- "The bright western sun disappeared as the sky quickly darkened, and a low rumbling sound was heard in the humid air. There was a swift rushing of many feathered wings, yet not of bird. A great chattering and laughing filled the atmosphere and when the hot sun came out again, the light showed the Wicked Witch of the West that she was surrounded by a large crowd of wild monkeys, each with a pair of immense and powerful wings on his shoulders."
- ―The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
The Winged Monkeys aka (Flying Monkeys), are fictional creatures 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 and are introduced in the twelfth chapter of the novel titled The Search for the Wicked Witch. These specific monkeys are a unique and very rare race of animal species who only inhabit the magical Land of Oz. Unlike the iconic 1939 musical movie The Wizard of Oz, Baum's Winged Monkeys are not slaves nor minions of the Wicked Witch of the West, but slaves to the charmed Golden Cap that the Wicked Witch temporarily owned to call upon them to do her dirty work when fighting her battles.
- "Take your Army to the Haunted Forest and bring me that girl and her dog! Do what you want with the others, but I want her alive and unharmed. They'll give you no trouble I promise you that! I've sent a little insect on ahead to take the fight out of them. And keep special care to those Ruby Slippers, I want those most of all...now FLY, FLY, FLY! "
- ―Wicked Witch of the West (1939)
These creatures all bare an immense pair of powerful and strong feathered wings on their backs and shoulders and can fly high into the air in long distances and sore like a bird or a hawk. They are a very mysterious band who come from unknown origins and are neither of good nor evil, yet somewhere more in between, being undeniably mischievous and playful. They can do either bad or good depending on the situation and depending on whoever owns the cap which they must obey whoever wears it three times, much like rubbing a magic lamp to get three wishes from a Genie.
- "The leader of the Winged Monkeys flew up to a frightened Dorothy as she held little Toto, the Monkey's long hairy arms stretched out towards her and his ugly face grinned terribly. But he saw the mark of the Good Witch of the North's kiss upon the little girl's forehead and stopped short, moitoning for the others not to touch her nor her pet."
- ―The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
The Story of The Winged Monkeys of Oz
- "Why do you have to obey the charm of the Golden Cap?" Dorothy asked. "That is a very long story," answered the leader of the Winged Monkeys, with a laugh; "but as we have a long flight before us, I will pass the time by telling you about it, if you wish." "I would very much like to hear it." Dorothy replied."
- ―The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
Thousands of years ago, the Winged Monkeys were all once a free band of animals, who were living in the jungles and forests in the enchanted Land of Oz doing as they pleased. They were truly a loyal yet carefree bunch who mostly kept to themselves and stuck with their own kind. They had a King, who was the ruler of the clan, and he was their leader who was the largest and most strongest Monkey of them all. But the Monkeys were also rather mischievous by nature, always looking to get into some innocent fun. However, one fateful day in Oz the King of the Winged Monkeys, decided as a prank, to toss a very richly dressed man into a raging river, soaking him from head to toe and completely ruining his handsome costume of soft golden silk and velvet.
The man, whose name was Quelala, was good natured enough and did not mind the prank and thought it to be rather funny. But his fiancée named Gayelette, was distraught and ever so furious. Gayelette was a beautiful princess and the ruler of the Northern Gillikin Country and lived in a small jeweled palace.
Gayelette was angry at the Winged Monkeys because the day they chose to play the prank on Quelala, was the same day of his and Gayellette's royal wedding. And what the Winged Monkeys did not know, was that Gayellette also happened to be a great sorceress who practiced magic. And she was so upset for all the unwanted monkey business, she punished the King Monkey and his entire group of winged creatures forever, cursing them all by making them the eternal slaves to whoever wore the Golden Cap upon their head. And whoever wore it could command them to do any deed they wished three times.
Now, Gayellete originally had this cap prepared as a valuable and authentic wedding present for her beloved betrothed. And the cap itself was a beautiful one indeed, being made out of real solid gold and adorned with real diamonds and rubies that ran all around the 24 karat gold brim. It is rumored that this cap alone cost princess Gayellette half of her kingdom and sorcery to construct.
When finally given the cap to wear after the wedding, Quelala then used It's powerful charm only once and once only, commanding the Winged Monkeys to stay far away from Gayelette, in fear that his new wife might punish the Winged Monkeys even more severely due to her short temper. So, as the years went by, they did as they were told and never came too close to Gayelette's Gillikin kingdom or her subjects ever again. After this, the band disappeared for a long time.
But the magic chant of the Golden Cap was set, and had even been engraved on the inside of the cap. The incantation of the charm that called the Winged Monkeys was:
- First, stand upon the left foot and say "Ep-pe, Pep-pe, Kak-ke."
- Then, stand upon the right foot and say "Hil-lo, hol-lo, hel-lo."
- Finally, stand on both feet and shout "Ziz-zy, zuz-zy, zik!"
Whenever those words were properly spoken out loud, the Winged Monkeys stopped what they were doing, abandoned their work or play at once and immediately came to assist their temporary master.
