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“The Wizard of Oz” and the founder of “OZ Country”

  When it comes to “Dorothy”, “The Tin Man” and “The Scarecrow”, many people, especially children, may know that they are the characters in the fairy tale novel “The Wizard of Oz”. But to ask who Lyman Frank Baum is, I am afraid not many people know. He is the author of “The Wizard of Oz”, the founder of the great “OZ country”, and the record holder of the best-selling children’s works in the United States in the 20th century.
  
  Baum’s life
  
  Baum was born in 1856. He was afflicted by diseases in his childhood. He often suffered from severe chest pains. He could not go outdoors and was withdrawn. Baum spent his childhood and school days at home, and spent his lonely time reading a lot of books every day. Most of the books he read were fairy tales.
  At 18, Baum began frequenting the theater near his home and aspired to be an actor. At first his father tried his best to oppose it, but in the end he had to give in, only to warn him that being an actor can but not humiliate the family’s reputation. Baum later moved to New York, where he began his stage career. In order to realize his stage dream, he has traveled to many places and changed various jobs. The hardships are self-evident.
  At that time, an actor must have a second career. Baum has worked as a newspaper reporter, a textile salesman and a scriptwriter. His first success was an Irish melodrama called “Alan Girl”, in which he played the character himself. The play officially premiered on his 28th birthday. Since then, Mr. Baum, a big man with big smiling eyes and a mustache, has embarked on the road to success.
  Baum, who had a first taste of career success, began to think about marriage. When Baum’s aunt introduced Miss Maud Gage to Baum, “I’m sure you’re going to love her,” and it was love at first sight. She was a sophomore at Cornell University at the time. They married in the second year of their acquaintance, and since then the young couple have been loyal to each other and have been in love for a lifetime like the lovers in his fairy tales.
  In 1882, shortly after marriage, Baum was troubled. Not only was he in poor health and his career was frustrated, but his family’s savings were also depleted. That’s when brothers and sisters who had moved to the Dakotas wrote to him about opportunities there. So in 1888 Baum and his family moved westward to a small town called Albertine on the South Dakota prairie. It was an up-and-coming town of only 3,000 people, and Baum opened his first store. The store’s business was booming for a while, but as the Dakota boom waned, the store’s business languished until it finally closed its doors.
  
  Baum, who was in a foreign land and went bankrupt, had to place his love on his “old friend” – the fairy tale world in his fantasy. However, Baum also had to face the reality of life and take on the responsibility of supporting his family, so in 1891 he took the family to Chicago. After arriving in Chicago, he first started a magazine, and after unsuccessful, he began to write. In 1897 his first fairy tale novel “Mother Goose” came out. The next novel, Daddy Goose, was published next, becoming the best-selling children’s book in the United States. After unremitting efforts and twists and turns, Baum finally found the destination of his career.
  
  The Birth of OZ Country Most of the storylines in
  
  Baum fairy tales take place in a fictional fairy tale kingdom called “OZ Country”, so where does “OZ” come from? Baum was writing the story of “The Emerald City” in 1898. The main characters in the story are “The Tin Man”, “The Scarecrow” and “The Cowardly Lion”. Every day before going to bed, the neighbor’s kids would gather at his house to hear the latest developments in the storyline. One night, a little girl asked where the Tin Man and the Scarecrow lived? Baum was suddenly stopped. He looked around as if he was looking for something, and finally his eyes fell on the two drawers of a file cabinet in the corner of the room. One of the drawers had the file classification label AN, and the other with OZ. He thought that if it was called the AN country, it might not be easy for people to remember, but if it was called the OZ country, the effect would be different. This is how the name of the OZ country was born. His first OZ fairy tale was also born, and since then Baum has forged an indissoluble bond with OZ in the second half of his life.
  The “Tin Man”, “Scarecrow”, “The Cowardly Lion” and the cute little girl “Dorothy” in “The Wizard of Oz” have always been loved by children all over the world, and “The Wizard of Oz” has always been among the best-selling children’s works in the United States column and has been translated into 22 languages, including Tamil.
  On Christmas Eve in 1900, Baum went to the publisher to receive the first payment for “The Wizard of Oz”. During that time, the Baum family, who had been struggling financially, suddenly had more than 3,000 US dollars on Christmas Eve. How could it not be? Get them excited? “The Wizard of Oz” not only brought new hope to the Baum family, but also established the path of Baum’s future career. Since then, Baum has never left OZ whether it is writing, filming, or performing on stage, even when he was dying. The last word Ji and his wife said did not leave OZ.
  
