|First appearance||The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)|
|Created by||L. Frank Baum|
Dorothy Gale is a fictional character created by American author L. Frank Baum as the main protagonist in many of his Oz novels. She first appears in Baum's classic children's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) and reappears in most of its sequels. In addition, she is the main character in various adaptations, notably the classic 1939 film adaptation of the novel, The Wizard of Oz.
In later novels, the Land of Oz steadily becomes more familiar to her than her homeland of Kansas. Indeed, Dorothy eventually goes to live in an apartment in the Emerald City's palace but only after her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry have settled in a farmhouse on its outskirts, unable to pay the mortgage on their house in Kansas. Dorothy's best friend Princess Ozma, ruler of Oz, officially makes her a princess of Oz later in the novels.
In the Oz books, Dorothy is raised by her aunt and uncle in the bleak landscape of a Kansas farm. Whether Aunt Em or Uncle Henry is Dorothy's blood relative remains unclear. Uncle Henry makes reference to Dorothy's mother in The Emerald City of Oz, possibly an indication that Henry is Dorothy's blood relative. (It is also possible that "Aunt" and "Uncle" are affectionate terms of a foster family and that Dorothy is not related to either of them, although Zeb in Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz claims to be Dorothy's second cousin, related through Aunt Em. Little mention is made of what happened to Dorothy's birth parents, other than a passing reference to her mother being dead.) Along with her small black dog, Toto, Dorothy is swept away by a tornado to the Land of Oz and, much like Alice of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, they enter an alternative world filled with talking creatures. In many of the Oz books, Dorothy is the main heroine of the story. She is often seen with her best friend and the ruler of Oz, Princess Ozma. Her trademark blue and white gingham dress is admired by the Munchkins because blue is their favorite color and white is worn only by good witches and sorceresses, which indicates to them that Dorothy is a good witch.
Dorothy has a forthright and take-charge character, exhibiting no fear when she slaps the Cowardly Lion, and organizing the Winkies' rescue mission of her friends who have been dismembered by the winged monkeys. She is not afraid of angering the Wicked Witch of the West, as shown when the Witch stole one of Dorothy's slippers, and in retaliation, Dorothy hurled a bucket of water over her, not knowing water was fatal to the witch. She brazenly rebuffs Princess Langwidere's threat to take her head for her collection -- "Well, I b'lieve you won't." (Following Anna Laughlin's portrayal of the character in the popular 1903 Broadway version of The Wizard of Oz, Baum scripts Dorothy to speak in childlike contractions with Ozma of Oz, which she continues to do throughout the series). This aspect of her character was somewhat lessened by her companionship of Ozma, in whom Baum placed the greater level of wisdom and dignity. Yet even this is complicated by her associations with her cousin, Zeb of Hugson's Ranch, a rugged, manly boy who does not take well to Oz and cannot think of anything much more interesting than defeating the Munchkins' wrestling champion, which he proves unable to do.
Dorothy has several other pets, including her white/pink/purple kitten, Eureka. Popular in crossword puzzles is Dorothy's cow, Imogene, from the 1902 stage version, and is implied, though unnamed, in the 1910 film. Eric Shanower's novel, The Giant Garden of Oz, features a cow named Imogene.
In the sixth Oz book by Baum, The Emerald City of Oz (1910), when Uncle Henry and Aunt Em are unable to pay the mortgage on the new farmhouse built at the end of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Dorothy brings them to live in Oz; the plot features a tour of Oz as a marvelous, Utopian land in which they have escaped the troubles of Kansas. She becomes princess of Oz and Ozma's "companion," essentially marrying the queen.
