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!

1 comment:

marbpl said...

If this writing is from Thompson, it's rather positive towards Old Mombi, considering what she did to her five years later in LOST KING...