Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Cards - Have a Cool Yule!

I've previously blogged about several examples of holiday cards drawn by the creators of the Oz series. Eloise Jarvis McGraw was known to engrave wood-blocks to print her own Holiday cards (click here). And Eric Shanower drew his own Christmas cards for many years. Here's one of my favorites featuring Percy the Personality Kid. Bill Campbell of the Oz Collector blog recently shared a great collection of John R. Neill's personal Christmas greetings.

Here is a Christmas card drawn by Oz illustrator Dick Martin. It is a commercially produced card designed by Martin in the mid-1950s. Dick created dozens of different greeting cards back then. Many delighted in '50s kitsch, such as this trumpet playing cat lounging in a bowl chair. The front of the card gives little indication this is, in fact, a Christmas card. But as you'll see from the inner spread, it is!

As this cat says, "Have a cool Yule . . . and a real crazy new Year!"

Sunday, December 20, 2015


In 1980 I won the Munchkin Convention's Oz quiz. The quiz had been prepared by John Bell. Both of us were in our mid-teens. This was the first time I won a convention quiz and I was eagerly looking forward to the glory that came attached to such a win. And I had much anticipation for the Ozzy prize that was sure to come with it.

At my first Oz convention a few years earlier, the quiz prize had been a first edition of The Giant Horse of Oz, and I had gotten it into my head that quiz prizes should be substantive. Well, my prize for winning the Munchkin Quiz was a small cheese board, hand-made by John Bell himself. In all likelihood it had been made in John's high school "wood shop" class. It came with this "Certificate of Authenticity."

At the time, I was a bit disappointed in the little cheese board. Perhaps, John, too, thought it was a trifle too little as he augmented the cheese board with an inexpensive Whitman edition of The Wizard of Oz, which he had autographed by Margaret Hamilton, who was the special guest of the Munchkin Convention.

Margaret Hamilton's "Congratulations!" on winning the quiz.

Now, in hindsight a copy of The Wizard of Oz signed by the Wicked Witch of the West sounds very nice, but at the time she was in the same room with me and I'd just had lunch with her and had her sign several other books I'd brought with me.

But over the years this once disappointingly cheesy prize has come to mean much more to me than some book or Ozian collectible would have. John and I are still friends and blogging colleagues. (John writes the Oz and Ends blog as well as the American Revolution blog Boston 1775.) And now, thirty-five years later, I really enjoy knowing that John made that stupid little cheese board for me back when we were both teenagers. And you know, for decades now it's actually been really useful for serving cheese!

[Update] You can read John's version of the story by clicking here!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Blog 500! Happy Holidays!

Well, this is my 500th blog post here. For those that are curious about such things Hungry Tiger Talk has had 239,939 page views and received 1211 comments. To celebrate here is a charming Christmas advertisement from the Indianapolis Journal, December 15, 1902.

Click to enlarge.

This fine advertisement of good books for the holidays back in 1902 promotes two of L. Frank Baum's titles, describing The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus as "a book for which all the little ones have been waiting for generations and generations." The page also advertises Baum's The Master Key saying, "Never was a better story written for boys . . . This prince of story tellers has related a story of adventure so filled with wonders that rare will be the boy who does not find it fascinating."And while Life and Adventures is shown on the Christmas tree above three times, The Master Key isn't shown at all. If you click on the image above you can explore the image in detail.

We have another holiday treat for you over on our sister blog Hungry Tiger Tales, where we present Christmas with the Prince, a Pumperdink story by Ruth Plumly Thompson first published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, December 21, 1919. Another fun read on the blog is Jack Snow's holiday story, The Animal's Christmas Tree which you can read by clicking here.

And finally, go check out our internet radio station, Emerald City Radio which has been nicely spiced up with some Ozzy Christmas listening including a selection of Christmas carols sung by Stephanie Mills, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" sung by Judy Garland, and "Toyland" which was first sung by Bessie Wynn in Victor Herbert's Babes in Toyland. Bessie, of course, created the part of Sir Dashemoff Daily in the 1903 Wizard of Oz just before she created the part of TomTom in Babes in Toyland. Click here to listen  or simply click the "play" arrow in the Emerald City Radio window at the top of the right hand column in this blog.

This blog has been a lot of fun to wrote over the past five years, and I am glad to be posting regularly again. Several blog sequences have proved to be very popular, such as Map of Oz Monday, White Edition Wednesday, and the amusingly critical reviews of the preposterous Bradford Exchange reprints of the Baum Oz books. And there's lots of other cool stuff in these 500 various posts - go explore for a bit!

Happy Holidays from Hungry Tiger Press!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Christmas Snow!

I think maybe it's time for a holiday-oriented blog post!

Back in the late 1920s Jack Snow wrote a weekly radio column called "Cruising the Air Channels" for the Piqua Daily Call in Piqua, Ohio. Incidentally, for years I mispronounced the name of this small Ohio town. It's actually pronounced "Pick-way."

Below you will find excerpts from two different columns, both from December 1928. I'm not quite sure why Snow found this issue of multiple Santa's on the air waves so troublesome. To me, it seems no more problematic than the usual logic issues of how Santa gets to all the various houses to deliver all those toys from one sleigh in one night.

But it's still fun to read about the relatively young medium of radio, and Snow mentions "nomes" and uses Baum's spelling. So get ready to lock down your radio tuner and enjoy some Christmas Snow!
December 17th 1928

This is the season of the year when every radio studio has its Santa Claus. Actually if you want to preserve the illusion of the bewhiskered Saint for your small son or daughter, the only thing to do is to pick a strong station and lock the controls of the set. For if the youngster starts hunting Santa of his own accord, he will discover the air to be thickly beset by the benevolent old gentleman. The child will make the alarming discovery that Santa can hop from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati and to St. Louis and and back again as fast as he can turn the dial. Apparently Santa is possessed of a tenor voice in St. Louis, a bass tone in Cincinnati, and a mellow baritone in Pittsburgh. This state of affairs is confusing to say the least, and has been known to elicit some embarrassing questions that parents are not always capable of answering.

