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Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary owes nod to L. Frank Baum

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz cover
 L. Frank Baum's original title page (public domain)

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Today is the 70th anniversary of one of the most beloved and icon movies of all times, The Wizard of Oz. However, long before Judy Garland sang and danced her way onto the screen in the 1939 Warner Bros. film, Dorothy, the Lion, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Man were born in the imagination of author L. Frank Baum.

Frank Baum published the first in his fantasy series – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – in 1900. The book was illustrated by W.W. Denslow, who had several years earlier collaborated with Baum on a book of nonsense poetry called Father Goose, His Book.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz became an instant best seller and won critical acclaim as well. Baum followed that book with thirteen more in a series (plus two more that were published posthumously), all based on the people and the places found in the Land of Oz.

Shortly after the first book was published, Baum and Denslow teamed with a composer – Paul Tietjens – and a director – Julian Mitchell – to produce a musical stage version of the story. The musical, called simply The Wizard of Oz and produced by Fred R. Hamlin, opened in Chicago in 1902, then moved to Broadway for a year’s run. The production eventually toured the entire country.

According to Linda McGovern, in an article for LiteraryTraveler.com, Baum’s book was “considered controversial and was banned from the shelves of various libraries across the country because librarians felt it did not qualify as important juvenile literature, a sentiment which has been refuted over time.”

Older editions of the series can be found in many libraries. Newer releases of the series are available through Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and other book sellers as well as most libraries. 

L. Frank Baum's series of Oz books:

  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
  • The Marvelous Land of Oz (1904)
  • Ozma of Oz (1907)
  • Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz (1908)
  • The Road to Oz (1909)
  • The Emerald City of Oz (1910)
  • The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1913)
  • Tik-Tok of Oz (1914)
  • The Scarecrow of Oz (1915)
  • Rinkitink in Oz (1916)
  • The Lost Princess of Oz (1917)
  • The Tin Woodman of Oz (1918)
  • The Magic of Oz (1919, posthumously published)
  • Glinda of Oz (1920, posthumously published)
  • Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz (1905)
  • Little Wizard Stories of Oz (1913)

Comments

  • Joshua 4 years ago

    That is a lot of Oz books.

  • Susan Z. Swan, Madison Classic Film Examiner 4 years ago

    When my daughter was small, we read through most of the Oz books and had such a good time with it. There is a cool link between Frank Baum and the 1939 film. The costume dept. went to a thrift shop looking for a coat for Prof. Marvel. Frank Morgan was wearing it for a shoot one day and found a laundry tag sewn into one of the pockets -- it turned out to have been Frank Baum's own coat!

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