Sunday, December 31, 2006

Glass Ornaments

May Co. Department stores sold this set of blown glass ornaments for one holiday season.

Soffieria De Carlini made these glass figural ornaments that were sold at the Smithsonian for a short time. Dorothy was made in blonde and brunette versions.

Susan Cherry made this set of Oz ornaments fully licensed by the Baum Trust.

I would say the creme de la creme of blown glass ornaments are made by Christopher Radko. Radko produced licensed Oz ornaments for the Warner Brothers Studio Stores. The Wicked Witch seen here was produced independently of Warner Brothers. Prototypes were made, but not produced when the merger between Time Warner and AOL forced the closing of the retail stores. Radko modified the witch's coloring and changed her name to 'I Mean Green' to avoid copyright infringement.

So far we have no glass ornaments of our favorite cairn terrier, but glass cairn ornaments by Joy to the World Collectibles would make lovely stand-ins.

Homemade Ornaments

Handmade ornaments add a certain kind of beauty and charm to the Christmas tree that no store bought ornament could possibly provide. Oz is popular theme among the creative and there are many handcrafted ornaments to choose from. A couple are shown below.

Crafty people could make their own ornaments with these craft kits from Bucilla.

For at least 12 years , Finegan & O'Brien have made darling clay ornaments sold at the Wizard of Oz festival in Indiana. They have been a favorite among festival attendees and each passing year brings more characters. The witches from the Broadway musical Wicked made their debut this year.

This year the Everything Oz Club exchanged Christmas among it's members. One lucky club member received this lovely ornament made by Randy Ward.

Ornaments Novelty Pt. 2

San Francisco Music Box made a small variety of musical ornaments. In addition to the Oz cast and ruby slippers ornaments, San Francisco Music Box made a set of brightly colored ornaments in tins. Dorothy is shown below.

Sterling's unusual version of the Oz characters.

Silvestri gave collectors many ornaments to choose from in the mid-90s. In addition to those shown below were tole ornaments, spun glass ornaments, plastic light covers, and poppy garland.

I don't know the manufacturer of these ornaments but I thought they were kind of neat. Dorothy is also available wearing a blue dress.

And last for the novelty ornaments are these curious light covers. This set also includes Toto.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Novelty Ornaments Pt. 1

There's so many ornaments to choose from! It was difficult to decide which to highlight. I picked out a few that I thought were rare, unusual or especially pretty.

G. G. Santiago designed a set of 24 charming Wonderful Wizard of Oz figural ornaments of children impersonating Oz characters for Ashton Drake. The first set of 3 is shown. Other characters include The Wicked Witch of the West, the Cowardly Lion, The Good Witch of the North, the Wizard, flying monkey, Queen of the Field Mice, Uncle Henry and Aunt Em to name just a few.

Boyds popular bears and figurines have been made into Christmas ornaments. The plush were introduced for fall of 2006. The Shoebox figural ornaments will be released spring of 2007.

In 1977, Bradford Novelty was probably among the first to produce Wizard of Oz ornaments based on the MGM film. Boxed sets of plastic bulbs and bells displaying images of the film scenes and characters.

Dept. 56, manufacturer of fine collectibles, has no shortage of Oz collectibles including these amusing interpretations of Wonderful Wizard of Oz characters.

Marfield Christmas Decor made early Wonderful Wizard of Oz ornaments.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Ornaments Kurt Adler Pt. 1

Kurt Adler has been in the business of creating holiday cheer for 60 years. Adler's Santa's World division has produced varied Wizard of Oz ornaments since the late 1970s. The ornaments are based on both the book and the MGM film and are manufactured from various mediums including fabric mache', plastic, wood, glass, resin, metal, cloth, and porcelain.

Shown below is a small sampling of the wide assortment of Wizard of Oz ornaments Adler has brought us through the years.

1970s or 1980s   4" - 6" dough ornaments

1980s Stained glass ornaments based on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  Note Dorothy's silver slippers and yellow cap from the Wicked Witch of the West

1987   This year Kurt Adler offered a variety of Oz holiday items including Christmas caroller ornaments and figurines, 24" animated figures, cloth figural ornaments, felt tote bag ornaments, a tree skirt, paper garland, and porcelain doll ornaments.

1993 Gorgeous resin ornaments styled after W. W. Denslow's Wonderful Wizard of Oz illustrations.

1995 Cloth and button primitive styled ornaments

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Ornaments Kurt Adler Pt. 2

Circa 2000 Dorothy stocking. Never mass manufactured but a few were sold on Ebay.

2000 Light Sets Oz busts with ruby slippers & Ruby Slippers
2005 Light Set Oz Stars

2002 Miniature toby jugs

New for 2006
Ruby Slipper & yellow brick road 6 ft. garland
6" porcelain doll ornaments

Starting in 1997 the Oz Polonaise were based on the MGM film rather then the book

2003 Dorothy and Glinda
To Oz

2005 Oz Tree

Thursday, December 07, 2006

There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays

Many people do not realize how closely The Wizard of Oz is associated with Christmas. True, the story itself has nothing to do with the holiday, but Oz has become a Christmas tradition in countless households. What follows are just a few examples.

