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

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Woman and the Shadow

Woman and the Shadow is another of the titles published by Rand McNally with a cover design by W. W. Denslow. I like this one, both for the color combination and the variety of pictorial elements. This was published in 1898 and bears Denslow's seahorse signature. The story is a convoluted Victorian romance featuring sacrifice, bad judgement, and a reasonably happy ending.

This cover seems to have a bit of everything, from the crown/jester's cap on the front to the silhouetted cat gazing at the moon on the rear board. The British pound symbol relates to the overall theme of money in the story, and the leafy vine is a motif seen on some other Denslow covers. Finally, the spine has a great jester's dummy. The colors make me think of the soon to be published Father Goose, His Book.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

1903 Oz

Here's a final little group of images from the New York Public Library digital archive. These feature the stars of the 1903 Broadway Wizard of Oz, Fred Stone and David Montgomery, as well as Anna Laughlin. I don't think I've run across these particular photos of Montgomery (the Tin Woodman), and Stone (the Scarecrow) before. I particularly like the Tin Woodman shot, as he is captured in a much more dynamic pose than I'm used to seeing.

Anna Laughlin played Dorothy, and I think both of these photos have a sense of mischievous playfulness that she must have brought to the role. The picture on the right shows her in costume for the Ball of All Nations sequence from act 2, in which Dorothy performed a cakewalk!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bloomsbury Auction

Last week's auction held by Bloomsbury Auctions in New York featured several rare Oz and related pieces, including original artwork by John R. Neill. But the piece that intrigued me, which unfortunately I didn't win, was this lovely costume design by Caroline Siedle for Babes in Toyland.

I've talked about Siedle here before, as she designed costumes for the Broadway production of The Wizard of Oz among a number of other shows. It's interesting that there seems to be confusion about her name - I've seen Siedle, Seidle, and Siedel used in various places! I don't know which is correct, but her obituary spells the name Siedle. I believe this is also the spelling on her tomb at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York. (After writing this this morning, it occurred to me that the obvious way to figure out the answer is to look at her signature! She spelled her name Siedle.)

This particular design was for the Moth Queen - synopses of the original storyline for Babes in Toyland seem to vary, but I believe the Moth Queen helps to rescue the Babes from the Spider's Forest, a scene that sounds reminiscent of the rescue of Dorothy and her companions from the Poppies in The Wizard of Oz - not too surprising as that was inspiration for this later show! I found the photo shown above, featuring the moths, on an Australian website.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Gingerbread Time

This coming weekend my partner & I are having a Christmas party, to celebrate the season as well as 30 years together. As part of the holiday decorating process (we're aiming for over the top), I decided to make a gingerbread house for the desert table.

Trying to give it an Oz theme, I hit on a gingerbread Emerald City palace. I haven't made a gingerbread house in a while, and found it took quite a bit more time than I remembered! Matters weren't helped by the loss of a piece to a small dog named Pepper. After replacing the damaged piece (which was the back of the main tower), things progressed smoothly.

I considered making some John Dough cookies while I was in gingerbread mode, but they may have to wait for another year!