Saturday, March 27, 2010
Frank Baum (1856-1919) wrote 69 books beloved by children, including The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which became a classic movie.
Lyman Frank Baum was born on May 15, 1856, near Syracuse, New York. His father, Benjamin, was a wealthy oil businessman, and young Frank (who disliked his first name and never used it) grew up in comfort. Because he had a weak heart, Frank led a quiet life as a child and was educated largely by tutors. A brief stay at a military academy was not successful, and Frank returned home to indulge his taste for reading, writing, stamp collecting, and chicken breeding. He also published two different monthly newspapers during his teenage years.
Baum grew up to become a man of great charm and many interests, yet he had little direction. He pursued a variety of careers ranging from acting to newspaper reporting to theatrical management to writing plays. One of his plays, The Maid of Arran, was a surprise smash hit, and Frank and his company toured with it throughout the United States and Canada in the early 1880s.
While at home on a break from the tour, Baum met and became engaged to Maud Gage, youngest daughter of prominent women's suffrage activist Matilda J. Gage. The strong-willed Matilda did not approve of the impractical Baum, but Maud, equally determined, insisted, and the two were married in November 1882. The marriage, apparently one of opposites, was a happy one, as Maud provided Baum with the stability and good sense he needed, and eventually for their children the discipline he was too gentle to perform.
Baum gave up acting when Maud became pregnant with their first child and all the scenery, props, and costumes for The Maid of Arran were destroyed in a fire. He worked for a time in the family oil business in Syracuse, still writing plays in his spare time, none of which were produced. In the late 1880s he and the family, which now included two sons, moved to the Dakota Territory, where Baum worked for a time as a shopkeeper and then as a newspaper editor, enjoying both jobs but failing financially in each.
By 1891 it was clear that his growing family, now with four sons, required that he find a job that would provide financial stability. They moved to Chicago, where he was first a newspaper reporter but soon took a better paying job as a traveling salesman with a crockery firm. At the suggestion of his mother-in-law, Baum began to write down some of the stories he made up to tell his sons every evening when he was home. One of these stories, Mother Goose in Prose, was published in 1897. The book sold well, and, on the advice of his doctor, Baum gave up his traveling job. Instead, he became the editor of a journal for window-dressers, which also did well.
Baum next decided to collaborate on a children's book with a friend, the artist W. W. Denslow. Father Goose, His Book, published in 1899, was a best-seller. One of the five books he published in 1900, also based on stories he had told his sons and illustrated by Denslow, was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which immediately broke records for sales and made Baum a celebrity. At the suggestion of his publisher, Baum's book, with substantial changes to fit the theatrical tastes of the day, was made into a musical in 1902, which also was a great success and toured the United States for years. A second Oz book, The Marvelous Land of Oz, a clever satire on the women's suffrage movement, was published in 1904 and was very popular, and other Oz books followed, though none matched the originality or sales of the first two books. In addition, over the next two decades he wrote over 35 non-Oz books under various pseudonyms and aimed at various audiences. Most of these were "pot-boilers," but they did well financially and helped make Baum a wealthy man.
Always looking for new outlets for his creativity, Baum became interested in films. In 1909 he founded a company to produce hand-colored slides featuring characters from his Oz books. These were shown while he narrated and an orchestra played background music. Although highly innovative, these "radio-plays," as he called them, lost a great deal of money, and in June 1911 he was forced to declare bankruptcy. A later venture into the film business, the Oz Film Company in 1914, produced six movies but experienced severe distribution problems and also failed, though not as disastrously.
Using money Maud had inherited from her mother, the Baums moved to Hollywood, California, in 1910 for Frank's health, and there built Ozcot, a large home with an impressive garden. Here he produced additional Oz books, to a total of 14, which helped ease his financial problems. But with most of his fortune gone and his health failing, in his later years Baum lived quietly at Ozcot, gardening, writing stories, and answering the hundreds of letters he received from Oz-struck children. After a protracted illness in his gall-bladder and a 24 hour coma, he died on May 6, 1919, supposedly uttering, "Now we can cross the Shifting Sands" just a minute before expiring.
Baum's Oz books were so popular and profitable that after his death, with Maud's permission, the publishers continued the series using other writers. In addition, the lasting popularity of Oz was in no small way aided by film versions of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the 1925 silent version with Oliver Hardy as the Tin-Man, and most notably the 1939 classic MGM musical with Judy Garland as Dorothy.
