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Promotional merchandise

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The Oz books and plays of L. Frank Baum were advertised with a variety of promotional merchandise and artifacts, including toys, dolls, and games — a trend that began during the author's lifetime and has continued ever since.

In a generation before Baum, Lewis Carroll had promoted his Alice books by licensing merchandise that included an Alice postage-stamp case and an Alice biscuit tin. Other successful children's book authors followed Carroll's example.

The earliest known Oz artifacts were released in connection with the hit 1902 stage adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. For the play's hundredth performance (on 15 April 1903), miniature brass jewel boxes, each bearing a tiny Cowardly Lion on its lid, were given to the women in the audience. A metal folding-cup souvenir was distributed to the audience of the 200th performance (11 July 1903). At other times, cardboard figures of the Tin Woodman and Scarecrow were given to children.

A Wogglebug Game of Conundrums was released by Parker Brothers in 1904, to promote the comic strip, book, and play featuring that character. In 1913 a rocking cardboard Woozy and a wooden Woozy figure were produced, in conjunction with the publication of The Patchwork Girl of Oz.

Frank Joslyn Baum, the author's eldest son, launched a series of Oz dolls in 1924; but the venture failed. A great variety of Oz items were released in connection with the MGM movie in 1939. A "Follow the Yellow Brick Road Doll and Toy Museum and Boutique" exists in Mullica Hill, New Jersey.

For examples of various other Oz promotions, tie-ins, and collectibles, see:


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