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Trivia / Land of Oz

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  • Adaptation Overdosed: While the MGM movie is the most remembered, the first book has had a lot of adaptations ranging from comic books, to anime, to film to cartoons made in Russia. Tellingly though, actual big budget Hollywood adaptations are rare, in part due to the shadow cast by the MGM movie, as well as the box-office failure of Return to Oz. Most of the later sequels have never been adapted.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: Glinda is quoted as saying a line about Lurline that starts with "The Land of Oz is and will always be Queen Lurline's land", which is cited as proof that Ozians worship Lurline like a goddess. This line isn't from any book and is of uncertain origin.
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  • Creator Backlash: As the books went on, Baum became increasingly annoyed with how they began to dominate his bibliography and how he was unable to work on any other project since the public just demanded more and more Oz books. Baum attempted a few times to decisively end the series with increasingly final-seeming spells that kept more people from finding Oz or blocking the readers from seeing Dorothy's adventures but none of these took and the Oz books continued to be published long after his death.
  • Executive Meddling: Editors at Reilly & Lee rewrote portions of Neill's books, reportedly making them even weirder than they already were. They also forced Jack Snow to rewrite the entire first half of The Shaggy Man of Oz on short notice; tellingly this was his last of only two Oz books even despite his obsession with Oz and lifelong dream of writing Oz books.
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  • Exiled from Continuity: The series already had Loads and Loads of Characters before Baum's death, but Thompson and Neill exacerbated the problem. When author Jack Snow took over the series, he did a Continuity Reboot and picked up where Baum left off, disregarding the previous 22 books. Thompson and Neill's original characters would never appear in the series again after this point. Although, since many of Thompson's books are now Public Domain, characters from them have appeared in unofficial books since.
  • Fandom Life Cycle: Type 6a; the books were very popular in their day thanks in part to stage musicals and silent films keeping them in the public eye, but in the 1950s and 60s the popularity of the MGM film exploded and made Oz a permanent part of America's culture. This, however, had the side effect of pushing the books into Mainstream Obscurity. The Oz book fandom today is small, tightly-knit and devoted, having shrunk back down to around a Stage 2, but with the infrastructure of a fandom that was once at Stage 5. That the decades-old International Wizard of Oz Club and their official yearly story collection Oziana are still going strong is a testament to how old and formerly-large the fandom once was.
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  • Fan Nickname: Publisher Reilly and Lee came up with “The Famous Forty” to describe the 40 official books published by their company. However there are further books that could be considered as canon, including Baum’s Trot and Cap’n Bill series and other fantasies he wrote (which crossover with Oz), a book of short Oz stories also by Baum, and Oz books by later authors in the series that did not get published by Reilly and Lee for various reasons, some of which would eventually be published by Books of Wonder (who rereleased the Oz books in the 1980’s and 90’s) and the International Wizard of Oz Club. With the addition of these arguably canon works, fans call the complete Oz series “The Supreme Seventy-Five”.
  • Fountain of Expies: Despite being in Mainstream Obscurity herself, Ozma has influenced many other princess characters since, some of which are now more famous than she is; for example the Child Empress from The Neverending Story, Princess Leia and Queen Amidala from Star Wars (which also owes a debt to the Oz series for characters like The Tin Woodman and Tik-Tok), and no doubt others.
  • God-Created Canon Foreigner: Trot and Cap'n Bill originally appeared in a separate series created by Baum, but got shifted to Oz after said series failed to catch on commercially.(While Button-Bright first appeared in "The Road to Oz", then one of the Trot/Cap'n Bill books, then Oz again..) Santa Claus is technically an example as well, originally appearing a Baum-written book detailing his life and adventures before making a cameo in the Oz books.
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  • The Other Darrin: Not with a character in the book, but with the illustrators (switched to John R. Neill after The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) and later with the author. There is one brilliant illustration in Road To Oz (illustrated by Neill) in which Dorothy looks at a tin statue of herself, appearing "as she was when she left Oz." The tin statue shows Dorothy in the original illustrator's style, but the Dorothy studying the statue is in Neill's style.
  • Publisher-Chosen Title: Reilly & Lee is likely to blame for most of the Protagonist Title Fallacy instances in the series. Ruth Plumly Thompson in particular complained that her preferred book titles were rarely chosen.
  • Promoted Fanboy: Ruth Plumly Thompson was a fan of Baum's work before being appointed his successor in the Oz series.
    • Jack Snow wrote to publisher Reilly & Lee at age 12, asking to be the one to continue the Oz series after Baum's death. They declined of course, but over twenty years later, he did get to write two books for the series.
  • Science Marches On: Note to readers of The Patchwork Girl of Oz: Building your house out of solid radium is actually a really bad idea. It gets better. The character in question actually says "It is a medicine, too, and no one can ever be sick who lives near radium."
  • Torch the Franchise and Run: L. Frank Baum attempted to do this when he grew tired of writing sequels despite the demand from his fans and publishers. He had established that nothing dies in the land of Oz, so he couldn't kill anyone off. In the sixth book, he tried to cut the Direct Lineto The Author in order to justify never writing a single thing about Oz again because an invasion caused Oz to become isolationist and totally cut off all contact with the outside world, thus promising to never ever write another story about Oz ever again. When his other books failed to sell as well, he had to begin writing stories about Oz again to pay his bills, backpedaling and explaining that they discovered the radio in Oz that Dorothy could use to broadcast Baum news about Oz.
  • Outlived Its Creator: When Baum died, the publisher found another author (Ruth Plumly Thompson) to continue the books.
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  • Trope Codifier: This is arguably the first example of an author creating an entire fantasy world with its own mythology and worldbuilding, specifically the land of Nonestica, years before J.R.R. Tolkien would write The Lord of The Rings and its subsequent mythology.
  • Trope Namer: Dystopian Oz.
  • Un-Canceled: Baum only intended to write the first book. Then, he wrote a sequel, following the success of a 1902 musical adaptation he wrote, using many of the elements he put into the stage version, hoping to adapt it, as well. Then, he wrote four more and ended the series. Then, he wrote eight more, until his passing, at which point Ruth Plumly Thompson took over and wrote 19 books before passing on the torch to illustrator John R. Neill, who wrote three books. Jack Snow wrote two books, and two more authors each wrote a book, totaling forty books. (Known among fans as the Famous Forty.) And that's just what's considered canonnote .
  • What Could Have Been: In the manuscript for Glinda Of Oz, Red Reera the Yookoohoo appears as a skeleton with glowing eyes. It's speculated that Executive Meddling caused Baum to change Red Reera to an ape in an apron and lace cap instead.


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