Wednesday, January 1, 2020


By L. Frank Baum (maybe)
Author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Boy Fortune Hunters in the Yucatan, Daughters of Destiny, etc.

Originally published in the Chicago Record-Herald, August 24, 1904.

[The following story is the second in a series of short faux newspaper articles, all uncredited, leading up to and publicizing the debut of L. Frank Baum and Walt McDougall's weekly newspaper comic page Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz (1904-05). The first seventeen episodes of Queer Visitors end with the catch-phrase, "What did the Wogglebug say?" The articles in this series end similarly. This series seems to have been exclusive to the Chicago Record-Herald. A different series of articles, also uncredited—detailing a flight of the Oz characters through outer space—publicized Queer Visitors in newspapers elsewhere. Did L. Frank Baum write these stories? Or did someone at his publisher Reilly & Britton create them? Or did a writer at the Chicago Record-Herald come up with them? Baum did not clip examples for his scrap book, so maybe he isn't the author. The conception of the Land of Oz in these stories diverges from the one Baum later developed in his Oz books, so maybe he isn't the author. They were written before Baum's conception of Oz was fully formed and any differences may mean little, so maybe Baum is the author. Baum's presentation of his Oz characters in Queer Visitors also differed from his later conception, so maybe Baum is the author. Specific details of the Oz characters in these stories match their book counterparts, so maybe Baum is the author. The tone of the stories is as confident and as engaging as Baum's writing could be, so maybe Baum is the author. Maybe we'll never know.]

Advertisement from the Chicago Record-Herald, August 30, 1904.


Neck and Wheel Dash of the Animated Saw-Horse and the Automobile Described by Small Boy From Oz.

“Automobiles are silly, old-fashioned things,” declared a small boy, who formerly lived in Oz, on Michigan avenue yesterday. “Chicago boys and girls will have their eyes opened when the tourists come from Oz. They have the most wonderful machine that there is anywhere. It is called the Animated Saw-Horse.”

“Tell me about it,” said the Chicago boy with him.

“I’ll tell you about the great race the Saw-Horse ran for the sake of the Oz children,” said the other. “It was just last year that a big French racing automobile was brought to Oz by the horrid old Lord High Chancellor. He told us children he would put a tax on toys and make them too expensive to buy unless we found a machine to beat his.

“We were almost crying, when some one remembered the Saw-Horse. ‘Here’s our champion,’ we shouted.

“All the children, every boy and girl in the whole land of Oz, gathered at the big playground to see the race. The Woggle-Bug was chosen for judge. Suddenly he gave the word—the race was on.

“The rivals reached the first turn together, but the Saw-Horse swung out. The auto got near the inside rail, while we children groaned.

“ ‘Clevah! Most clevah,’ we heard the Chancellor murmuring.

“Down the back stretch they swept. Slowly our champion began to gain. ‘Go on,’ we all shouted. ‘Go back,’ muttered the Chancellor. The racers shot around the far turn. Suddenly they were in the home stretch.

“ ‘Come on, Saw-Horse!’ shrieked the children. He was at the auto’s front wheels. On they darted. Saw-Horse showed in front an instant. We yelled like mad. The auto poked a lantern ahead. O, it was a lovely race.

“So they tore down the stretch. As they flashed past the Woggle Bug they seemed like a team. Neither we children nor the Chancellor could tell which had won. We all held our breath and turned to the Woggle Bug.”

Here the boy’s voice stopped.

“What did the Woggle Bug say?” asked the Chicago boy.

But the child from Oz had vanished.

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, June 10, 1917.

The Birthday of the Queen

It was the birthday of the Queen,
And in the courtyard all
The gifts from the Supposies were
Heaped high against the wall;
The bands went marching up and down,
And all the flags were fluttering;
While in the castle kitchen
All the cooks were buy buttering
The cake tins, basting birds and roasts,
Preparing for the feast;
For every one’s invited, and
They come from west and east;
The Queen unties the lovely gifts
Where every one can see;
But first they try to guess
And puzzle out what each can be;
And, Oh! The chuckles, and the fun,
And how the people cheer;
Dear me, it’s just too bad
That birthdays come but once a year;
And when the last has been admired,
And each Supposy kissed—
Yes, every one; the dear old blacksmith
Even, wasn’t missed—
They all sit down to ninety tables
Spread upon the lawn;
And fifty cooks and serving men
Bring all the goodies on;
When ready for the birthday cake,
With all its candles lighted,
A box big as a house arrived,
Another gift benighted;
“Oh! Open it! Please open it!”
The Queen cries; twenty do,
With hammers, axes, and so forth;
And then, my wordy! Whew!
Out bounced a creature huge
As several elephants in one;
Down went the tables, down the chairs,
And everything just spun;
Some climbed the trees some ran away;
At last the thing sat still;
The Queen crept to its box and read:
“Dear Queen, I hope you will
Love this small puppy—it’s the smallest
I could find.” ‘Twas signed
“Your Giant Neighbor.” “How delightful;
Why, how awfully kind!”
The Queen exclaimed, and coming out
From under several chairs,
The damage to her wardrobe
She most hastily repairs;
Well, well; that giant puppy
Now became as good as gold,
And all the people flock around,
Nor had the heart to scold;
They fed him with a tub of scraps;
“The carpenter must measure him
For a huge kennel,” said the Queen,
“For really I shall treasure him.”

 Copyright © 2020 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.