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

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Pastoria and the Lion

Here's a new find - a photo from the 1903 Broadway production of The Wizard of Oz. This is an original photo that I've never seen before, of two major characters from the show - Pastoria and the Cowardly Lion.

Pastoria is one of several new characters created by L. Frank Baum for the stage version of his story. He is the true ruler of Oz, whose throne was usurped by the Wizard. In the stage story, he is blown back to Oz by the same cyclone that captures Dorothy, and manages to regain his throne.

In this photo Pastoria is wearing a costume from the first act. He's disguised as a circus performer, and posing with the Cowardly Lion. The Lion was played by Arthur Hill (presumably inside the costume), and was nothing like the Bert Lahr tour-de-force in the MGM film. In the stage show, he doesn't speak, and plays a fairly minor role.

This photo is rather small, and looks like a candid shot. It's not one of the usual publicity photos, as it lacks any kind of backdrop and looks as though it may have been taken backstage. It is mounted on heavy paper with handwritten captions, including the date 1903-1904. I don't know where it originated, but it's fun to think that it may have come from the actor's scrapbook, as a record of his role!

Several men played Pastoria (technically he's Pastoria the Second, as noted in the caption) through the run of the show. Judging by the dates, this could be Owen Westford, who was the third actor to play the part - or it could be Arthur Larkin who was touring with the second company of the show.

The two characters can be seen in the center of this picture from the Poppy scene.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Popular Land

For a time, from the mid 1920's to 1930's, there were two versions available of The Land of Oz. The "regular" edition, which contained 12 color plates, and the "popular" edition which only had a color frontispiece. The popular edition cost a dollar, as opposed to the $1.60 or so that was charged for the standard edition. When color plates were dropped from the books in the mid 1930's, the popular editions faded away.
The popular edition was clearly identified on the front cover - but the words pop up in a variety of places! Above, you can see a couple versions, taken from the Internet. In 1939, another popular edition was released to capitalize on the 1939 film of The Wizard of Oz. This time, the book was given a new cover and larger format - but the price remained the same.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Rosemary and Rue

In the past I've posted quite a few titles published by Rand McNally with covers designed by W. W. Denslow. Denslow also designed posters for many of the books, including this lovely example from 1896 for Rosemary and Rue, which I recently added to the collection.

This is a good example of the way that Denslow's book posters could contain far more than his book covers. The cover makes use of the images of rosemary, heart and harp but the elaborate poster makes different use of these elements.

This poster is printed in two colors on a heavy, fibrous brown paper, creating a third tone for the entire image. There is a small inscription at the bottom of the poster reading "Compliments of the artist" - as there was on the poster shown two weeks ago, for the Chicago Times-Herald.

The author Amber was Martha Everts Holden, who founded the Bohemian Club in Chicago. She also happened to be Denslow's mother-in-law, although she passed away shortly before he married her daughter, Ann Waters Holden, in 1896. Denslow met Amber while working at the Chicago Herald, where she wrote essays and verses for the special features department, which she also managed.

After her death, Denslow was instrumental in having Rand McNally publish two books of Amber's writings, Rosemary and Rue and Amber Glints. The proceeds were used to help support her young son.

The Bohemian Club met in rooms at the Boyce Building which were decorated in red and brown - perhaps the inspiration for the colors of this poster!