Sunday, December 25, 2011

Santa Claus in Oz

Alot of people aren't aware that Old St. Nick is a regular resident in the world of Oz. L. Frank Baum wrote one of the world's first full origin stories of him back in 1902 titled The Life And Adventures Of Santa Claus which covered Claus' entire life from infancy to his elder years. Claus is a child who is found and raised by the immortals in the Forest of Burzee, which is one of the countries in the Nonestica realm that lies across the Deadly Desert southwest of Oz. Burzee is also used in other Baum stories like Queen Zixi Of Ix. The land is ruled by Queen Zurline, who is possibly related to Lurline, the fairy queen who created the land of Oz. Another tie into the Oz stories is that the Nome King(here pronounced "Gnome")was one of the fairy folk who assisted Claus in his toy delivery business, although it's been suggested that its actual a different character altogether. Possibly "gnomes" are a completely seperate race than nomes in the Oz universe, which would make sense since nomes were a bunch of jerks that probably wouldn't really care about children. This book has been adapted several times, including a Rankin/Bass TV special, an anime series, and a made-for-video animated movie. There was a new animated film planned about a year ago, but no new updates has appeared as of now.

Following that, Baum did a short sequal, A Kidnapped Santa Claus, where a group of demons plan to stop Santa's plans to spread joy by kidnapping him. The fairies of Burzee fight the demons back to rescue Santa. This story has been adapted into a graphic novel, as well as probably slightly incluencing The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Prior to this though, Santa had his first crossover with the folks from Oz in the series of short stories Baum did for newspapers titled Queer Visitors From The Marvelous Land Of Oz(also sometimes retitled The Visitors From Oz). In this, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Saw-Horse, Jack Pumpkinhead, and Wogglebug are on a journey through America visiting Dorothy, and seeing the sights. They decide to get into the Christmas spirit by making small toy versions of themselves to give to the children of the world. They use the Gump to catch up to Santa on his sleigh and give him the toys to deliver, but loose a race between the Gump and Santa's reindeer.

The last official time we see Santa in the same continuty of Oz is during the fifth Oz book, The Road To Oz. Santa is one of the guests at Princess Ozma's birthday party. In fact he's given the place at the other end of Ozma at the huge table where all the Emerald City heroes and guests from other Baum novels make appearances, like Queen Zixi, and representatives from Merryland.

Christmas is possibly not celebrated as much on its own in Oz, at least as far as the original Baum stories. There is a Christmas episode of the Oz Kids animated TV series, plus a similar holiday called "Lurlinemas" is a mainstay in the Wicked books by Gregory Maguire which is basically Christmas but celebrating the fairy queen Lurline. Anyway, hope you have a great holiday season, whether in or out of Oz!

1 comment:

  1. I think it should at least be mentioned that after Ruth Plumly Thompson and John R. O'Neill picked up the Oz book series in the 1920s and 1930s after Baum's death, they collaborated on a book called "The Curious Cruise of Captain Santa".