Oz Wiki

IMDb Rating

Journey Back to Oz is an animated sequel to MGM's The Wizard of Oz that was released in 1972 in the US by Filmation after being released two years earlier in the UK. Bizarrely, production had started in 1962 but completion was delayed by several obstacles over the years.

It serves as an alternate Oz film with elements taken from L. Frank Baum's The Marvelous Land of Oz. In 1962, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and The Marvelous Land of Oz were the only two Oz books in the public domain.

Liza Minnelli provides the voice of Dorothy Gale, who was played by her mother Judy Garland in 1939. Margaret Hamilton, formerly the Wicked Witch of the West, returns as the voice of Aunt Em.

Unlike the MGM film, Aunt Em and Uncle Henry only have one farmhand who does not have an alter ego in Oz, although his voice actor Larry Storch actually voiced the Tin Woodman rather secretly in mimicking Danny Thomas, whose recordings were deemed unusable due to technical difficulties. It has a runtime of an hour and 16 minutes, and after being considered a flop aired on ABC in 1976.

The television version decided to expand the storyline with live action segments featuring Bill Cosby as the Wizard but his contract was only good to allow for two airings so scenes were reshot with Milton Berle.

The new subplot included the Wizard flying in his balloon with a parrot and two Munchkins named Sprig and Twig. Cosby's version involved helping two kids who are lost trying to get home so they can spend Christmas with Dorothy while Berle's removed the holiday so it could be shown anytime of the year. With any footage last known to have aired in 1984, these added scenes of both actors are believed to be lost.


Dorothy and Toto return to the Magical Land of Oz. The Scarecrow is now king of the Emerald City and an old Witch named Mombi, cousin of the Wicked Witches of the West and East, is trying to take over Oz and overthrow the Scarecrow with her army of angry green elephants.


After a tornado in Kansas causes a loose gate to knock Dorothy unconscious, she re-appears in the Land of Oz with Toto, and encounters a talking Signpost (voiced by Jack E. Leonard), whose three signs point in different directions, all marked "Emerald City". They later meet Pumpkinhead (voiced by Paul Lynde), the unwilling servant of antagonist Mombi – cousin of the deceased Wicked Witches of the East and West. Toto chases a cat to a small cottage where Dorothy is captured by Mombi's pet crow (voiced by Mel Blanc) and Mombi (voiced by Ethel Merman) herself. Pumpkinhead sneaks into the house in Mombi's absence, and discovers her creation of green elephants, to use as her army to conquer the Emerald City. Pumpkinhead frees Dorothy, and they flee. After finding Dorothy gone, Mombi threatens that their warning the Scarecrow will not help when her green elephants "come crashing through the gate".

Dorothy and Pumpkinhead acquire Woodenhead Stallion III (voiced by Herschel Bernardi), a former merry-go-round horse (a combination of the Sawhorse from The Marvelous Land of Oz and the title character of the last Oz book of all, Merry Go Round in Oz), who takes them to the Emerald City, where Dorothy warns the Scarecrow (voiced by Mickey Rooney) about Mombi's green elephants. Mombi arrives moments later, and Toto and the Scarecrow are captured. Dorothy, Pumpkinhead, and Woodenhead flee to Tinland to convince the Tin Man (voiced by Larry Storch who spoke, and Danny Thomas, who sang) to help them. He declines upon being afraid of the green elephants and suggests that they ask the Cowardly Lion (voiced by Milton Berle), who promises to slay the elephants, but suggests consulting Glinda the Good Witch (voiced by Rise Stevens), who appears to them with a "Glinda Bird" that uses its Tattle Tail to show what is occurring at the palace. She then gives Dorothy a little silver box, to open only in the Emerald City, and only in a dire emergency.

