|Oz books character|
W. W. Denslow's depiction of Munchkins, from the first edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
|First appearance||The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)|
|Created by||L. Frank Baum|
The Munchkins are the natives of the fictional Munchkin Country in the Oz books by American author L. Frank Baum. They first appear in the classic children's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900). They are described as only wearing shades of blue clothing, as blue is the Munchkins' favorite color, and the predominating color that officially represents the eastern quadrant in the Land of Oz. They and the non-Munchkin Witch, the Good Witch of the North who accompanies them upon Dorothy Gale's first arrival to Oz, are described as being the same height as Dorothy, who is hinted to be no older than twelve-years-old.
The following is an excerpt from chapter two of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, titled The Council with the Munchkins, in which Dorothy first meets three Munchkins and the Good Witch of the North:
she noticed coming down toward her a group of the queerest people she had ever seen. They were not as big as the grown folk she had always been used to; but neither were they very small. In fact, they seemed about as tall as Dorothy, who was a well-grown child for her age, although they were, so far as looks go, many years older.
Baum apparently did not mean that only Munchkins are short in stature (as depicted in the iconic 1939 film), but that this is the norm for all of the adult humans of Oz. In a scene later in the book, the Guardian of the Gates, the first inhabitant of the Emerald City met by Dorothy and apparently representative of its citizens, is "a little man about the same size as the Munchkins." Still later, the Quadlings of the southern land are described as "short and fat." The Tin Woodman is also of Munchkin descent but is of average adult height.
Baum rarely refers to Ozites as small of stature in the Oz books that follow. (One notable exception is the Munchkin wrestler that Zeb challenges in Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz).
Origin of the term
Baum never explained where the term came from, but Baum researcher Brian Attebery has hypothesized that there might be a connection to the Münchner Kindl, the emblem of the Bavarian city of Munich (spelled München in German). The symbol was originally a 13th-century statue of a monk, looking down from the town hall in Munich. Over the years, the image was reproduced many times, for instance as a figure on beer steins, and eventually evolved into a child wearing a pointed hood. Baum's family had German origins, suggesting that Baum could have seen one such reproduction in his childhood.
It is also possible that "Munchkin" came from the German word "Männchen", which means "mannikin" or "little figure". In 1900, Baum published a book about window displays in which he stressed the importance of mannequins in attracting customers.
It is also possible that the term came from the Romanian word for laborer, "muncitor", replacing the Romanian suffix of agency, "-itor", with the English suffix of (kind, sort, and) class identification, "-kin". "Munci" is the Romanian verb "to labor" and is pronounced /MOOHN-chee/.
The following is a list of Munchkins named in the Oz books:
- Kiki Aru
- Bini Aru
- King Cheeriobed
- Mopsi Aru
- Nick Chopper (The Tin Woodman)
- Nimmie Amee
- Number Nine
- Ojo the Lucky
- Dr. Pipt
- Real Bad (Ree Alla Bad)
- Sister Six
In The Wizard of Oz (1939)
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The classic 1939 musical movie The Wizard of Oz loosely based upon Baum's novel, the Munchkins are portrayed by children and adults with dwarfism. Unlike the book, their country is called Munchkinland and they all wear colorful garments and outfits instead of all blue attire.
On November 20, 2007, the Munchkins were given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Seven of the surviving Munchkins actors from the film were present. As a result of the popularity of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, the word "munchkin" has entered the English language as a reference to small children, persons with dwarfism, or anything of diminutive stature.
Actors and actresses
The following is a list of actors who portrayed the Munchkins in the 1939 film. Most of the 124 dwarfs hired were acquired for MGM by Leo Singer, the proprietor of Singer's Midgets. An additional dozen or so child actresses of average size were hired to make up for the shortage of little people that the studio found to appear in the film. These actors – including those with speaking parts – were credited on-screen collectively, as "The Munchkins."
In 1989, author Stephen Cox researched, found, and wrote about the surviving Munchkin actors fifty years after they made the film. He wrote about them in his book, The Munchkins Remember (1989, E.P. Dutton) which was later revised as The Munchkins of Oz (Cumberland House), and his book remained in print for nearly two decades. When he wrote the book, 33 of the dwarfs who acted in the film were surviving and were interviewed. Today, Jerry Maren who played the green "lollipop guild" member is the last living munchkin actor.
