The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) (unnamed)
|Created by||L. Frank Baum|
|Occupation||head of Emerald City staff and personal attendant to Ozma|
Jellia Jamb is a fictional character from the Oz series by L. Frank Baum. She is the head of all the maids at the palace in the Emerald City and in The Road to Oz, is described as Princess Ozma's favorite servant. She is the protagonist of Ruth Plumly Thompson's Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz.
She is introduced, though unnamed, in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, as the young maid who handles the rooms of Dorothy Gale, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion while staying in the Emerald City. She leads Dorothy through seven hallways and three staircases to her room, and provides her with a fancy dress, and gives a ribbon to Toto, which becomes white upon leaving the city. She is usually referred to as "the green girl" in this book, and her youth and kindness are emphasized.
She is introduced by name in The Marvelous Land of Oz where we learn that she is a Gillikin by birth. Scarecrow, then ruler of Oz, asks her to act as an interpreter between him and the Gillikin Jack Pumpkinhead, who does not realize that all Ozites speak the same language, so Jellia "translates" Jack's words as insults as a prank. After Jinjur and Mombi have taken over the Emerald City, Jellia is compelled to retain her job, and she is brought before Mombi and their forms exchanged in order to trick Glinda the Good Witch into thinking Mombi has surrendered herself, but Glinda undoes this magic. Jellia refuses to speak about what happened until Glinda promises to protect her.
In Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, she and Omby Amby are among the first to greet the Wizard upon his return to Oz, and he recognizes them as the green girl and the Soldier with the Green Whiskers, in spite of the major change in the latter's appearance.
In The Road to Oz, Jellia Jamb is among the guests at Princess Ozma's birthday party.
Jellia has not proven a major figure in Oz adaptations. Glenna Vaughn is the first person credited with the role, who did not appear in any silent versions, in The Land of Oz (1932). Some fans like to think that the Wash and Brush-Up girl portrayed by Lois January in The Wizard of Oz (1939) is Jellia, while The Wonderful Wizard of Oz anime portrayed her as an old woman, in spite of Baum's text. She appears in The Wonderful Land of Oz (1969) to do the translation bit, but her role in the climax is eliminated, and the actor, a day player, went unbilled.
In The Wizard of Oz (1982), she is an unnamed young, tawny-haired girl voiced by Elizabeth Hanna, who is unbilled for that role, and dressed like a soldier instead of a maid. In the Shirley Temple adaptation of The Land of Oz, she appears for the famous translation scene, and is depicted as a beautiful, yet comical young woman. Perhaps the most substantial portrayal of Jellia has been in the 1981 musical play by Thomas W. Olson, Gary Briggle, and Richard Dworsky, in which her role has been expanded from the novel to accompany Tippetarius on his journey. In the original production by The Children's Theatre Company and School of Minneapolis, Rana Haugen played the role, also having to mimic the strange movements Wendy Lehr used to create Mombi while portraying Mombi's imperfect disguise, in which she tries to kill Tip. In the novel, Mombi took on the disguise to stay in the Emerald City and away from Glinda, but she still moves like an old lady in Jellia's form. She is also the titular character in Dave Hardenbrook's Jellia Jamb: Maid Of Oz which is a sequel to The Unknown Witches of Oz.
- Jack Snow, Who's Who in Oz, Chicago, Reilly & Lee, 1954; New York, Peter Bedrick Books, 1988; pp. 107-8.
- Ruth Plumly Thompson, Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz, Chicago, Reilly & Lee, 1939.