Scarecrow (Oz)

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Scarecrow
Oz character
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, 009.png
First appearance The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
Created by L. Frank Baum
Portrayed byFrank Moore ( His Majesty, the Scarecrow of Oz )
Larry Semon ( The Wizard of Oz )
Ray Bolger ( The Wizard of Oz )
Hinton Battle ( The Wiz; 1975 musical)
Michael Jackson ( The Wiz; 1978 film)
Justin Case ( Return to Oz )
Jackson Browne ( The Wizard of Oz in Concert: Dreams Come True )
Kermit the Frog (Steve Whitmire) ( The Muppets' Wizard of Oz )
Elijah Kelley ( The Wiz Live! )
Ari Zagaris ( Dorothy and the Witches of Oz )
Oliver Jackson-Cohen ( Emerald City )
Voiced by Alfie Scopp ( Tales of the Wizard of Oz and Return to Oz )
Mickey Rooney ( Journey Back to Oz )
Billy Van ( The Wizard of Oz; anime film)
Richard Dumont ( The Wonderful Wizard of Oz )
Matthew Stone ( Dorothy Meets Ozma of Oz )
David Lodge ( The Wizard of Oz; 1990 cartoon series)
Andy Milder ( The Oz Kids )
Michael Gough ( Tom & Jerry and the Wizard of Oz and Tom & Jerry: Back to Oz )
Paul Scheer ( Once Upon a Time )
Dan Aykroyd ( Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return )
Stephen Stanton ( Lost in Oz )
William Salyers ( Lego Dimensions )
Paul Eiding ( Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. )
Bill Fagerbakke ( Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz )
In-universe information
Alias Socrates Strawman
Chang Wang Woe
Fiyero Tigelaar
Species Scarecrow
GenderMale
TitleHis Majesty the Scarecrow
Royal Treasurer
Emperor of the Silver Islands
OccupationRuler of Oz
Tin Woodman's treasurer
Corn farmer
SpouseTsing Tsing (in his former incarnation)
Children3 sons
15 grandsons (from his former incarnation)

The Scarecrow is a character in the fictional Land of Oz created by American author L. Frank Baum and illustrator W.W. Denslow. In his first appearance, the Scarecrow reveals that he lacks a brain and desires above all else to have one. In reality, he is only two days old and merely naïve. Throughout the course of the novel, he proves to have the brains he seeks and is later recognized as "the wisest man in all of Oz," although he continues to credit the Wizard for them. He is, however, wise enough to know his own limitations and all too happy to hand the rulership of Oz, passed to him by the Wizard, to Princess Ozma, and become one of her trusted advisors, though he typically spends more time having fun than advising.

Contents

Character biography

In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

In Baum's classic 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz , the living scarecrow encounters Dorothy Gale in a field in the Munchkin Country while she is on her way to the Emerald City. He tells her about his creation and of how he at first scared away the crows, before an older one realised he was a straw man, causing the other crows to start eating the corn. The old crow then told the Scarecrow of the importance of brains. The "mindless" Scarecrow joins Dorothy in the hope that The Wizard will give him a brain. They are later joined by the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion. When the group goes to the West, he kills the Witch's crows by breaking their necks. He is torn apart by the Flying Monkeys and his clothes thrown up a tree, but when his clothes are filled with straw he is back again. After Dorothy and her friends have completed their mission to kill the Wicked Witch of the West, the Wizard gives the Scarecrow brains (made out of bran, pins and needles – in reality a placebo, as he has been the most intelligent of the group all along). Before he leaves Oz in a balloon, the Wizard appoints the Scarecrow to rule the Emerald City in his absence. He accompanies Dorothy and the others to the palace of the Good Witch of the South Glinda, and she uses the Golden Cap to summon the Winged Monkeys, who take the Scarecrow back to the Emerald City.

His desire for a brain notably contrasts with the Tin Woodman's desire for a heart, reflecting a common debate between the relative importance of the mind and the emotions. Indeed, both believe they have neither. This philosophical debate between the two friends as to why their own choices are superior; neither convinces the other, and Dorothy, listening, is unable to decide which one is right. Symbolically, because they remain with Dorothy throughout her quest, she is provided with both and need not select. [1]

Later Oz books

Cover of The Scarecrow of Oz (1915) by L. Frank Baum; illustration by John R. Neill Scarecrow of oz cover.jpg
Cover of The Scarecrow of Oz (1915) by L. Frank Baum; illustration by John R. Neill

The Scarecrow also appears in other Oz books, sharing further adventures with Dorothy and her friends. His reign as king of the Emerald City ends in The Marvelous Land of Oz when General Jinjur and her Army of Revolt oust him in a coup. He manages to escape the palace and joins Tip and his companions in seeking the aid of Glinda the Good. He spars with H. M. Woggle-Bug T. E. on the value of education. Although he claims to be educated himself and to value education, he finds the Woggle-Bug's learning rote and without wisdom. Although he cannot eat, he tells Billina that she might be better cooked and generally seems to favor the use of animals as food, sometimes making snide remarks to that effect to his animal companions, although he himself only gathers nuts and fruit for his traveling companions, such as Dorothy and Tip, to eat.

