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The Fairylogue and Radio-Plays

L. Frank Baum, with the cast from Fairylogue.

Fairylogue and Radio-Plays was a multi-media Oz stage show created and presented by L. Frank Baum, to promote his first three Oz books plus John Dough and the Cherub.


The show, staged in the autumn of 1908, consisted of 23 filmed segments, magic-lantern slides, live actors, and a narration spoken by Baum himself. Baum dressed in a white suit when he presented the show; at the end he invited the children in the audience to meet Romola Remus, the 8-year-old actress who played Dorothy in the films. He also signed autographs and books in the lobbies of the theaters. The cast had an ensemble of around 30 members including Joseph Schrode who had played a couple roles in the 1902 stage show.

The films were produced by the Selig Polyscope Company in Chicago, then were hand-colored in Paris by Duval Freres. Baum stated that he had purchased the American rights to a film-coloring process developed by French artist Michel Radio. The "Radio" in the title refers to the man, not the broadcast medium that would follow later. Modern scholars have had trouble tracing Radio the man, and have questioned Baum's account though they cannot provide an alternative explanation for "Radio" in the show's title. The made up term "Fairylogue" was a play on the genre of Travelogues which showed viewers footage from destinations around the world. His eldest son Frank Joslyn Baum served as the projectionist during Fairylogue performances.

The first portion of the show, titled "The Land of Oz," was dominated by the silent-movie scenes from the first three Oz books; it ran through 14 scenes in an hour and ten minutes. During the intermission, slides from the then recent Oz book, Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, were projected. The second half of the program delivered an abridged version of John Dough and the Cherub with seven scenes in about forty minutes.

The show opened in Grand Rapids on 24 September 1908 to a warm reception, and proved a popular success. It toured through a dozen cities in the Midwest and New York State, including Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Syracuse. The effects were widely praised, especially the scenes of Dorothy at sea in the chicken coop and John Dough's rocket flight. Many viewers and commentators erroneously believed that child actress Remus had been endangered while "filming" the shipwreck scene - not realizing that the scene was a trick of double exposure.

Income from ticket sales, though, never matched the expenses of production and transport. Baum was forced to close the show in New York City on 6 December 1908. Baum financed the show himself, paying for 114 slides to be made from John R. Neill drawings, and for 27 musical numbers by Nathaniel D. Mann performed by a live orchestra, among other costs. The debts that resulted would be the main cause of Baum's bankruptcy in 1911.

In lieu of payment of thousands of dollars owed them by Baum which was about $3,000 or $86,000 when adjusted for inflation, Selig acquired the rights to the films they had made for him, and released them as four separate one-reelers in 1910 which include the now lost The Land of Oz (1910) and Dorothy and the Scarecrow in Oz. These Fairylogue movies were the earliest filmed versions of Oz stories seen by the public but unfortunately no surviving prints are known to exist. The last recorded re-release of the footage was in 1925 through the company First National Pictures which later merged with Warner Brothers. The script and the slides for the show however have been preserved but are not widely available.

The known storylines are very loose with the source material as otherwise legal issues between 1913-1915 in which Selig was declared an illegal monopoly by the Supreme Court might have led Baum to create his own Oz Film Manufacturing Company in 1914 to produce more movies that could be feature length.

Francis Boggs and Otis Turner are credited as the directors of the Selig films with Boggs the Oz segments, and Turner with John Dough. Turner is also credited as providing help to Baum on the scenarios for the films, and two years later directed the 1910 Selig movie version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

The earliest map of Oz ever created was a slide from the Fairylogue show.


As listed in the order credited in the program:

Fairylouge Colored

A Colored Photo from the Film (The whole film was hand colored making it one of the earliest colored films


  • L. Frank Baum. The Annotated Wizard of Oz. Michael Patrick Hearn, ed. New York, W. W. Norton, 2000.
  • Angelica Shirley Carpenter and Jean Shirley. L. Frank Baum: Royal Historian of Oz. Minneapolis, Lerner Publications, 1992.
  • Andrew A. Erish. Col. William N. Selig, the Man Who Invented Hollywood. Austin, University of Texas Press, 2012.
  • David L. Greene and Dick Martin. The Oz Scrapbook. New York, Random House, 1977.
  • Katharine M. Rogers. L. Frank Baum, Creator of Oz: A Biography. New York, St. Martin's Press, 2002.
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Live-Action adaptations Silent films Fairylogue and Radio-Plays (1908) • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1910) • His Majesty, the Scarecrow of Oz (1914) • The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1914) • The Magic Cloak of Oz (1914) • The Wizard of Oz (1925)
Modern films The Wizard of Oz (1939) • The Wonderful Land of Oz (1969) • 20th Century Oz (1976) • The Wiz (1978) • Return to Oz (1985) • The Dreamer of Oz (1990) • The Wizard of the City of Emeralds (1994) • The Muppets' Wizard of Oz (2005) • After the Wizard (2011) • Oz the Great and Powerful (2013) • The Wiz Live! (2015)
Inspired films Flying Monkeys (2013) • OzLand (2015)
Guest Appearances Inkheart (2008) • Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021)
Animated adaptations Feature films Journey Back to Oz (1974) • The Wizard of Oz (1982) • The Wizard of Oz (1983) • The Wizard of Oz (1991) • Lion of Oz (2000) • Tom and Jerry & the Wizard of Oz (2011) • Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return (2014) • Guardians of Oz (2015) • Tom and Jerry: Back to Oz (2016) • Urfin Jus and His Wooden Soldiers (2017) • The Steam Engines of Oz (2018)
Guest Appearances The LEGO Movie (2014) • The Lego Batman Movie (2017)
Upcoming adaptations Wicked: Part One/Wicked: Part Two (2024-5) • Dorothy & Alice (TBA) • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (film) (TBA) • Toto (film) (TBA)
Short films After Oz (2007) • The Land of Oz (short film) (2015) • Dorothy in the Land of Stars (2017) • Unknown, Lost, or non-English Adaptations