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Magic Picture

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The Magic Picture is a wonderful magical invention which hangs in Ozma's chamber in the Royal Palace in the Emerald City.

Description

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Ozma and her court look into the Magic Picture.

The picture is set in a radium frame, and occupies one side the Ozma's cosy boudoir. When idle, this picture constantly changes in appearance, showing at one time a meadow, and another time a forest, lake, or a village. A viewer can request to see any part of the world or any person living, and the Magic Picture will show a moving picture of what is asked. It has one inherent limitation: the user must know what to ask for — as the Nome King once observed. (The Magic of Oz)

The Magic Picture is so valuable that villains sometimes conspire to steal it. (The Lost Princess of Oz, Handy Mandy in Oz)

Book Appearances

Background

The Magic Picture is interesting in that it predates television by many years, but predicts very accurately its uses. At times it works silently without sound, but at other times it allows viewers to both see and hear the scenes it depicts.

An object similar to the Magic Picture appears in John Dough and the Cherub; the palace of the Fairy Beavers has an Observation Room containing a square box with a window in one side, which can display a scene from anywhere in the world, with sound.

In The Mysterious Chronicles of Oz, the Magic Picture is a gift to Ozma from Tititi-Hoochoo. However, in The Shaggy Man of Oz, Ozma says that she created the Magic Picture.

The Picture is so narratively useful that it appears in many subsequent Oz stories by many authors. It experiences a rare failure in the Karyl Carlson and Eric Gjovaag's Oz book, Queen Ann in Oz.

In the Magic Land series, its analogue is actually a television-like box made of pink wood. It is password activated, and was shown to be very durable. It shows only the territory of the Magic Land, with the exception of deep underground caves. It was known to fail inside a certain type of magical fog.

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