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

Monday, December 14, 2015

A Wogglebug Game

Here's something new - or actually very old - that I don't think has been seen before. For a long time, the first recorded commercially produced Oz game has been the Wogglebug Game of Conundrums, presented by Parker Brothers Games in 1905. But here's a game from a year earlier, also featuring the Wogglebug.

The Woggle Bug Card Game was produced in 1904 by the New Idea Game Co. in Chicago - home of the Oz books. It's a complicated activity involving sequencing colors and numbers. The previously known Game of Conundrums is only Oz related due to its name and the use of the Wogglebug character on the box, but this Woggle Bug Game uses four suites of playing cards featuring Oz characters - the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, Jack Pumpkinhead and the Wogglebug.

1904 was the year of L. Frank Baum's Queer Visitors From the Land of Oz newspaper comic page, and the characters seen in this game are clearly based on the drawings of Walt McDougall, illustrator of the comic.

Sadly, all I have is the instruction sheet (part of which is shown here) - the cards are long gone. But there is enough graphic material on the sheet to reconstruct the cards... so perhaps it may make a reappearance!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Merry Christmas From the Neill Family

Over the years, John R. Neill created holiday cards for his growing family. In fact, anyone receiving the annual card could watch the family grow!
The cards start off at the end of 1920 with greetings from Mr & Mrs John R. Neill, and Natalie Neill.
Around 1922, Annrea joined the family and was featured together with her sister. For the next few years, the pair of girls are featured in charming portraits. In 1927 they've taken to skis - and the 1928/29 card includes childish portraits of Neill and his wife, along with the family pets.

I'm missing a couple years at this point, but by 1932 Joan had been born and added to the group. I have a larger gap in the series then, until 1941. We take another trip on skis that year, with the three girls. Endolane, the family home in Flanders NJ, is shown as well.
The house appears again in the background of 1942, with the three girls feeding the local wildlife. Then a very different card appears for 1942-43. A military Santa is shown, charging with bayonet drawn!
Many of the cards feature touches of hand coloring. 1925 is interesting for having the appearance of a block print, printed on colorful gold flecked paper. Sizes vary from year to year, some are folded paper and other are full sheets. Sadly the family tradition ended in 1943, with Neill's death.