Wednesday, April 25, 2007

What Came In The Mail Today

Today, I got a copy of "The Oz Scrapbook" by David L. Greene and Dick Martin. It's not the first time I've held this book, as my library has a copy I've checked out a couple of times. However, this copy is a lot nicer, as it had the dust jacket, and all of the pages are here, though some are torn. (Yeah, you wouldn't think the library would keep damaged books in circulation.)

The book is not of much interest to a fan of the MGM movie, as it speaks very little of it. In fact, there are only two pictures for it: Judy Garland with Maud Baum and a first edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and a publicity photo of Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Terry (Toto), Judy Garland, Frank Morgan and Ray Bolger in their Oz costumes in front of a giant-size edition of The Wizard of Oz featuring a painting of the film stars on the front cover. (There were at least two publicity photos of the cast with this book, one had them arm in arm, except Terry, standing in front of the book. The other had them with the book open, and looking as if they were about to walk inside. The picture in The Oz Scrapbook is the former.) Nor will this book especially appeal to casual fans of the books. No, this book is best suited for collectors and people who are interested in Oz history as it developed through the years.

Some of the information is dated: it states that only Baum's original 14 novels are in print. This was true... in 1977 when this book was published. Today, all of the Famous 40 are in print, except for some of Ruth Plumly Thompson's books. It also states that the only other Oz stories outside of the 40 were Thompson's books printed by the International Wizard of Oz Club (I love those people!), and the club's magazine Oziana. Apparently from this, we get the little-realized idea that the creation of original Oz books by fans began in last 30 years. (I would be interested in discovering what the very first one was.)

The book is divided into seven sections:
  1. The Man Who Discovered Oz, all about L. Frank Baum and how his wonderful creation began.
  2. Later Explorers of Oz, about the later Royal Historians from Thompson to the McGraws.
  3. The Iconography of Oz, about illustrators and illustrations in Oz books throughout the years.
  4. Oz on Stage and Screen, pretty obvious, but the last item mentioned is the play The Wiz. (The movie was likely in pre-production by the time this book went to press.)
  5. Ozian Artifacts, about Oz merchandise, from items for the original stage production of The Wizard of Oz in 1902 and 1903 (I would explain why two dates are given, but I'd reccomend you research this yourself. I might mention it in a later blog, if I ever get a good reason.) to items for the Off to See the Wizard television series to Aurora Plastic's "Oz-kins" (anybody have any pics?) to stained-glass windows. The last item mentioned is the first pair of Ruby Slippers worn by Judy Garland to be auctioned for $15,000 in 1970.
  • The Oz Canon actually covers the whole bibliography for the book, from the Famous 40, to the additional Oz books of Baum (note Jean Kellogg's The Visitors from Oz), Denslow, Neill, Thompson, Jack Snow, and Frank Joslyn Baum; to other "factual" books about the Oz creators and the Land itself.
  • Last of all is a page of Acknowledgements.

One of the big reasons I wanted this book was because of it's pictures of the "What Did the Woggle-Bug Say?" buttons. I was delighted to find both versions on the dustjacket. (I would love to someday own these. I also wish someone could make reproductions.) There is also bits of rarely seen Oz/Oz-related artwork by Oz artists, such as the rarely seen dustjacket for Father Goose: His Book (when will someone do a good reprint?) and promotional art for Fairylogue and Radio-Plays.

A great addition to my Oz collection. If it's a good one for you (unless you already know), I hope this entry has made you consider it.

No comments: