Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cheerful Citizens

The Cheerful Citizens of Oz, by Ruth Plumly Thompson - Since this is just a book of poems about Oz characters, there isn't too much to say about it. They're in Thompson's typical light style of verse, pleasant enough but nothing poetically amazing. Most of her character choices are obvious, aside from the Umbrellaphant, a suggestion from Fred Meyer. The oddest selection in the bunch is Breakfast the Bananny Goat, an original Thompson character but not a significant one, as she only shows up in a few chapters of one book. A few other interesting points:
  • Sir Hokus' true identity, as revealed in The Yellow Knight of Oz, is ignored in his poem.
  • The Umbrellaphant's poem indicates that he's Tandy's companion, while in Captain Salt his master is the magician Boglodore. Are we supposed to assume that Boglodore gave him to the young king, or is there more than one Umbrellaphant?
  • Rob Roy MacVeigh's illustration for "The Wonderful Land of Oz" shows mostly existing Oz books, but also something called Ding Dong of Oz, showing a bell with eyes on the spine and crediting Reilly & Lee as publishers. There's also a Disney edition of Pinocchio, for some reason. I have to wonder what kind of character Ding Dong would be, and what sort of adventures he would have. Since he's a bell, he might be somehow related to John R. Neill's Nota-Bells, although they wear the bells for hats rather than having their faces on them.


Toonicorn said...

Hi! I'd just like to know if there are any actual forums for Oz fans, since the IWOC forums seem to have ended. Thanks!

Jared said...

ericshanower said...

Ding Dong of Oz was an extended joke that Dick Martin was involved in. I don't remember who it was (maybe a Chicago-area bookseller?), but someone listed a large lot of Oz books for sale and put in one fake entry, Ding Dong of Oz, just to see if people were paying attention. People were. Dick Martin took a blank book and drew a Ding Dong of Oz cover on it. That book was put into the 1988 Ozmapolitan Convention auction with a full explanation of the joke. Someone bought it--it may have been Rob Roy MacVeigh--pretty sure it was. Then Rob obviously continued the joke by inserting Ding Dong of Oz into the illustration you mention.