Although Baum's avowed intention was merely to entertain children with unique American creations and American values, his Oz books have been endlessly criticized and analyzed, and they sometimes have been banned from libraries as being too imaginative, too frightening, or even too dull. Nonetheless, they constitute 20th century America's first and most enduring contribution to children's fantasy literature.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ
Geo.M. Hill Co, 1900
Illustrated by W.W. Denslow
Written by L. Frank Baum
FIRST EDITIION FIRST STATE
24 COLOR PLATES
plate 34 has two dark blue blots on the moon pictured
plate 92 has red shading on the horizon pictured
SPINE HAS C outside of the O as stamped on spine thusly....GEO.M.HILL CO.
Either in color green or red stamped
PAGES OF COLOR PLATES
12/14 (Earliest plates may be those on page and then later page 14)
20, 34, 36, 44, 56, 66, 80, 92, 102, 114, 126, 138, 150, 160, 170,184,198,212
PAGE FOURTEEN...line one
"low wail on..."
PAGE 81, FOURTH LINE FROM BOTTOM
"peices" spelled wrong, later changed to pieces
PAGE 227. LINE ONE
"While Tin Woodman.."
COLOPHON AT END OF BOOK is eleven lines enclosed in a box
VERSO OF THE TITLE PAGE is either blank or rubber stamped copyright notice,,blank being the earliest
loving daughter of Rachel and Abraham Miller and wife and mother to Max Shapiro 1915-1975 and mother to Larry,Gary,Mark and Steve
YOUTUBE on FREDA
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
EXCLUSIVE: Fresh off Disney's massive success with Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland," Warner Bros. wants to remake another childhood classic. Like, really classic.
The studio is examining two existing "Wizard of Oz" projects, with an eye toward giving one of them a modern gloss and moving it toward the screen.
One project, called "Oz," currently lives at Warner's New Line label. It's being produced by Temple Hill, which is behind a little franchise called "Twilight," and has a script written by Darren Lemke, a writer on the upcoming "Shrek Forever After."
A second "Wizard of Oz" project, set up at Warners proper, skews a little darker -- it's written by "A History of Violence" screenwriter Josh Olson and focuses on a granddaughter of Dorothy who returns to Oz to fight evil. "Clash of the Titans" producer Basil Iwanyk and his Thunder Road Pictures are behind that one. ("Spawn" creator Todd MacFarlane is potentially involved in a producerial capacity, to give you some idea of the tone.)
While the idea of a new "Wizard of Oz" movie is said to be in the development, let's-bat-this-around stage, it's been advanced seriously enough on the lot that representatives for some of the top directors around Hollywood have been briefed.
The Judy Garland-starring "The Wizard of Oz" from 1939 -- we could give you the refresher on witches, tin men, Dorothy and everyone else, but really, do we need to? -- has been given alternative treatments before. There was the 1978 black-themed film adaptation of the stage play "The Wiz." And of course about six years ago came the Broadway adaptation of Gregory Maguire's "Wicked," an alternative story of girls, witches and Emerald City politics. The property proved a huge stage hit, prompting a film version that's in development at Universal and "Wanted" producer Marc Platt.
Audiences are likely to respond to the idea of a new silver screen "Wizard of Oz" with gusto ("at least the first one was good," said one colleague we told) or with horror, precisely because the original is such a classic.
But for Warners, there's plenty of appeal in trying to take the story of Dorothy & Co. back to the big screen. For one, there's the bonkers $210 million global opening for "Alice," which shows that if you're trying to create a mega-blockbuster, one smart way to do it is to take a title people know and update it for the effects era. And there's a neat symmetry, since the Technicolor version of the classic film did for color in the movies what a lot of people say that "Avatar," "Alice" -- and now, perhaps, "Wizard" -- could do for 3-D in the movies.
With its Harry Potter series drawing to an end, Warners also likes the idea of a franchise, and "Wizard of Oz" and the many books L. Frank Baum wrote featuring many of the same characters (all of which are in the public domain) fit the bill nicely. And let's not forget the property's strong, young female protagonist, hugely in vogue now in the post -Twilight" and -"Alice" eras.
There could still be questions about the project's title (the book's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" is in the public domain but the movie's "The Wizard of Oz" is not; it's owned by MGM, whose library is partly owned by Warner Bros.). And then there's the matter of whether filmmakers would make the movie with musical elements, as the original, of course, did. Those questions aside, it could be the moneymaking formula.
Follow the yellow brick road. It's strewn with CGI, tent poles and 3-D. And, of course, a little green.
-- Steven Zeitchik
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Short Stories by L. Frank Baum
L. Frank Baum wrote a number of children's short stories that were published in periodicals, in addition to his many books. This section provides an accounting of these short stories listed chronologically by publication date (or date it was written and published much later).
Note: Most of these short stories have been republished in The Baum Bugle. The issue year, volume, number and page number(s) are listed in the last column of the following table.
"Who Called ‘Perry’?"
Chicago Times Herald
19 Jan 1896
Baum entered this story into the newspaper’s short story contest.
