- "Good gracious!" cried Dorothy, as she was so startled by the queer sight before her. For standing right in front of her and Billina, was the form of a man--or, at least, it seemed like some sort of a man, in the dim, dusty light. He was only about as tall as Dorothy herself, and his body was round as a ball and made out of burnished copper. His round head was also copper, as well as his limbs and these were jointed or hinged to his round body in a peculiar way, with metal caps over the joints, like the armor worn by knights in storybooks from the old days. He stood perfectly still, and where the light struck upon his unique form, it glittered as if made of pure gold. "
- ―Ozma of Oz (1907)
- "I am Tik-Tok, the Royal Army of Oz. His Majesty, the Scarecrow, locked me in here and told me to wait for you. "
- ―Tik-Tok in Return to Oz (1985)
Tik Tok in Return to Oz
|Title||Royal Army of Oz; Adviser to Ozma of Oz|
|Origin||Smith & Tinker (Land of Ev)|
|Affiliation||Land of Ev, Wheelers, Princess Langwidere, Nome King, Land of Oz, Dorothy Gale, Toto, Billina, Princess Ozma, Polychrome, Gump, Jack Pumpkinhead, Button Bright, Shaggy Man, Braided Man, Betsy Bobbin, Trot|
|First Appearance||Ozma of Oz|
- "...little girl, Pumpkinhead, make the chicken, fly the coop! "
- ―Tik-Tok in Return to Oz (1985)
Tik-Tok is a one of a kind robotic mechanical man created by L. Frank Baum. He makes an appearance as one of the main characters in Baum's third Oz book titled Ozma of Oz, published in 1907. He is introduced in the fourth chapter of the story titled Tik-Tok, the Machine Man. The card on his back reads:
- The character of Tik-Tok is most notable for being one of the main characters in Walt Disney's 1985 cult classic film Return to Oz.
Tik-Tok is a very special and authentic robot man made entirely of smooth copper and is only as tall as Dorothy Gale who is described as no older than a twelve year old child. His body is as round as a ball, and his limbs are jointed or hinged to his body with polished caps over the joints.
He runs on clockwork springs which periodically need to be wound, like a wind-up toy or mechanical clock. He has separate windings for thought, action, and speech. He is guaranteed to work perfectly for a thousand years.
Tik-Tok is unable to wind any of his keys by himself. He becomes frozen or mute or, for one memorable moment, continues to speak but utters complete gibberish. (The Road to Oz) In the Oz books, Tik-Tok is not alive and feels no emotions whatsoever. He therefore can no more love or be loved than a sewing machine, but as a servant he is utterly truthful and loyal and can never lie. He also has a monotonic, halting mode of speech: "Good morn-ing, lit-tle girl."
- Many TV/film versions portray Tik-Tok's character to be able to feel real sincere emotions but only when he is wound up.
History of Tik-Tok
Tik-Tok was invented by Smith & Tinker at their workshop in Evna. He was later purchased by King Evoldo, the ruler of the magical Land of Ev, who gave him the name Tik-Tok because of the sound he made when wound. The cruel King also whipped his mechanical servant, but that simply kept Tik-Tok's round copper body polished. After King Evoldo sold his wife and children to the Nome King, he locked Tik-Tok inside a rock near the bay and after realizing what he had done, he threw himself off a high cliff and fell into the big ocean and committed suicide.
Dorothy Gale and Billina found a golden key on the beach of the Wheeler Country and used it to release Tik-Tok himself, who had long since run down and was immobilized. He became Dorothy's servant and protector, and despite his tendency to run down at crucial moments, helped to subdue the Nome King.
When Dorothy decided to return to her Uncle Henry (who was visiting Australia), Tik-Tok wanted to join her. Since Dorothy knew that his machinery would likely not work in a civilized country, she left him with Ozma in the Emerald City. (Ozma of Oz)
When some of Tik-Tok's parts began to wear down, the Wizard of Oz suggested he ask the Nome King for a new set of springs which would make his thoughts more elastic and responsive. A tactless remark angered the Nome King, who threw a mace at the machine man and burst him open, spilling hundreds of wheels, pins, cogs, and springs. The Nome King's steward, Kaliko, swept up the pieces and within two weeks put the clockwork man back together. ("Tiktok and the Nome King")
The Shaggy Man left Oz in search of his lost brother, but after Shaggy had gone Ozma discovered his brother's location in the Nome Kingdom. Glinda transported Tik-Tok to the Nome Kingdom to provide aid, but the Nome King found him first and threw him down a well. Tik-Tok was rescued by the Shaggy Man and Betsy Bobbin and Hank, and directed them to the Nome King's cavern. (Tik-Tok of Oz)
- Ozma of Oz (first appearance)
- Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz
- The Road to Oz
- Little Wizard Stories of Oz
- Tik-Tok of Oz
- The Scarecrow of Oz
- The Magic of Oz
- The Royal Book of Oz
- Kabumpo in Oz
- The Cowardly Lion of Oz
- The Lost King of Oz
- Jack Pumpkinhead of Oz
- Pirates in Oz
- The Scalawagons of Oz
Tik-Tok is one of the earlier robots to appear in literature, though that term was not coined until after writer L. Frank Baum's death.
