The Wizard of Oz: An American Fairy Tale
Sections: To Please a Child | To See the Wizard | To Own the Wizard

Over the last hundred years, a surprising number of Oz-related novelties have been produced, more than for any other children's book. These items include plates, figurines, games, puzzles, greeting cards, and other toys and novelties, music boxes, coloring books, paper dolls, a poster map of Oz, a commemorative postage stamp and the original artwork, and a sequined evening handbag in the form of the ruby slippers.

By 1939, when the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film appeared, the Oz stories and characters had been firmly established in the hearts of the public. MGM spared no expense in publicizing the film with a $250,000 advertising campaign (huge for that time) and licensed a variety of promotional items. New film-related items began to appear in the mid-1950s, when the film reached television, and many still appear each year.

In 1956 the copyright on the book expired, opening the way for a stream of new editions of the book as well as games and toys. Oz remains a favorite motif for children's toys, while the artifacts aimed at adults can remind them of the cherished childhood fantasies and memories the book and film evoke.

Rare Wizard of Oz Book

In 1934 Blue Ribbon Books issued a novelty edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The Waddle-Book included bound-in cardboard cutouts of six Oz characters which could be detached and assembled into three-dimensional form to walk (or waddle) down a cardboard Yellow Brick Road provided with the book. Because children played with the figures, very few complete copies of the book with original “waddles” intact have survived.

L. Frank Baum. The Wizard of Oz Waddle Book, cover, with character cutouts, yellow brick road. Page 2 - Page 3. New York: Blue Ribbon Books, 1934. Rare Book & Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (65)

World of Oz Literary Map

This map showing the Land of Oz was created by Dick Martin (1927–1990), a Chicago native who illustrated a number of Oz-related books, as well as many other children's books, and was coauthor of The Oz Scrapbook (1977). Martin was an active Oz fan, who served the International Wizard of Oz Club as president, vice-president, director, and editor of its newsletter, The Baum Bugle. The map reflects Oz as described in all forty books in the Oz canon, not just The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and depicts characters and episodes not in that book.

Dick Martin. The Wonderful World of Oz. New York: Ozma, 1983. Map. Geography & Map Division, Library of Congress (66)

Wizard of Oz Collector Plates

From 1977 to 1979 the Knowles China Company of Newell, West Virginia, issued a series of eight limited-edition collector plates honoring MGM'S Wizard of Oz. Designed by portraitist James Auckland, these were the first collector plates produced to commemorate a motion picture.

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  • James Auckland. Wicked Witch of the West. Newell, West Virginia: Edwin M. Knowles, 1979. China plate. Courtesy of Frank J. Evina (67)

  • James Auckland. Over the Rainbow. Newell, West Virginia: Edwin M. Knowles, 1977. China plate. Courtesy of Frank J. Evina (68)

  • James Auckland. Follow the Yellow Brick Road. Newell, West Virginia: Edwin M. Knowles, 1979. China plate. Courtesy of Frank J. Evina (69)

  • James Auckland. If I Only Had a Brain. Newell, West Virginia: Edwin M. Knowles, 1977. China plate. Courtesy of Frank J. Evina (69.1)

  • James Auckland. If I Only Had a Heart. Newell, West Virginia: Edwin M. Knowles, 1978. China plate. Courtesy of Frank J. Evina (69.2)

  • James Auckland. If I Were King of the Forest. Newell, West Virginia: Edwin M. Knowles, 1978. China plate. Courtesy of Frank J. Evina (69.3)

The Wizard of Oz Stamp

In 1990 the United States Postal Service honored The Wizard of Oz by including it in a set of four classic films commemorative stamps honoring the fiftieth anniversaries of four Academy Award-nominated motion pictures from 1939. Resembling a miniature movie poster, the stamp was designed by Thomas Blackshear and was issued on March 24, 1990.

Thomas Blackshear. Original art for the Wizard of Oz commemorative postage stamp and first class, 25-cent stamp, 1990. Courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service (74)

Music Boxes

These music boxes were among the many items produced to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the MGM motion picture. The Scarecrow box plays the character's theme song from the film, “If I Only Had a Brain,” while the figure moves. On the other box, the Cowardly Lion revolves while “We're Off to See the Wizard” plays.

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  • The Scarecrow. Elk Grove, Illinois: Enesco, 1989. Musical jack-in-the-box. Courtesy of Frank J. Evina (75)

  • The Cowardly Lion. Long Beach, California: Presents, 1989. Music box. Courtesy of Frank J. Evina (76)

Wizard of Oz Card Game

This card game was produced by Castell Brothers, Ltd., of London in 1940 to tie in with the release of the MGM film in Great Britain. The deck originally included an instruction leaflet and forty-four playing cards which, when aligned sequentially, provided a visual account of the famous story.

