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

Monday, July 10, 2023

Italian Oz

As a collector, I really haven’t branched into the large field of foreign editions of the Oz books. But there are a few examples that I haven’t been able to resist. A couple weeks ago I featured two early British editions; here are two Italian versions of Oz tales, published around the time of the release of the MGM film. These are oversized volumes, larger than the American versions of the stories. They are charming books with lovely line illustrations printed in two colors, as well as full color plates, by Miki Ferro Pelizzari.
These examples are the first two titles in the series, The Wizard of Oz and The Land of Oz. This copy of the Wizard is a later printing with a cloth spine. The original printing was issued with a paper spine, like that seen on the copy of Land. I’ve mentioned my dislike of fragile paper spines in the past….
A fun detail in this Italian version of Land of Oz, pointed out to me by Atticus Gannaway, occurs after Jack Pumpkinhead and the Scarecrow meet. Rather than adjourning to the courtyard to play quoits, as in the original book, they play skittles! I knew it was a good game for Oz (see http://theozenthusiast.blogspot.com/2022/11/anyone-for-skittles.html ).
Five of the original six titles were published in this series. For some reason, the publishers decided to skip Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz!

Monday, July 3, 2023

Shirley Temple Land

Here’s a pair of fun items I recently picked up; two costume designs from the Shirley Temple television production of The Land of Oz.

Shirley Temple had a long association with Oz; as a child, she was a fan of the book series. When MGM made the 1939 film version of The Wizard of Oz, it was rumored that Shirley was to be lent to the studio to star as Dorothy. Of course this didn’t happen, but in 1960 the Shirley Temple Show produced a version of The Land of Oz on NBC TV, starring Shirley as Tip/Ozma. 

The show is a loose adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s second Oz book, and one of the few examples of a presentation of a later Oz story. Jonathan Winters played Lord Nikidik, one of the villains of the piece, and these are designs for his two costumes. Fabric samples for each outfit are still attached to the drawings.

The first drawing shows the suit worn by Jonathan Winters as Lord Nikidik at the opening of the story; the drawing bears the notation Radiant Violet - perhaps a name for the outfit? I've attached a couple rather blurry screen captures of the final costume in use. Agnes Moorehead, as the witch Mombi, is also shown. Apparently her performance in this role led to her playing another witch a few years later, Endora on Bewitched.

 The second design is for the uniform worn when Lord Nikidik tries to overthrow the Emerald City; this one is noted Potent Purple. The fabrics for the coat and pants that are attached to the drawing are both white, with a note that they are to be dyed to match a different fabric swatch.

The costumes were designed by Robert (or Bob) Carlton, who did quite a bit of television costume work from the 1950’s into the 1980’s.