- "... As Dorothy stood, mesmerized by the lovely sights around her, she noticed coming down toward her from a grassy hill, a group of the Queerest people she had ever seen. They were not as big as the grown folk she had always been used to back home; but neither were they very small. In fact, they seemed about as tall as Dorothy, who was a well-grown child for her age, although they were, so far as looks go, many years older. They wore round funny looking hats in shades of blue, and that rose to a small point about a foot above their heads, with little silver jingle bells all across the brims that tinkled ever so sweetly as they moved. Their clothes were also blue and of the same shade as their hats, and they all wore well-polished boots with a deep roll of blue at the tops. The men, Dorothy thought, were about as old as Uncle Henry, for two of them had long gray beards. "
- ― The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
"We Wish to welcome you to Munchkinland..."
Munchkins are the fictional race created by L. Frank Baum, author and creator of the Oz legacy. They first appeared in Baum's first Oz book titled The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published in 1900. They are the first Ozians out of the four clans in the magical Land of Oz to be introduced in Baum's story, making an introduction in the second chapter of the novel titled The Council With The Munchkins. Unlike the iconic movie musical adaptation of 1939, The Wizard of Oz, in the original story Baum states that Munchkins strictly only wear shades of blue clothing as blue is the mascot color that represents their natvie country which is the eastern qaudrant in Oz.
- In the original book, Glinda the Good does not visit the land of the Munchkins to greet a newly arrived Dorothy Gale and Toto in the beginning like it was portrayed in the 1939 movie. The original Witch who she first encounters is the non-Munchkin Witch known as the Good Witch of the North; named Locasta Tattypoo who is from the neighboring Gillikin Country in Oz. She accompanied the Munchkin people when Dorothy arrives in Oz via Kansas cyclone, not Glinda. They, along with Locasta Tattypoo are described as being Dorothy's height who was a well grown child for her age, being no older than twelve, but as far as looks went they we're significantly many years older.
The Munchkins of Oz
- "The little people who live in this land-it's Munchkinland, and you are they're national heroine, my dear. It's all right - you may all come out and thank her..."
- ―Glinda the Good (1939)
The majority of these folks are usually rather short in height, being no bigger than three or four feet high. They are the shortest tribe in all the land of Oz. They are mostly high spirited despite their size, and are content with their lives. The Munchkins are the wealthiest and healthiest race of Ozians in all of Oz.
- "Once in a while she would pass by a house and the Munchkin people would step out to look at her and bow low as she and Toto walked walked by, as they all knew she was the means of killing the Wicked Witch of East and forever setting the people free from her bondage."
- ―The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
Like the 1939 movie, some Munchkins do indeed speak in rather high pitched mousy voices and some speak in deep low voices. Despite their vocal differences the Munchkins in general are not at all harmful but infact gentle people who are not violent but are easily intimidated when challenged by anything bigger than them. Because of this the Munchkins usually keep to themselves, not bothering anyone else outside their own country or causing other Ozians trouble. They are naturally very humble, happy little people who work hard to make a profitable, honest and decent living in Oz and love the simpler things in life such as the great out back of the Munchkin Country. A good majority of the Munchkin people are all gifted farmers who have large families. The Munchkins all live side by side with their neighbors, and treat eachother like family, always being loyal to thy neighbor and are glad to help one another if ever in need. The Munchkins mainly raise richly abundant crops and successful vegetable gardens and are known as some of the most talented people in Oz when it comes to growing crops as farming runs in their Munchkin blood. Therefore the Munchkins are naturally born with "green thumbs". Most of them own their own land which they turn into large fields of stocks that strech out for many miles across the land.
- "The houses of the Munchkins were odd-looking dwellings, for each was round, with big domes for a roof. All were painted blue, for in this country of the East blue was the favorite color..."
- ―The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
- The Munchkins are known for their happiness, gentleness and hospitality, welcoming anyone who visits the land in the east, where they live in peace and harmony. When Dorothy Gale was on the yellow brick road while passing through the Munchkin Country to see the Wizard, the Munchkins invited her and Toto to join them in a great celebration to rejoice over the Wicked Witch of the East's death.
- "Toward evening, when Dorothy was tired with her long walk and began to wonder where she should pass the night, she came to a house rather larger than the rest. On the green lawn before it many men and women were dancing. Five little fiddlers played as loudly as possible, and the people were laughing and singing, while a big table near by was loaded with delicious fruits and nuts, pies and cakes and other good things to eat! "
- ―The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
Baum's Munchkins in the Land of Oz
Baum apparently did not exactly mean that only Munchkins are short (as depicted in the iconic 1939 film), but that this is 50% of the norm for all of the adult humans of Oz. If you read the original book, you'll notice W. W. Denslow's illustrations of the characters (which were approved by Baum), Dorothy, who's no older than twelve, is about the same height as most of the adults in Oz, even the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman are seen as being only a few inches taller than Dorothy. And later in the book, the Guardian of the Gates, (the first inhabitant of the Emerald City met by Dorothy and apparently representative of its citizens), is "a little man about the same size as the Munchkins." And later, the Quadlings of the southern quadrant in Oz called Quadling Country are described as "short and fat." In W. W. Denslow's illustrations the only Ozians depicted as remarkably taller than Dorothy are the Soldier with the Green Whiskers and Glinda the Good. Overall, you will notice that everyone on Oz treats Dorothy as an equal adult and not as a child. The short stature of Oz's residents is rarely mentioned in the later sequel books of the Oz series written by Baum.
