Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Cross-posted from my WordPress blog.

If you needed further evidence that the Oz books written by John R. Neill are even crazier than the rest of the lot, Jack Pumpkinhead has a bunch of singing shoes that put on concerts. He refers to them as his Orchestra and Glee Club. Hey, with the popularity of the show Glee, maybe someone should make a series about the shoes. Anyway, the shoes feature in The Wonder City of Oz, in which they perform Shoeman's Sonata, Shoebert's Serenade, "A-Hunting We Will Go" (a solo by a riding boot), and "O Dem Golden Slippers." I wonder if they've since gone on to incorporate "Blue Suede Shoes" and "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'". As you may have guessed, the orchestra plays shoe horns and shoe strings. The book explains that these shoes are the votes cast in the Ozlection, in which a right shoe indicates a vote. Jack guards the votes for Ozma, and decides to organize them into a musical ensemble to pass the time. Does this mean that they could potentially have sung when they were still on people's feet? That strikes me as rather awkward. By the way, the Ozlection plot wasn't in Neill's original manuscript, but the singing shoes presumably were, as there is a picture of them. Perhaps the editor's idea of using shoes as votes was inspired by the shoe concert, for which Neill might not even have provided an explanation. In Neill's Oz, it sometimes seems like everything is sentient, which really doesn't mesh too well with views on life for created beings. Mind you, there are probably ways to explain the singing shoes without necessarily assuming ALL shoes in Oz have that ability. Come to think of it, the magician Ugu was originally a shoemaker. Maybe the musical shoes were the results of some of his early experiments with magic.

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