All the Santas are jolly and beneficent so there is not really much choice. The thing to do, therefore, is to pick the strongest station and then stand guard over the controls of the set while the young hope is absorbing the Christmas spirit. Otherwise the radio as a means of child education is going to prove just a trifle too successful.

December 24, 1928
Illusions Lost

Our worst fears are realized. Either the whole Santa Claus story is a gigantic hoax, or Santa himself is a deceiver of the worst sort. How, are we anxious to learn, aided by even the swiftest airplane can Santa be in Detroit, Philadelphia, New York, and Cincinnati as fast as we turn the single dial of our set?

And oh, the companions and merry little helpers of Santa, their member is legion. There are nomes, elves, princesses, fairies and all manner of what nots that roam through the pages of the charming child books. The main difficulty, however, in all this pleasant phantasia to entertain the younger members of the radio audience is the lack of consistency. Even in fairy tales, and imaginative stories, the author must be believed - he must be consistent. but not so your bland studio director, he asininely bites off several more hunks than he can choose, and proceeds to lose seven-eights of the illusion that the microphone, more happily handled, might create. Here again, we have a crying need for competent radio dramatists.

Now, why not head over to our sister blog Hungry Tiger Tales and read Jack Snow's The Animals' Christmas Tree.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Happy Birthday, Rachel!

Edward Einhorn, Eric Shanower, Rachel Cosgrove Payes, & David Maxine.

Today would have been Rachel Cosgrove Payes's 93rd Birthday. She is, of course, the author of Hidden Valley of Oz (1951). I began corresponding with her in the late 1970s, and we finally met for a visit in 1985. But in the early 1990's Rachel became a much bigger part of Eric Shanower's and my lives. Eric had begun work illustrating Rachel's second Oz book The Wicked Witch of Oz (1993), and she began attending the Munchkin Conventions on the east coast. Soon after Wicked Witch came out Eric and I moved to New Jersey and I began Hungry Tiger Press. I asked Rachel for a new Oz story for the premiere issue of Oz-Story Magazine and she wrote one for me!

Eric and I had Oz-story publication parties and Rachel and her husband Norman would attend, always bringing a bottle of wine, maybe some cookies, and usually Rachel would make us an elaborate greeting card.  She also gave us a "Statue of David" refrigerator magnet that still adorns our fridge. The photo at the top of this blog post is from the Oz-Story No. 3 Party in 1997.

Rachel R. Cosgrove - 1942
In thinking about what I might share with you on Rachel's special day, I realized I had never seen a youthful picture of Rachel, so I hit up my genealogical resources and located a few. Here she is at nineteen, in the 1942 West Virginia Wesleyan College yearbook (she graduated in 1943).

I recognized Rachel immediately without having to go to the name index on the photo spread. She has the same wonderfully friendly but very determined look I so well remember her for.

There were a few other images in the yearbook, too. I especially like the image below showing Rachel relaxing on the campus lawn. The photo, presented in the fore-matter of the year book, is captioned: "And Rachel finally gets some E's . . ." Alas, I have no idea at all what that means!

Rachel R. Cosgrove at West Virginia Wesleyan College, 1942.

She can also be seen in the Sigma Alpha Sigma photo. Rachel is in the upper left.

Rachel died October 10, 1998. She was only seventy-five.

You can read quite a few other blog posts about Rachel and her books by clicking here.

Happy birthday, Kiddo!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Eloise Jarvis McGraw - Happy 100th!

Eloise McGraw and me picnicking on Mount Hood, Oregon, summer 1984.

Today would have been Eloise Jarvis McGraw's 100th birthday. Eloise was not only the author of three Oz books, Merry Go Round in Oz (1963), The Forbidden Fountain of Oz (1980), and The Rundelstone of Oz (2001), but she was also a close friend and a very important part of my life in my teenage and young adult years. Click here for previous blog post. Indeed, I was privileged (and a little intimidated) to be the editor and publisher of Rundelstone, which turned out to be her final book. 

Eloise Alton Jarvis - senior portrait, 1932
Eloise Alton Jarvis was born on December 9, 1915, in Houston, Texas. When she was five her family moved to Oklahoma City, where Eloise graduated from Classen High School in 1932. She was not only in the Honor Society, but won the Senior "Literary Award."

She wrote the "Class Poem of 1932" for her senior yearbook, but she had also written a poem called "Marsh Reeds" for the her junior yearbook when she was only fifteen years old. This is, I believe, McGraw's earliest published writing, and we are pleased to share it with you as a Hungry Tiger Tale. You can read it by clicking here.

Eloise Jarvis married William Corbin McGraw in January 1940. Her first children's book, Sawdust in His Shoes, was published in 1950. She went on to have a stellar career as an author of children's fiction. She wrote nineteen books for young people (three of which were Newbery Honor titles), as well as a book on fiction writing and Pharaoh, an adult novel set in ancient Egypt.

On June 16, 1958, Eloise appeared on Willard Espy's radio show Personalities in Print to discuss her new adult novel Pharaoh, which had just been released by Coward McCann.

Happy birthday, Eloise!

The Rundelstone of Oz
by Eloise McGraw

Cloth-bound hardcover, pictorial endpapers and dust jacket.
Profusely illustrated by Eric Shanower

Join the living marionette, Pocotristi Sostenuto -- better known as Poco -- on his desperate search for the magical Rundelstone in order to rescue his fellow puppets from Slyddwynn, the sinister Whitherd of Whitheraway Castle. Discover the hidden multi-colored Oz kingdom of Fyordi-Zik. And how does all this concern one of Ozma's ladies-in-waiting? This beautiful hardcover book is illustrated by Eric Shanower (with many NEW illustrations!) and comes in a full-color dust jacket. This exciting full-length Oz book by Newbery honoree Eloise Jarvis McGraw (author of Merry Go Round in Oz) will keep you thoroughly enchanted! 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Merry Christmas from Gimbel Brothers!

Happy Holidays! How'd you like to read a little-known chapter in Oz history? Well, it is presented below as written in a beautiful full-page ad for Gimbel Brothers' Department Store in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, November 12, 1920.

Well, well, Boys and Girls - the "secret's out" - Santa Claus rented, no borrowed, no, was given a great big part of the Land of Oz on which was the biggest cave you ever saw, and there he worked for three hundred days to make your Christmas toys. Then he said to the Wizard of OZ, "All's ready. Let's go," and the Wizard summoned Mombi, the Witch, who went to the Cave and sprinkles the "Powder of Life" over the toys, lifted her left hjand with its little finger pointed upward and mumbled: "Weaugh - Teaugh - Peaugh" and goodness me! those toys cried out: "We live - We live! - We live!!

Then the wizard waved his hat and all of the Land of OZ was swept through the air just like Dorothy and Zeb and the horse were, and down, down, down the people and toys fell. After three days and three night they came to the Gimbel Land of Toys and took possession - and are to stay 'till - Oh! I almost forgot, I promised the Wizard and Santa Claus not to tell.

The Joy of the Land of OZ is Eternal Youth

Everybody is young. Mombi has a new charm, the "Powder of Youth," which she uses on every old grouch she can find. Here ten is ten, and seventy years fall away from eighty just like the Wicked Witch melted away. We're all boys and girls together.

And everybody's here - all your old friends - dear Jack Pumpkinhead, the brainy Scarecrow, the good-hearted Tin Woodman and Dorothy and the Wizard and Tip and Toto - oh, just everybody to welcome you, to walk with you, to play with you in this fairyful Land of OZ.

I must tell you about Santa Claus and the Royal Ponies and the others - it's something like this -

There is a lot of other fun stuff to read in this great vintage advertisement. Click on the full-page image below and it will expand to an easily readable size. I am wondering if this might be the earliest Oz writing of Ruth Plumly Thompson. She was still writing her "Children's Page" the the Public Ledger so she was working at the paper when this ad appeared. The writer clearly knew the Oz books, despite a few inaccuracies in the ad copy. I am not sure if Thompson had signed her contract with Reilly & Lee yet either. If she had already signed on, I think it even more likely she might have written the ad copy.

Despite my wishful thinking, I don't think it sounds particularly Thompson-like. But it's a fun and pretty spiffy ad! Look at the six little drawings above the six boxes in the middle of the page. They almost look like "give-away" pins!

A few other things to notice: The ad lists and promotes The Wizard of Oz right along with the rest of the Oz series despite being available from different publishers. And the main drawing at the bottom of the page is adapted from the endpapers of Glinda of Oz which had only been published a few months earlier on July 10, 1920.

Oz advertisement in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, November 12, 1920 - Click to enlarge.

They sure don't write ad copy like they used to! Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Bjo Trimble in Oz!

One of the best times I had in my tenure running Winkie Con/OzCon was the chance to become much better friends with John and Bjo Trimble. They were names I'd known since my early teen years when I was a burgeoning Star Trek fan. Back then I had no idea that the Trimbles were also Oz fans. But they were, and they even attended the Winkie Convention in its early years!

I got the chance to meet them when they and Eric Shanower and I were all guests at Westercon 66. Soon after that great weekend, I invited them to be special guests at Winkie Con 50 in 2014. They were absolute hits! They even participated in the Oz Costume Contest dressed an Aunt Em and Uncle Henry!

Bjo & John Trimble as Aunt Em & Uncle Henry with David Maxine.

Bjo (which is pronounced Bee-jo) also presented me with her old copy of The Wizard of Oz Waddle Book in dust jacket, which I treasure because it was once Bjo's.  Below is an interview (somewhat expanded here) that I did with the Trimbles in 2014 for OzCon.

Both John and Bjo  Trimble say they have found all aspects of fandom, from fantasy to science fiction, to be vexing, disappointing, and loads of fun. They each found their best friends in fandom and married them. Through the next five decades, John supported most of Bjo’s hair-brained schemes (her phrasing!), from chairing conventions, to publishing fanzines, to organizing the “Save Star Trek” letter campaign.

Most of fandom knows Bjo as the woman that saved Star Trek. Bjo explains:
Star Trek was to be cancelled at the end of the second season and Gene Roddenberry was trying to find a way to ask the fans for support. The Trimbles knew how to contact the fans, and the rest is History. Nobody knew in 1967 what an impact that campaign would have; if the show had not had that third season, it wouldn’t have been syndicated (not back then), and if it hadn’t gone into syndication . . .

In 1976, Bjo assembled and wrote the legendary Star Trek Concordance for Ballantine Books. She also wrote On the Good Ship Enterprise: My 15 Years with Star Trek (1983).

But what many people don’t know is that John and Bjo are also big Oz fans - involved in the earliest days of Oz fandom in California - including the earliest Winkie Cons. “We have an eclectic interest in fandom,” say Bjo, “dabbling for awhile in such groups as the Mythopoeic Society, a local Sherlock Holmes group, and Oz, of course!”

John and Bjo both served in the Korean War, John with the Air Force, Bjo with the U. S. Navy WAVES. They were married in 1960 and they have three daughters: Kathryn, Lora, and Jennifer. They eventually started their own natural dye and pigment business. The couple says, “People wonder what we still have to talk about, but since we both enjoy books, travel, and each other’s company, our life together has never been boring.”

John and Bjo were co-organizers of the World Science Fiction Convention Art Shows for seventeen years, they co-chaired Equicon Star Trek Conventions and Filmcon Media Conventions, and both are long-time members of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society and the Society for Creative Anachronism. Bjo received an “Inkpot Award” for setting up the San Diego Comic Con Art Show and helping set up the Comic Con Masquerade.