Mombi, having seen their progress in her crystal ball, brings the nearby trees to life; whereupon Glinda sends a golden hatchet to Pumpkinhead. One of the trees snatches it from him, but changes its fellows and itself into gold and turns them from bad to good. Woodenhead carries Dorothy and Pumpkinhead back to the Emerald City, where Mombi's elephants surprise them. When Dorothy opens Glinda's box, mice emerge, scaring the elephants. Mombi brews a potion to shrink Toto to mouse-size so she can feed him to her cat; but when startled, miniaturizes her crow and cat instead. Thereafter Mombi disguises herself as a rose with poisonous thorns, which the elephants trample over and themselves disappear, prompting the Scarecrow to explain that Mombi's magic has died with her. Unfortunately, Pumpkinhead, another product of Mombi, also dies; however, he is revived by one of Dorothy's tears.

The Scarecrow makes Woodenhead the head of the Oz cavalry and knights Pumpkinhead; and Dorothy and Toto leave Oz by another tornado (created by Pumpkinhead and Glinda), promising to return.



The soundtrack was released six years later in 1980. The songs were:

  1. A Faraway Land: Dorothy
  2. Signpost Song: The Signpost
  3. Keep a Happy Thought: Dorothy
  4. The Horse on the Carousel: Woodenhead Stallion III
  5. B-R-A-N-E: Scarecrow
  6. An Elephant Never Forgets: Mombi
  7. H-E-A-R-T: Tin Man
  8. N-E-R-V-E: Cowardly Lion
  9. You Have Only You: Glinda
  10. If You're Gonna be a Witch - Be a Witch: Mombi
  11. Return to the Land of Oz March: Dorothy
  12. That Feeling for Home: Dorothy


The film started preproduction in the 1960s with early animation done in Yugoslavia. A first draft with 117 pages uploaded to Internet Archive was written by Norm Prescott in 1962 through a company called Lincoln Pictures under the title Return to the Land of Oz. It can be assumed it was changed as Return to Oz aired in 1964. Notable differences from the final product include Dorothy meeting the Wogglebug and Tip who becomes the King as a ‘lost Prince’ instead of Ozma. This idea in particular was later used in The Wizard of Oz (1985 video game).

Also Jack Pumpkinhead was absent but they use the Gump to get to Glinda’s castle.


  • In the early 1960s, when the Wogglebug was considered for a role, a song was written for him to sing. It was rewritten as "What Does a Woggle Bird Do?" for Hanna-Barbera's Gene Kelly vehicle Jack and the Beanstalk (1967).
  • In a book published a year before his death entitled Creating the Filmation Generation, one of the producers named Lou Scheimer who help found Filmation briefly talked about the making of and distribution of this film. He revealed that:
    • Although Danny Thomas was credited as voicing the Tin Man, all of his dialogue was replaced by Larry Storch who mimicked his voice. This has led to confusion since he was listed in the opening sequence of the film and on the poster while he did not know he was replaced almost entirely except for one song.
    • Peter Lawford was originally cast as Scarecrow before all his lines were re-recorded by Mickey Rooney. His singing however appears on the first soundtrack.
  • After the passing of Larry Storch in 2022, Liza Minnelli is the only surviving cast member from this adaptation.
  • The character of Snow White from the 1989 film Happily Ever After also made by Filmation Studios bears a striking resemblance in her design to Dorothy's animated counterpart in that film.
  • Jack Pumpkinhead is a primary character, but is only ever referred to as "Pumpkinhead" and never as Jack. He was created by Mombi, as Tip/Ozma does not appear, although the first script draft included Tip but not Jack.
  • Woodenhead Stallion III may be loosely based on the Sawhorse and/or Merry Go Round in Oz, although a merry-go-round horse coming to life is a fairly generic idea.
  • The Signpost is similar to the Postman who appears in Ruth Plumly Thompson's The Purple Prince of Oz, however it is unlikely that the animated character was directly inspired by this obscure piece of trivia.
  • Actors Mickey Rooney, Milton Berle, Ethel Merman, and Paul Ford all appeared in the 1963 epic action-comedy film It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.
  • Rooney appeared together with Judy Garland in a number of teen movies in the 1930s.
  • Mel Blanc, the voice of Mombi's crow, voiced the Sawhorse in Shirley Temple's Land of Oz (1960).


Site-logo Films Site-logo
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