In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz 1900:
As time went on--many centuries later the magic cap fell into the hands of the Wicked Witch of the West, who was by now the ruler of the western qaudrant in Oz known as the Winkie Country. She wickedly used her first wish with the Winged Monkeys to help her conquer all of the west lands and enslave the majority of the native people who inhabited the western qaudrant known as the Winkies. Her second wish was to defeat the Great Oz, by having the Winged Monkeys run the man out of her territory when he dared to challenge her. So, as revenge the Wizard eventually sent a lost little girl named Dorothy Gale to kill her in exchange to be sent back home to Kansas after being taken to Oz unexpectedly by a cyclone. But the Wicked Witch used the magic cap for the last time and had the Winged Monkeys capture the girl, her dog named Toto and the Cowardly Lion to imprison them in her castle as her personal servants.
After the Wicked Witch was ultimately killed by being liquefied and melted away by Dorothy after she tried to steal one of the girl's magic Silver Shoes, the Winkies were set free from the Witch's wrath and to thank Dorothy, they restored the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman. Dorothy then took the cap as her own to wear and eventually used it too.
The first time, Dorothy commanded the Winged Monkeys to carry her and her companions back to the Emerald City. After the Wizard was discovered to be a humbug, Dorothy used the cap to ask them to carry her and Toto home to Kansas instead, but to the girls dismay they could not because the creatures were forbidden by the laws of the universe to travel beyond the magical realm of Oz. Thus, resulting in Dorothy wasting one request and command of the cap's magic charm. Afterwards, Dorothy made her third and final request. Which was for the Monkeys to safley carry her and her friends over the very rocky hill of the unfriendly creatures known as Hammer-Heads while on her journey to the Quadling Country to see the beautiful Good Witch named Glinda, who was her last hope and resort to find a way home.
Before leaving Oz, Dorothy finally gave the cap to Glinda, who in exchange let Dorothy in on the secret charm of the Silver Shoes she was wearing which would take her and her dog home again. Glinda then ordered the Monkeys to carry Dorothy's companions back to their new homes in Oz after Dorothy's departure and then to cease to bother people. Glinda then gave the winged creatures the cap as their own, to free them forever, ending the curse of Gayellette. After that the Winged Monkeys disappeared to live a life of freedom and peace somewhere within Oz as they had once did many centuries prior. And the Winged Monkeys learned a very valuable lesson, to never play pranks on anyone ever again.
The Wizard of Oz-Fly, Fly, Fly! (1939)
The monkeys in the classic Judy Garland film, are purple monkeys, with purple wings that wear elaborate caps and matching vests. They are simply the creatures of the Wicked Witch of the West. The monkey leader is named Nikko. They do not speak, or act independently of the Witch's will.
The Golden Cap can be seen, making a cameo appearance in the Witch's castle chamber, but she does not wear it nor say it's charm. The Witch sends the monkeys out to apprehend Dorothy Gale and her companions, but they only get Dorothy and Toto and scatter the Scarecrow's straw. They disappear from the story after the Witch has been melted. Most likely just like the Winkie gaurds, they were all finally set free from her bondage after she died.(The Wizard of Oz)
- Their presence in the film has given the flying monkeys their iconographic identity in modern-day popular American culture.
- "Oh No, not the Flying Monkeys! "
- ―The Winkies in The Wiz (1978)
In the 1978 all African-American musical version of the story. The Wiz made the flying monkeys a motorcycle gang, and they all had a very unpleasent smell, which the Wicked Witch could not stand at all.
In The Wiz Live! they are called Winged Warriors. the actors would walk and leap on stilts specially made for the performance.
Oz the Great and Powerful 2013
In this Disney version which is a prequel to the 1939 movie, there's three different races of winged and flying monkeys. The evil and scary Winged Baboons with sharp teeth and claws are strictly controlled by the Witch of the East Evanora. The only representative of the other race of monkeys is Finley, who is smaller than the winged baboons and much more intelligent and intellectual. The purple monkeys of the Wicked Witch of the West- Theodora, have not emerged yet.
Finley is a very friendly and timid young monkey who works as a Bell-Boy in the Emerald City. Finley becomes a loyal friend of Oscar Diggs who is destined to be the Wizard, that the prophecy in Oz has been waiting for to finally be fulfilled.
Finley, whom he owes a life debt for saving him from a Pre-Cowardly Lion who makes a brief cameo appearance. Finley chooses to help Oz on his journey and carries the Wizard's bag and becomes a member of his party to safe Oz.
The Winged Baboons, meanwhile, are much more uglier and larger and are very ferocious. The power hungry Witch Evenora controls an enire Army of them, which she uses to bully, victimize and ultimately terrorize and then destroy various races and settlements all throught parts of Oz, including the Dainty China Country which was completely destroyed by them. Leaving only one known-lucky survivor, who was the China Girl. (Oz the Great and Powerful)
That's 70's show-Tornado Prom Episode
In the TV sitcom That's 70's show, the episode titled "Tornado Prom "--the show's protagonist character named Eric Forman becomes a Flying Monkey in Jackie Burkhart's Oz dream. The appearance of all the Oz characters including the Flying Monkey, are based off of W. W. Denslow's 1900 book illustrations instead of the 1939 MGM musical.
