Monday, January 12, 2015

Jack O'Lantern Joe

Offered here are random "pumpkin bits" from a 1905 stage production of Pearl and the Pumpkin (originally a1904 children's book, written by Paul Clarendon West and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz illustrator W. W. Denslow). And though remarked by many as having little success, the glimpses we get of the stage show and of the musical recordings are intriguing to Hallowe'en aficionados.

Joe Miller offers Pearl a Halloween Jack O' Lantern

Pearl and the Pumpkin - Sheet Music

Hallowe'en night, Pearl watches her cousin Joe Miller carve twenty Jack O'lanterns in the pumpkin patch. See image above with Joe Miller offering Pearl a Jack O' Lantern, and read the lyrics to Jack O'Lantern Joe at Hungry Tiger Press. A baker and a canner (disgruntled by the wasted food), as well as a Mariner (who magically appears from an apple-bobbing tub and wishes to learn the secret of Joe's green thumb) conspire against Joe.

As the scenes proceed from the Pringle Barn, to Hallowe'en Hollow, to an Enchanted Cornfield, we get this song from ACT I - Scene 4 - The Enchanted Cornfield - "When the Moon is in the Sky (Shadow Song)" sung by Harry Macdonough. (Music player embedded below found here from the Library of Congress).


It seems (as described here by The Wonderful Wiki of Oz website) that by the end of scene 4 - Joe has wished himself into a pumpkin through the conniving art of the baker, canner, and Mariner, also in league with the Corn Dodger, a vegetable spirit from the cornfield.

The Mariner and the Corn Dodger

Here are just a few photos after Joe's pumpkin-head transformation. From there the story moves out of the Hallowe'en realm, but would certainly love to see or hear more from these beginning scenes!

Halloween storyline from the beginning scenes of vintage musical Pearl and the Pumpkin

Halloween storyline from the beginning scenes of vintage musical Pearl and the Pumpkin

Halloween storyline from the beginning scenes of vintage musical Pearl and the Pumpkin

P.S. - If you found that interesting, check out these stage costumes posted on The Oz Enthusiast. 

2 comments:

  1. Well, you just sent me down a rabbit hole! As you can see I take no responsibility for my own actions. I have seen illustrations from the book before but had never looked for a copy. I love Denslow's art work, it is filled with humour and joy. I have found a copy and will be ordering one soon.

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    1. Len, please let me know what you think of the book. Have yet to read any Oz books, or other titles by its creators, though I've often considered it and think I might introduce myself to the actual Oz series next.

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