"Yesterday at the Exposition"
Chicago Times Herald
2 Feb 1896
Baum entered this story into the newspaper’s short story contest. It won third prize.
"My Ruby Wedding Ring"
Copyright 12 Oct 1896 by the Bacheller Syndicate. Sold to the American Press Association in 1903 for syndication.
"Man with the Red Shirt"
Told by Baum in 1896-97 to his niece, Matilda J. Gage. She wrote the only version known to exist.
"The Extravagance of Dan"
The National Magazine
Earliest known Baum short story published in a nationally distributed magazine.
"How Scruggs Won the Award"
Copyright 5 May 1897 by the Bacheller Syndicate.
"The Return of Dick Weemins"
The National Magazine
"The Suicide of Kiaros"
The White Elephant
Reprinted (somewhat revised) in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine Nov 1954.
"A Shadow Cast Before"
"The Mating Day"
"Aunt Hulda's Good Time"
The Youth's Companion
26 Oct 1899
This was a very popular children’s magazine of the period.
"The Loveridge Burglary"
"The Real 'Mr. Doolley' "
Home Magazine (article)
Illustrated by Denslow and Ike Morgan.
"The Bad Man"
The Home Magazine (NY)
"Strange Tale of Nursery Folk"
Chicago Times Herald
3 March 1901
"The King Who Changed His Mind"
"The Runaway Shadows"
Also known as "A Trick of Jack Frost".
"An Easter Egg"
The Sunny South (Sunday Supplement for the Atlanta Constitution)
29 March 1902
Also known as "The Strange Adventures of an Easter Egg"). Was also published on Easter Sunday 1902 in various newspapers. However, the newpaper versions were shorter. Was re-published in Baum’s American Fairy Tales by Bobbs-Merrill in 1908.
"The Ryl of the Lilies"
12 April 1903
Included in Baum’s American Fairy Tales (1908) as "The Ryl."
"A Kidnapped Santa Claus"
Illustrated by Frederick Richardson. This magazine was one of the important women’s magazine of the period.
"Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz"
Aug 1904 thru Feb 1905
This was a series of 27 weekly cartoon strip stories published in a number of the major newspapers in the cities of the north-eastern US.
"Animal Fairy Tales"
Jan through Sept 1905
A series of nine stories. Illustrated by Charles Livingston Bull. (The International Wizard of Oz Club published the stories in book form with illustrations by Dick Martin in 1969.)
The Russ was the school paper of the San Diego (CA) High School.
"Fairy Tales on Stage"
Chicago Record-Herald (article)
18 June 1905
"Jack Burgitt's Honor"
Novelettes (No. 68)
1 Aug 1905
Probably written 1896. Syndicated by the American Press Association.
Part 1 93:37:2:16-17
Part 2 93:37:3:8-9
"The Yellow Ryl"
A Child's Garden for Cheerful and Happy Homes
August & September 1925
Written ca. 1905-1906
Part 1 64:8:1:10-11
Part 2 64:8:2:12-13
"The Witchcraft of Mary-Marie"
Baum’s American Fairy Tales
This collection of short stories was re-published by Bobbs-Merrill in 1908 with three new stories.
"Modern Fairy Tales"
19 Aug 1909
An article in which Baum addresses fairy tales and their authors. This magazine was the journal of the Congregational Church.
"The Fairy Prince"
Short play based on The Enchanted Island of Yew. Reprinted in Baum’s Juvenile Speaker (1910).
"The Man Fairy"
The Ladies' World
Reprinted in Famous Tales and Laughter Stories (1912), and Boys and Girls Bookshelf (1920).
Part 1 77:21:3:9-11
Part 2 78:22:1:32-34
"The Tramp and the Baby"
The Ladies' World
"Bessie's Fairy Tale"
The Ladies' World
"Aunt Phroney's Boy"
This is a rewritten version of "Aunt Hulda's Good Time."
An article, apparently published in a local Hollywood, CA newspaper. In the article Baum encourages readers to shop locally in Hollywood.
Believed to be unpublished prior to being found in the Baum archives.
Believed to be unpublished prior to being found in the Baum archives. The first page is missing. It was published in The Baum Bugle, Spring 1982
"The Littlest Giant"
Believed to be unpublished prior to being found in the Baum archives. The first page is missing. It was published in The The The The Baum Bugle, Spring 1975.
"Mr. Rumple’s Chill"
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
WIZARD OF OZ BOOKS..450 FIRST EDITION, FIRST STATE L. FRANK BAUM BOOKS AND WILLIAM DENSLOW...WIZARD OF OZ BOOKS
Pictured are 450 first edition and first state l. Frank Baum and William Denslow books, famous for the Wonderful Wizard of Oz.