Sunday, March 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 26, 1904.

[The following story is the fourth 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, September 1, 1904.


Most Wonderful Air Ship in Existence Is on Its Way to Chicago With Party From Princess Ozma’s Domain.

Definite news came to the Oz colony in Chicago yesterday that the party which is on the way from Princess Ozma’s marvelous domain is to arrive in the Flying Gump. Those who have seen it describe the Gump as being the only perfect air ship in existence. They say it is so safe that the smallest child is able to reach the very farthest stars in it, while to fly around the sun is scarcely more of an undertaking than to visit the Lincoln Park zoo.

The Gump, however, had not always so great a reputation. When it first appeared in Oz people were afraid to venture in it.

“I am entirely safe,” declared the Gump. “It’s impossible for me to fall, while if anyone tumbled out of me they’d have the funniest time of their lives.”

No one was convinced, however, except the Woggle Bug. He took his seat in the Gump. They flashed upward, while all the children of Oz shouted.

Up and up they went. Suddenly the children saw the Woggle Bug rise to his feet.

“This is too tame,” remarked the Woggle Bug to the Gump. “I’m going to jump out.”

“Take care you don’t hurt yourself laughing,” said the Gump.

And to the children’s horror they saw the Woggle Bug plunge into space. Instead of falling down, however, he fell up. Three seconds later he vanished behind a golden cloud.

Such sorrowing as there was in Oz! The children wept for the wonderful Woggle Bug, while they were most severe to the Gump. But four days afterward there was wild rejoicing. The Woggle Bug suddenly appeared at the children’s great national playground. He was laughing uproariously.

“The Gump’s a splendid fellow!” he cried. “It was the funniest place in the world.” And he roared again with laughter.

“Where have you been?” shouted the children.

“I’ll tell you,” said the Woggle Bug. He sprang on the horns of the Gump, amid breathless silence, and spoke rapidly for six minutes.

“What did the Woggle Bug say?” asked the children as he finished.

For the Woggle Bug had talked in Greek.

Advertisement from the Chicago Record-Herald, August 31, 1904.

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, June 24, 1917.

A Rainy Day in Supposyville

A rainy day to most folks
Is a dreary stay-indoors affair;
Or else with big umbrellas
They go bobbing crossly here and there;
They shake their heads at all they meet,
And mumble ’bout the awful weather,
Or mope around the house and get
Their griefs and grievances together;
But pshaw, now! In Supposyville
They chuckle when the rain comes pelting;
You see, Supposies aren’t one bit
Afraid of just entirely melting.
“ ’Tis very plain we must have rain
To wash the trees and towns and houses;
To make the gardens bloom again
And wake the seedling where it drowses!
“Come on!” they cry. “Come out! Come out!
Let’s help the storm clouds clean up town!”
Then every one comes splashing out,
And why on earth should any frown?
But frowns on rainy days, I s’pose,
Are oftenest a case of clothes;
And here these quaint and jolly folks
Are sensibler still;
They all wear woolen bathing suits
In dear Supposyville;
They throw hot suds upon the walks
And fences, and the trees,
And splash around with brush and broom
As gayly as you please;
The spigots of the sky pour down
A plenteous supply
Of water; come to think of it,
I really wonder why
We do not do the same? Well, after
All the work is done
They patter here and there, and have
The greatest sort of fun;
They paddle down the lanes and paths
And revel in free shower baths;
The lads and lassies sail their boats
And seem to have much more
Enjoyment than some little folks
I know have at the shore;
And when they’re dried and brushed and dressed
They look as fresh and blowsy
As garden flowers after showers.
Wish I were a Supposy.
(Don’t you?)

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