The Munchkins are known for their gentleness and hospitality, welcoming anyone who visits the east county where they live in peace.
Baum's original Munchkins
The Munchkins are the natives of the fictional Munchkin Country in the fourteen Oz books written by L. Frank Baum, author and creator of the Oz legacy. They first appeared in the first story 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz'. In which they are described as wearing only blue fabrics. They generally wear round pointed hats that rise more than a foot high with little jingle bells all across the brim. And their clothes are always shades of blue. The popular Munchkin style is knee-breeches with silk stockings, low shoes with attractive jeweled buckles, shirts with frilled bosoms, and vests embroidered with satin. They and the non-Munchkin Witch of the North accompanying them to greet Dorothy Gale, are described as being close to Dorothy's own height, who was considered a well grown and healthy child for her age which was no older than twelve.
"... she noticed coming down toward her 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; 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..." -Baum introducing the Munchkins, 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz'.The Munchkins are the most known tribe out of the four in Baum's stories, Gillikins of the North, Winkies of the West and Quadlings of the South who also all live in the land of Oz.
HistoryThe Munchkins were ruled for many years by the tyrannical Wicked Witch of the East, who conquered and eventually enslaved them all to work for her night and day. All up until Dorothy Gale's Kansas farm house was picked up by a terrible Cyclone and brought to the land of Oz and dropped it in the east land of the country. And ultimately crushed and killed the Munchkins Wicked oppressor. Which liberated and freed the Munchkin people from bondage forever. As a thank you reward, the Muchkins, and the Good Witch of the North gave Dorothy the Wicked Witches magic Silver Shoes to have and wear.
Muchkins 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 have sex whenever they please and use foul language. They also are very morally political when it comes to the government or law, and the Munchkin county is usually always on the verge of cival war with other countries within the land of Oz.
Film adaptationsThe 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.
Oz the Great and Powerful
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.
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
The Muppets Wizard of Oz
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.
- 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