Gabbin’ About Gabooches

The Gabooches are characters in John R. Neill’s Lucky Bucky in Oz, but it’s not entirely clear what a Gabooch actually is. They first show up when Bucky throws enchanted doorknobs at the Nomes, and they promptly turn into four bird-like creatures with bellows as heads. They have the power to produce winds, and three of them are named Tom, Dick, and Harry. The fourth is their younger sister, whom they call the Flummux. She seems to be the most level-headed of the four, and her wind breath is a zephyr rather than a gale. They accompany Bucky and Davy on their journey to Oz, and help out several times, such as when they seek out help from the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman when the boy and the whale are buried in a talcum powder blizzard. When they reach the Emerald City, Jenny Jump’s Turn-Style turns the Gabooches human, and the Flummux says she wants to be called Little Sister, which isn’t much of a name. So were they originally humans, bellows-birds, or something else? And is “Gabooch” their family name or a term indicating the bellows-birds? In the Book of Current Focus discussion of Lucky Bucky, J.L. Bell points out that they’re no longer referred to as Gabooches after they take human form. Little Sister also says, “We were real people all the time instead of being just CREATURES,” but they later refer to the change as simply being a matter of “new clothes.” As with much in Neill’s Oz books, it’s really confusing.

For what it’s worth, a Google search reveals that there are characters named Angelo and Gina Gabooch in the 1990 film Book of Love, which I had never heard of before. I don’t know if it’s a real name, although apparently “Gaboosh” is. I also can’t help thinking of the Gibichungs from Wagner’s Ring Cycle.

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6 Responses to Gabbin’ About Gabooches

  1. Trying to figure Neill’s mad stories out is such a headache

    What’s sad is that he has some great characters like Jenny, Number Nine…and…and…well, give me a minute and I might think of someone else. ;)

    I wonder how much editing was done for Runaway?… since it was far better paced and made much more sense as a story. I’ve heard the editors at Reilly and Lee were incompetent during Neill’s run, but I wonder…

    Thanks for writing about the Gabooches. I’m pretty sure even Jack Snow forgot to write about them in Who’s Who.

    • Nathan says:

      I like Davy Jones as a character, so that’s someone.

      What I’ve heard about the editing of Neill’s books is that Wonder City was very heavily edited, but the other two published by Reilly & Lee were not. Eric Shanower has said he didn’t change that much of Runaway, but he did edit it into a more coherent story, and put in a larger role for Jenny.

      And yes, I don’t think the Gabooches were included in Who’s Who for whatever reason, even though the Thunderbugs were.

      • That’s true, he was decent if not the most memorable.
        I also did enjoy Fanny and Popla a bit, though I’m sure that’s mostly because of Shanower’s amazing art.

        I hope to see more Oz from you, it’s a lot of fun talking about it.

      • Nathan says:

        Yeah, Popla was a pretty good character as well. It would have been nice to have seen more of her.

        I’ve written a lot of Oz posts in the past, and I often feel I’ve run out of ideas, but I can usually come up with more.

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