- "My mother built me to scare that awful Witch Mombi, she stood me in a place where Mombi would meet me face to face. And along she came, sure enough she was scared, but then she became angry, she has a terrible temper! Anyway, Mombi was about to destroy me with her stick. But then she decided to test some Powder of Life, she'd just bought from some Magician. Well, she did, and it worked, and here...I...am... "
- ―Jack Pumpkinhead in Return to Oz (1985)
Jack Pumpkinhead from Return to Oz
|Title||Adviser to Ozma of Oz, Son of Ozma|
|Origin||Gillikin Country (Powder of Life)|
|Residence||Pumpkin House (Winkie Country)|
|Affiliation||L. Frank Baum, Land of Oz, Powder of Life, Mombi, Dorothy Gale, Ozma, Tip, (mother), Sawhorse, Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, Jinjur, Gump, Emerald City|
|First Appearance||The Marvelous Land of Oz (1904)|
Jack Pumpkinhead is a fictional character created by L. Frank Baum. He is introduced in Baums' second Oz book titled The Marvelous Land of Oz, published in 1904. Jack is a famous personage from the magical Land of Oz and the "son" of Princess Ozma, the child Queen of Oz. Ozma made Jack when she was still Kitchen boy and slave to Witch Mombi known as simply Tip.
- Jack Pumpkinhead is most notable from the Disney's 1985 Cult Classic film Return to Oz. He was also the inspiration of Tim Burton's iconic character known as Jack the Skeleton from Disney's A Nightmare Before Christmas.
Jack's head is a carved pumpkin with a jolly expression. His tall figure is made from tree limbs of solid hickory and jointed with wooden pegs, and his neck is a sharp stick upon which his pumpkin head is placed. His first set of clothing consisted of purple trousers, a red shirt, a pink vest with white polka dots, stockings, and shoes. He has other outfits, all with the same lack of color coordination.
Jack is not known for his intelligence which seems to depend on the quality and number of the seeds in his pumpkin-head at that time. However he does manage to come up with random bits of wisdom and common sense. He is also shown to be quite skilled at making vegetable-themed houses.
Jack was made by a little boy named Tip to scare his guardian, an old witch named Mombi. However, instead of being frightened, Mombi used Jack to test her new Powder of Life. The powder worked and Jack came to life. When Tip ran away from Mombi, he took Jack with him and headed south for the Emerald City. After many adventures, it was revealed that Tip was actually Ozma, the lost princess of Oz. Even though Ozma returned to her true form by the end of their adventure, Jack will occasionally call her "father" as well as "mother". (The Marvelous Land of Oz)
Later, Jack settled in a house in the middle of a pumpkin field in the Winkie Country. He spends much of his time growing pumpkins to replace his old heads, which eventually spoil and need to be replaced. Apparently, Princess Ozma carves new heads for Jack when necessary. The old heads are buried in a graveyard on his property. (The Road to Oz) Jack also designed a five story, jewel-encrusted, corn-shaped mansion for the Scarecrow. (The Emerald City of Oz)
Once, Princess Ozma sent Jack with the Sawhorse to rescue a pair of lost children from the woods at the west of Oz. His pumpkin head was smashed as a result of a run-in with the Squirrel King, but the Wizard of Oz came to his rescue. ("Jack Pumpkinhead and the Sawhorse")
Peter Brown, (a little boy baseball pitcher from Philadelphia) while reminiscing about his previous visit to Oz, suddenly found himself landing right into Jack Pumpkinhead's front yard in the Winkie Country. Peter and Jack set off together for the Emerald City, but took a wrong turn and ended up traveling through the Quadling Country. (Jack Pumpkinhead of Oz)
- The Marvelous Land of Oz (first appearance)
- The Road to Oz
- The Emerald City of Oz
- Little Wizard Stories of Oz
- The Patchwork Girl of Oz
- The Scarecrow of Oz
- Rinkitink in Oz
- The Magic of Oz
- The Royal Book of Oz
- Kabumpo in Oz
- Jack Pumpkinhead of Oz
- Pirates in Oz
- The Scalawagons of Oz
Jack had to wait until the 23rd Oz book to get a book named after himself along with the starring role. Jack Pumpkinhead of Oz was written by Ruth Plumly Thompson, the writer who continued the Oz books after the death of L. Frank Baum.
Jack is surprisingly effective as a substitute ruler in J. L. Bell's non-canonical story "Jack Pumpkinhead's Day in Court."
Jack is also one of the main Oz characters in the "Lost in Oz" trilogy by Joshua Patrick Dudley. He joins the modern teens in the first novel, where he reveals the characters' prophecy in Oz. He becomes a close companion of the main characters throughout the next two novels, making frequent appearances. His character is smarter than ever and often offers the characters of "Lost in Oz" sound advice. Joshua, the main character, calls Jack one of his closest friends in Oz.
In The Wonderful Land of Oz Jack was played by George Wordsworth.
In Dorothy in the Land of Oz Jack was voiced by Robert Ridgely.
In The Shirley Temple Show: The Land of Oz Jack was voiced by Sterling Holloway (who was also the original voice for Disney's Winnie the Pooh).
Jack also makes a brief cameo during the opening of Dorothy and the Witches of Oz.
- The Woggle Bug (1905): Hal Godfrey
- The Fairylogue and Radio Plays (1908): Bronson Ward Jr.
- The Shirley Temple Show: The Land of Oz (1960): Sterling Holloway
- The Wonderful Land of Oz (1969): George Wadsworth
- Journey Back to Oz (1974): Paul Lynde
- Dorothy in the Land of Oz (1980): Robert Ridgely
- Marvelous Land of Oz (1981): Carl Beck
- Return to Oz (1985): Brian Henson