37 Comments

  1. Well, I sort of remembered the song upon playing the clip, but didn’t identify it from the quoted line. But the particular phrasing (and grammatical choices) in the caption made me think “Oh, this must be a lyric”.

    So, what is the joke, or point? I guess just the awkwardness of an unusable gift.

  2. From what I know about WOZ (admittedly, not much), didn’t the Tin Man already HAVE a heart, according to the Wizard? So, he didn’t really NEED this ‘gift’, did he.

  3. But you don’t have to recognize the song to appreciate the cartoon. You just have to know that the Tin Man wanted a heart, that he was in reality already a good-hearted person, and that the Wizard of Oz gave him one anyway. And, notwithstanding that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is much older than the song, it is not in geezer territory.

    Of course, in the movie the Tin Man got a certificate of appreciation, not a heart. But in the original book he got a velvet heart filled with sawdust. The Tin Man is very grateful and is very proud of his heart.

    I am reminded of the line attributed to Robert Bloch: “I have the heart of a small boy. I keep it in a jar on my desk.”

  4. No, the Tin Woodsman was entirely without a physical, beating heart. He thought he needed one in order to care about other people, but he proved otherwise during his journey. The Wizard basically said to him (and the others) “You thought you needed something in order to exhibit this desired quality, but you had that desired quality all along, even without the thing. So here’s a symbol of that quality so you can stop looking for the thing.”

    The song is not literally saying that the Tin Woodsman already had a heart-shaped clock. It’s saying he already had compassion.

    The comic appears to literalize this unnecessarily.

  5. Andrea: The Wizard knew that the Tin Man didn’t need a heart, and he told him that, but the Tin Man wanted one anyway. The Tin Man’s likely reaction to this gift would have been, “Great! Let’s get it in my chest!”

  6. After, of course, inquiring about the original owner of the heart. Because not to do that would be heartless.

  7. Oh wow, that song is NOT just a grab bag of random words thrown together? I’d NEVER in all my years hearing that thing decoded the Wizard of Oz reference! Cool! Wonder what the rest of the song is about…
    “In the tropic of Sir Galahad..” Yeah, OK, I was right in the first place….

    Also, I didn’t know Bradley Cooper was in a band before his acting gig…

  8. The America folks frequently said that the most important thing about their lyrics was that they rhymed. Meanings, if any, were secondary.

    I’m really curious about the t-shirt on the left. What the heck is that?

  9. This might gave been a better comic it it DIDN’T mirror a song and was just Wiz giving Tinny a useless gift. Instead, the punchline seems to be “hey look, it’s exactly what they said in the song.” Which not only doesn’t work, but leaves non-geezers confused.

  10. As noted, the book has the Wizard improvising placebos; but I don’t think it’s ever spelled out that the characters already have intelligence, feelings and courage. In fact, I think Baum calls attention to the Scarecrow’s lack of brain power a few times. The movie makes the had-it-all-along theme explicit, with a bit of satiric edge (“There are deep thinkers with no more brains than you, but they have diplomas! So …”).

    Another weird detail from the book left out of adaptations: The Tin Woodman was once a real man. He was to be married, but the girl’s mother didn’t approve and got a curse put on his axe. He’d sever a limb, and go to the tinsmith for a replacement. Then he’d sever another limb … This went on until he was all tin, and the wedding was cancelled because he no longer had a heart, and that was the sole obstacle. It’s tempting to think “heart” was a euphemism, but Mr. Baum didn’t seem to be the sort.

  11. The cartoonist wanted to make a joke of giving the Tin Woodman an actual gory heart but realized it had been done literally hundreds of times before so he thought if he referenced a song it would count as a new joke even though the joke has nothing to do with the lyric.

    >but I don’t think it’s ever spelled out that the characters already have intelligence, feelings and courage. In fact, I think Baum calls attention to the Scarecrow’s lack of brain power a few times.

    It was mixed. The was a time he walked into a hole in the road rather than around but I think the point of that was that it’s not brains that make one know not to walk into holes but experience to learn not to walk in holes. And there were a few things done ironically such as when he can’t understand why given a chance to live in a beautiful place where life can be easy anyone would try to go back to an ugly place where everything was hard But on the most part every idea the group had to come up with; crossing a ravine, the river, getting the lion out of the poppies, surviving the bees and crows, etc. were the scarecrows ideas.

