The Universe of Discourse

Fri, 28 Jan 2022

Was the Lollipop Guild inspired by W.W. Denslow?

Yesterday I was thinking on these creepy Munchkins, and wondering what they were doing there:

Still from the
1939 MGM film “The Wizard of Oz”.  Three midgets, dressed respectively
in bright red, green, and blue suits, look simultaneously like
overgrown babies and like weirdly shrunken old men.  They are bald
except for fancifully curled golden mohawks that resemble gilded
staircase bannisters, and are making contorted faces.

It occurred to me that these guys are quite consistent with the look of the original illustrations, by W.W. Denslow. Here's Denslow's picture of three Munchkins greeting Dorothy:

Dorothy and Toto stand before the Witch of the
North and three bowing Munchkins.  The Munchkins are nearly bald, but
each has a little forelock on his forehead.  Two have long beards and
mustaches, one has only a pencil mustache.  All three have round eyes
and big puffy cheeks like overgrown babies.

(Click for complete illustration.)

Denslow and Frank Baum had a falling out after the publication of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and the illustrations for the thirteen sequels were done by John R. Neill, in a very different style. Dorothy aged up to eleven or twelve years old, and became a blonde with a fashionable bob.

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