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

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Music Box Oz

Oz-related music box discs are something I first became aware of several years ago, from a blog post by David Maxine at Hungry Tiger Press. Since then, I have kept an eye out for examples and have managed to obtain two songs written for the show, Must You? and I Love Only One Girl in This Wide Wide World.

I've become fascinated by the music boxes themselves. At the time of The Wizard of Oz there were multiple companies producing disc-playing music boxes. The disc players were popular from the 1890’s into the early years of the 20th century, when they were surpassed by the phonograph. The various companies produced boxes in a variety of sizes, and each brand and size required specific discs - they were not interchangeable. Consequently, it can be difficult to find a specific song for a specific make/size of box. I now own two different boxes, one a 15.5” Stella and the other a 9.25” Mira.


The two Oz discs I own are for the small Mira machine. The first video, above, is I Love Only One Girl, and the second video, below, is Must You? In the Must You? video, I also demonstrate the zither attachment on the box - this was an extra feature that was available, and originally added an additional dollar to the cost. It's basically a bar that applies pressure to the comb of the box, causing a much more plunking tone - similar in some ways to a harpsichord. It can be heard during the second chorus of the song.

 

In looking through catalogs for a couple different brands, I’ve found that generally the same songs were available for all the various machines. The arrangements could differ from maker to maker, and larger discs would have extended versions of the music - extra choruses, or additional elements. Unfortunately there are gaps in the lists I’ve seen, so it’s possible a song that's missing from one brand, but is present in another, may actually have been available in both.

I've come across four makers that offered a total of 11 titles of songs that were either written for or used during the run of The Wizard. There could easily be more, as Symphonium and Criterion were large producers who are not included here. Several of the discs attribute the song to the show, as shown in apostrophes below. They are as follows:

Polyphon
#50009 - I’d Like to Go Halves in That
#50727 - Sammy

Edelweiss
#0190 - Mr. Dooley
#0196 - Must You “from the Wizard of Oz”
#0201 - I Love Only One Girl in the Wide Wide World
#0202 - Sammy

Stella or Mira (both were made by the same company, the Stella was unique in that it used smooth discs with no projections)
#865 - Mr. Dooley
#899 - Must You “from the Wizard of Oz”
#898 - I Love Only One Girl in the Wide Wide World “from the Wizard of Oz”
#904 - Sammy
#1130 - Can’t You See I’m Lonely
#1257 - The Bullfrog and the Coon

Regina
#1982 - Mr. Dooley
#10008 - Sammy
#10020 - Hurrah for Baffin’s Bay
#10074 - Under a Panama
#10138 - Johnny I’ll Take You “from the Wizard of Oz”
#10279 - The Sweetest Girl in Dixie
#10652 - The Bullfrog and the Coon

Sammy turns up in all four lists, it was the hit of the show! Finally, here's Mr. Dooley played on the larger Stella machine. This song was written for The Chinese Honeymoon, but was reused in the Chicago production of The Wizard, before its Broadway run.