- Note: Social security information was hard to come by prior to the mid twentieth century. As a result, things such as birth or death years may be incomplete due to lack of records.
|Gladys W. Allison||Unknown||Unknown||Played a villager|||
|John Ballas||Unknown||Unknown||Played a villager|||
|Franz Balluck||1913||1987||Played a villager|||
|Josefine Balluck||1908||1984||Played a villager|||
|John T. Bambury||1891||1960||Played a soldier|||
|Charlie Becker||1887||1968||Played "The Mayor of Munchkinland"|||
|Freda Betsky||Unknown||Unknown||Played a villager|||
|Henry Boers||1896||Unknown||Played a villager|||
|Theodore Boers||1894||Unknown||Played a villager|||
|Christie Buresh||1907||1979||Played a villager|||
|Eddie Buresh||1909||1982||Played a villager|||
|Lida Buresh||1906||1970||Played a villager|||
|Mickey Carroll||1919||2009||Played a fiddler, a town crier, and a soldier|||
|Casper "Colonel" Balsam||Unknown||Unknown||Played a villager|||
|Nona A. Cooper||1875||1953||Played a villager|||
|Thomas J. Cottonaro||1914||2001||Played the Bearded Man|||
|Elizabeth Coulter||Unknown||Unknown||Played a villager|||
|Lewis Croft||1919||2008||Played a soldier|||
|Frank Cucksey||1919||1984||Played the villager that gives Dorothy the flowers|||
|Billy Curtis||1909||1988||Played the Braggart ("and ohhhh what happened then was rich")|||
|Eugene S. David, Jr.||Unknown||Unknown||Played a fiddler|||
|Eulie H. David||Unknown||Unknown||Played a soldier|||
|Ethel W. Denis||Unknown||1968||Played a villager|||
|Prince Denis||1892||1984||Played the Sergeant-at-Arms|||
|Hazel I. Derthick||1906||1989||Played a villager|||
|Daisy Earles||1907||1980||Played a "munchkin maiden"|||
|Gracie Earles||1899||1970||Played a "munchkin maiden"|||
|Harry Earles||1902||1985||Blue member of "The Lollipop Guild|||
|Tiny Earles||1914||2004||Played a "munchkin maiden"|||
|Major Doyle||1893||1940||Played a villager|
|Ruth Robinson Duccini||1918||2014||Played a villager|||
|Carl M. Erickson||1917||1958||Played the 2nd Trumpeter, and a Sleepyhead|
|Fern Formica||1925||1995||Played a villager and a "sleepyhead"|||
|Addie Eva Frank||Unknown||Unknown||Played a villager|
|Thaisa L. Gardner||1909||1968||Played a villager|
|Jakob "Jackie" Gerlich||1917||1960||Red member of "The Lollipop Guild|||
|William A. Giblin||1916||1985||Played a soldier|||
|Jack S. Glicken||1900||1950||Played a city father|||
|Carolyn E. Granger||1915||1973||Played a villager|
|Joseph Herbst||Unknown||1989||Played a soldier|||
|Jakob Hofbauer||Unknown||Unknown||Played a soldier|||
|Clarence C. Howerton "Major Mite"||1913||1975||Played the 3rd Trumpeter, and a Sleepyhead|||
|Helen M. Hoy||Unknown||Unknown||Played a villager|
|Marguerite A. Hoy||Unknown||Unknown||Played a villager|||
|James R. Hulse||Unknown||Unknown||Played a villager|||
|Robert Kanter||Unknown||Unknown||Played a soldier|||
|Charles E. Kelley||Unknown||Unknown||Played a soldier|||
|Jessie E. Kelley||1907||1968||Played a villager|
|Frank Kikel||Unknown||Unknown||Played a villager|||
|Bernard "Harry" Klima||1897||1957||Played a villager|||
|Mitzi Koestner||Unknown||Unknown||Played a villager|||
|Emma Koestner||1900||1984||Played a villager|
|Willi Koestner||Unknown||Unknown||Played a soldier|||
|Adam Edwin "Eddie" Kozicki||1917||1986||Played a fiddler|
|Joseph J. Koziel||Unknown||Unknown||Played a villager|||
|Dolly F. Kramer||Unknown||Unknown||Played a villager|||
|Emil Kranzler||1910||1993||Played a villager|||
|Nita Krebs||1905||1991||Member of The Lullaby League and a villager|||
|"Little Jean" LaBarbera||1909||1993||Played a villager|||
|Hilda Lange||Unknown||Unknown||Played a villager|||
|Johnny Leal||1905||1996||Played a villager and a soldier|
|Ann Rice Leslie||1900||1973||Played a villager|
|Charles Ludwig||Unknown||Unknown||Played a villager|
|Dominick Magro||Unknown||1959||Played a villager|||
|Carlos Manzo||1914||1955||Played a villager|||
|Howard Marco||Unknown||Unknown||Played a villager|||
|Jerry Maren||1920||Living||Green member of "The Lollipop Guild"|||
|Bela "Mike" Matina||1903||Unknown||Played a villager|||
|Lajos "Leo" Matina||Unknown||Unknown||Played a villager|||
|Matyus "Ike" Matina||1903||Unknown||Played a villager|||
|Walter M. B. Miller||1906||1987||Played a soldier and a flying monkey|
|George Ministeri||1913||1986||Played the coachman and a villager|
|Harry Monty||1904||1999||Played a villager and a flying monkey|||