Bjo remembers reading her first Oz book around 1940. “I was given a bedraggled copy of The Wizard of Oz by a thrift shop, because it was too damaged to sell. There were no colored pictures left. I had no idea that some books came in sets, so I never looked for any others until I’d seen the movie.” But Bjo well remembers seeing the MGM film for the first time. Her family had to drive twenty-two miles to the nearest theatre, usually to see John Wayne or Randolph Scott westerns. “Only occasionally would we see something like The Wizard of Oz with Judy Garland. I had no idea that books could become movies and was absolutely spellbound.” Bjo soon found there were more Oz books, her favorite being The Emerald City of Oz. Her favorite character is the Scarecrow.
John didn’t discover Oz until a few years later: “I read my first Oz book, The Land of Oz, before I’d seen the movie, probably about 1947 or ’48.” The Land of Oz is still John’s favorite Oz book and the Woggle-Bug is still his favorite character.

In time, the Trimble daughters were introduced to Oz, too. “Our whole family liked Oz books,” says Bjo. “And we had enough people to make up a small Wizard of Oz costume group for a Westercon (West Coast Science-Fantasy Conference) being held in the San Francisco area sometime in the mid-’60s. Blake Maxam (one of the co-founders of Winkie Con) was the Wizard, Lora Trimble was Dorothy, John Trimble was the Scarecrow, and I was Glinda the Good (the John R. Neill version of course).” John adds: “About that time, our younger daughter, Lora, was trying to get us to give her a dog. So she suggested the Oz group, with her little self as Dorothy. ‘Of course,’ she said slyly, ‘I’ll need a dog . . .’”

At that costume contest, the Trimbles met a Scraps the Patchwork Girl and invited her to join them. Underneath that costume was their friend, Felice Rolfe. “She was our hostess, as our family was not staying at the convention hotel,” says John. “It was entirely coincidental. We’d not spoken of our costumes, so no one knew until we met just before the costume parade.”

Bjo remembers attending the 1965 Winkie Con:
Most of Baum’s relatives left before or soon after we arrived; they seemed to feel that in showing up at all, they had done their family duty. I tried to talk to one man, who was so bored with the group that he made no secret of it. So far as I can remember, most of the Oz fans made attempts to talk to the relatives, then gave up.
After most of the others had left, Mrs. Baum [this is L. Frank Baum's daughter-in-law, Edna] showed us around the house, and Kat loved all the little nooks and crannies that were just perfect for someone to sit and read. Kat also liked the large kitchen, as did I. Katwen is our mentally handicapped daughter, Kathryn Arwen Trimble. Kat’s innocent 8-year-old enthusiasm is always a hit; people are charmed by her. She loved - still does - the Oz stories, which I read to our daughters whenever I could.

While Oz has not been in the forefront of the Trimbles’ lives in fandom, it has always been there. On the “original series” Star Trek DVDs there is an interview with Bjo. She talks of her part in helping save Star Trek, but in the background behind her during her interview are her Oz books.

Bjo and some of her Oz collection.
Of their lives today, Bjo says, “We are now discovering new delights in old interests, such as Oz fandom. We look forward to many more years with Winkie Con and the wonderful people organizing it.”

I am very pleased to have welcomed the Trimbles back to the Land of Oz.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Talkin' Turkey with L. Frank Baum

Happy Thanksgiving from Hungry Tiger Press!  Did you know that L. Frank Baum was a champion turkey carver? Well, he was, as you will see in the photo below.  Baum and his turkey are at the far right in the photo.

L. Frank Baum at far right - Click to enlarge.

This undated newspaper article appeared in the Los Angeles Examiner; it probably dates from 1916. This soiree was an event put on by the "Uplifters," a sort rich boy's group connected to the Los Angeles Athletic Club.

You might also note that the gentleman second from left is Byron Gay, who wrote the music to Baum's song "Susan Doozan." And at the end of the article one sees another name Oz fans will be familiar with, Fred Woodward, who played Hank the Mule in The Tik-Tok Man of Oz and the mule and other animals in all the Oz Film Co. movies. It's nice to know Mr. Woodward could kick up his heels with the best of them!

Another cool thing mentioned in the article is that after dinner the group watched some home movies of the "Uplifters Jinks" at Del Mar. Wouldn't it be fun to find those home movies and possibly catch a glimpse of Baum on film!

Read the full newspaper article below. It seems Baum's competitors thought Baum had an advantage having the smallest turkey. But in the end Baum and his carving knife won out!

Read the full text - Click to enlarge.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Map of Oz Monday - Ojo Mojo

OK, boys and girls, we are setting off on a major hike through the Munchkin Country today. And Ojo and Realbad and Snufferbux are going to be our guides! Luckily Ojo has brought along the Oz maps created by L. Frank Baum and Ruth Plumly Thompson, and Snufferbux has his copies of the relevant texts.

Together we're gonna try to untangle what I see as the one terrible error on the Oz Club's maps, and that is the shifting of Ojo's and Doctor Pipt's homes to the northern Munchkin Country. Baum's map (and text) has them in the southern Munchkin Country.

Granted, there is a textual contradiction in Baum's The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1914). In short, the club maps chose to honor a totally unimportant slip of the pen by Baum (a reference to the Gillikin Country) and thus made hash of the story logic (and often explicit detail) of Baum's Patchwork Girl and Ruth Plumly Thompson's Ojo in Oz (1933).

I will be getting into Baum's text in detail. But here's what we're talking about.

Baum's map on left, Club map on right - Click to enlarge.

On the left is Baum's map showing Ojo in the South near the Quadling border; on the right is the Club's map showing Ojo in the north with Dr. Pipt's mountain on the Gillikin border. Exactly who pushed for this change is not known. At least originally, Jim Haff followed the bulk of Baum's story and kept Ojo in the south as you can see in his master research map, below. (Remember that the Club maps show east on the right hand side of the map.)