    And the Tin Woodman mourning a beetle, rescuing the queen of the fieldmice etc. demonstrated campassion.

    Odd note, the woodman *said* he was going to return to marry the Munchkin girl, but in none of the next ten sequels he never did. When it was pointed out 18 years later he made some excuse that his heart was kind and compassionate but not capable of love. (Never made sense to me… I think he was just looking for excuses.)

  12. Although, MinorAnnoyance, the Wizard looks like Frank Morgan here, so I think of this as based on the film version.

    Come to think of it, aren’t comic strip references to WoO ALWAYS based on the movie: I’ve never seen a pair of non-red slippers.

  13. Speaking of The Wizard of Oz, somebody has put the entire movie in alphabetical order.

    Or should I say:

    alphabetical entire has in movie of of order. Oz, put somebody Speaking The the Wizard

  14. @beckoningchasm: “The America folks frequently said that the most important thing about their lyrics was that they rhymed.”

    And the third verse is always “la-la-la”.

  15. In the books, someone (can’t remember) reassembled all the organic bits that the Woodsman lopped off and sewed them back together into a living person. Oddly, the Tin Woodsman was universally accepted as the original and the Flesh Woodsman considered a new person. Ship of Theseus, anyone? Baum was a smart cookie.

  16. MinorAnnoyance: in the original book, https://www.gutenberg.org/files/55/55-h/55-h.htm#chap15, the Wizard tells the Scarecrow that he is learning every day and tells the Cowardly Lion that he already has plenty of courage. But to the Tin Man he says: “ “Why, as for that,” answered Oz, “I think you are wrong to want a heart. It makes most people unhappy. If you only knew it, you are in luck not to have a heart.””

  17. Carl Fink.

    The flesh person, Chopfyte, was the reassembled bits of *two* people, Nick Chopper (the original Tin Woodman) and Captain Fyter (the Tin Soldier) and was considered a new person because he was. We can’t feel too bad for Chopfyte as he was the one who eventually *did* marry the girl.

    (Actually the Tin Woodman comes out as the worst of the suitors; when it was a noble gesture to long for a heart he was all about pining for the unachievable, but once he got a heart he completely forgot about him for seventeen years and only became interested again when it was pointed out he was being logically inconsistent; the Soldier, a later suitor, stopped loving her as soon as his chest was replaced with tin but he felt duty bound and was on the way to his wedding when he got caught in the rain and rusted for over 17 years. Chopfyte lumbered around and saw a good thing and took it.)

    The Tin Woodman has a conversation with his old head which had been stuck in a cupboard for decades. There was debate who was the original but… convenience won out.

    …. but no-one is going to read these as this message is going to go into moderation and by the time it gets out of moderation it will be buried by three messages that came later….

  18. It would have been better without the caption. The joke about the Tin Man expressing dismay at getting an actual flesh-and-blood heart is funny. The reference to the America song is a distraction.

  19. @ woozy – “…but no-one is going to read … this message…
    Not true 🙂 … when a new message shows up, I like to scroll back and see what I’ve missed in the thread. It was interesting information, but none of the comments above has really encouraged me to read all (or any) of Baum’s books (rather the opposite, in fact).

  20. Kilby: Actually, Baum’s books are great if you like children’s fantasy, which I do. The best of the Oz books, even better than The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, is its immediate sequel, The Marvelous Land of Oz. Give it a try sometime; you can read it online at http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/54. I expect you will be drawn in within the first few chapters.

  21. I might have mentioned this before, hopefully not recently. but when my son was 5 or 6, he decided he HAD TO read every one of the Oz books. Which was a bit of a challenge, since this was pre-Amazon, many of them were out of print, and even the library was missing some of the more obscure ones.

    It was an adventure.

    And then a few months later, somebody put out a complete paperback set.

  22. @ Usual John – Thanks for the tip, I’ll keep it in mind. Unfortunately, the Gutenberg website is not an option for me. They are involved in a protracted legal dispute with a German publisher, and since neither side is willing to compromise, they’ve simply shut off all access (to the entire archive, not just the disputed works) for everyone who has a German IP address.

