- "... 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... "
- ― The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
The Munchkins are a fictional race created by L. Frank Baum, author and creator of the Oz legacy. They first appeared in the novel 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz', published in 1900. They are the first tribe in Oz out of the four quadrants in Oz to be introduced in the story. Unlike the iconic film adaptation of 1939 by MGM, in the original story Baum states that Munchkins wear only shades of blue clothing as blue is the mascot color which represents the eastern country in the enchanted realm known as the magical Land of Oz where the Munchkins live. They, along with the non-Munchkin Witch known as the Good Witch of the North; Locasta Tattypoo who is from the neighboring Gillikin Country in Oz, accompanied them when the main character and child protagonist of the story Dorothy Gale arrived in Oz via cyclone with her pet dog Toto. They are also 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 four or five feet in height. They are the shortest tribe in all the land of Oz. However, in the iconic 1939 MGM film 'The Wizard of Oz' depicted Munchkins as being much shorter than other residents of Oz and are played by midgets and dwarfs aka "little people" who we're mostly all professional dancers and performers from all around the world. Some working in circuses and carnivals before being hired by MGM to be in the movie.
- "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)
Some Munchkins even speak in rather high pitched mousy voices while others do not. The Munchkins are not at all harmful but infact timid and easily intimidated when challenged by anything bigger than them. They are naturally very humble, happy little people who work hard to make a profitable, honest and decent living. The good majority of the Munchkin people are all farmers who have large families. They mainly raise richly abundant crops and successful vegetable gardens. They are mostly high spirited despite their size, and are content with they're lives. The Munchkins are the wealthiest race of Ozians in all of Oz, other than those who live within Oz's capital which is the Emerald City.
- "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 gentleness and hospitality, welcoming anyone who visits the east county where they live in peace and harmony.
- "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 mean that only Munchkins are short in stature (as depicted in the iconic 1939 film), but that this is the norm for all of the adult humans of Oz. In a scene 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." Still later, the Quadlings of the southern land are described as "short and fat." In W. W. Denslow's illustrations for The Wonderful Wizard (approved by Baum), the only Oz humans depicted as remarkably taller than Dorothy are the Soldier with the Green Whiskers and Glinda. The short stature of Oz residents is rarely mentioned in the later 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 in Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz.
The Munchkins originated in Oz and are natural born Ozians.The 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.
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. 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)
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.
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