Sunday, March 06, 2005

Tik-Tok of Oz

From the diary: “January 9, 1981

“I’m still reading Tik-Tok of Oz. I’m about halfway through.”

In 1981 all of L. Frank Baum’s Oz books were in print. Several of his non-Oz fantasies were not. The second Trot and Cap’n Bill adventure, Sky Island, was out of print. I’ve only recently read Sky Island. It was, I’ve heard, Baum’s favorite of his books. Tik-Tok of Oz, the book published the year after The Patchwork Girl, has a curious pedigree. After the success of the Broadway extravaganza, The Wizard of Oz, Baum tried to get other books translated to the stage. The third Oz book, Ozma of Oz, made it to the stage as The Tik-Tok Man of Oz. The Tik-Tok Man failed to ignite. Baum readapted the play into an Oz book, Tik-Tok of Oz. The echoes of Ozma of Oz are many and obvious -- from the little girl and her companion animal lost at sea (Dorothy in Ozma but here called Bettsy Bobbin; the hen in Ozma becomes Hank the mule in Tik-Tok, an animal more easily impersonated by an actor) to the journey to the underworld of the Nomes (even the king of the nomes has endured a name change, no longer Roquat he is now called Ruggedo, though he seems to be the same individual). There is also a prominent romance in Tik-Tok, that between the Rose Princess Ozga (she’s somehow a cousin of the Princess Ozma) and Private Files (the only fighting man of the army of Oogaboo). Up to Tik-Tok Baum had not included such an adult element in the Oz series.

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