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Two Different Characters, But the Name is the Same


In The Wogglebug's Hidden Truth Behind the History of Oz I had Professor Nowitall explain how the word "woggle" means wisdom and love in a collective sense and implies how these can go one way or another depending on which is emphasized the most. I know when it comes to fans of the Oz books the character of the Wogglebug is often written as an incredibly stuffy and conceited professor with a cold heart. While more casual readers just look on him as a disgusting and dim-witted insect who happens to be a big size. This is holding onto stereotyping. It's the same as insisting all witches or wizards must be villains, or all alien beings from other planets must be evil monsters. This is just plain wrong, Especially because in all of truth, the Wogglebug has no more, and just as many, contradictions and consistentcies to his personality and characterization as just about all of L. Frank Baum's other characters always did. Look at the two men in the picture at the left. They both could be good guys but with some varying differences in personality, or they could both be villains in the same subject. Maybe they are the same perosn in different stages of life even. I recall I touched more onto this subject in a previous blog post related to fantasy movies of varied versions of classic fairy tales. You can have your own preference by all means, but just be aware of other possibilities for each and every character type, especially ones that have a name to go with them. This is what broadens the human mind and enriches the imagination of it also. It is relevant to mention here that different versions of the same cartoons provide equally good examples of how the same character name can be applied to a character who has different characteristics, but still fits the name just as rightly. The best examples of these are found in three versions of the Pound Puppies cartoon. In the TV special that proceeded the series the cast of the "Pound Puppies" band of heroes with the names Cooler, Scrounger, Barkerville, Chef Louis, Howler, Bright Eyes, Violet Vanderfeller, and the Nose. In this version, "Howler" was a Harpo Marx characture as he was a clownlike dog with curly yellow hair sticking out the sides beneath his hat and he only spoke in howls. His close companion named "Bright Eyes" was called this because she was sassy and smart with the brains to get them where they needed to be, and she also wore a lot of green. Also, the character called "the Nose" was a feisty female bloodhound with a Bronx accent. She was the detective who sniffed out their clues of where they needed to be. However when the Pound Puppies got their official syndicated series year later, the cast changed though a few names remained the same but the characters were now different. Howler could now speak in fluent English and was a much more straight man, and no longer a Harpo Marx characture even though he still looked it with with more neat hair. Bright Eyes now had this name because of her innocence and not because of intelligence like before. The Nose was now called Nose Marie and she was now different all about in appearance, voice, and personality. She was now a beautiful but conceited Southern Belle in a caracature of Scarlett O'Hara. Then in the movie version "Pound Puppies and the Legend of Big Paw" the character Howler was different in appearance, voice, and personality all around also. He was now a cut and homely little fellow with a derby hat, always complaining in a sympathetic way, which was why he was called Howler now. I think one of the reasons is because these three names stayed the same but the characterizations of their bearers changed was because the names still fit them even so because of what the names could still mean. The first two are play on words in ways, and the third one is because of the fact Nose (Marie) was always a bloodhound who could be a detective because of its keen sense of smell or have a Southern accent and characterization in some way as bloodhounds are bred in the South.

Now back on the subject of the Oz characters. Many of these also have had at least two or three different characterizations with their names being still the same also. Not just the Wogglebug. Such as how some film versions of The Wizard of Oz have the Cowardly Lion either walk upright like a human, or on all fours like a real lion (rather the contrast between man and beast). As well as how Dorothy is sometimes in movie versions a child, or a teenager, or in a few cases a young adult. Equally as much as whether her hair is brown, blonde, or black, or reddish. The next character created by Baum with differences in characterization and appearance that comes to mind is the Tin Woodman. To make it clear, in the 1990 DIC cartoon series of The Wizard of Oz he was designed to look like a sophisticated gentleman from a city and also had much the same personality. However, in a 1982 anime movie of The Wizard of Oz released through Paramount Pictures he was designed to look just exactly as what would come to mind when envisioning a wood chopper made of tin who lives in the woodland. This film was quite faithful to the original book also. Then there was also the look and personality of the Tin Man in the 1978 film version of The Wiz, in which he was a mechanical showman and comedian from a closed down amusement park. There was also the version of him from a 1971 movie from Filmation called Journey Back to Oz, in which he calls himself the Emperor of his own kingdom in his own castle made of tin and takes great pride in being made of tin and in the army he has has for himself because of his heart the Wizard gave him, which of course turns out to be quite pretentious. This is ironically just how he developed in Baum's original series. All these variations have one thing in common which is they all represent a noteworthy part of Baum and Oz as he had created it.

The Wogglebug is often just as complex. He has been portrayed as the loathsome and conceited Professor type, and a very smart and good-natured Professor type, and of course the very lovable and wise Mr. Wogglebug I and a few others portray him as. In my Oz-related novels I generally portray him as a cross between the last two versions to make the most excellent version of all. While in my picture books and movies he is kept pure in his lovable image most of the time because he lives in Genoma and not Oz and thus not burdened by expectations of how he should be. This is what is for the best for him and the right way for his fame to be achieved.


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