|Yvonne Bistany Moray||1917||Unknown||Member of The Lullaby League and a villager|||
|Olga C. Nardone||1921||2010||One of the sleepyheads, a villager, and a member of The Lullaby League|||
|Nels P. Nelson||1918||1994||Played a villager|
|Margaret C.H. Nickloy||1902||1961||Played a villager|||
|Franklin O'Baugh||1901||Unknown||Played a soldier|||
|William H. O'Docharty||1920||1988||The coach footman and villager|
|Hildred C. Olson||Unknown||Unknown||Played a villager|
|Frank Packard||Unknown||Unknown||Played a villager|||
|Nicholas Page||1904||1978||Played a city father|
|Leona M. Parks||1897||Unknown||Played a villager|
|Margaret Williams Pellegrini||1923||2013||Played a "sleepyhead" and the "flower pot munchkin"|||
|Johnny Pizo||Unknown||Unknown||Played a villager|||
|"Prince Leon" Polinsky||1918||1955||Played a villager|
|Meinhardt Raabe||1915||2010||Played the coroner|||
|Margaret Raia||1928||2003||Played a villager|||
|Matthew Raia||Unknown||Unknown||Played a city father|||
|Friedrich "Freddie" Retter||1913||Unknown||Played a fiddler and villager|
|"Little Billy" Rhodes||1895||1967||Played the barrister|||
|Gertrude H. Rice||Unknown||Unknown||Played a villager|
|Hazel Rice||Unknown||Unknown||Played a villager|
|Sandor Roka||1899||1957||Played a villager|
|Charles F. Royal||1900||1947||Played a soldier|
|Helen J. Royal||1897||1958||Played a villager|
|Stella A. Royal||1903||1959||Played a villager|
|Albert Ruddinger||Unknown||Unknown||Played a villager|||
|Elsie R. Schultz||1892||1987||Played a villager|
|Charles Silvern||1902||1979||Played a villager|
|Garland "Earl" Slatten||1917||1995||Played a soldier|||
|Karl Slover||1918||2011||Played the lead trumpeter, a soldier, a "sleepyhead", and a villager|||
|Ruth E. Smith||1895||1985||Played a villager|
|Elmer Spangler||Unknown||Unknown||Played a villager|||
|Pernell St. Aubin||1922||1987||Played a soldier|||
|Carl Stephan||Unknown||Unknown||Played a villager|||
|Alta M. Stevens||1913||1989||Played a villager|
|George Suchsie||Unknown||Unknown||Played a villager|||
|Charlotte V. Sullivan||1906||1966||Played a villager|
|Clarence Swensen||1917||2009||Played a soldier|||
|Betty Tanner||Unknown||Unknown||Played a villager|||
|Arnold Vierling||1919||1949||Played a villager|||
|Gus Wayne||1920||1998||Played a soldier|||
|Victor Wetter||1902||1990||The Captain of the Army|
|Gracie B. Williams||Unknown||N/A||Played a villager|
|Harvey B. Williams||Unknown||N/A||Played a soldier|
|Johnny Winters||Unknown||Unknown||Played The Commander of the Navy|||
|Marie Winters||1901||1979||Played a villager|
|Gladys V. Wolff||1911||1984||Played a villager|
|Murray Wood||1908||1999||Played a city father|||
Child actors and actresses
Four child actresses are still living that appeared in the film.
|Betty Ann Cain Bruno||1931||Living||Child actress|||
|Ardith Dondanville Todd||1930||Living||Child actress|||
|Joan Kenmore||1931||Living||Child actress|||
|Shirley Ann Kennedy Vegors||1932||2005||Child actress|||
|Eva Lee Kuney||1934||2015||Child actress|||
|Rae-Nell Laskey||1930||1991||Child actress|
|Patsy May||1934||2013||Child actress|
|Elaine Mirk||Unknown||Unknown||Child actress|||
|Priscilla Ann Montgomery Clark||1929||Living||Child actress|||
|Valerie Shepard||Unknown||Unknown||Child actress|||
|Donna Jean Johnson Stewart-Hardaway||1933||2008||Child actress|
|Viola White||Unknown||Unknown||Child actress|
- The Munchkins appeared in The Wizard of Oz. When Dorothy and Toto first arrived in the Land of Oz after her house landed on the Wicked Witch of the East, the Munchkins have been hiding until Glinda the Good Witch arrived and had the Munchkins come out of their hiding place. During the musical number, Dorothy told them how she arrived in the Land of Oz and the Munchkins celebrate. The Mayor of Munchkinland and his assistant had to make sure that the Wicked Witch of the East is dead before the celebration continued. The coroner tells the Mayor of Munchkinland that the Wicked Witch of the East is not merely dead and that she is most sincerely dead while showing the Certificate of Death. The Munchkins then celebrate further as Dorothy receives gifts from the Lullaby League and the Lollipop Guild. Near the end of the song, the Wicked Witch of the West arrived causing the Munchkins to hit the deck. After the Wicked Witch of the West left, Glinda had Dorothy follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City as the Munchkins guide her out of Munchkinland.
