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 appearanceThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
Information
SpeciesHuman
GenderMale
OccupationAdvisor and court magician to Princess Ozma
TitleThe Wizard of Oz
FamilyA prominent Omaha politician and his wife (parents)
NationalityAmerican
 
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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 appearanceThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
Information
SpeciesHuman
GenderMale
OccupationAdvisor and court magician to Princess Ozma
TitleThe Wizard of Oz
FamilyA prominent Omaha politician and his wife (parents)
NationalityAmerican

Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkle Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs[1] (also known as the Wizard of Oz and, during his reign, as the Great and Powerful Oz) 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 a kind, ordinary man 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 that 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.

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 Woodsman'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 a spiritual 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, Finley (a winged monkey he rescued), and the China Girl (a living china doll, the sole survivor of an attack on China Town whose legs he repaired).

Adaptations[edit]

Cultural reference[edit]

The initials of his name spell oz pin head. Whether this was intentional is unknown.

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 OzSucceeded by
The Scarecrow