Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Wonderful Cut-Outs of Oz

From the diary: “Friday November 8, 1985

“Got a letter yesterday from Doug Greene inviting me to review The Wonderful Cut-Outs of Oz. … Doug Green said John Fricke described me to him as ‘the new editor of The Oogaboo Review and a good writer.’ That made me feel good.”

Doug Greene was the book review editor for the Oz Club publication The Baum Bugle. John Fricke is a cabaret singer in New York City. He has published books on Judy Garland and Oz. I met John at the Winkie Convention.

I tried to write a this-book-is-good-because sort of review, but everything I wrote sounded dumb. What did I know? Rob Roy MacVeigh was working on an animated version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz that would closely follow the story in the book. The MGM musical version is fairly faithful to the book, if one considers how unlike its source material a Hollywood movie often is. But if you’re a big fan of the book there are going to be things you wish had been respected. Dorothy is a little girl, not a teenager. Oz is a real place, not a dream. A big fan of animation and of Rob Roy’s art I was really looking forward to his movie. Rob created the cut-outs book partly as fundraiser (though I doubt it made much money) and partly as a showcase for the character designs. And partly, I hope, for fun.

I had fun with it. I cut out all the figures, affixed their bases, glued on the pennies (like it said in the instructions) in order to keep them balanced, and put them on display. They were on display for years on the top of a bookcase at my mother’s house. Currently they are in a paper bag upstairs. If I hadn’t been asked to review the book I probably would never have let scissors come near it. But once I’d cut out all the characters I felt like playing with them, like a kid with his new action figures. So that’s what my review ended up being, a little story about playing with paper dolls.

I think Rob told me he liked the review. It was different, he said.

We lost Rob Roy MacVeigh to AIDS.


David Lee Ingersoll said...

One of the things I miss most about working for Half Price Books is finding odd little treasures in the boxes of things that people brought in to sell. The stack of old bigfoot paperbacks from the seventies. The third volume of Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire with a print date of 1788. An original copy of Stoker's bio of that actor for whom he was the secretary. The script for Rob Roy MacVeigh's Wizard of Oz.

I still haven't read it. I think it's packed now so I won't be reading it soon. I remember those cut outs. They were charming.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

Googling Rob's name I saw another copy of his script for sale. I'd be curious to see it sometime. But years may pass.

David Lee Ingersoll said...

Remind me after we finish our move and I'll send it to you if you'd like it. I think it's neat but I'd always intended to give it to you once I'd read it. I just kept not reading it and kept forget that I had it.