- The Munchkins appeared in The Wiz and were played by children and teenagers.
- In The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, the Munchkins were played by Rizzo the Rat (who portrayed the Mayor of Munchkinland) and his fellow rats.
- The Munchkins appeared in Dorothy and the Witches of Oz. They were brought to Earth by Glinda in order to combat the forces of the Wicked Witch of the West.
- The Munchkins appear in Oz the Great and Powerful. They alongside the Quadlings and the Tinkers as inhabitants of Glinda's protectorate. Although the film is not otherwise a musical, the Munchkins sing and dance much as they do in the 1939 film.
- The Munchkins appear in Once Upon a Time.
- Emily and Per Ola d'Aulaire, "Mannequins: our fantasy figures of high fashion," Smithsonian, Vol. 22, no. 1, April 1991
- Harmetz, Aljean (2013). The Making of the Wizard of Oz (75th Anniversary Updated ed.). Chicago: Chicago Review Press. p. 193. ISBN 1613748329.
- GoogleBooks image for The Making of the Wizard of Oz p. 193.
- Jay Scarfone, William Stillman. The Wizardry of Oz: The Artistry and Magic of the 1939 M-G-M Classic. Hal Leonard Corporation. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
- Rob White, Edward Buscombe. British Film Institute Film Classics, Volume 1. Taylor & Francis. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
- Scarfone, Jay (2004). The Wizardry of Oz: The Artistry and Magic of the 1939 M-G-M Classic. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 240. ISBN 1557836248.
- Rushdie, Salman (1992). The Wizard of Oz. Macmillan. p. 67. ISBN 0851703003.
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- "Prince Denis, 84, Performer Who Played Munchkin Mayor". The New York Times. June 24, 1984. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
- It was falsely reported in 1984 that Prince played the role of the Munchkin Mayor
- Kathee Yamamoto (June 9, 1985). "Remembering Life Over the Rainbow : Former Munchkin Returns to Oz". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 28, 2016.
- "Tiny Doll". The Daily Telegraph. September 15, 2004. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
- Edwin L. Carpenter (November 27, 2007). "The Munchkins of Oz: Exclusive Dove Interviews (Part 2)". www.dove.org. Retrieved February 24, 2016.
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- Howard Reich (March 18, 1991). "50 Years After Entering Oz, 2 Munchkins Still Step Along The Yellow Brick Road". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
- Cox, Stephen (2002). The Munchkins of Oz. Cumberland House Publishing. pp. 11, 37, 39, 41, 77. ISBN 1581822693.
- "A Munchkin soldier's jacket from The Wizard of Oz". www.bonhams.com. Retrieved February 24, 2016.
- "Capt. Jack Glicken, Exposition, 1935". ibase.sdsu.edu. Retrieved February 28, 2016.
- Eric Staats (July 19, 1989). "Munchkin Mystique". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 28, 2016.
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- For full referenced information on Clarence Chesterfield Howerton browse his article
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- "Jeane La Barbera and Robert Drake". Retrieved 22 January 2014.
- San Diego Union 5/1/1959 p b5
- Scarfone, Jay (2004). The Wizardry of Oz: The Artistry and Magic of the 1939 M-G-M Classic. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 248. ISBN 1557836248.
- "OFFBEAT: 'Wizard of Oz' Munchkin's wife, Elizabeth Maren, dead at 69". Retrieved 22 January 2014.
- Kim (November 13, 2012). "The Los Angeles Prosperity Carnival and Indoor Fair of 1915". insroland.org. Retrieved February 28, 2016.
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- FOXNews.com - Munchkins Get Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame
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- "8 Munchkins Find There Is No Place Like Kansas". Orlando Sentinel. May 10, 1992. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
- "Midget actor appeared in 'Wizard of Oz'". Variety (magazine). March 2, 1998. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
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