Tales of the Wizard of Oz – the 1961 animated series
The “Tales of the Wizard of Oz” is a 1961 Canadian television series produced by Crawley Films for Videocraft Productions (later known as Rankin/Bass Productions). This is the second animated series produced by the studio and the first by Rankin/Bass to use traditional animation.
The series features stories derived from characters created in L. Frank Baum's 1900 novel, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” Some characters come with additional names, including Dandy the Cowardly Lion, Rusty the Tin Man and Socrates the Scarecrow. In this version, rather than being transported by a tornado, Dorothy and Toto are blown from Kansas through a hole made in the ground.
Each episode is a short skit about an adventure the characters are involved in, often focusing on the Wizard of Oz's attempts to make the characters' wishes come true. The artistic renderings of the Oz characters created for this series were later featured in the one-hour television special “Return to Oz.” The series was also adapted into a comic book for a special edition in “Four Color” by Dell Comics.
Although there have been attempts to release the series on DVD, as of 2018 it has not yet been made available. In 2010, the series aired on the Retro Television Network.
The voice cast includes actors such as Carl Banas as the Wizard, Corinne Conley as Dorothy, Bernard Cowan and others.
Although the series is not well known, it has left a mark in the history of animation and remains a cult production for fans of the magical world of Oz.
Based on: “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum
Directed by: Harry Kerwin
- Carl Banas
- Corinne Conley
- Bernard Cowan
- Paul Kligman
- Alfie Scopp
Country of origin:
- United States
Original language: English
Number of Seasons: 1
Number of Episodes: 110
- Arthur Rankin Jr.
- Jules bass
- Larry Roemer
- Antony Peters
- Bernard Cowan
Duration: 5 minutes per episode
- Crawley Films
- Videocraft Productions
Release date: From September 1, 1961 to December 1961
The 1961 animated series “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” is an adaptation of the classic story by L. Frank Baum. This series, one of a kind for its time, brought the magical story of Oz and its colorful characters to the small screen, capturing the imagination of a wide audience.
- Short Episode Length: Each episode of the series lasts just 5 minutes, making it ideal for young audiences and short TV shows.
- International Production: The series was jointly produced by Canadian and US companies, reflecting an international collaborative approach to producing animated content.
- Iconic Voices: The character voices were provided by a talented cast, helping to bring the story of Oz to life in a memorable way.
Impact and Legacy
This series has helped keep the story of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” alive by introducing new generations to the world of Oz. Its short length per episode and easily accessible format have made this series an important landmark in the history of children's television.
1961's “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” remains a significant example of how classic stories can be reinvented and adapted for new media and new audiences. His unique production and storytelling style have left an indelible mark on the world of television animation.