While thinking of cartoons influenced by Muppet Babies, I remembered a series from the mid-nineties called The Oz Kids. There was an article about the cartoon in one of the first Baum Bugle issues I ever received, and I watched a few episodes of it at a convention. There’s apparently never been a DVD release, and YouTube only has the show dubbed into German, so those are still the only episodes I’ve seen. Basically, it involved the children of some of the main Oz characters, including Scarecrow Jr. (voiced by Jonathan Taylor Thomas, which would have been a big deal at the time), Tin Boy, Jack Pumpkinhead Jr., Dorothy’s kids Dot and Neddie, the Cowardly Lion’s cubs Boris and Bela, the Wizard’s son Frank (sometimes referred to as “Frank Jr.” despite the fact that the Wizard’s name isn’t Frank), and Glinda’s bratty daughter Angela. The Patchwork Girl apparently had children as well, but I didn’t see any of the episodes with them. Obviously the series isn’t canonical, as many of the parents aren’t capable of eating or sleeping, and presumably can’t reproduce either. I guess they could have somehow had children produced magically, but why would all of them have done that at the same time? L. Frank Baum and his successors also made clear that Dorothy had no interest in growing up, so her having kids is almost as weird. I think someone said they intended that Dorothy was married to Zeb Hugson, and before anyone who’s read Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz gets grossed out by this, don’t forget that the two of them aren’t blood relatives. They just both have uncles who married sisters. Still, the idea of a romance between them, even given their both growing to adulthood, doesn’t really work for me. As with Nanny on Muppet Babies, the adults were only ever shown from the neck down. Some of the episodes featured the Nome King’s son Otto (not to be confused with his son Rikiki in the Sherwood Smith Oz books), and his father could only be seen in silhouette. All this aside, I did find the episodes I saw pretty amusing, and I kind of wish it had been more successful.
The two episodes I can remember seeing all the way through were “Who Stole Santa?” and “The Nome Prince and the Magic Belt.”
The former has the kids tracking down Santa, who’s been kidnapped by the Awgwas from The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus. (Funny, I thought they were extinct.)
The latter has Otto steal the Magic Belt and use it to transform some of the kids into ornaments, in an adventure reminiscent of the guessing game in Ozma of Oz. I can also recall a scene that used the Trick River bit from Patchwork Girl, but I’m not sure if this was from one of these two or not. It did seem a little cheap that so many of the kids’ adventures were rip-offs of what their parents did in the original books, but I guess it’s a case of history (or is that hoztory?) repeating itself.