  23. CIDU Bill: “And then a few months later, somebody put out a complete paperback set.”

    You’re probably remembering the larger-than-pb/smaller-than-tp set of OZ paperbacks that Ballantine put out back around, uh, 1990? or so. But that wasn’t “complete” — just the ones written by Baum and by his first successor, Ruth Plumly Thompson, if I recall correctly. There are a number of authorized OZ books by other later authors, most or all of which have not (I think) had paperback editions; certainly not uniform ones.

  24. A while back I decided I should reread the Oz books, because if nothing else they’re historically significant and I enjoyed them when I was a kid. My conclusion was that they are, alas, terrible by contemporary standards — the state of the art in writing fantasy (whether or not for kids) has left them far, far behind. I think I made it through the first two before giving up.

    Unfortunately it was now long enough ago that I can’t remember specifics.

  25. To my mind, with the BIG exception of the ending, the movie is better than the book.

    The book is basically a travelogue forced by a quest. The problems she has in Oz are random and unconnected.

    In the movie, all of her problems are cause by the Wicked Witch. The story revolves around her quest to go home and keep from getting killed by the WW, rather than oohing and aahing about the strange denizens of Oz.

    When I was young I read some of the other books. As an adult I tried to, and gave up pretty quickly. There are many other juveniles I read as a kid and still enjoy rereading.

  26. No, Shrug, this would have been mid-90s: my son wasn’t born until 1990.

    And these were, as I recall, all the Baum and Thompson books. He also read a few of the others but didn’t care for them.

    (He also wrote a couple of pages of what today would be called fanfic)

  27. @ Dave in Boston – “…they are, alas, terrible by contemporary standards…
    I reached the same conclusion while reading Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea(s)” (in German). It was completely different from what I expected; it would seem that the only detail that many later adaptations have in common with the original book is that the captain’s name is “Nemo”. This is not necessarily a bad thing: the engineering in the book is (of course) hopelessly antiquated, but the part that I found tedious were the lengthy “travelogue” descriptions of the “fantastic” underwater scenery (which were perhaps an essential reason for the book’s original popularity).

  28. Was one of the other authors LF Baum’s daughter?

    The public library where my mom would take us had a pretty organized children’s section. I know there were separate shelves for the Caldecott and Newbery awards books. (When my 4th grade class went to our school library one day and the librarian brought up the Newbery awards, she held up a few of them in turn, asking “Has anybody read this one?” . I kept raising my hand, and she must have thought I was faking. I hope I had the sense to mention the shelf at the public library.)

    There were also some physical grouping for series books, beyond what happened naturally because of author sorting. I know I was able to check out one Oz book after another for a good long stretch, without needing to hunt them down under different authors. I think I eventually read most of the series. Sort of in order, but I also re-read some that became favorites. There was one of them during the Ozma reign thhat was my particular favorite, though I can’t recall the title (it was not “Ozma of Oz”). It had a sort of hovercraft (but not the bus-like ones that became commonplace in the later volumes), a political and maybe military struggle for control of the state, and exploration of the poison desert lands surrounding Oz, which turned out to be mysteriously inhabited.

  29. but the part that I found tedious were the lengthy “travelogue” descriptions of the “fantastic” underwater scenery (which were perhaps an essential reason for the book’s original popularity)

    I don’t much care for the movie “Titanic”. But I don’t argue the overall quality of it with fans; it’s not a terrible movie, just a bit of cheaply earned romance and a bore. The aspect I *do* get into somewhat heated disagreement with fans about is the entire wasteful, pointless, meaningless, surprise-free, characterologically misleading modern-day framing sequences. As far as I’m concerned, the only redeeming quality of these is when they go out in their alvins and treat us to some nice underwater travelogue footage.
    Of course the grandma is really Rose from the past story. That can’t possibly surprise anyone over the age of five who has seen any movie before. No, there is no point being made when she (or is it the descendant) decides to throw away the jewelry. It does not say anything at all about the class conflict plot, it does not honor her lost love, it is not in any way noble or “the right thing to do”. If she doesn’t want it, and doesn’t want it to stay in the family, but wants to take a class-consciousness dogooder stand, just donate it to a well-chosen charity.

  30. H. G. Wells’s fiction is, at least by modern standards, unreadable. Great concepts, of course, but torture to read.

    I gave up on The Invisible Man 10 pages from the end. I decided that even with so little remaining, it just wasn’t worth my time.

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