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

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Lion

Here's a fun item that found its way under the Christmas tree this year. This is a toy lion, of the same variety used by Graham Rawle as the Cowardly Lion in his 2008 illustrations for The Wizard of Oz.

Apparently the lion used in the illustrations was found in a vintage shop in Minneapolis. This one turned up at an antique show at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Perhaps they're related?

As you can see, the lion is in a permanent seated position. For the illustrations, rear legs had to be added digitally to give a greater range of poses!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Here in time for Christmas is another early newspaper piece by John R. Neill, "Tostynge Appels at ye Merrie Yuletide". This was published in the Philadelphia North American newspaper on Christmas Day, 1901.

The characters in this remind me of Neill's Life Among the Macaronis series of drawings - the elongated figures and Colonial time period are the same, although that series appeared ca. 1904-05. This piece and the Christmas Eve page shown in my last post are both quite early Neill pieces!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas is Coming

Here's a newspaper page from 110 years ago, December, 22 1901. This features a grand and colorful John R. Neill drawing of a Christmas tree and gifts, together with photos of Christmas preparations. You can even see a typical Neill Santa in toy form, riding a toy horse! The one curious thing to my eye, for the time period, is the lack of a father in this family group - he's present in the photos, but not in the drawing.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Musical at NYPL

I'm afraid I've been neglecting my blog this month - but December is always a busy time! The New York Public Library is featuring the 1903 Broadway production of The Wizard of Oz as the musical of the month for December in a series of blogs, written by a variety of authors - including this entry by David Maxine of Hungry Tiger Press. A version of the libretto for the show is available as well.

Here I have a couple more pieces of sheet music from the Broadway production of The Wizard of Oz. Must You was a hit for David Montgomery, who played the Tin Woodman and contributed to the lyric for this song. The Tale of a Cassowary is one of a number of songs added to the show in 1904, for what was known as the Edition De Luxe. Recently I read an interview with a producer of the current Broadway show Spiderman, who mentioned the exciting "new" concept of possibly freshening the show each season with new songs and ideas. Guess what - it's a very old concept!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Paperback Denslow

It's been a while since I've had a new W.W. Denslow book cover to show! Here we have a Rand McNally paperback printing of A Modern Corsair, by Richard Henry Savage - the man who never learned the proper use of exclamation marks!!

The previous Rand McNally titles that I've shown have all been hardcover books. But Denslow designed quite a few paperbacks for the company as well; many times he did the same title in both paper and hardcover, but the designs don't tend to be the same.

For example, on the right is the hardcover version of A Modern Corsair, courtesy of Cindy Ragni of Avant-Garde Books. A shipwreck is a prominent feature of both the hard and soft covers. This must play into the story, but I haven't read this one yet to know the details! The hardcovers make use of bold, colorful stampings, while the paperbacks feature more linear designs.

For another example, here's the hardcover version of In The Swim, also written by Savage. Bill Thompson recently turned up a paperback version with a very different cover design. The paperback cover is much more of an illustration for the story, which deals in part with shenanigans on Wall Street. On the other hand, the hardcover makes use of one of Denslow's more generic shield designs. However, both incorporate a golden calf, symbolizing the worship of money that becomes the downfall of several characters in the story.