L. Frank Baum met his wife, Maud, at a holiday party. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was a best seller during the 1900 holiday season and generations after were overjoyed to find an Oz book under the tree Christmas morn. In 1902, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus was published and in a later Oz book, The Road to Oz, Santa Claus was an honored guest at Ozma's birthday party. The telefilm The Dreamer of Oz based on Baum's life first aired during the 1990 holiday season. (More on the Life and Adventures of Santa Claus )

Eventually the MGM film became something of a Christmas staple. W.L. Stensgaard's window and department store displays dotted cities across the country in late 1939. Oz Christmas displays based on both the book and the movie continue to be popular attractions. The Spring 1996 issue of the Baum Bugle features a fantastic example of awe inspiring animated vignettes from Dayton's Department Store.

The MGM film was a holiday favorite on television creating many fond childhood memories. On Christmas Day in 1950, Judy Garland re-created her role as Dorothy for the Lux Radio Broadcast of The Wizard of Oz. Stage adaptations of the film are frequently mounted during the holiday season.

Christmas ornaments made by companies such as Kurt Adler, Hallmark, Christopher Radko, and Sterling, to name a few, are perennial best sellers.

Earlier this week I went to Zoolights at the Oregon Zoo in Portland, Oregon for the first time. If anyone should find themselves in the area during the holiday season it's well worth the trip. The lights are just beautiful. The Zoolights also features train rides, costumed characters, performances from school choirs and fun activities on the weekends. You might even get a glimpse of some of the zoo animals who don't mind the cold weather.

While browsing Ebay I came across these darling Snowman Wizard of Oz figures and ornaments.   You can find more information about Debbie's Snow Folk at the following link.

Possible Dreams makes Clothtique Santa Claus figurines with remarkable detail in a variety of themes. This year a Life and Adventures of Santa Claus figurine was introduced in an edition of 1500.

More Christmas coming soon! Stay tuned!!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Ozu no Mahôtsukai

The story of the Midwestern farm girl resonates no matter what language or culture. The universal ideals of longing for qualities we think we lack cross all boundaries. We all want to be smart, be brave, to love and be loved. Mostly we want to find where in the world we truly belong. The place where we feel smart, brave, loved; the place which we call home. The Wizard of Oz is embraced the world over and has been translated into at least 40 different languages.

The Japanese in particular have a yen for the whimsical and the fantastic. Both the Wonderful Wizard of Oz children’s novel and the 1939 MGM film fit the bill perfectly. Though L. Frank Baum himself stated his book had been translated into Japanese, the earliest known Oz book from Japan was published in 1951 over 30 years after his passing. The MGM film debuted in December of 1954 and ever since the Land of the Rising Sun has been enthralled with The Land of Oz.

Numerous dramatizations have originated in Japan including animated features and live action musicals. In addition, many United States productions have found their way to Japan. The Kenneth Feld production of The Wizard of Oz on Ice was a hit with Japanese audiences. A Smithsonian exhibit in Japan featured the ruby slippers. Disney’s Return to Oz made more of an impression in Japan than in the U.S. resulting in a variety of exclusive merchandise.

Wizard of Oz memorabilia in Japan runs the gamut from books, dolls, toys, figurines, kites, to clothing, lunch kits, pins, music boxes, and everything in between. An Oz store, much like our Disney stores, based on Willard Carroll’s Oz Kids was open for a short time. Merchandise from this store is featured in the book 100 Years of Oz and is on display at the Oz Museum in Wamego, Kansas.

In July 2006, the Universal Studios Japan theme park opened a Land of Oz section.  The Land of Oz contains a variety of attractions including the Toto & Friends animal show and a 20 minute version of the Broadway hit Wicked to whet the appetites for the full length production slated for next year. Best of all there’s the Munchkin Market souvenir shop with a variety of Wicked and Oz merchandise.

I have no doubt that Wicked will skyrocket the popularity of Oz abroad even further. I can’t wait to see Japanese reaction and who knows what exciting things will follow?

The Wicked show closed January 11,2011.  The remainder of the Land of Oz section followed about a month later.

Pictured below is a small assortment of Japanese Oz memorabilia and more Land of Oz Universal Japan


Oz  American audiences are familiar with

Land of Oz Universal Studios Japan

More pics continue in the post below

Friday, December 01, 2006

Ozu no Mahôtsukai Pt. 2

Sanrio's Hello Kitty has taken a few trips down the yellow brick road with a variety of merchandise including stickers, note paper, and plush. A slightly altered version of the plush was also available in the United States.

Finally, no blog of mine would be complete without a couple of dolls.

Introduced June of 2006 this is Petite Rainbow Wish Blythe. Measuring in at a tiny 4 1/2 inches this adorable Dorothy inspired doll features sleep eyes. "One day, I wondered in to a magic world, I made many friends from countless adventures, But the time has come to return home, Before the rainbow disappears, I will go home with my red shoes"

This is Over the Rainbow Jenny from the 1987 Movie Musical Heroines Series by Takara. She is Japan's version of Barbie standing a little smaller at 10 inches. She used to be Barbie until Takara lost the rights in 1985 to use the name Barbie. The popular doll was newly christened Jenny and the doll line continued.

For more in depth information on Japanese books and collectibles please see:

The Baum Bugle Spring 1979 'Oz in Japan' by Douglas G. Greene

The Baum Bugle Spring 1984 'Oz in Japan Update' by Seraphim Sigrist

The Baum Bugle Spring 1995 'Oz in Japan' by Sean P. Duffley

The Wizard of Oz Collectors Treasury by Jay Scarfone and William Stillman

100 Years of Oz: A Century of Classic Images from the Wizard of Oz Collection of Willard Carroll by John Fricke