Patchwork Girl

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For the work of hypertext fiction by Shelley Jackson, see Patchwork Girl (hypertext).
For the Larry Niven science fiction novel, see The Patchwork Girl.
Scraps, the Patchwork Girl
Oz character
ThePatchworkGirlOfOz.jpg
Cover of The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1913) by L. Frank Baum; illustration by John R. Neill.
First appearance The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1913)
Created by L. Frank Baum
Information
Species Animated Rag Doll
Gender female in expression
Occupation poet
Nationality Munchkin

The Patchwork Girl (aka Scraps) is a character from the fantasy Oz Book series by L. Frank Baum.[1] She first appeared in The Patchwork Girl of Oz.

History[edit]

Scraps is a living rag doll made of patchwork, button eyes, brown yarn hair, a felt tongue, and pearl teeth. She was originally brought to life by a Munchkin magician named Dr. Pipt by means of his Powder of Life formula to be a servant for his wife Margolotte. Ojo overloaded her with magic brains in the process of bringing her to life, and as she enthusiastically flopped about she accidentally spilled the Liquid of Petrifaction on Mrs. Pipt and Ojo's uncle turning them to stone. Much of their first adventure is gathering the ingredients to find a counterspell.

She later became the companion of the Scarecrow who found her quite beautiful.

She had major roles in such Oz books as The Gnome King of Oz and The Wonder City of Oz, and was the title character in A Runaway in Oz.

The Patchwork Girl was likely influenced by the character of Topsy in Uncle Tom's Cabin, and she may have influenced the character of Raggedy Ann.[2]

Scraps in other media[edit]

Illustration by André Koehne.

Despite her popularity, to the point that her image was used in at least two advertisements for student desks, she has appeared in only five film productions, two of which were made for television. When Baum produced a film version of the title story, he was not able to find a woman of athleticism suitable to play the role, and therefore cast the male French acrobat Pierre Couderc. She was portrayed by Doreen Tracy on the 4th Anniversary episode of Disneyland.

On The Oz Kids, she was voiced by Lori Alan and had numerous infant patchwork kids. She also appeared in Walter Murch's Return to Oz as an unbilled extra. Thundertoad Animation's comparatively primitive CGI version from 2005 featured Cyndi Hotopp in the title role.

There were at least two versions of the above-mentioned advertisement, a classroom poster issued by American Seating Company. They were not bootlegs and were authorized by the publishers. They include the statement "These quaint characters are quoted from the famous Oz books and were created by L. Frank Baum. Used by permission of Reilly and Lee Company, the publishers." However this appears in very fine print and is easy to miss, especially on a small photo or reproduction of the poster. An earlier version of the poster is printed mostly in green and orange, a later version has more colors. A picture of a girl sitting at a desk in the lower right corner is also different in these two versions.

Scraps stood alongside her friends when they rallied against a "new" Witch trying to obliterate the entirety of Oz in the comic book The Oz/Wonderland Chronicles.

The Patchwork Girl also appeared in a leading role in the unaired television pilot Lost in Oz. In this version, her name is Serena and it is implied that she was once human. After her best friend became the new Wicked Witch of the West, she was literally ripped apart, but later repaired by an unknown person. The Witch also killed her family, and for this she has sworn vengeance against her former friend. Physically, she is very different from her book counterpart. She is extremely athletic, and looks like a pale human with dark hair, however after her outfit is damaged, it is revealed that she is made of fabric underneath. The actress also portrayed the best friend of the heroine, Alex, at the beginning of the episode, a nod to the 1939 film in which Dorothy's comrades were portrayed by her friends.

In Emerald City Confidential, she owns a general store located next to Petra's office. She is also part of Frogman's smuggling ring.

In Talking With..., the second monologue is about a housewife who dresses up as Scraps to escape her mundane life.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jack Snow, Who's Who in Oz, Chicago, Reilly & Lee, 1954; New York, Peter Bedrick Books, 1988; pp. 156-7.
  2. ^ Robin Bernstein, Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights, (New York: New York University Press, 2011), 163-172.