Follow the yellow brick road

ozBest known for writing “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, the American author Lyman “L.” Frank Baum was born on May 15th, in 1856. He also wrote thirteen novel sequels, nine other fantasy novels, and a host of other works (55 novels in total, plus four “lost” novels, 82 short stories, over 200 poems, and made numerous attempts to bring his works to the stage and screen. Born in Chittenango, New York, in 1856, he was tutored at home with his siblings, but at the age of 12, he was sent to study at Peekskill Military Academy, but after two years he was allowed to return home.   Baum started writing at an early age and His father bought him a cheap printing press. So Frank and his younger brother Henry published an amateur journal, Baum also established a second amateur journal, The Stamp Collector, he also printed  “Baum’s Complete Stamp Dealers”  Directory, and started a stamp dealership with friends.

In March 1880 he also established a monthly trade journal, The Poultry Record, and in 1886, he published his first book: The Book of the Hamburgs: A Brief Treatise upon the Mating, Rearing, and Management of the Different Varieties of Hamburgs (Poultry).Baum, also performed in theatres under the stage names of Louis F. Baum and George Brooks. In 1880, his father built him a theatre in Richburg, New York, and he set about writing plays and gathering a company to act in them. The Maid of Arran, a melodrama with songs based on William Black’s novel A Princess of Thule, proved a modest success. Baum not only wrote the play but composed songs for it and also acted in the leading role.   In July 1888 Baum & his wife Maud moved to Aberdeen, Dakota, where he opened a store, “Baum’s Bazaar” and later editing a local newspaper, The Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer, where he wrote a column, “Our Landlady”. Baum’s description of Kansas in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is based on his experiences in drought-ridden South Dakota.In 1891, he, Maud and their four sons moved to Humboldt Park, Chicago, where Baum took a job reporting for the Evening Post. In 1897 he wrote and published Mother Goose in Prose, a collection of Mother Goose rhymes written as prose stories, which was illustrated by Maxfield Parrish. Then In 1899 Baum partnered with illustrator W. W. Denslow, to publish Father Goose, which was a collection of nonsense poetry, which became the best-selling children’s book of the year.

In 1900, Baum and Denslow  published The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to much critical acclaim and financial success, and this became the  best-selling children’s book for two years after its initial publication.Two years after Wizard’s publication, Baum and Denslow teamed up with composer Paul Tietjens and director Julian Mitchell to produce a musical stage version of the book under Fred R. Hamlin, which, opened in Chicago in 1902, then ran on Broadway for 293 stage nights. It returned to Broadway in 1904, and successfully toured the United States with much of the same cast, until 1911. However The stage version differed considerably from the book, and was aimed primarily at adults.   Baum also  wrote a sequel, The Woggle-Bug and later worked on a musical version of Ozma of Oz, which eventually became The Tik-Tok Man Of Oz. This did fairly well in Los Angeles, and also began a stage version of The Patchwork Girl of Oz. Baum also wrote several plays and In 1914, after moving to Hollywood, Baum started his own film production company, The Oz Film Manufacturing Company.  Many times during the development of the Oz series, Baum declared that he had written his last Oz book, although he repeatedly returned to the series.Sadly on May 6th 1919 L Frank Baum  passed away after having a stroke, nine days short of his 63rd birthday. He was buried in Glendale’s Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery. His final Oz book, Glinda of Oz, was published on July 10, 1920, a year after his death. The Oz series was continued long after his death by other authors, notably Ruth Plumly Thompson, who wrote an additional nineteen Oz books. his other novels remained popular after his death, and the Wonderful Wizard of Oz series of books remains popular to this day.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.