Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The Wizard of Oz - Tale-Spinners for Children

Just when you think you've got them all, you find something else!

I'd seen this record before in the 100 Years Of Oz book, but considering some records got repackaged, I didn't know if it was one I already had or not. (The Mr. Pickwick Players album, for example.)

I came across this at the sales tables at the Winkie Convention this year for $5. Deciding $5 wouldn't be a big loss if it turned out it was another album I already had, I picked it up. The cover art's pretty cool.

Well, turns out, it was a new album for me, once again taking advantage of the fact that the original book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is public domain and doing an adaptation with a full cast, but, in a note rather different from most Oz records, no narrator.

The adaptation follows Baum's book rather faithfully with some expected story shortenings and a few changes.

We pick up right with the cyclone striking the Kansas farm. Quickly, we get to the Land of the Munchkins, but the Good Witch who greets Dorothy oddly calls herself the witch of the South. The Munchkins were obviously done by speeding up their recording, which at first made me think my player had malfunctioned! Dorothy stops when she meets the Scarecrow when she comes to a fork in the road. The Scarecrow tells how he was assembled and how his face was painted, but not how a crow told him he needed a brain. The Tin Woodman skips his story, and the Lion is introduced by Dorothy starting to yell at him.

There are no adventures noted from the time the Lion joins to the time they arrive at the Emerald City, and all the friends see the Wizard together. His forms are not noted, it's just a big booming voice. As soon as the Wicked Witch of the West sees the friends in her country, she uses the Golden Cap to have them brought to her, but she doesn't think the Scarecrow is a worthwhile addition to her castle, she tries to set him on fire, but Dorothy threatens to splash a bucket of water on her. The Witch shrinks back at this, but the Tin Woodman tells Dorothy to go ahead and do it, thus defeating the Witch.

The friends crown Dorothy with the Golden Cap, summoning the Winged Monkeys, who tell Dorothy they can't take her home, but they will take her to the Emerald City, where they catch the Wizard as himself. He gives Dorothy's friends their placebo gifts from the book, but when he sees the Golden Cap, he tells Dorothy she can summon the most powerful Good Witch with it. The Winged Monkeys bring the Good Witch of the North (both the Good Witches sound rather... male...) who tells Dorothy how to use the Silver Shoes in return for the Golden Cap.

So, a few changes, but overall a faithful retelling of Baum's story, using much of his dialogue. Nice production, but I gotta say, there's nicer ones out there. (The Disney one, for example.)


rocketdave said...

Man, that album art is pretty psychedelic. The Scarecrow's face is particularly freaky.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jared:

If it's not too much trouble, could you please post this "Oz" record album on "You-Tube?" I used to own it as a kid in the '70's and I haven't heard it in at least 30 years (if not more). I still have a sentimental attachment to it. :-)

Thank you in advance!


Steve B.

Anonymous said...

Hey Steve B. You can download the mp3 of the album here.