Finally, we come to the end of MAGICIAN OF OZ's review of this wonderful Children's Digest serialized, 4-part printing of The Wonderful Wizard of OZ and Evelyn Copelman's illustrations.
Before I conclude however, I must pass along an April Fools joke played on me by Princess Ozma. It's just her style and a gentle reminder of who's in control.
I returned to the auction barn I frequent and the very place where these Children's Digest magazines found me. I was consigning a load for the upcoming auction. In today's economy, you makes money where you can. It was the usual stuff and I set up 3 tables full and took them to storage.
Afterwards, I looked about as the monthly First Sunday Antique Auction was displayed for the upcoming sale. You never know what you'll find at the auction. Just then, there before my eyes were 3 stacks of Children's Digest, looking very much like the 3 issues I already possessed.
"Hmmm..." I thought to myself and looked eagerly through the issues looking for the missing February 1954 issue which I so desperately wanted. As I've said previously, I must know if the Queen of the Field Mice and her subjects get their full due attention in the story.
After much searching and using of optics, I found no February 1954 issue of Children's Digest containing Part 2 of the serialized, 4-part printing of The Wonderful Wizard of OZ.
I should have expected it, but I was, to say the least, disappointed. Being April Fools Day, I attribute this to the lovely Ruler of OZ and my boss.
Anyway, on to Part 4 and the completion of the serialized, 4-part printing of The Wonderful Wizard of OZ.
The cover of this issue; April 1954, features The Pied Piper of Hamelin and various other stories. No mention is made of OZ 'till you look at the Table of Contents.
Prior to the conclusion of this story is a great Dr. Seuss story: Thidwick, The Big-Hearted Moose. MAGICIAN OF OZ just loves anything Dr. Seuss. His was such as talented mind. MAGICIAN OF OZ once saw an operatic adaptaion of Green Eggs and Ham at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis's Lily Children's Theatre. It was the most brilliant thing they ever did.
The Part 4 title page gives us an update on the progress of the story to date.
Part 4 starts out with an image in varying hues of red showing O.Z. Diggs, The Wizard of Oz as he heads off into the upper stratosphere in his mighty balloon. The title of the conclusion is: The Secret of the Silver Shoes and Evelyn Copelman conveys Dorothy's sense of aloneness as she is shown standing apart and alone from the citizens of Oz as The Wizard sails off into the unknown.
A turn of the page and we find The Scarecrow with his head in his hands. Perhaps it's a good thing this particular talent of the stuffed man-of-straw wasn't put on screen. I'll wager he would have been a bit less loved and a bit more frightening to children everywhere. Again, we see the Ray Bolger characterization apparent in Ms. Copelman's imagery. Dorothy is shown hard at work sewing together strips of cloth for the balloon. The colors are once more drab and brown. Not sure why but it was noticable.
Another set of pages and we find The Tin Woodsman preparing to do battle with the Fighting trees. Rest assured when I say that this particular battle will come back to haunt him a hundred later. Once again, the brown tones come into play and we see the stylized vision of Nick Chopper envisioned here as opposed to the movie characterization.
Turn the page once more and The Cowardly Lion gets his time on the page and is shown with a lovely crown and smiling face. Green tones reinforce the overall Oz theme and such.
The story continues on with a vision of the Guards of the Gate at Glinda's Castle, all three young girls in uniform and looking rather snappy in their attire. Glinda makes her appearance and kisses Dorothy as she listens to Dorothy's tale of adventure. We now get a sense of Glinda's position in Oz although, given that she rules the southern lands of Quadling Country, I would have expected these illustrations to have been done in red, not blue. Perhaps Evelyn Copelman was not quite versed in the color scheme of Oz?
Finally, we arrive at the conclusion of this wonderful Children's Digest serialized, 4-part printing of The Wonderful Wizard of OZ. Ms. Copelman has chosen to illustrate Dorothy's reunion with Aunt Em in a green theme, giving us a sense that Oz remains even though Dorothy has returned to the Outside. In addition, Aunt Em is shown considerably younger than the movie would have you believe. A more appropriate choice in my opinion.
With this review now finished, I move on to another volume I found at Goodwill. I'm always amazed at where OZ shows up on the Outside.
Until next time...
James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison to Princess Ozma