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.

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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:

Monday, May 14, 2012

Map of Oz Monday - Surprise! Surprise!

Well, my friends, in last week's post on the Coloring Contest Map I mentioned that I had never seen a copy of the map that included the "printed instructions" that the publicity articles in The Ozmapolitan describe. Yesterday a reader sent me a scan of the "real" Coloring Contest Map.

Click to Enlarge

There are several points of interest. In addition to the Oz book prizes for best overall map (showing corrections, additions, coloring, etc.), there are also ten "Consolation Prizes" consisting of boxes of colored Oz stationery for maps that are only colored in neatly. I wonder what this Oz stationery was? Do any sets survive in their boxes?

Another surprise was that the compass-rose is back to its 1914 east-is-left position! This is quite unexpected, considering the 1920 "Giveaway Map" flipped Baum's compass to the traditional directions. The Map of the Surrounding Countries was probably printed on the other side of this map.

This also raises the question of when the maps I showed last week were actually issued. I have seen those maps described as the "Coloring Contest Map" many times - yet now that we know what the "Coloring Contest Map" really looks like, clearly the plain black-and-white map (with no printed directions) is something else. Probably they are the maps issued after the "Coloring Contest" was finished. Yet the 1928 issue of The Ozmapolitan makes no mention of the new maps being prepared. And why after all the fuss of the coloring contest didn't the publishers update the maps in any way other than flipping the compass back to the east-is-right compass?

So that's my little correction for this week. (Click here for the next Oz Map blog post.)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Tony deZuniga 1932 - 2012

Just heard a bit ago that Tony deZuniga died today from complications of a stroke he suffered last month. Tony was a Filipino comics artist who is probably best known to Oz fans for inking the Marvel/DC treasury size comic book MGM's Marvelous Wizard of Oz. Tony worked extensively for DC Comics and was the co-creator of both Jonah Hex and Black Orchid.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Boys' Life

Today we go exploring with John R. Neill and a beautiful cover painting he did for the May, 1930 issue of Boys' Life.

This exotic image has always felt kind of Ozzy - as if it's an image from an unrecorded visit Captain Salt and the Crescent Moon paid to ... well ... a tropical island of some sort. The cover image seems to have no connection to any particular story in the magazine.

There seems to be so much story potential in the image! Why are the pontoon boats approaching the sailing vessel? What are they doing with the parrots? Offering them as a trade? A warning to stay away? Note there is another boat-full of boys approaching the starboard side of the ship. As far as I know the original painting no longer survives - but if it should turn up I'd certainly be pleased to have it here in the Tiger Den.

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In case you missed the announcement we will be auctioning off a piece of original John R. Neill artwork at the 2012 Winkie Convention this July. Click here for details.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Map of Oz Monday - The Coloring Contest Map

Blogger's Note: A few days after the following blog was written I was sent a scan of the "real" Coloring Contest Map described in the Ozmapolitan articles below. Click here to see the blog discussing the newly discovered map.
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In 1926 Reilly and Lee revived The Ozmapolitan "newspaper" to promote the publication of The Hungry Tiger of Oz. One of the articles announced that the "Royal Surveyor Wants Help on New Maps of Oz." It seems Ozma had requested that new maps be prepared and the article points up some areas of investigation for kids to research and solve. Here's the full article:

I do wonder if there was any genuine confusion at Reilly & Lee that prompted this contest and the two examples of areas to research. The Yoop issue is of course that Mr. Yoop from The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1913) is indeed in the Quadling Country - but his wife, Mrs. Yoop, lives in a castle in the Gillikin Country, a castle which is not shown on the map. The issue about the Wicked Witch is interesting. Virtually every Oz reader knows there were TWO wicked witches - one in the Munchkin Country and one in the Winkie Country.

I can only guess that Reilly & Lee were finding themselves hoisted on their own petard because in 1920 they had flipped the Oz compass from Baum's backwards one to a traditional one.

I imagine this caused many a young reader to scratch his head trying to figure out why (after 1920) the Wicked Witch of the West was shown as living in the east. After all, The Wizard of Oz is the book most seriously affected by Reilly & Lee's compass correction. The geography and directions are explicit - down to the very name of the villain.