Later Baum published "Tik-Tok and the Nome King," a short tale in his Little Wizard Stories of Oz series (1913); The Tik-Tok Man of Oz, a stage musical loosely adapted from Ozma of Oz; and an adaptation of that play back into a novel called Tik-Tok of Oz (1914). While Tik-Tok is a major character in that latter book, he in no way drives the plot. Tik-Tok also appears in most other Oz novels as a notable inhabitant of the Emerald City, most prominently in The Scalawagons of Oz.
In the Movies
Doothy in the Land of Oz 1980Tic Toc [sic] accompanies Dorothy, Jack Pumpkinhead and the Hungry Tiger in vanquishing Tyrone the Terrible Toy Tinkerer.
Return to Oz 1985
Tik-Tok was a main character in the movie Return to Oz, adapted from Ozma of Oz. In the movie, he is the entire royal army of Oz, ironic considering his generally helpless nature. Throughout the film he shows great loyalty and camaraderie to Dorothy and the group, and his lack of emotions proved beneficial during dangerous events.
Dorothy finds Tik-Tok in a secret room within the Emerald City and proceeds to wind him up, he then reveals that he was placed there by the Scarecrow and was ordered to aid Dorothy upon her arrival. He then accompanies Dorothy (and their soon-to-be allies Jack Pumpkinhead and the Gump) throughout the rest of her adventure. Upon being captured by the Nome King, the group is forced into a deadly game of chance, where they must individually find a cursed Scarecrow (who has been turned into an ornament by the Nome King) amongst the Nome King's vast collection of ornaments, and every time they fail they end up turning into ornaments themselves. On Tik-Tok's turn, he pretends to have his action run down in order to force the Nome King to allow Dorothy in to the collection room to wind him up. He then reveals that he faked his run down in order for Dorothy to witness his transformation into an ornament as to have a hint of what they are being turned into.Dorothy then worries for Tik-Tok and his willingness to sacrifice himself due to his lack of life and so proceeds to hug him, causing the clockwork man to display his first real emotion (compassion) and begins to cry oily tears as Dorothy wipes them away. He then picks his item and sadly turns into an ornament, and due to a bright flash Dorothy was unable to see what he was turned into. Later on after the Nome King is defeated and Dorothy's friends are restored, they manage to escape, however Dorothy soon realizes that they never found Tik-Tok, however the Gump reveals that he found a small green badge prior to their escape and Dorothy proceeds to chant "Oz" on the item which happily turns out to be Tik-Tok. The group then return to the Emerald City where Tik-Tok is cleaned and given a gold exterior. In the end Tik-Tok along with the rest tearfully say their goodbyes to Dorothy. Luckily Ozma allows Dorothy to come and visit whenever she wants.
In an interview which is included in the DVD's special features, Fairuza Balk described the Tik-Tok costume: An acrobat, Michael Sundin, was upside down inside Tik-Tok with his hands operating Tik-Tok's legs and his feet tucked behind Tik-Tok's head. He used a monitor inside this costume to navigate.
Dorothy Meets Ozma of Oz
Tik-Tok is part of Ozma's party to the Nome Kingdom, which consists of the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, Cowardly Lion, Hungry Tiger, and Ozma herself. He is with that party when they meet Dorothy, who is being frightened by the Wheelers. (Dorothy Meets Ozma of Oz)
- In the book, Dorothy finds Tik-Tok in a cave on the hill she takes refuge on; Ozma's party arrives later.
Dorothy and the Witches of Oz
Tik-Tok was a participant in the battle of Dorothy's youth. He also appears in Oz after the battle in New York City. (Dorothy and the Witches of Oz)
In The Wicked Years
A somewhat sinister version of Tik-Tok is a minor character in Gregory Maguire's revisionist Oz novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. In the novel, tiktok is used as an adjective for any mechanical or robotic being. The character Madame Morrible has a tiktok servant, called Grommetik, whose description matches Baum's Tik-Tok; however, his speech key is never wound. It is strongly implied that this tiktok servant kills Doctor Dillamond, on Madame Morrible's orders. Though no great detail is spent on the topic, Grommetik eventually becomes independent, and, possibly due to disgust of the things he was forced to do, tries to foment rebellion among the tik-toks. (Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West)
In Video Games
Emerald City Confidential
Following the corruption of the people of Oz as a result of the Phanfasm war, Tik-Tok has become a merciless, emotionless general on the Ozian army. He's also the guard at the gate of the Emerald City. He performs his duties to the letter. (Emerald City Confidential)
Tik-Tok is brought to life again in the Marvel Comic adaptation of Baums Oz book "Ozma of Oz" the third story in the comic/book series.
Dorothy Gale: Journey to Oz
- The Fairylogue and Radio Plays (1908): Wallace Illington
- The Tik-Tok Man of Oz (1913): James Morton
- Dorothy in the Land of Oz (1980): Joan Gerber (as Tic-Toc)
- Return to Oz (1985): Sean Barett