By The Road to Oz he is acknowledged, at least by the Tin Woodman, to be "probably the wisest man in all Oz," and this is the caption of an illustration, suggesting that the reader take his comment at face value. Dorothy herself, in Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz , praises the Scarecrow's wisdom and says the Scarecrow seemed just as wise before the Wizard gave him brains as after. In The Emerald City of Oz , the Scarecrow lives in a house shaped like an ear of corn in Winkie Country. In The Scarecrow of Oz , the Scarecrow travels to Jinxland, where he helps Cap'n Bill, Trot and Button-Bright overthrow the villainous King Krewl. In Glinda of Oz the Scarecrow serves as Regent to Ozma of Oz, demonstrating that he is Ozma's third in command. Mostly all he does is play croquet until Ozma's advisers, including himself, band together for a rescue operation.

In The Royal Book of Oz by Ruth Plumly Thompson, Baum's authorized successor as "Royal Historian of Oz", Professor Woggle-Bug accused the Scarecrow of having no ancestry, so he returns to the pole at the cornfield where he was once hung. Sliding down it and descending underground, he first encounters the Midlings and then the Silver Islands, whose people believe themselves to be the ancestors of the Chinese. Apparently, when Emperor Chang Wang Woe defeated the king of the Golden Islands in battle, the king hired a sorcerer to sneak into the palace and transform the Emperor into a crocus, which later sprouted into a bean pole, preceding a prophecy that the first being to touch the bean pole would become possessed by the spirit of the Emperor. As it turned out, the first thing to touch the pole was the straw-stuffed human, which would become the Scarecrow. This account is not consistent with the Scarecrow's story in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz of becoming aware of each sense as the relevant organs were painted on his head.

Scholarly interpretations

Denslow's drawing of scarecrow hung up on pole and helpless, from first edition of book, 1900 Dorothy and the Scarecrow 1900.jpg
Denslow's drawing of scarecrow hung up on pole and helpless, from first edition of book, 1900
July 1896 Puck cartoon shows farmer hung up on pole and helpless; was this Denslow's inspiration? The hat says "silverite"; the locomotive is gold 96SILVER.JPG
July 1896 Puck cartoon shows farmer hung up on pole and helpless; was this Denslow's inspiration? The hat says "silverite"; the locomotive is gold

Economics and history professors have published scholarly studies that indicate the images and characters used by Baum and Denslow closely resembled political images that were well known in the 1890s. The Scarecrow, like other characters and elements in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, was a common theme found in editorial cartoons of the previous decade. Baum and Denslow, like most writers, used the materials at hand that they knew best. They built a story around them, added Dorothy, and added a series of lessons to the effect that everyone possesses the resources they need (such as brains, a heart and courage) if only they had self-confidence. Although it was a children's book, of course, Baum noted in the preface that it was a "modernized" fairy tale as well.

Those who interpret The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as a political allegory often see the Scarecrow, a central figure, as a reflection of the popular image of the American farmeralthough he has been persuaded that he is only a stupid hick, he possesses common sense, logic and a quick-wit that needs only to be reinforced by self-confidence.

The blackface minstrel star, Fred Stone, was the first to play the Scarecrow on stage, and he brought his minstrel style of performance to the role of the Scarecrow. Baum was delighted with Stone's performance, and he wrote subsequent Oz books with Stone's minstrel-style in mind. [2]

Television

Films

Ray Bolger, The Wizard of Oz 1939 The Wizard of Oz Ray Bolger 1939.jpg
Ray Bolger, The Wizard of Oz 1939

Video games

Live performances

Comic books and novels

Related Research Articles

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References

  1. L. Frank Baum, Michael Patrick Hearn, The Annotated Wizard of Oz, p 141, ISBN   0-517-50086-8
  2. Robin Bernstein, Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights, (New York: New York University Press, 2011), 159-168.
  3. "Scarecrow from "The Wizard of Oz"". National Museum of American History . Retrieved 2008-05-22.
  4. "Treasures of American History: The Wizard of Oz". National Museum of American History. Retrieved 2011-06-29.
  5. http://www.witness.co.za/index.php?showcontent&global%5B_id%5D=73897
  6. Allport, Lee (8 March 2013). "Oz the Great and Powerful: A Prequel at Its Best" . Retrieved 10 March 2013. There are other interesting "that explains it" moments as well. We get up close and personal with The Cowardly Lion and find out what spooked him into being afraid of his own shadow. We get to know the Tin Man's father and the creators of the Scarecrow and learn more about Munchkinland.
  7. Shazam! Vol. 3 #8-9. DC Comics.
  8. Shazam! Vol. 3 #13. DC Comics.
Preceded by
The Wizard of Oz
Monarch of Oz Succeeded by
Jinjur