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

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Autographs from Fred and Dave

The role of the Scarecrow, in the original Broadway version of The Wizard of Oz, was Fred Stone's big break and the role with which he would always be identified. He went on to star in many shows, and worked in Hollywood as well. When the MGM film of Oz was being produced in 1938, some fans were disappointed that Fred would not be playing his signature part in the movie. At that time he would have been 55 years old - I've never seen if he ever expressed any regrets over not reprising his role!

David Montgomery was in the same position with the part of the Tin Woodman, but his early death forestalled some of his opportunity to top that famous portrayal. Although the pair appeared in a number of other hit shows of the period, a certain generation would forever identify the duo with these two characters. After the 1939 film, Ray Bolger and Jack Haley took over as the actors best known for these roles.

The photo on the left from 1910 shows Montgomery and Stone in The Old Town, one of the shows that followed Oz. After Montgomery's death in 1917, Stone declared he would not seek a new partner, and he became a solo performer - although there were rumors of his teaming with Frank Moore (an interesting Oz connection, since Moore had starred as the Shaggy Man in The Tik-Tok Man of Oz). In later years he often paired up with one or another of his three daughters - Carol, Paula, and - Dorothy!

 Throughout his life, Fred Stone kept a connection to his famous Scarecrow - he often signed autographs with his own caricature of the character. Although the example below bears the date of 1902, that simply commemorates the start of his years playing the role - this is from the endpaper of his autobiography, published in 1945. Something to be aware of, should a loose page with an early dated autograph turn up!

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