Jim Haff's placement of Ojo in the south on his original "research" map.

In all likelihood it was either Fred Meyer or Dick Martin that "corrected" Jim's careful research and argued for shifting Ojo and Pipt to the north. Fred had a persnickety obsession with certain details and I can imagine him focusing in on that word "Gillikin" and not letting go. Dick Martin seems to me to have approached the maps from an "ease of drawing" perspective much of the time. And the northern section of Haff's Munchkin Country was kind of empty and it's also possible that Dick urged the move to simply fill up that space on the map. This is all conjecture; we simply don't know at this point what happened, only that Jim Haff's careful design was radically altered.

This may seem like a big fuss over nothing. What does it matter that one map shows Ojo in the north and another shows Ojo in the south? Well, it turns out to matter a lot, much more than I even realized from an Oz history perspective. In the Oz Club choice, all you gain is the chance to honor Baum's unimportant slip of the pen, "Gillikin."

But I think much was lost by that choice. Whereas, if Ojo and Dr. Pipt are in the south, innumerable details in the stories of both Patchwork Girl and Ojo in Oz make sense in story-telling logic and in geographical unity. This should not be surprising when we now know Baum had already mapped the Land of Oz sometime in late 1912 or early 1913, according to Gottschalk, and we know that Thompson was using the text of Patchwork Girl (and both Baum's and her own maps) in the writing of Ojo in Oz, as you will see further below.

Let me take you on a tour through the southern Munchkin Country! We'll explore both the various texts and the various maps.

The trouble begins when Ojo and Unc Nunkie run out of food and have to leave their humble cottage deep in the dismal Blue Forest. Ojo says, "All I've ever seen of the great Land of Oz, Unc Dear, is the view of that mountain over at the south, where they say the Hammerheads live . . . and that other mountain at the north, where they say nobody lives."

Unc Nunkie reminds Ojo that the Crooked Magician Dr. Pipt and his wife live on that mountain at the north. Ojo continues, "They live high up on the mountain, and the good Munchkin Country, where the fruits and flowers grow, is just on the other side."

So Ojo and Unc Nunkie set out from their cottage in the Blue Forest, heading north to get to the good part of the Munchkin Country that lies on the other side of Dr. Pipt's mountain.

Here we come to Baum's slip of the pen where he writes:
At the foot of the mountain that separated the Country of the Munchkins from the Country of the Gillikins, the path divided.  One way led to the left and the other to the right — straight up the mountain. Unc Nunkie took this right-hand path and Ojo followed without asking why. He knew it would take them to the house of the Crooked Magician, whom he had never seen but who was their nearest neighbor.
Baum should not have written that phrase about the Country of the Gillikins. He has already explained that Doctor Pipt's mountain is separating Ojo and Nunkie's home from the more fruitful plains of the Munchkin Country, these fertile fields being Ojo and Nunkie's destination. Based on Baum's previous text detail, the paragraph should have said something like: "At the foot of the mountain that separated the fertile fields of the Munchkins from the Blue Forest, the path divided."

Remember Ojo and Nunkie are explicitly journeying from their home, where they have no food, to the good part of the Munchkin Country. And remember, too, they are not journeying to visit Doctor Pipt. The Doctor is just a rest stop on the journey over the mountain barrier.

Back to the story . . . Unc Nunkie and Ojo take the right-hand path up the mountain. It must be a rough or steep climb, because they made it from home to the bottom of the mountain by early morning, yet they will be trudging up the mountain most of the day. They stop for lunch at noon and then hike for another two hours before arriving at Doctor Pipt's.

After the Liquid of Petrifaction accident, Ojo, Scraps, and Bungle decide to set off to find a cure. They continue on the path over the mountain, the same route Ojo and Nunkie always planned to take, into the fertile fields of the Munchkin Country. Baum writes: "Ojo had never traveled before and so he only knew that the path down the mountainside led into the open Munchkin Country, where large numbers of people dwelt."

After reaching the foot of the mountain they come to a brook which Scraps jumps across. They journey on, and shortly before sundown they meet a Munchkin Woodchopper who invites them to spend the night. They decline, as Ojo wants to press on with their journey. They walk late into the night, eventually coming to the house with the disembodied voice. The next day, after encountering the live phonograph, they meet the Foolish Owl and Wise Donkey (the latter says he is from Mo). They then free the Woozy and finally arrive at the Yellow Brick Road. This is not Dorothy's Yellow Brick Road but another one.

Now you might be asking, why did you cover all of that stuff in so much detail? What does it have to do with maps? Well, my friends, allow me to show you!  The events described above fit quite wonderfully into the pre-Oz Club maps! And with some surprising synchronicity, IMHO!

Below is Baum's 1914 Oz map. I have added indicated the paths (as described in Baum's text) in yellow, showing the the path from Ojo's house to the base of the mountain that separates Ojo and Nunkie from the fertile plains of the Munchkin Country. You can see the fork, where the path divides. Ojo and Nunkie took the right-hand path up the mountain to Doctor Pipt.

Narrow yellow line shows paths in the Blue Forest and path followed by Ojo to the YBR

I also added in the "second" Yellow Brick Road as it was not shown on Baum's map. It would obviously not be so straight, but this is more of a diagram to show how well Baum's text can be plugged into his own map of Oz. Note that there is even a "brook" or river for Scraps to jump across after they get down out of the mountain. This brook is on the original map; I only added the yellow path and road.

I firmly believe Baum wrote the Patchwork Girl text using his Oz map as a guide, though the map would not be published until the next year's Oz book, Tik-Tok of Oz (1914). We already have evidence that Baum drew the map in late 1912 or so (see this previous blog post). But in another unidentified 1913 newspaper interview Baum states: "the Land of Oz has grown to be a very real place to me. I have even mapped it all out, and its characters are known to me quite intimately."