Once Upon A Time
In the popular ABC TV series Once Upon A Time, Zelena, the Wicked Witch of the West turns the Wizard of Oz (who in this version is a failed circus performer named Walsh) into a Winged Monkey as punishment for being a Humbug.
Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return
Flying Monkeys appear in the CGI children's film Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return. The monkeys are now all ruled by the evil Jester who is the brother of their previous owner the Wicked Witch of the West who was melted by a returned Dorothy Gale.
Depictions in modern fiction
In Alexander Volkov's Magic Land series, they appear in one more book after the first (By Stella' request, they delivered the analogue of the Magic Picture to Scarecrow, who was suffering from boredom), and are mentioned once more. The latter case makes it obvious that their reputation is quite ancient, since the mere mention forced a giant witch to reconsider fighting Stella - and the witch in question was asleep for five thousand years. While not bound to serve anyone, they are friendly to Stella. The leader of the Monkeys is named Worra.
In Gregory Maguire's revisionist novels Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West and Son of a Witch, the flying monkeys were created by Elphaba (the Witch) as part of her experiments on the nature of the soul and what distinguishes non-speaking animals from intelligent, speaking Animals. In these novels, most of the flying monkeys cannot speak, but Elphaba's favorite (named Chistery) has a distinctive speech pattern characterized by the repetition of similar-sounding words. In the musical adaptation, the monkeys gain wings as part of a magic spell gone awry.
The Vertigo comic book series Fables features a flying monkey named Bufkin, who may be a survivor of a conquered Land of Oz.
David Hulan's story "The Gauds of Oz" offers an explanation for how the Wicked Witch obtained the Golden Cap and so gained control over the winged monkeys. Other modern Oz writers also exploit the monkeys — see Dennis Anfuso's The Winged Monkeys of Oz, Chris Dulabone's The Marvelous Monkeys of Oz, and Peter Schulenburg's The Unwinged Monkey of Oz.
In Marvel's graphic novel adaptation the Winged Monkeys were dressed like soldiers. They still serve the Wicked Witch of the West, as she owns the hat that controls them. Their role in the story is identical to that in the original book, but with a new visual spin on them.
In Video Games
In Temple Run: Oz, Evanora's Winged Baboons replace the Temple Run series' standard Demon Monkeys as the main enemies chasing the player. They chase Oz through the Whimsie Woods, and also through the Dark Forest. They also swoop down at Oz, forcing him to duck under them. Finley also appears, giving Oz boosts by flying him over the terrain.
A Flying Monkey rebels against the Wicked Witch in the i0s game Flying Monkeys of Oz. The Witch shoots fireballs at him, while swirling energy ambushes him from all sides as the Emerald City passes in the background. Dorothy Gale later joins him and rides on his back.
In Todd McFarlane's action figure line "The Twisted Land of Oz," two flying monkey action figures (with a bloated Munchkin) are available as part of the "Collector's Club." According to the accompanying story, they are the Wizard's minions, transformed into steampunk cyborgs due to "Ozmic power."
Some historians who interpret The Wizard of Oz as a political allegory suggest the Winged Monkeys represent African-Americans, oppressed by an overbearing force and who are relieved to be free of that bondage when the evil force is terminated. Others see them as hired Pinkerton Agents who worked for the Trusts in the 1890s and hounded labor unions. (L. Frank Baum made an explicit reference to Pinkerton agents in a later book, The Lost Princess of Oz, p 211)
References in pop culture
These characters have had enough impact, between the books and the 1939 film, to have taken their own place in pop culture, regularly referenced in comedic or ironic situations as a source of evil or fear.
- Flying monkeys have appeared in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and The Simpsons.
- The Wayne's World catch-phrase "and monkeys might fly out of my butt!" may be a reference, at least incidentally, to the winged monkeys.
- In the movie Jumanji, monkeys see inside a TV shop on a television the winged monkeys from the Wizard of Oz, so they break inside the shop and steal TV sets.
- In the 1973 movie Hunter, actual footage from the Wizard of Oz movie is used to brainwash a race-car driver, terrorizing him until he screamed the line "Stop the monkeys! PLEASE Stop the monkeys!"
- The music video for "Heretics & Killers" by Protest The Hero opens with a shot of the front page of a newspaper stating 'The Witch is Dead: Flying Monkeys Out of Work'. The remainder of the video features the bandmembers dressed as the Flying Monkeys, trying (and failing) at various jobs, begging on the street, getting thrown out of a bar, and rocking out.
- In the DCOM movie Halloweentown High Debbie Reynolds' character Aggie Cromwell say "Whoever heard of hockey without Flying Monkeys".
- In the movie Inkheart, flying monkeys made their appearances as black monkeys with large eagle wings. They were with other animals in the dungeon after Darius used to read and said these words. Darius released them with other animals to attack Capricorn and his goons before they were returned to the Wizard of Oz book by Meggy who created her own words to send animals back to the books in the end of the movie.
- The Flying Monkeys apeared in Dora's Birthday Adventure!
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