All that aside, this map contest was a pretty clever ploy to get kids to read the Oz books - and to "research" and correct the 1914/1920 map of Oz.

The maps were issued the following year to promote the Oz series and the new Ozmite Club. The official announcement came in the 1927 issue of The Ozmapolitan promoting the publication of The Gnome King of Oz:

The article above has now added the suggestion that the maps should not only be corrected, but colored in, too. The downside of this contest is that the kids had to mail their maps away. Perhaps this explains the scarcity of the coloring contest maps? Also, they are printed on somewhat brittle uncoated paper. But that prize is pretty good - Oz books specially autographed by Ruth Plumly Thompson! I have not seen any evidence of who the winners were, and the 1928 issue of  The Ozmapolitan doesn't mention the maps or the coloring contest at all.

Click to Enlarge

The printed coloring contest maps measure 10" x 15". One side features a Map of the Land of Oz and the other shows the Countries Surrounding Oz. Seeing the map in black and white really exaggerates the "stretch" at the center of the map which I described in the blog two weeks ago. It looks like someone has cut a huge firebreak through the Gillikin and Quadling countries. Note, too, that the directions for the coloring contest do not appear on the map - the news articles above stated that they would be there. It's possible only the earliest maps had the directions and once the contest was over the map was reprinted sans directions. But I have yet to see an example with the "printed directions." [Blogger's Note: A reader has sent me a scan of the actual Coloring Contest Map with directions included.  Click here to see it.]

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This is the first time the map of the Countries Surrounding Oz (shown above) has been reprinted since it was included in the first edition of Tik-Tok of Oz in 1914.  Note that Reilly & Lee has corrected the compass points to the traditional (non-Baum) directions. 

Ruth Plumly Thomson kept a great stack of these maps and often sent them to children that wrote her fan letters. Thompson tried in vain for many years to get Reilly & Lee to issue new maps - the very maps that "the Royal Surveyor" was supposed to be working on - maps that would include places from HER Oz books, too. Sadly it never happened. But we will be revisiting these maps and some thoughts Thompson had on them in the coming weeks.

I find it interesting that these maps were issued in 1927, the same year that Dick Martin was born. As we will see in the coming months, Dick Martin's Oz maps from the 1960s thru 1980s have become, for many, the standard reference of Ozian geography.

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

Friday, May 4, 2012

Tricky Tik-Tok Tune

A new arrival in the Tiger Den is this piece of music from the 1913 musical The Tik-Tok Man of Oz. Indeed, "I Want to be Somebody's Girlie" is the only piece of published music from the show that I had never been able to track down in almost twenty years of hunting.

I knew of the sheet music's existence because it was listed in the 1977 auction of Justin Schiller's Oz collection. But no one has been able to tell me where that copy ended up, and none of my Oz music collecting friends has a copy nor does the Library of Congress. In my two decades of hunting I would have been very happy for just a photocopy, but now I have a real one.

I knew it was a song by Victor Schertzinger, music director of Tik-Tok Man of Oz, but I has assumed it would look like the other three Schertzinger Tik-Tok songs with the blue and orange covers and the clock-girl faces like the one below.

Based on the sheet music cover, "I Want to be Somebody's Girlie" was performed by Dolly Castles as Polychrome, though I don't find the song listed in the half dozen Tik-Tok Man programs I have access to. Still, it must have been in the show and gotten at least a bit of a following, or why put out the sheet music?

In closing let me say this is the clearest photo I've seen of Dolly Castles. I can't say she makes me think of Polychrome much. Perhaps she was very colorful on stage.

Dolly Castles - who played Polychrome

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Dorothy of Oz #2

The second issue of IDW's Dorothy of Oz comic book prequel hits stores today - so why not go pick-up a copy!

The cover drawing is by Eric Shanower - though not in his typical Oz style - showing the gang in the not-so-Dainty China Country.

Based on the upcoming animated film Dorothy of Oz, the comic prequel is written by Denton J. Tipton and drawn by Blair Shedd.

Below you can see a sample page from the issue.