Let's add another layer into all this. Ruth Plumly Thompson had clearly reread Baum's Patchwork Girl of Oz in preparation for writing her "sequel" Ojo in Oz. Below is Thompson's map of Oz. It is a tracing of Baum's 1914 map in which she has worked in the locations from her own Oz titles. I have added in essentially identical versions of the paths and Yellow Brick Road.

Thompson's map showing Ojo and Dr. Pipt and her own Bandit's Forest and Seebania from OJO IN OZ.

I think this map shows Thompson wrote Ojo in Oz using the 1914 Baum map as reference. And she has placed Seebania (the kingdom Unc Nunkie and the infant Ojo fled) just to the left of the Blue Forest where Ojo and Nunkie lived. And look where a path to the left would lead on Thompson's map - toward Seebania! No wonder Unc Nunkie avoided it.

Now what I also love about Thompson's geography here is that it justifies why (from an Oz history perspective) there is a second Yellow Brick Road and what two places it connects. The Baum and Thompson geography in Patchwork Girl and Ojo strongly allows for this Yellow Brick Road to connect the Emerald City with the old capital of the Munchkin Country, Seebania! This may well be constructive conjecture on my part, but there can be no dismissing the fact that Thompson meant Ojo's home and Seebania to be in the same general vicinity.

Below is a similarly modified version of Walt Spouse's beautifully detailed "Wonderland of Oz Map" showing the paths and Yellow Brick Road. I have added in Seebania (where Thompson has positioned it) and labeled the "brook" that Scraps jumps over.

Modified version of Walt Spouse's 1932 "Wonderland of Oz" map.

There are many subtle details from both books that can take on added significance once one begins to see the entire geographical picture. Of course Unc Nunkie avoided the "left-hand" path on the way to the fertile Munchkin fields; he knew it went to Seebania. When the Wise Donkey informs Ojo and the gang that he is from Mo, it's not surprising when one realizes Mo is just across the desert from nearby Jinxland, as The Scarecrow of Oz (1916) makes clear.

I think it makes much more sense for Dr. Pipt to have moved almost as far as he could from his old home in the Gillikin Country (where he knew Mombi) to the very desolate southern corner of the Munchkin Country. And in kind, it makes more sense to me that elderly Unc Nunkie, who fled the court of Seebania with a literal babe in arms, took refuge in the dark Blue Forest in the first empty cottage he came upon. 

Now, I do not particularly think L. Frank Baum or Ruth Plumly Thompson necessarily worked this all out in this kind of detail. But a literary fantasy land finds a life of its own as layer upon layer of fictional history is built up, as maps get modified, as characters grow - whether looking for adventure or searching for their pasts.

I think Jim Haff understood this. He brought his professional skills as a cartographer to this project, and as we'll see in the coming posts, he largely succeeded in compiling the various bits of research into a logical, geographic whole. Note that I'm not certain whether Haff paid any attention to Thompson's hand-drawn map of Oz. Still, his Munchkin Country generally followed most of the story points above. Here's my yellow schematic laid over his "research" map:

He has Ojo and Doctor Pipt in the far southern Munchkin Country, Ojo must journey over the mountain (visiting with Doctor Pipt at the summit) then down into the fields of the Munchkin Country. He has even got the Yellow Brick Road essentially connecting the old capital of the Munchkin Country (Seebania) with the Emerald City. This is because he followed the story logic and geographic sense. (Here the "left-hand path" through the forest is unresolved, but since Baum never specified where that path leads, Haff made no error there.)

Sadly, someone convinced Haff that that single word "Gillikin" mattered; and that wrecked the entire geographical and story-telling logic of two books. Here is the way the beginnings of Ojo's journey look on the published Oz Club map.

Ojo's route (indicated in red) to the Yellow Brick Road on the Oz Club map.

So, Ojo and Unc Nunkie want to get from their home to the fertile plains of the Munchkin Country. So they journey in the opposite direction of the fertile plains and climb a steep mountain for no reason. Ojo visits Doctor Pipt whom they were not particularly going to see, climbs back down the mountain, and hikes on over to the Yellow Brick Road. This seems a bit nonsensical to me, but, joy! - at least the other side of Doctor Pipt's mountain is in the Gillikin Country!

When Ojo and Nunkie's cottage was shifted to the north, that choice led to a major reshuffling of much else in the Munchkin Country. Back when Haff had Ojo and Nunkie's cottage in the south he had placed the majority of the locations from Ojo in Oz (1933) in the north. Below is the relevant section of Haff's original map:

Haff's "research" map - Routes of OJO IN OZ: Ojo's party indicated in yellow; Dorothy's party in red.

Haff's "research" map puts these Ojo in Oz locations to the north of the Yellow Brick Road used in The Wizard of Oz, the orange line at the bottom of the image. The route followed by Ojo and Realbad I've indicated in yellow: Crystal Mountain, Tappy Town, Unicorners, and finally Moojer Mountain. And the route of Dorothy and her rescue party I've indicated in red: arrival in the Blue Forest, traveling the Rolling Road to Dickseyland, and then the route Reachard leads them on toward the Emerald City, though they run smack into Moojer Mountain before they get there.

I don't really see why Haff placed these locales in the northern Munchkin Country. But when he moved Ojo to the north in the published club map all of this Ojo in Oz stuff moved to the south. I suspect this is Dick Martin trying to keep the density of "map detail" well spread out. Once they moved Ojo's and Pipt's cottages to the north there was a paucity of detail in the southern Munchkin Country. But from an "Oz as a real place" perspective, simply filling up empty space is a dumb reason, IMHO.

Below you can see how this affected the routes from Ojo in Oz on the 1962 version of the Oz Club's map.

1962 Club map - Routes of OJO IN OZ: Ojo's party indicated in yellow; Dorothy's party in red.

All this is now far to the south of the Yellow Brick Road from The Wizard of Oz. For some reason, too, Dorothy's group (red) is now traveling north of Ojo and Realbad's group (yellow). I can't see the reason for this change. But on the whole, I do prefer that this is all so much closer to Seebania than the original Haff layout had it. It makes for a geographical unity. Of course there would be even more geographical unity if they had left Ojo and Nunkie in the south where they belong.

