fit. Perhaps Reilly & Lee was getting rid of overstocked titles? Or perhaps giving the kids a "sampler" of seven random Oz titles encouraged kids to complete the series and buy the other seven at full price.

Did any of my readers buy this boxed set from Weekly Reader back in the day? Does anyone have a date for this set or any promotional material?

The "White Edition" Legacy

Dick Martin's redesign of the books has spread far beyond the original "white editions." In 1971 the Rand McNally company began issuing the books in paperback versions with contents essentially identical to the hardcovers. These were originally priced at only $1.50 compared to Reilly & Lee's $3.95 hardcover asking price. The first batch from Rand McNally included the first five Baum books plus Tin Woodman. Over the next several years Rand McNally added a couple titles per year, eventually publishing twelve of the books (at left). For unknown reasons they never issued Rinkitink and Lost Princess in this format.

The Rand McNally paperbacks were how I first saw the "white editions," and these were the first Oz books I ever owned. I saw a big table stacked high with them at the Bellas-Hess Department Store in Albuquerque and convinced my mom to buy me all six then and there. I remember the day very well, and The Road to Oz (at right) was the first Oz book I ever read by myself (though I had heard many of the Baum books read aloud by my second grade teacher earlier that year). 

While no library bindings of the Reilly & Lee "white editions" are known to exist, copies of the Rand McNally "white edition" paperbacks were issued in hardcover library bindings. It's curious that it's the Rand McNally versions that got the library binding as one would think the stitched bindings of the Reilly & Lee hardcovers would be more durable. Perhaps the $1.50 price-point tipped the scale.

Rand McNally Library Edition

In 1974 Hutchinson Books in the United Kingdom published British editions of four of the "white edition" books (at left). These are very similar to the US editions, but the covers are glossy paper-covered boards with slightly modified cover designs. Bienvenue & Schmidt state the these books are smaller than the "white editions," but, in fact, they are both taller and thicker than the US versions, though the boards are a bit narrower horizontally, measuring only 6 - 3/8".

The books also replaced the text from the "Famous Oz Books" ad with new introductions specific to each title. I'll blog one of them later in the week so you can see what they're like.

Hutchinson U.K. edition of LOST PRINCESS

Scholastic Book Services published small size paperback versions of two of the "white editions," Ozma and Magic. The Scholastic Ozma (published September 1975) is especially interesting as the editor improved Dorothy's grammar by eliminating all of her baby-talk contractions. I s'pose someb'dy had to do it.

Scholastic Paperback Editions

In 1978 Reilly & Lee's parent company, Henry Regnery/Contemporary Books Inc., decided to cease publication of their hardcover "white editions" and to reissue them as trade paperbacks (at left). Evidence would indicate that they pulled the paperback rights away from Rand McNally, who immediately put all of their paperbacks out of print, except for Wizard and Land which were in public domain. Rand McNally kept these two in print for several more years.

When these new Reilly & Lee trade paperbacks were published they no longer bore the Reilly & Lee imprint. They were issued under the Regnery imprint (though some copies bear the Contemporary Books/CBI imprint instead). You can read my detailed account of these books by clicking here.

These new paperbacks were much smaller and the Dick Martin covers were redrawn in a slightly simpler fashion, including some subtle changes to the cover lettering.

Regular "white edition" at left; CBI paperback at right.

Regnery/CBI had only issued seven of the baby "white editions" when they struck a deal with Del Rey Books who wanted to reissue the Oz books as rack-sized paperbacks aimed at the adult fantasy market. At the time this drove me into fits. All of a sudden Oz books weren't in the juvenile section at B. Daltons and Waldenbooks, but classified instead as "Science Fiction." In many ways I still think the Del Rey deal contributed to a whole lost generation of Oz fandom. In any case, Regnery/CBI put their trade paperbacks out of print and that ended Reilly & Lee's connection to the Oz series.

The Del Rey Oz books were first published in 1979. Until I began work on this blog series I hadn't noticed that the Del Rey editions' interiors were created from Dick Martin's "white editions." While the text has been reset and the pictures are much smaller, the Del Rey versions include almost all of Dick Martin's new illustrations and rearrangement of existing illustrations, such as Martin's new line art drawings of the color-plates from Dorothy and the Wizard and the Kabumpo illustrations in Glinda.

Around 1981 a set of Oz books was issued by the Canadian bookseller and publisher Coles Books. Coles issued most, if not all, of the fourteen Baum titles in a paperback format nearly identical to the little Regnery/CBI versions. The covers are a little different, as they have been given decorative red tabs at the top and bottom, as seen on the Coles edition of Tik-Tok (at right). This Canadian Tik-Tok is also interesting as they did not completely keep Dick Martin's wraparound design. The back cover does indeed show Hank and the harness but the wagon hardware does not wrap around the spine.

For the record, Coles also issued an oversize hardcover version of Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz using the original 1907 edition as source material. It included the sixteen color plates, making this the first edition of Dorothy and the Wizard with color illustrations since 1935.

Some Things We've Learned

I'd like to be able to say we've learned a bit about how to date certain of Reilly & Lee's various printings of the "white editions," but, alas, Reilly & Lee has made it very difficult. The earliest copies list all forty Oz books and later copies list only the Baum fourteen. The earliest "Famous Oz Books" ad spells out forty - however, there are variants that reset that paragraph to say fourteen, and then they re-typeset the copy in that paragraph completely, simply calling them "the famous Oz books." This would seem like a clear progression, but at some point Reilly & Lee reverted to an earlier set of printing plates and many late copies list forty Oz books all over again.

There are several very distinct versions of Wizard. Some have Denslow endpapers and some have Road endpapers. Also, the Kansas sequences are printed in chocolate brown in some copies and in gray in others.

Some reprints are printed on thinner paper and using slightly narrower boards resulting in the printed cloth not wrapping very well and making the design on front and back appear to be off-center. Alas, these variants seem to pop up in both very early and very late copies.

Most (if not all) of the books also come in variants where the original pale blue ink on the covers is a much darker process-blue. The pale blue is certainly what Dick intended, as the darker one throws off the color balance. Again, this press room choice seems to have happened several times both early and late.

This has been a very enjoyable sixteen weeks exploring these much-loved but little-discussed editions of the Oz books. Next week we will have one final installment. Two guesses where we're headed. Click here to find out!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Perhappsy Chaps - 4

Sorry for the slight delay,
This should have been up quicker!
But don't refrain, if you have rain,
To wear your nice new slicker!

The latest installment of Ruth Plumly Thompson's The Perhappsy Chaps - ever so wonderfully illustrated by Arthur Henderson.

Please note that if you click on any of the images they will expand to a full-size version which will make it much easier to read! All of the other blog images will similarly enlarge.