You’ve wandered into the topsy-turvy world of Tulgey Wood, the blog of writer and historian Jim Fanning. Tulgey Wood celebrates artistry and creativity (and sometimes just plain madness): movies, animation, TV, books, comics—and of course Disney, lots and lots of true-blue, through-and-through Disney, including D23 and Disney twenty-three Magazine, and Sketches Magazine and the Walt Disney Collectors Society. Tulgey Wood is so fun, fascinating and full of frolicsome photos and facts, it’s scary. So wander through the wonder of it all, and enjoy.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Great Wuppermann Meets The Great Baum

Back here I mentioned wonderful character actor Frank Morgan (real name: Francis Phillip Wuppermann) and his most famous role as the title character in The Wizard of Oz. Here he is again in one of the most famous stills from the classic film—certainly the most famous still from the black-and-white Kansas sequences. It’s no wonder this still is so often seen; it’s the only scene where the film’s principals are gathered (including Charley Grapewin as Uncle Henry and Clara Blandick as Aunt Em but sadly no Toto “too”).  (It also gives us a glimpse of the poppy flower wallpaper pattern; it's not mentioned in the film but it's there.) Note the Prince Albert-style coat worn by Frank Morgan in his Kansas role as Professor Marvel. Incredibly, the great Morgan discovered one day during filming that the coat—an actual garment purchased by the MGM Wardrobe Department from a second-hand store as opposed to a handmade costume—had a label inside that read “L. Frank Baum.” This is of course the name of the famed author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published in 1900. The coat was shown to the Chicago tailor who had made it and Baum’s widow both of whom confirmed that it had actually belonged to the Oz author; once filming was finished, MGM presented the coat to Maud Baum. So unbelievable was this almost magical coincidence that the MGM Publicity Department—not exactly shy about hyperbolic exaggerations and out-and-out fabrications—decided not to publicize the fantastic fact that the Great Morgan was wearing the very coat that the Great Baum had himself donned, simply because they felt no one would believe this story. The strange connection between Professor Marvel, Francis Phillip Wuppermann and L. Frank Baum is just one of the many wonderful things on the screen and behind the scenes that makes The Wizard of Oz a whiz of a movie. 

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