The 1979 Oziana starts out by saying three stories “seems to be a typical number,” which is generally true, although the previous one had four. The cover illustration by Rob Roy MacVeigh shows the Scarecrow in a cornfield, with a few other characters in the logo above him. There’s a brief poem by Ruth Berman about Gloma, the witch from The Wishing Horse of Oz, then a quiz by Cathy Provo, before we get to the first story.
“Journal of a Journey,” by Mary Rakestraw – This is a pretty quiet one about something I’m sure many fans have dreamed of, a walking tour of the Land of Oz. The author finds herself there after wishing for just such a thing, with a basket of useful items from the Wizard of Oz. She visits a royal storehouse with the Shaggy Man, talks with Jack Pumpkinhead at his house, stays overnight at Glinda’s palace, and finally stops by the Emerald City. The style is rather matter-of-fact, describing the reactions an Oz enthusiast might have upon seeing that fairyland. At one point, the author visits a farm in the Munchkin Country run by Uncle Henry and Aunt Em, and Zeb and Jim the Cab-Horse are living there as well. I know Jeff Rester was working on a tale where an aged Zeb tries to stave off death by directing its spirit to the magical land, but Chris Dulabone’s Deadly Desert has both him and Jim back in Oz with no explanation. I think Greg Gick was also writing something about Zeb and Jim returning to Oz. I guess it’s not worth trying to tie these things together until they’re finished. Also, Henry mentions that, since Dorothy’s mother was his sister, his last name isn’t Gale, but he doesn’t say what it is.
“Hank and the Scarecrow of Oz,” by Robert Pattrick – The introduction says that Pattrick had died before this story was published, and when I looked it up, I found that he had died in 1960, so all his Oziana contributions would have been posthumous. This is a fun tale, kind of in the style of L. Frank Baum’s Little Wizard Stories. Hank the Mule, who has made good friends with the Scarecrow, decides he wants an education. The straw man tries to talk him out of it, but goes with him in search of knowledge anyway. The mule ends up at the literal School of Hard Knocks, run by a guy called Professor Pummel.
MacVeigh did the illustrations for this.
“The Real Critics,” by Geoffrey L. Gould – I think I knew the author’s real name at one point, but I can’t remember it now. The Ozites finally see the portrayal of themselves in the 1939 MGM film, which Shaggy borrows from an American movie house and the Wizard finds a way to show. While a lot of it is just the characters reacing to the movies in ways consistent with their personalities, there is a bit of conflict involved as well. The Hungry Tiger teases the Cowardly Lion over Bert Lahr’s performance, and Toto brags about how the film made him a hero. The Lion eventually demonstrates to the other big cat what actually happened during the confrontation with the Wizard, when the dog knocked over the screen because he was scared by the Lion’s roar. There’s also an explanation by Glinda and the Scarecrow about how Baum received information about Oz due to a psychic connection, which is a good way to make Oz real without altering history too much, although I guess it means he never really had the radio telegraph. Illustrations include images from the movie itself as well as drawings by Stephanie Hawks.
And finally, there’s a comic by Dennis Anfuso suggesting an alternate timeline where Dorothy made it into the storm cellar.
I guess the house still would have landed on the Wicked Witch of the East without anyone being in it, but other things would have gone incredibly differently.
Next time, we have King Gugu, Southern accents, and the return of the Great Detective. Be there!