L. Frank Baum, wizard behind Oz, once wrote under a woman’s pseudonym: Edith van Dyne

judygarland wizardofoz

In fact, Mr. Watson, it’s a queer world, and the longer I live in it the queerer I find it. Once I thought it would be a good idea to regulate things myself and run the world as it ought to be run; but I gave it up long ago. The world’s a stage, they say; but the show ain’t always amusing, by a long chalk, and sometimes I wish I didn’t have a reserved seat.

  • Aunt Jane’s Nieces (1906) by Edith van Dyne
L. Frank Baum

L. Frank Baum

Mr. Baum lived in Hollywood in the early 1900s, where he started his own movie company: The Oz Film Manufacturing Company.

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And he was one of the founding fathers of the Uplifters, an organization of men in Los Angeles who liked to carouse, put on amateur theatrics, and raise money for good causes.

The club’s roster eventually included such Hollywood celebrities as Will Rogers, Walt Disney, Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, Busby Berkeley, Leo Carrillo, Harold Lloyd and Daryl F. Zanuck, plus composer Ferde Grofe and county Sheriff Eugene Biscailuz.

For a name, they turned to another member, L. Frank Baum, author of the Oz books, who is said to have pounded back a few drinks before coming up with the Lofty and Exalted Order of Uplifters. The moniker referred both to the group’s desire to “uplift art” by staging slapstick plays, some of them written by Baum with music by Louis Gottschalk, and to its conviction, expressed by Baum, that “nothing has been found more elevating than a cocktail, except perhaps several drinks.”

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For a few photos of the Uplifters doing their thing, please click here!

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