Wizard of Oz (character)

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Oscar Diggs/The Wizard of Oz
Oz character
Wizard of Oz.png
The Wizard as illustrated by William Wallace Denslow (1900)
First appearance The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
Information
Species Human
Gender Male
Occupation Advisor and court magician to Princess Ozma
Title The Wizard of Oz
Family A prominent Omaha politician and his wife (parents)
Nationality American

Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkle Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs[1] (also known as the Wizard of Oz and, during his reign, as the Oz, the Great and Terrible) is a fictional character in the Land of Oz created by American author L. Frank Baum.[2]

The character was further popularized by the classic 1939 movie, wherein his full name is not mentioned.

Oz books[edit]

The Wizard is one of the characters in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Unseen for most of the novel, he is the ruler of the Land of Oz and highly venerated by his subjects. Believing he is the only man capable of solving their problems, Dorothy Gale and her friends travel to the Emerald City, the capital of Oz, to meet him. Oz is very reluctant to meet them, but eventually each is granted an audience, one by one. In each of these occasions, the Wizard appears in a different form, once as a giant head, once as a beautiful fairy, once as a ball of fire, and once as a horrible monster. When, at last, he grants an audience to all of them at once, he seems to be a disembodied voice.

Eventually, it is revealed that Oz is actually none of these things, but rather an ordinary conman from Omaha, Nebraska, who has been using a lot of elaborate magic tricks and props to make himself seem "great and powerful." Working as a magician for a circus, he wrote OZ (the initials of his first two forenames, Oscar being his first, and Zoroaster being the first of his seven middle names) on the side of his hot air balloon for promotional purposes. One day his balloon sailed into the Land of Oz, and he found himself worshipped as a great sorcerer. As Oz had no leadership at the time, he became Supreme Ruler of the kingdom, and did his best to sustain the myth.

He leaves Oz at the end of the novel, again in a hot air balloon. After the Wizard's departure, the Scarecrow is briefly enthroned, until Princess Ozma (the rightful hereditary ruler of Oz) is freed from the witch Mombi at the end of The Marvelous Land of Oz.

In The Marvelous Land of Oz, the Wizard is described as having usurped the throne of King Pastoria and handed over the baby princess to Mombi. This did not please the readers, and in Ozma of Oz, although the character did not appear, Baum described Ozma's abduction without including the Wizard as part of it.[3]

The Wizard returns in the novel Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz. With Dorothy and the boy Zeb, he falls through a crack in the earth; in their underground journey, he acts as their guide and protector. Oz explains that his real name is Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkle Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs. To shorten this name, he used only his initials (O.Z.P.I.N.H.E.A.D.), but since they spell out the word pinhead, he shortened his name further and called himself "Oz".[4] When Ozma rescues them from the underground kingdoms, he recounts his story of becoming the ruler of Oz, and Ozma explains that before the witches usurped her grandfather's throne (an occurrence happening long before the wizard arrived), the ruler of Oz had always been known as Oz or (if female) Ozma.[5] Ozma then permits him to live in Oz permanently.[6] He becomes an apprentice to Glinda (the most powerful magic-worker in Oz). Ozma decrees that, besides herself, only The Wizard and Glinda are allowed to use magic unless the other magic users have permits.

In later books, he proves himself quite an inventor, providing devices that aid in various characters’ journeys. He introduces to Oz the use of mobile phones in Tik-Tok of Oz. Some of his most elaborate devices are the Ozpril and the Oztober, balloon-powered Ozoplanes in Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz, and intelligent taxis called Scalawagons in The Scalawagons of Oz.

Film adaptations[edit]

Silent films (1908–25)[edit]

The Wizard has appeared in nearly every silent Oz film, portrayed by different actors each time.

The Wizard of Oz (1939)[edit]

In The Wizard of Oz, The Wizard's character is similar to that found in the earlier books: a bumbling "humbug." He was played by actor Frank Morgan who also played several other roles in the movie including Professor Marvel (the mysterious traveling fortune-teller who Dorothy meets in Kansas with a horse named Sylvester), the Doorman at the Emerald City, the Guard at the Gates to the Wizard's Castle, and the Coachman whose transport is drawn by "The Horse of a Different Color". His face was also presumably used as the projected image of the Wizard. Like Dorothy, the Wizard himself hails from Kansas, proudly stating that he is "an old Kansas man myself, born and bred in the heart of the Western Wilderness." In the film, the Wizard is seen only as a floating head and as a human, not in any of the other shapes that he appears in the book.