Wizard of Oz card game. London: Castell Brothers, Ltd., 1940. Courtesy of the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution (85)

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Wizard of Oz Monopoly

This Monopoly game by Hasbro is a current Oz-related product. Based on the classic Monopoly game introduced by Parker Brothers in the 1930s, this derivation includes playing pieces in the shapes of the principal characters from the 1939 MGM film and property deeds for places such as Ruby Slippers Place, the Poppy Field, and the Witch's Castle.

Wizard of Oz Monopoly game. Pawtucket, Rhode Island: Hasbro, 1999. Courtesy of Warner Brothers (84)

The Wonderful Game of Oz

In 1921 Parker Brothers issued one of the most colorful Oz products ever produced, The Wonderful Game of Oz. This original edition features small figural pewter playing pieces shaped like Dorothy and her companions from the Land of Oz. Later issues of the game came with wooden markers instead of the more costly pewter figures. A rule booklet and a wooden dice cup with a set of dice that spells out “W-I-Z-A-R-D” were also included.

The Wonderful Game of Oz. Salem, Massachusetts, New York, and London: Parker Brothers, 1921. Courtesy of Michael Hearn (83)

The Royal Bank of Oz

With a proof-of-purchase from Downy products, consumers who purchased the MGM/UA fiftieth anniversary home video of The Wizard of Oz could receive a five-dollar rebate check issued by “The Royal Bank of Oz.” Many collectors refrained from cashing the colorful check, which in itself has become a collectors' item.

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  • The Royal Bank of Oz rebate check and envelope. Pittsburgh: Mellon Bank, 1989. Courtesy of Frank J. Evina (97a,b)

  • The Wizard of Oz. Fiftieth Anniversary edition videotape. Hollywood: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/UA, 1989. Courtesy of Frank J. Evina (97.1)

The Wizard of Oz Poster

To promote the re-release of The Wizard of Oz on home video in 1998, Warner Brothers produced this colorful back-lit poster, which was displayed in video stores throughout the country.

The Wizard of Oz. Hollywood: Warner Brothers, 1998. Poster. U. S. Copyright Office Archives, Library of Congress (105)

El Mago de Oz

This poster was published to promote the original release of the 1939 MGM film as El Mago de Oz in Spain in 1945.

El Mago de Oz (The Wizard of Oz). Spain: 1945. Poster. Courtesy of William Stillman and Jay Scarfone (106)

Wizard of Oz Calendar

Among the many noted artists who have illustrated The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is Lisbeth Zwerger, whose edition appeared in 1996. A native of Vienna, she has illustrated more than twenty books, most of them reflecting her preference for classic stories, such as fairy tales. This 1997 calendar shows a selection of her illustrations for the Oz book.

Lisbeth Zwerger. Wizard of Oz Calendar, 1997. New York: North-South Books, 1996. Courtesy of Barbara Dash (107)

Continuing Popularity of Oz Characters

The wide range of toys, books, and advertising featuring the Wizard of Oz characters demonstrates the ongoing popularity of the Oz books and films.

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  • Wizard of Oz puzzle. Racine, Wisconsin: Western Publishing, 1989. U. S. Copyright Office Archives, Library of Congress (90)

  • “Some Trips Are Just More Magical.” Oldsmobile advertisement. Time, September 20, 1999, back cover. General Collections, Library of Congress (96)

  • The Wizard of Oz Paper Dolls. Racine: Western Publishing Co., Inc., 1977. U. S. Copyright Office Archives, Library of Congress (94)

  • Monica Bayley. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Cookbook, Page 1 - Page 2. Illustrations by W. W. Denslow. New York and London: Macmillan, 1981. Presented online with the permission of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division from the Wonderful Wizard of Oz Cookbook by Monica Bayley. Copyright 1981 Monica Bayley. General Collections, Library of Congress (100)

  • Wizard of Oz valentines. Memphis: Cleo, 1988. Courtesy of Frank J. Evina (101a-1)

  • Greeting cards in the form of characters from the 1939 Wizard of Oz film. Woodstock, New York: Paper House Productions, 1992. U. S. Copyright Office Archives, Library of Congress (108a-h)

  • Pat Stewart. Wizard of Oz Sticker Storybook. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, 1998. Page 2. U. S. Copyright Office Archives, Library of Congress (91)

  • “The Wizard of Oz Sticker Fun.” Racine, Wisconsin: Western Publishing Company, 1988. U. S. Copyright Office Archives, Library of Congress (109)

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