However, in later Oz books, the Munchkins, and the people of Oz in general, were not described as being unusually short and were depicted as no shorter than the human characters from the United States. The one exception is the Munchkin wrestler that Dorothy's cousin Zeb fought. So all in all, the size of the Ozians in general is a mix of tall and little. (Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz)
The Munchkins were once ruled for many years by the tyrannical and cruel Witch known as the Wicked Witch of the East. This Witch conquered the entire Munchkin Country and then she eventually enslaved all of the land's native people to work for her night and day. However, one day, a little girl by the name of Dorothy Gale unexpectedly came to the land of Oz with her dog Toto via Kansas cyclone while aloft in a prairie farmhouse. When the storm dropped the house it fell out of the sky and crash-landed right on top of the Wicked Witch and accidentally killed her. The Munchkins were liberated and freed from her bondage forever. As a thank you reward, the Munchkins, and the Good Witch of the North gave Dorothy the Wicked Witch's charmed Silver Shoes, (Ruby Slippers in the 1939 movie.) Dorothy set out on the Yellow Brick Road to see the Wizard who she hoped would send her back home again. On her way passing through the Munchkin Country, she passed by a Munckin party and banquet thrown by the wealthy Munchkin man named Boq and stayed the night there before meeting the Scarecrow the very next day.
Munchkins in Hollywood
On November 20, 2007, the Munchkins were offically given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Seven of the surviving Munchkins actors from the film were present. As a result of the popularity of the iconic 1939 musical film The Wizard of Oz, the word "munchkin" has entered the English language as a reference to small children, dwarfs, or anything cute of diminutive stature.
Gregory Maguire's Wicked
In this spin off and more adult and mature take on Baum's classic story, the Munchkins are not as innocent as they are seen in other adaptations and versions. The Munchkins are not all small or short and some are regular sized humans in height. They drink, smoke, attend sex-clubs were Ozians participate in drug induced orgies and have sex whenever they please. They also use foul language and are violent when they feel threatened. The Munchkins also are very morally political when it comes to the government or law, and have a mob mentality and the Munchkin county is usually always on the verge of cival war with other countries within the land of Oz.
Famous or known Munchkins in Oz
- Kiki Aru
- Bini Aru
- Boq-one of the most wealthiest Munchkins of Oz.
- King Cheeriobed
- Mopsi Aru
- Nick Chopper (The Tin *Woodsman)
- Nimmie Amee
- Number Nine
- Ojo the Lucky
- Dr. Pipt
- Real Bad (Ree Alla Bad)
- Sister Six
- Unc Nunkie (Stephen)
The most memorable take on the Munchkin people are in the 1939 film. The Singer Midgets portrayed the Munchkins in MGM's The Wizard of Oz including the Mayor, the Coroner, the Lollypop Kid, the Lullaby Girl, and the Sleepy-Head, the Violin Man, and the Munchkin Soilder. Jerry Marren played one of the iconic Munchkins from the Lollypop guild that welcomed Dorothy to Munchkinland. The 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, also depicted Munchkins as being much shorter than other residents of Oz; they are played by adult proportional dwarfs, dressed in brightly multicolored outfits, and their land is called Munchkinland. Sometimes it is also referred to as Munchkin county.
The Wiz 1978
In stage production of The Wiz, the munchkins are these small overweight people with possibly tiny legs.After Dorothy's house landed on Evamene (the Wicked Witch of the East) they were overwhelmed with joy know that now they were free. In the film production the munchkins were played by a bunch of children and teenagers. These munchkins were turned into graffiti as a punishment for painting on Evamene's playground wall. But after Dorothy flattened her by the giant Z after crashing through the Oz sign, the curse was broken, they were free from their wall prison, and were able to play again.
Return to Oz 1985
The Muppets Wizard of Oz 2005
In the Disney made for TV movie, the Munchkins are portrayed by the gang of the Muppet Rats. They live in tiny blue houses and wear all blue clothing close to the original illustrations by W. W Denslow.
Dorothy and the Witches of Oz 2012
In the made for Tv movie 'Dorothy and the Witches of Oz', a group of Munchkins dressed in blue and white silk with matching hats can be seen during the battle that takes place in the land of Oz. They are played by "little people" like in the iconic 1939 film by MGM.
Oz the Great and Powerful 2013
In the Disney 2013 film, the Munchkins appearance is very close, if not identical to the Munchkin people from the 1939 musical, they also sing and dance. They help Glinda and the other tribes of Oz, help Oscar Diggs defeat the the Wicked Witches of the land and take back the Emerald City.
- The Wizard of Oz (1939): The Singer Midgets
- The Wiz (stage): Phylicia Ayers-Allen, Pi Douglass, Joni Palmer, Andy Torres, Carl Weaver
- The Wiz (movie): Ted Williams, Mabel Robinson,Damon Pearce, Donna Patric Ingram
- The Muppets' Wizard of Oz: Muppet Rats
- "The Wonderful Wizard of Ha's" (VeggieTales) (2007): The French Peas as Munchies