Screenwriters Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf created Professor Marvel for the Kansas sepia tone sequences. The Wizard's hot air balloon in the movie has the name Omaha on it, reflecting that the Wizard originated from Omaha, Nebraska, just as in the book.

Professor Marvel and the farmworker Zeke (Lion's alter ego) are the only men wearing hats when Dorothy wakes up from being unconscious because Hickory (Tin Woodman's alter ego) and Hunk (Scarecrow's alter ego) lost their hats with Uncle Henry as they struggled to pry open the cellar when the tornado approached the farm.

Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)[edit]

Oz the Great and Powerful serves as an unofficial prequel to the Oz series. The film centers on Oscar Diggs (portrayed by James Franco), and follows his journey from small-time magician to the ruler of the Land of Oz. In it, he is portrayed as an overly flirtatious and overconfident con artist and stage magician who upon meeting Theodora (the future Wicked Witch of the West), and inadvertently sparking her obsession with him, is keen on fulfilling his role as the legendary Wizard destined to restore order to Oz (primarily due to the promise of the Oz Treasury). However, throughout his journey and seeing the impact of his actions both good and bad, he comes to realize how much the people of Oz need him and devises a way to use his skill in illusions to free them. He also forms a makeshift "family" in the form of himself, Glinda the Good Witch, Finley (a winged monkey he rescued from a lion), and the China Girl (a living china doll and the sole survivor of an attack on China Town whose legs he repaired with glue).

Once Upon a Time (2014)[edit]

Walsh
Once Upon a Time character
First appearance "New York City Serenade" (3.12)
Last appearance "Kansas" (3.20)
Created by Edward Kitsis
Portrayed by Christopher Gorham
Information
Aliases The Wizard of Oz
Oz the Great and Terrible
Flying Monkey
Occupation Circus huckster (formerly)
Furniture shop owner (formerly)

The Wizard of Oz appears in the Once Upon a Time episodes "New York City Serenade", "A Curious Thing" and "Kansas" portrayed by Christopher Gorham. Originally, Walsh is from Kansas, but finds himself in the land of Oz. Giving himself the name "Oz the Great and Terrible", he masquerades as an all-knowing wizard. This hoax upsets Glinda the Witch of the South, as she knows he only gives false hope to those who seek out his help. From behind a curtain, Walsh projects an shadow image and speaks with a booming voice to anyone who approaches his palace to seek an audience with him. He also asks for genuine magical items in exchange for help which he uses to further his deception. A woman named Zelena wants his help in finding her birth family, so he gifts a pair of silver heels to take her anywhere she desires. Zelena leaves for the Enchanted Forest to seek out family and returns asking to go to the past so she can change her own fate of being abandoned by her mother. The wizard states that even with the most powerful magic, this is not possible. Angrily, she rips off the curtain and discovers his true persona is nothing but a simple man who likes orchestrating a false image to put on a good show. Deciding to make use of him, she turns Walsh into a flying monkey as her loyal pet. Sometime later, his transformation into a flying monkey alerts Glinda, to Zelena's presence. Glinda thanks Zelena for exposing him and believes time as her pet is fitting punishment for his trickery. Zelena is welcomed into Glinda's sisterhood of witches as the Witch of the West, but is "defeated" by a young girl named Dorothy Gale. Rather than become the new Witch of the West, Dorothy only wishes to go home; a desire Glinda grants by taking her back to see the Wizard, who is presumed to have reverted to his old form since Zelena's magic has been undone. From behind the green curtain, Zelena impersonates the Wizard's voice and gives Dorothy the silver slippers to send her home.

