Beans in Your Button

Thanksgiving in the Land of Oz, also called Dorothy in the Land of Oz and novelized as Dorothy and the Green Gobbler of Oz, is a 1980 special written by Romeo Muller, who was also responsible for a lot of other children’s holiday specials. I’d heard about it years ago, but didn’t actually see it until recently. It is on YouTube, at least as of the time I write this.

Thanksgiving and Oz are a bit of an odd combination, as even though Oz is an American fairyland that celebrates Christmas and Easter, I don’t think any separatists from the Church of England ever settled there.

Not only that, but it also introduces some of the major players from the first few sequels to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, so it seems a bit packed with characters for something that ran thirty minutes with commercials. Dorothy flies to Oz on a turkey-shaped balloon made by the Wizard, who has the voice of Sid Caesar and narrates the whole thing. She meets Jack Pumpkinhead, the Hungry Tiger, and Tik-Tok; and they go to confront Tyrone the Terrible Toy Tinkerer at his mountaintop fortress, where he’s planning to animate an army of toy soldiers to march on the Emerald City. Tyrone’s design and personality appear to be based on the Nome King, so I’m not sure why they didn’t just use him.

Another character is a mince pie accidentally brought to life by Tyrone, which speaks in a different accent every time it talks because such pies are “made with a little bit of everything.” That’s some very Ozzy logic, I must say.

Caesar voices the pie as well; and the Tiger is voiced by Frank Nelson, the guy best known for saying, “Yeeeeeeees?”. The characters are pretty faithful to their book counterparts, even using some of the same dialogue, but there really isn’t enough time to develop any of them beyond their basic gimmicks. Dorothy defeats Tyrone by…singing him a song about Christmas, toys, and Oz. Since this is a pretty short special, it works, and he reforms. The song is based on a bizarre combination of things, but the footage of an Ozian Christmas with Hammer-Head jack-in-the-boxes is nice to see. Another song is sung by the Wizard about having “beans in your button,” and tenuously linked to the pilgrims. Ozma herself appears at the end, and brings Aunt Em and Uncle Henry to Oz to live, as she did in The Emerald City of Oz. The Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion make cameo appearances, but don’t have any lines. While cheaply made, rushed, and rather corny, I do think the writer had a good grasp on the Oz books and their sort of humor.

The Hungry Reader did a video review of this one that hits a lot of the same points I did. He did several other Oz videos as well, so check them out.

This entry was posted in Cartoons, Characters, Holidays, Oz, Television, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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