The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was written by L. Frank Baum and published in 1900. In 1902, the first musical stage production premiered at the Chicago Grand Opera House, moving to the Majestic Theater in 1903. "Baum decided to collaborate with his friend, composer Paul Tietjens, and Oz illustrator W.W. Denslow as set and costume designer, to bring the book to the stage. They completed a script, score and designs in 1901, fairly close to the original novel.They submitted it to manager of the Opera House Fred R. Hamlin, who liked it and asked Julian P. Mitchell to be director. Mitchell did not like the script, calling it too subdued and small-scale. However, he stated he "Can see possibilities for extravanganza". When Mitchell accepted the project, he brought in new songwriters to write songs, cutting some of the original Tietjens numbers. He totally rewrote the script, introducing new characters and incidents, reducing the Cowardly Lion's role, deleting the actual appearance of the Wicked Witch entirely, and substituting a cow named Imogene for Toto. Baum was anxious about this, but went along with it, hoping Mitchell's experience in directing and the casting of comedy team Fred Stone and David C. Montgomery as the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman would make the show a hit. It was a roaring success." source
I found these wonderful images from the stage production.
|Kansas Historical Society. Fred Stone 1902|
|David C. Montgomery as The Tin Man|
|Anna Laughlin as Dorothy 1902. Wikipedia|
|Arthur Hill as the Lion 1902. Wikipedia|
Less than a decade after the publication of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum’s short-lived multimedia production Fairylogue and Radio-Plays offered "a blend of live stage actors, photographic slides, and film clips portraying scenes from Baum’s early Oz novels. Today, only a few slide images from the show are known to exist. Below, is one of these images". Source
"This early attempt at motion pictures had a mixture of live actors, hand-tinted magic lantern slides, and film. Baum himself would appear as if he were giving a lecture, while he interacted with the characters (both on stage and on screen). Although acclaimed throughout its tour, the show experienced budgetary problems (with the show costing more to produce than the money that sold-out houses could bring in) and folded after two months of performances." Wikipedia
Below, in a hand-tinted slide, Romola Remus plays the very first screen Dorothy.
"The Selig Polyscope Company released four shorts based on Baum’s early full-length fantasy works: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Land of Oz, Dorothy and the Scarecrow in Oz, and John Dough and the Cherub (the latter based on a non-Oz novel of the same name). To date, only The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (approximately 13 minutes) has been found". Here is the link to the Full Movie from 1910. The Cyclone scene is pretty neato! The credits are lost, but its believed that Bebe Daniels plays Dorothy.
After moving to Hollywood, Baum co-founded the Oz Film Manufacturing Company with three business partners. The independent studio produced The Patchwork Girl of Oz, The Magic Cloak of Oz, and His Majesty, the Scarecrow of Oz in 1914. None of these films was a success. After making a few short subjects the following year, the Oz Film Manufacturing Company folded.
This is the kinda creepy logo lady for Oz Film Manufacturing Company. Watch for her in the opening credits of the Patchwork Girl and His Majesty the Scarecrow. Vivian Reed as Ozma.
First is The Patchwork Girl of Oz. Much of the film was shot in Balboa Park in San Diego. Ojo and Unc Nunkie are out of food, so they decide to journey to the Emerald City where they will never starve. Along the way, they meet Mewel, a waif and stray (mule) and get into all sorts of mischief.
Photo to the right: Violet MacMillan as Ojo the munchkin
Watch the whole movie HERE
Second we have The Magic Cloak of Oz. This movie had problems, due to the box office failure of The Patchwork Girl of Oz. It was to be released in 1914, but wasn't released in its entirety in 1917. It was reduced from a five-reel film to two two-reel films known as The Magic Cloak and The Witch Queen. The current prints are assembled from these two films. (wiki) Watch the movie Here!
No creepy Ozma lady opens this movie.
Third is His Majesty, the Scarecrow of Oz. Opening credits has Ozma again. Watch her and the movie here The movie opened on October 14, 1914 to little success, though it was received as well above average fare by critics of the time. Early in 1915, it was reissued under the title The New Wizard of Oz and was slightly more successful. Violet MacMillan plays Dorothy in this film. Vivian Reed also plays Princess Gloria in this film.
The first large-scale Oz film adaptation was Chadwick Pictures’ production of The Wizard of Oz, released in 1925. It co-starred film comedians Larry Semon and Oliver Hardy (prior to his partnership with Stan Laurel) as the Scarecrow and the Tin Man, and Semon’s wife, Dorothy Dwan, as Dorothy. With a disjointed screenplay cowritten by Semon and L. Frank Baum’s eldest son, Frank Joslyn Baum, the movie bears almost no resemblance to the original book. Watch the full movie Here
Heads up: there is some racial stereotyping in it regarding a farm hand in Kansas. Dorothy Dwan is a typical 1920s, Betty Bop kinda gal.
1939 - The Big One!
We have all seen this definitive Oz movie, but you may not have seen some of these interesting photos.
Judy Garland screen tests for hair and costume
Above, Judy Garland takes a break from filming Source
Right, Buddy Ebsen was cast as the tin man, but fell ill due to the aluminum dust in his makeup and was forced to drop out of the film.
"An early idea was to have the Wicked Witch portrayed as a slinky, glamorous villianess in a black sequined costume, inspired by the Evil Queen in Snow White. Gale Sondergaard was originally cast as the witch in "Oz" and was photographed for two wardrobe tests. One was as a glamorous wicked witch, and another as a conventionally ugly wicked witch. After the decision was made to have an ugly wicked witch, Sondergaard, reluctant to wear the disfiguring makeup and fearing it could damage her career, withdrew from the role, and it went to actress Margaret Hamilton." Wikipedia
Judy with camera double Bobbie Koshay and Munchkin Olga Nardone source
Right - Margaret Hamilton in a more glamorous screen test
Look at these darling color photos of Judy having fun during screen tests cute pics
Shirley finally made it to Oz! Not as Dorothy, but as Ozma and a young boy named Tip. Watch Shirley in this television special, with the Scarecrow, Jack Pumpkinhead, the Tin Man and Mombie.
"Shirley's three children made their acting debuts in the last episode of the first season, "Mother Goose". When a stagehand said "shit" during a "Mother Goose" rehearsal, Temple had him fired, telling the stunned cast it was a children's show–although no children were present during the rehearsal" Wikipedia
1978 - The Wiz
Lovely Diana Ross plays the part of Dorothy in this star studded cast, with all new songs, including the popular "Ease on Down the Road". Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow, Nipsy Russel as the Tin Man, and Ted Ross as the Lion. Richard Pryor played the Wiz, and beautiful Lena Horne played Glinda. Watch Michael and Diana Ease on down
1985 - Return to Oz
Ok, I really like this "Sequel" with Fairuza Balk as Dorothy. In October 1899, six months after returning home from Oz, Dorothy is melancholic. Aunt Em and Uncle Henry take her to a hospital, known for electrotherapy treatments. During a thunderstorm, the lab suffers a blackout and Dorothy is saved by a mysterious girl. They escape and fall into a river. Dorothy climbs into a chicken coop, but the other girl vanished underwater. Upon awakening, Dorothy finds herself back in Oz with her chicken Billina, who can now talk. They find the Emerald City in ruins and its citizens, including the Tin Man and Lion, have turned to stone. With new friends Tik Tok and the Gump, they fight the Nome King and Princess Mombi, and return Ozma to her rightful place on the throne. Paraphrased from Wikipedia Watch the original trailer here
There were several other stage productions and animated versions not discussed here. I hope you enjoyed these movies and film clips, both from Oz and Wonderland.