Monday, April 21, 2014

First Draft of the Script

According to this newspaper article, the first draft of The Tik-Tok Man of Oz was written by L. Frank Baum in 1907. It was based on his third Oz book, Ozma of Oz, and the stage show originally had the same title.

The book Ozma of Oz was published in 1907, so Baum seems to have written the first draft of the show about the same time he was writing the manuscript of the book. How detailed the earliest draft of the show was, however, is uncertain, since it doesn't seem to have survived. Baum might have produced no more than a general scenario. He often seems to have exaggerated the truth to make a good story for the press, so perhaps the show was actually no more than a few notes when this article was published in the San Diego, California, Evening Tribune on November 6, 1907. Similar articles about the show appeared in newspapers nationwide about the same time.

The article reads in part:
Friends of L. Frank Baum, the well known composer, have received word to the effect that within the near future the American Extravaganza company, composed of New York and Chicago capitalists, is to produce a new opera from the pen of the gifted Chicagoan.

The name of the new comic opera is "Ozma of Oz," and those who have read the manuscript predict for it an even greater success than attended the "Wizard of Oz," which was also composed by Mr. Baum.

San Diego and Coronado people will be particularly interested in the production of the new opera, inasmuch as it may be termed a Coronado product. Mr. Baum spends his winters every year at Coronado and it was while putting in the winter months here last winter that he composed the opera.

While some of the old "Wizard of Oz" characters, notably the scarecrow and tin man, are to appear in the new story, there are several others that are, Mr. Baum thinks, destined to supersede them, such as a clockwork man called "Tiktok," who thinks, speaks and acts by means of three separate mechanical appliances.
Clearly Tik-Tok seems to have been a prominent feature of the show from the very beginning. The Scarecrow and Tin Woodman, stars of The Wizard of Oz, still touring in 1907 after its smash Broadway run, didn't reach the final version of The Tik-Tok Man of Oz. In fact, little mention of Oz ended up in the show at all.

Baum had earlier adapted his first two Oz books to stage musicals. The first, The Wizard of Oz, was one of the biggest hits of the twentieth century's first decade and made Baum at the time far more famous as a playwright and composer than as a children's author. The show Baum adapted from his second Oz book was a failure, but that didn't stop him. This third Oz stage adaptation, based on his third Oz book, was destined to be another hit, although it would take a half dozen more years to reach the stage. The newspaper article calls these shows "operas," but they're what we'd call musicals today. 

I'm particularly delighted to be bringing The Tik-Tok Man of Oz back to its place of birth for Oz Con International. It will return to San Diego for one night only on Saturday, August 9, 2014, as part of Winkie Con 50.


  1. The script for Ozma of Oz is posted here:

  2. Doug, thanks for linking to that. That's a later draft of the script. It's from 1909. I'll discuss it in an upcoming blog.