Walsh meets Emma Swan and they begin dating. Over the course of eight months, he gets to know her as well as her son, Henry. Walsh has dishonest motives in getting close to Emma, but the nature of it is not known. During one romantic evening dinner, Walsh surprises Emma by hiding a ring on the platter of an ice cream sundae and then proposes to her. She reacts in shock by walking out of the restaurant and stating that marriage is too soon for them. Walsh agrees to be patient, as she is the one he wants to spend his life with, and promises to give her all the time to think it over. The next day, he receives a text from Henry asking him to come over to the apartment to have dinner with Emma. Walsh promptly shows up, to which Emma leads him onto the rooftop where she rejects his marriage proposal. Emma reluctantly explains the necessity for herself to go home and leave him behind because "a ghost" from her past has showed up. Walsh does his best to convince her that the life she has now is worth staying for, but Emma cannot, though she wishes it could be so. Unable to sway her otherwise, Walsh's demeanor changes and he expresses knowledge of the potion Emma previously drank, which is what restored her past memories. After throwing aside a table, he charges at her, but she dodges, sending him hurling down the roof. He soars up in the form of Flying Monkey to attack her, though Emma violently shoves him away with a metal pipe. Physically wounded, he falls from the building, nearly hitting the ground, before disappearing in a puff of smoke.

Adaptations[edit]

  • The extended network television version of the animated feature Journey Back to Oz (1964/1972) contains live-action segments with Bill Cosby as The Wizard (a character otherwise not seen in the original theatrical version) trying to bring two children back to Kansas for Christmas.
  • In the 1980 Thanksgiving special Dorothy in the Land of Oz, the Wizard is voiced by Sid Caesar.
  • Caliber Comics' Oz comic book series, followed by Arrow Comics' Dark Oz and The Land of Oz featured the Wizard, affectionately known as "Oscar," particularly to Ozma, as a tall, bald, mustachioed man, brooding, powerful, and not at all bumbling.
  • In the 2007 Sci Fi television miniseries Tin Man, a character called the "Mystic Man" (played by Richard Dreyfuss) is one of the former rulers of Central City, the capital of the Outer Zone (O.Z.), and like his counterpart from the book, uses technology to make himself seem more impressive. He is also referred to as "the wizard" and styles himself similarly to the Wizard of Oz, but has been relegated to the main performer of a Central City magic show rather than the "humbug" overlord of the Emerald City.
  • In the VeggieTales episode The Wonderful Wizard of Ha's, the Wizard is portrayed by Archibald Asparagus as the "Wonderful Land of Ha's" amusement park owner who later reveals himself as a promotional showman to Darby (Junior Asparagus).
  • In the Supernatural season 10 episode There's No Place Like Home, Charlie Bradbury reveals she made a deal with the Wizard to split herself into her good and dark sides in order to win a rebellion to free Oz from evil.

Cultural reference[edit]

  • The Season 3 episode of the serial drama Lost entitled "The Man Behind the Curtain" is a reference to the Wizard. His name is also mentioned in the dialogue of the show, with John Locke comparing Ben Linus to the Wizard and saying that he is the one orchestrating events and is "The Man Behind the Curtain".
  • In the episode "It's Christmas in Canada" of the television series South Park, the main characters visit the new Prime Minister of Canada, who takes the shape of a floating head. This turns out to be a projection operated by Saddam Hussein, who was hiding in hole in the wall.
  • The television show Futurama aired Anthology of Interest II which parodied the 1939 movie version of the story where Professor Hubert Farnsworth played the wizard and appearing as a giant-headed version of himself standing behind a curtain.
  • The Wizard of Oz is the titular subject of the Spock's Beard song, "The Man Behind the Curtain" from their 2010 album, X.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Baum, Lyman Frank (2000). The Annotated Wizard of Oz: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 264. ISBN 978-0393049923. 
  2. ^ Jack Snow, Who's Who in Oz, Chicago, Reilly & Lee, 1954; New York, Peter Bedrick Books, 1988; pp. 238-9. ISBN 0-87226-188-3
  3. ^ Michael O. Riley, Oz and Beyond: The Fantasy World of L. Frank Baum, Lawrence, KS, University Press of Kansas, 1997; p. 140. ISBN 0-7006-0832-X.
  4. ^ Riley, p. 148.
  5. ^ Riley, pp. 145-6.
  6. ^ Riley, p. 146.
  7. ^ Official website for Riz-Zoawd.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Pastoria
Monarch of Oz Succeeded by
The Scarecrow