Saturday, April 30, 2011

Literary Toons: Tales of the Wizard of Oz (1961)

One of Arthur Rankin, Jr. & Jules Bass' first television series was a 1961 syndicated offering, Tales of the Wizard of Oz, loosely based on the works of author L. Frank Baum. The series was composed of 4-5 short stories per episode, as there were 200 shorts made. As you'll see, the line animation, produced by Crawley Films, isn't on a par with Rankin-Bass' later works (i.e. Kid Power), and the loose interpretation also resulted in a less than perfect representation of the classic characters.

For an example, here's the episode, 'The Super Duper Market", which includes the show open.

Six years later, the Oz characters would return, this time in prime time, and in better hands, those of toon legend Chuck Jones, for ABC's anthology series, Off to See the Wizard, which, sadly, lasted just one season. There would be another Wizard of Oz cartoon, some years later, and we'll look at that another time if I can find a clip. Meanwhile, you can see this version of the Oz characters on Retro in between the Filmation toons on Saturdays, as it's also owned by Classic Media.

Rating: D.

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