Welcome to my blog, featuring various pieces from my collection of Oz books, artwork and memorabilia!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Phono-Movies

Today I'm showing something that is not in my collection, although it's some- thing I'd love to have!

This is an example of an early Oz toy, called a Phono-Movie. The concept is simple: a gadget attaches to a phonograph, with a jointed figure which dances to the music as the record rotates. In this particular case, two figures were included: a stereotypical African-American character, and the Scarecrow of Oz! The box states that the toy was patented in 1919, which was during one of the heights of Oz popularity — but I suppose this version with the Scarecrow figure could be from a later date. These pictures are from an old eBay auction, and I've also seen the toy listed in a book on vintage phonographs and related accessories.

This might be a project that L. Frank Baum's eldest son Frank was involved with. Frank Baum did try to capitalize on his father's creations, but didn't seem to have much luck. His Oz Doll & Toy Manufacturing Company didn't succeed with a line of Oz dolls. Oz toys just don't seem to have caught on with the public; an earlier toy Woozy character produced by the family also failed.

3 comments:

Jane said...

Oh, Bill, I'd have loved to get this! I wonder how I missed it? Ebay is, after all, my second home. I have that Scarecrow -- found him in an antique shop driving across the Midwest on my way to an Oz convention -- and have seen him sell since, including one image that had an attachment off of which he'd hang. But this boxed version came and went without my seeing it at all. I scanned mine once and put him in the Oz Gazette, and when I was featured on Special FX the Collector's Show he was one of the things I showed the studio people who were supposed to do an appraisal of sorts on rare collectibles. What a treasure for whoever got it! Jane

Bill Campbell said...

I'd love to see the packaging and instructions in person to see if there's any mention of permission from Reilly & Lee to use the character. This could easily be something that was produced without their knowledge.

Bell-Snickle said...

Wow, I've never heard of this one but that is really cool. I'd love to see one in action someday.