  Baum and OZ
  
  Initially , Baum didn’t want to stay on the OZ theme. After Green was published, he wrote a number of novels that he called modern American fairy tales. However, among the numerous letters from readers received every day, many are OZ fans who want Baum to continue writing the OZ story. In the end, the good father who always met the children’s requirements at home couldn’t stand the repeated pleas of enthusiastic readers, and continued to write a second OZ story in 1904, called “The Wonderful Country of OZ”.
  
  Thinking that a sequel would be enough to satisfy readers, he published two adult novels under the pseudonym Skyler Stanton in 1905-1906, and later published many children’s adventures under different pseudonyms. Readers, however, keep calling for new OZ stories to come out. However, it was not easy to continue writing the OZ story. Many critics criticized his stage play of the OZ story for lack of fresh main content, and it was a copy of “The Wizard of Oz”. During this period, his other stage play plans failed one after another. So in 1911 Baum declared bankruptcy. 3 years later he founded the OZ film production company. However, the five OZ-themed films produced by the company did not earn well at the box office, and finally the company went bankrupt.
  After the OZ film and stage play were unsuccessful, Baum resumed writing the OZ story. He completed the book Ozma of OZ, and a new sequel came out two years later. Neither of the two works have the same clear theme as The Wizard of Oz, but the content is full of fantasy and very interesting, and the characters in it are also very weird, such as the lunch box tree, the muddlehead, and the villain King Norm and so on. Dorothy, the protagonist in OZ’s novels, is getting tired of returning to OZ again and again, so at the end of the book “The Emerald City of OZ”, he tells readers that he has received Princess Dorothy A letter from Oz said that in order to avoid the invasion of King Nome, the OZ country will be invisible, “We will cut off the contact with the outside world forever, and you will never hear any news about the OZ country again.”
  
  Baum’s In his later years
  
  , in 1901, the Baum family moved to Hollywood in Southern California. Baum built a two-story house with money from his wife’s inheritance and named it “OZ Village”. There are many bookshelves, high ceilings, and the decorations and emerald lampshades in the room were designed by Baum himself. There is a large garden outside the house full of bright chrysanthemums. But for Baum, no matter how good the garden is, it is not perfect without the children. So he invited children from a nearby school to visit the Oz Paradise he had built himself and tell them stories. In his later years, Baum was plagued by disease. Angina pectoris, cholecystitis and facial nerve paralytic tremors made life difficult for Baum. The daily routine of writing and receiving visiting children is the best way to relieve his pain.
  In 1913, Baum discovered that a radio station had resumed a program with Dorothy. He realized that people still really liked the OZ story. This allowed him to resume writing OZ stories, completing one every year, and the plot development of the story was based on the readers’ wishes. His last two works were done while he was sick.
  One day in May 1919, after Baum had just finished writing the notes for his fifteenth OZ novel, his heart began to beat wildly, and he passed out. The first time he woke up he said to his wife, “There is no second woman in my life.” When he woke up again he said to his wife by the bed, “Now we can walk across the mobile beach.” This is him OZ A sentence in the novel was also the last sentence he said as he was dying. Baum is gone. The New York Times published an obituary the next day, “Lyman Frank Baum died, knowing his children will grieve.”
  Baum died, but his OZ story didn’t end. A total of 26 OZ sequels have been written by seven authors, including his great-grandson Roger Baum. It has been more than 100 years since Baum used his pen to create the OZ country. The characters, plots and even the language in the story have been deeply integrated into people’s lives. In the United States, people can always encounter things related to the OZ story. Or an advertisement, or a cartoon character, or hearing people around you joke around with the language of the story. The magical fairy tale kingdom of OZ has left an indelible mark on American culture.

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