Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Disneyland Records: The Tin Woodman of Oz

And now for the last Disneyland Oz Story and Songs album: The Tin Woodman of Oz.

I presume the Tin Woodman was the last released of these albums. The Disneyland Wizard, Songs from the Wizard, Cowardly Lion, and Tin Woodman all are copyrighted 1969, but the Songs from the Wizard album doesn't have songs from Tin Woodman on there, suggesting it was released afterward, or they just opted not to include the songs on it. Second is that there's an article in The Baum Bugle about these albums (where I've gotten a lot of information from), and it covered this album last. Finally, the story itself was obviously adapted to conclude this little series of an adaptation of The Wizard of Oz and stories about each of Dorothy's first three friends in Oz.

The story opens with a celebration in the Emerald City, when they overhear a young man singing about how he'll find his true love. He enters and introduces himself as Woot the Wanderer. And yes, it is a young Ron Howard voicing Woot.

Woot tells about how he had a dream about a girl and he intends to find her because she's his true love. This reminds the Tin Woodman of Nimmee Aimee and he tells his origin story (which was skipped in the Wizard adaptation) and decides he will join Woot and they'll look for their true loves together. The Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion join to look for their own true loves as well.

The story follows Baum's book rather faithfully with the addition of the Cowardly Lion and the looking for the true love plot for the other characters. We have Loonville, and Mrs. Yoop, who sings "I'm Mrs. Yoop, the Yookoohoo." She has a cat, and she turns the Cowardly Lion into a mouse.

The jaguar and Tommy Kwikstep are not present, and neither are the dragons Woot meets in the book.

When Ozma restores everyone, the Lion's shape of a mouse is transferred to Mrs. Yoop's cat, and Woot discovers that Polychrome is the girl he dreamed of, and they sing a song called "I've Found My True Love." They accompany Ozma back to the Emerald City, leaving the Tin Woodman, Scarecrow, and Lion. But soon the Lion meets a Lioness and they leave for the Emerald City.

Ku-Klip and Captain Fyter are not encountered on the trip, but the Invisible Country and the Hyp-po-gy-raf are.

The Tin Woodman finds Nimmee Aimee's home guarded by a Tin Soldier, who fights the Tin Woodman, but the Tin Woodman manages to defeat him. Nimmee Aimee reveals that the Tin Soldier was made by "the same tinsmith who helped you" for her as a replacement for the Tin Woodman when he never came back for her. However, the Wicked Witch of the East enchanted him to keep Nimmee Aimee prisoner and fight the Tn Woodman should he return. Since the Tin Soldier is not a love interest here, and there is no Chopfyt, Nimmee Aimee is happy to accept the Tin Woodman's marriage proposal at last.

The Scarecrow decides he will go back to the Emerald City, despite not having found a "Scarecrowess." However, Ozma whips one up for him, and there's a quadruple wedding as Woot, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion are all wed.

I love the book The Tin Woodman of Oz, but this adaptation waters the story down. One theme in that book was that sometimes the conventional fairy tale ending isn't the happiest. This is not carried over here, with everyone getting married at the end. But I suppose the ideas of the Tin Woodman talking to his old head, a second man-turned-tin, and the confusing and disturbing Chopfyt were just too heavy for a children's record. Still, I feel like more of Baum's tone could have been retained.

Once again, the album opens into a storybook briefly retelling the story (my copy is an early one that erroneously credited the book to Ruth Plumly Thompson). However, I am disappointed in two areas: the "Scarecrowess" could have easily been Scraps the Patchwork Girl, but the illustrator chose not to do that. And we never see a picture of Nimmee Aimee. The girl by the Tin Woodman in the last picture is Dorothy.

Overall, this Tin Woodman of Oz isn't really bad, but when it's compared to the original version, it lacks in many areas.

And that concludes Disney's audio adventures in Oz. I really wish they'd find some way to re-release the Story and Songs albums.


Sam A M said...

(Dorothy also appears in the first picture)

Yeah, when I listened to this story myself, I got a bit annoyed and saddened at the all the romance and "let's get married" additions. And I very much doubt a "Scarecrowess", if there was such a thing, would be all THAT Dressed up! They DEFINITELY should have used the Patchwork Girl instead, but I presume the book wasn't in public domain at the time.

Ozma, despite the pink, maybe voice and fairy-tale/princess costume, wasn't too bad (I don't even have a problem with her short hair, surprisingly). Lion as the Mouse is modelled after the Mouse from "Aristocats".

Ron Howard?!

Jared said...

Disney had bought the rights to all of Baum's Oz books, so public domain wasn't an issue.

Ron Howard is now a director, but a lot of people know him for playing Opie Taylor on the Andy Griffith Show and as Richie on the TV show Happy Days.

Jonathan Martin said...

Hey, the mouse form that the Cowardly Lion changes into looks exactly like Roquefort from The Aristocats