In later versions of the Oz Club maps (1967 and on) this area gets heavily reworked yet again. I'm not keen on Haff's shifting the arrival of Dorothy's party to a different forest, the one where she met the Tin Woodman and Cowardly Lion back in The Wizard of Oz. This change seems to have been made to angle the Rolling Road so that it can dump Dorothy and her rescue party into the river, as described in the text of Ojo in Oz (see below).

2008 Club map - Routes of OJO IN OZ: Ojo's party indicated in yellow; Dorothy's party in red.

As you  might have noticed, this section of the Munchkin Country is now a lot denser, too. All of the many locations from Merry Go Round in Oz were added to the map in 1967.

There are some other Ojo-related glitches and omissions from the Club's map, too. There is no river for the unicorns to bathe in, the fairly large village that Ojo and Realbad pass through is not on the map, and various mountains seen by the travelers are nowhere to be seen. The biggest mistake still not discussed is that the Oz Club's map places the Bandit's Cave in the northern central Munchkin Country. The bandit's cave is not actually on Haff's "research" map, so its inclusion in the published map may have been a late decision.

It it pretty clear Thompson wanted the Bandit's Cave in the same vicinity as the other locales from Patchwork Girl and Ojo. She has shown the Bandit's Cave (though she calls it "Bandit's Forest") on her map, directly above the "U" in QUADLING. [Update: it is also possible to view the "Bandit's Forest" on Thompson's map as being the hideout of Vaga and his men in Grampa in Oz. See "comments" below.] But in any case, this southern location for the Badit's cave in Ojo in Oz is very strongly implied in the text. Mooj throws Realbad into a deep ravine near the castle of Seebania. Realbad is rescued by the bandits and taken back to their cave, where he is nursed back to health.

But Haff has placed the Bandit's Cave in the central northern section of the Munchkin Country, quite far from Seebania. This seems like quite a trek for the bandits to carry an injured Realbad! The clear implication in Thompson's text is that the bandits and their cave are relatively close to Seebania. Indeed, at the end of Ojo in Oz Realbad decides to make the Bandit's Cave a sort of Royal Hunting Lodge where he will spend two months each year, and he allows Snufferbux the bear to use it for hibernation each winter. Clearly Thompson thought that the Bandit's Cave was close to Seebania and under Realbad's jurisdiction, not on the other side of the Munchkin Country.

I went back and looked at Thompson's map and after my recent rereading of Ojo in Oz I am convinced she was using the map in her text descriptions. She has given us a lot of detail on the boundaries of Seebania:
Long ago . . . the Kings of Seebania ruled all the southern part of the Munchkin Country, and the city where you now find yourselves is Shamsbad, the capital. When Ozma succeeded to the throne . . . my father, then King of Seebania . . . relinquished [his claim] to all the small countries at the south and retired within the borders of Seebania itself. This kingdom, still an immense but little known tract of wild forest land, is bounded on the north by the Munchkin River and on the south by the Quadling Country.
Below is Thompson's hand-drawn map, with color added to reflect what she has described in the Ojo in Oz text above. There is a river to serve as the north border, the Quadling Country is to the south, and it is an immense tract of forest land when compared to the usual size of minor countries in Oz. Given Realbad's view that the Bandit's Cave is part of his domain I extended the light blue area of Seebania to include it. This way of viewing this map even has a Yellow Brick Road connecting Seebania to the Emerald City. Thompson has, of course, traced Baum's 1914 map as her starting point and Baum clearly meant the Yellow Brick Road shown here to be that of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. But I think the point has been made that we can get a pretty clear view of how Thompson saw her Ojo in Oz geography.

Thompson's Map of Oz showing Seebania as she described it in her OJO IN OZ text.

I am by no means saying there is only one solution to making an accurate map of Oz, but the Oz Club map makers seem to have never even considered this sort of contextual information. And in the end, considering the high-profile status the Oz Club maps have achieved, I think it is sort of a shame.

But then again, if the club's maps were perfect, look at all the fun I'd have missed writing this huge time-sap of a blog post!

And after all that, how about an end note! I should mention the one other innocuous reason that I have seen given for moving Ojo to the north so I don't have to address this in the "comments."

When Ojo and Scraps meet the Scarecrow on the Yellow Brick Road the Scarecrow says he is on his way to visit Jinjur.
While this Jinjur reference is clearly more that a slip of the pen by Baum, it is also easily solved on the map. Baum's text shows Ojo and Co. are just inside the green area of the Emerald City. On Jim Haff's "research" map he has the two Yellow Brick Roads merge just after they reach these green lands. So the Scarecrow can indeed be walking away from the city to visit Jinjur without her having to live on the southern Yellow Brick Road (see Haff's map below).

Jinjur will find herself the focus of several legitimate "map" debates, but we'll save all that for a future post.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Jack Snow's Secret High School Crush

Jack Snow's Senior Photo (1925).
Some of you know that Eric Shanower and I are quite interested in genealogical research as well as being Baum and Oz fans. I've recently been merging these two passions and using various genealogical tools to explore the lives of various Oz creators. A few weeks ago I randomly did a search for Jack Snow and quickly found his Piqua High School year book. I assumed I'd probably find a photo or two, but I was surprised by how much more was revealed about Show's teenage years and what Snow might have been like as a person.

Jack Snow (1907-1956) was, of course, the author of The Magical Mimics in Oz, The Shaggy Man of Oz, Who's Who in Oz, and Dark Music, a collection of horror/fantasy. He was also gay in an era when it was much less easy than it is today.

The title of this blog is at best speculation. I have no idea if Snow had a crush on the other boy we'll be getting to know. But when researching lost gay lives, one often has to read between the lines, and it's hard not to view events through the lens of one's own experience.

Snow entered Piqua High as a Freshman in the Fall of 1921. In the '22 Yearbook, Snow wrote of his Freshman experience:
When we Freshman enter high school there are many things we have to find out before we can consider ourselves full fledged high school students.

In the first place we expect to find nothing but A's on our report cards, and we find instead C's and D's.

We expect to have no difficulty in finding the value of X in Algebraic equations, but before we are Sophomores discover that there is nothing more elusive.

Science is always puzzling to the poor Freshman. made especially so by cruel looking apparatus arranged in the long dark cases of the science room.
And Latin! When a Freshman takes Latin, if he is to judge by the experiences of the wise Sophomores, he will accept it as an established fact that he is doomed to failure the first year.

English sounds familiar, but the first year students find the unexpected here, too, as well as in the Commercial subjects.
Now read this second bit written by Snow's fellow Freshman classmate, Maurice Peffer:
When the Class of '25 first entered P. H. S. in September, the faculty in all probability, were steeled to encounter a heard of numbskulls. However, they were not long in altering their opinion of us. . . .

If you don't believe this, just ask any one of them, and what they say will make you green with envy. They confidently expect each one of us to have his name engraved at the head of the Hall of Fame.

We don't wish to boast, but their confidence is not misplaced, for, to use a slang expression, "We're there with the goods." To some who may be dubious, we can only say, "Wait and see," and if the Class of '25 does not equal or excel any other class that has entered old P. H. S. in the past, or that expects to enter in the future, the fault cannot be laid at our door, nor can the faculty be blamed.
While Snow and Peffer seem to have had somewhat different ways of looking at the world, they both did well in school and both made the Honor Society. In the Honor Society photo below you can see Maurice Peffer, standing tall in the center of the back row. Jack Snow is in the photo, too, a foot shorter than Peffer (they are standing on the same slush-covered step), Snow's face partially obscured by the girl in front of him.

Piqua High School 1925 "Honor Society" Jack Snow in back. Click to enlarge

I had never realized how small Snow was. I checked his later Army enlistment records and found Snow was only 5' - 1" tall. No wonder short and insecure little Snow came to look up to Peffer, both literally and figuratively.

"Morrie" Peffer's Senior photo and achievements. Click to enlarge

You can see Peffer was the perfect boy to idolize: tall, confident, his father the President of the Piqua National Bank. "Morrie" himself was editor of the school paper, in the Chorus, Glee Club, Tennis Manager, Debating Club, Dramatic Club, French Club, Radio Club, Class President, and . . . Head Cheer Leader!

Jack Snow's Senior photo in 1925 Piqua High yearbook. Click to enlarge

I have no idea when Snow came out as gay to himself. He was fairly open about it in the 1950s in New York (at least to some of his fellow employees at NBC). But it must have been difficult being a nerdy, bookish, insecure, (and very short!) little gay kid growing up in Piqua, Ohio, in the 1920s. Was Snow aware of his feelings? Did he have a secret crush on Morrie Peffer? On other boys?

1925 Track Team at Piqua High School.

There is a drawing in the 1925 Piquonian yearbook that was undoubtedly drawn by either Peffer or Snow, and possibly both, showing "Snow's Snappy Speedster, Special Split-Six." Note that it has a "Body by Peffer."

Below is the full page about the imaginary car from the yearbook. I hope that it was a fun collaboration of the two boys.

I don't know which boy drew the Snappy Speedster, but we can get some idea of how Snow felt about Peffer in his Class Prophecy, below, published in the Piquonian yearbook.

This "Class Prophecy" is one of the earliest surviving text pieces we have by Jack Snow. It is a four page "prophecy" outlining where the Class of '25 will be in twenty years. It is fun and easy reading and presented complete at the bottom of this blog post. Go ahead and read it all! It's funny, laced with irony and a little sarcasm. But here's his section on Peffer. It is twenty years in the future and Snow has just entered classmate Catherine Coleman's beautiful theatre:
I sighed and thought of other and happier days and walked slowly down the aisle seeking a vacant seat. Presently I found an alluring chair and seated myself next to a tall handsome man about whom I found myself wondering almost as soon as I saw him. Then after thinking for a few minutes I knew that he was no other than Maurice Peffer, the distinguished United States Senator who only a few months before had been influential in securing the passage of a bill forbidding all women under seventy-five years of age to bob their hair.

Maurice greeted me quite heartily and agreed to tell me something of my old classmates.
It sounds like Snow and Peffer were indeed friends, and I for one am glad Snow found his handsome friend to sit near in his "prophecy of the future."

Unfortunately Snow's prophecy was wrong and Peffer suffered a tragic end.

PIQUA DAILY CALL, February 14, 1931.

Maurice Peffer was engaged to be married on Valentine's Day 1931. At 11:30 PM on February 13, Morrie Peffer was killed when an Interurban freight train slammed into a car he was riding in. His two companions, Frat mates from Miami University (one of whom was to be his Best Man), were not seriously injured. Peffer died on the way to the hospital, only a few hours before his planned wedding; he was only twenty-three. Here's the full account:

PIQUA DAILY CALL, February 14, 1931. Click to enlarge

Peffer was buried in Forest Hill Cemetery in Piqua, Ohio, where Snow himself was buried in 1956 at age forty-nine. Alas, Snow's family buried him in an unmarked grave. Click here to read more.

This has not been a very cheerful blog, but I feel I have gotten to know Jack Snow a little better. Perhaps in some alternate universe Snow's Class Prophecy came true? And perhaps, in a land behind the moon, beyond the rain, Jack Snow once got to go joy-riding with Morrie Peffer in that snappy Speedster, happily cruising down the Yellow Brick Road.

Below you can read Jack Snow's entire "Class Prophecy" from his 1925 Piquonian Yearbook. Click on the individual pages to read this very early work by the future Royal Historian of Oz.