This Was Once a Local, But It’s Now an Express

With the 1972 Oziana, we start with a cover drawn by Tony Moses, showing several Oz characters attending what appears to be a fair. The Cowardly Lion is sitting and reading The Annotated Alice, and the Woozy floating away with a balloon. I’m not sure who the blob guy, tiny dragon, and bear on the left are. The title page lists several book-length Oz manuscripts that hadn’t been published. A few since have: Kenneth Gage Baum’s The Dinamonster of Oz, Lin Carter’s Tired Tailor, Rachel Cosgrove Payes’s Wicked Witch (here called by its working title Percy in Oz), Harry Mongold’s Sawhorse and Button-Bright, John R. Neill’s Runaway, Fred Otto’s Lost Emeralds, and Ray Powell’s Mister Flint. There are others I’ve never seen mentioned elsewhere, and Joe Bongiorno has a list of these and other lost Oz books on this page, so on the off chance that you know anything about them, let both of of us know.

“It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Oz,” by Mary Reynolds – Illustrated by the same artist who drew the cover picture, this one takes up much of the issue. It feels much more of its time than other stories published in the magazine. A New York subway car containing two hippies, a rich couple whose car broke down, and a daydreaming secretary arrives in Oz by way of a Nome tunnel. The hippies encounter the Pigots, a bunch of racist Gillikins who believe in the superiority of purple. This sort of fantastic racism shows up in Jeff Freedman’s Magic Dishpan as well, and in both cases it requires the Gillikins to actually have purple skin instead of just preferring that color for clothes. There’s some support for that in Neill’s Oz books, and Melody Grandy introduced a berry that could turn a person entirely purple, often used by patriotic Gillikins. There’s less focus on the other passengers, but the Tin Woodman takes the rich people on a ride on his tin motorcycle, and Dora is romanced by a prince. They’re all disturbed by Oz and sent home by the Wizard, but they end up wishing they were back. I wonder if there are any references I’m missing in the Pigots’ mayor being named Rostor Duckus and their town having an Orty Mine. The title is presumably a reference to the 1969 film If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium, which I know nothing about, but the name is also why I tend to write Oz posts on Tuesdays. There’s also a talking blue hedgehog in the story, years before Sonic.

“Scraps and the Cruel Kalidah,” by Brian Baker – A very short but fun one about Scraps wandering off by herself (this is the second in as many issues with this premise) and rescuing a boy from a Kalidah with the help of some joke food she gets from the Chief Gagster of Jokesville, where practical jokes are made.

“Mr. Thinman in Oz,” by Fred Meyer and Adrienne Martinez – R.R. Thinman IV, from a line of world travelers and collectors, travels to Oz on a magic carpet that he finds in his attic. We don’t really get much of a sense of who this Thinman really is, other than that he’s positive and helpful, and a few episodes seem rushed even for a short story. But this is a pretty creative yarn, with a dragon searching for his enchanted love, and a pancake turner that can break transformations. We find out at the end that the carpet was originally owned by the rulers of Oz but lost in the time of Ozma’s great-grandfather Ozandahan, and somehow ended up in Baghdad. We see flying carpets (the Magic Carpet in Ozma and Rinkitink is a different sort of thing) in Sherwood Smith’s Oz books, and I started work on a story about a live flying carpet bringing a boy to Oz. I actually started it in junior high and have only added a tiny bit to it since then, but if I do expand it, I’ll probably tie it in with this story.

“To Oz Through the Mists,” by Diana Merryman – An orphan named Merrilana (pretty similar to the author’s name, really) gets to Oz during a fog, and helps the Tin Woodman and Lion bake cookies for Ozma’s birthday party. It’s kind of a bittersweet tale, as Merrilana does resolve after her brief adventure to become friendlier with her foster family, but she still has an unhappy background, having gone in and out of orphanages and foster homes.

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2 Responses to This Was Once a Local, But It’s Now an Express

  1. Hello there. Selam. I figured I’d best get caught up with your latest post.
    I’m a published author who has his own WordPress blog. I’m researching my 2nd Oz story right now.
    I can’t give details on my current story, but it’s set to begin just before the north and south Wicked Witches are deposed, and runs to just past the rebuilding of the Emerald City.
    My 1st Oz story’s publisher has gone under, so I will be seeking a new publisher. I may rewrite it, as my publisher wanted erotica. It’s 1st person, told by Lurline, and is set during the ending events of “The Emerald City of Oz.” Lurline, under an assumed name, meets her adult daughter for the 1st time and convinces the Wizard to tell the truth, after they battle her sister, Hel.
    I’ll be reading your articles, as they’re making sense out of the Oz timeline available online.
    I want my stories to be as consistent with Baum, and other Oz works, as possible.

    Mark Philip Steele

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