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

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Pumpkin Men

When L. Frank Baum wrote The Marvelous Land of Oz, he introduced Jack Pumpkinhead, who became an ongoing character in the Oz community. On the right is an image of Jack by John R. Neill, from the rear cover of a first edition of the book.

Interestingly, in 1904, the year Land was published, W. W. Denslow also published a book with a pumpkin man as a major character. The Pearl and the Pumpkin was written by Denslow and Paul West, with hopes of creating a musical extravaganza. Denslow and Baum had parted ways by this time, but one can't help wondering if the two of them had discussed the possibilities of such a character earlier, during their working relationship.

I have a drawing from The Pearl and the Pumpkin, not of the pumpkin man but of another character called the Corn Dodger. He's a corn man - close enough. The printed book illustration added a second color, a fairly common practice in books of the time. Most of Denslow's books had color added by the printer, under Denslow's supervision. The actual drawings were black & white. This is also true of most of the color plates drawn by John R. Neill for the Oz books. Only Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, and The Emerald City of Oz had color plates printed from actual watercolors by the artist.


Anonymous said...

These pumpkinheaded men were preceded by Hawthorne's scarecrow in "Feathertop".

Bill Campbell said...

I've sometimes wondered if a pumpkinheaded Scarecrow might have been a discarded idea for the Wonderful Wizard.