Sunday, September 22, 2019

This Week's Oz Short Play

Yes, this week we break format and look at "A Day in Oz" by Ruth Plumly Thompson, a short play presented in department stores during the '20s to publicize the new Oz book. The Baum Bugle published the 1929 issue, supporting Jack Pumpkinhead of Oz, in its Autumn 1970 issue. It's little more than an excuse for the main Oz characters to get together and talk about the land of Oz, while Jack comes in at the end and gives some hints about his latest adventures. It does open extremely cute with the Scarecrow looking for the Patchwork Girl, who is looking for new patches in the rag bag that's on stage as the show starts. They sing a few songs (which are not included here) and interact with the kids in the audience a bit. Considering the purpose for which this show was written, it does its job well.

The Bugle also mentions another show used for publicity, "Schooldays in the Land of Oz" by Eleanor Macmillan. It would be interesting if someone could track down these shows (and any others that may have turned up since 1970) and publish them all in a small book. Putting together all the different versions of "A Day in Oz", including the music, would be a fascinating look into how the Oz books were publicized, and make more of Ruth Plumly Thompson's Oz writing available.

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