Dorothy is a standard character, having at least a cameo role in thirteen of the fourteen Oz books written by L. Frank Baum (while she did not appear at all in The Marvelous Land of Oz, she is mentioned several times in that story, as it was her actions in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz that led to the events in the former) and is at least a frequent figure in the nineteen that followed by author Ruth Plumly Thompson, getting at least a cameo in all her books except Captain Salt in Oz (in which neither Oz nor any of its inhabitants appear, though they are mentioned). Major subsequent appearances by Dorothy in the "Famous Forty" are in The Lost Princess of Oz, Glinda of Oz, The Royal Book of Oz, Grampa in Oz, The Lost King of Oz, The Wishing Horse of Oz, Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz, and The Magical Mimics in Oz. Most of the other books focus on different child protagonists, some Ozite, some from other Nonestican realms, and some from the United States, and as such, her appearances in the main series become more and more limited. In Jack Snow's The Magical Mimics in Oz (1946), Ozma places Dorothy on the throne of Oz while she is away visiting Queen Lurline's fairy band.
The magic of Oz keeps Dorothy young. In The Lost King of Oz (1925), a Wish Way carries Dorothy to a film set in Hollywood, California. She begins to age very rapidly to her late 20s, making up for at least some of the years that have already passed. The Wish Way carries her back to Oz and restores her to her younger self, but she learns then that it would be unwise for her ever to return to the outside world. Baum never states Dorothy's age, but he does state in The Lost Princess of Oz that she is a year younger than Betsy Bobbin and a year older than Trot, whose age was specified as 10 in Ruth Plumly Thompson's The Giant Horse of Oz.
Thompson's Oz books show a certain intolerance in Dorothy. In The Cowardly Lion of Oz, circus clown Notta Bit More arrives in the Emerald City "disguised" as a traditional witch, and Dorothy immediately starts dumping buckets water on him without provocation (although she reacted this way on the assumption that the "witch" Notta was an evil witch like her old enemy, the Wicked Witch of the West). In The Wishing Horse of Oz, she makes unsavory comments about the dark coloration Gloma and her subjects take on as a disguise, making them somewhat resemble black people. This behavior is not characteristic of Dorothy in Baum's Oz books. In The Patchwork Girl of Oz, she pushes and slaps through crowds of black Tottenhots to rescue the Scarecrow, whom they are tossing around, but this is more an example of her gumption than any sort of prejudice, as she is otherwise kind and polite to the Tottenhots, and accepts that their ways are different from those who dwell in the Emerald City.
The authorized sequels of Sherwood Smith, The Emerald Wand of Oz and Trouble Under Oz, center on the child characters Dori and Em, who live with their Aunt Susan. All three are indirect descendants of Dorothy, though their specific relationship to her is unclear.
Philip José Farmer's 1982 science-fiction novel A Barnstormer in Oz tells the story of aviator Henry "Hank" Stover — who is not surprised one beautiful spring day in 1923 when he flies his Curtiss Jenny biplane through a strange green cloud and finds himself in Oz. Hank knows that he is in Oz because his mother, Dorothy Gale-Stover, had been there back in 1890 and later told him of her experiences. Farmer's premise is that Dorothy only visited Oz once and told her story to a journalist called Frank Baum. This journalist would later create a series of books from Dorothy's only adventure in Oz. Farmer's Oz is on the brink of both a civil war and an invasion by the United States Army.
Dorothy's last name is never mentioned in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz or The Marvelous Land of Oz, the first two Oz books. It is disclosed in the third book Ozma of Oz (1907). The last name of Gale was originally mentioned in Baum's script for the 1902 Broadway stage version of The Wizard of Oz, in which it was originally a setup for a punning joke. (DOROTHY: "I am Dorothy, and I am one of the Kansas Gales." SCARECROW: "That accounts for your breezy manner.")
An influence on the creation of Dorothy appears to be the Alice books of Lewis Carroll. Although Baum reportedly found these plots incoherent, he identified their source of popularity as Alice herself, a character with whom child readers could identify; this influenced his choice of a protagonist for his own books.
Dorothy's character was probably named after Baum's own niece, Dorothy Louise Gage, who died in infancy. Baum's wife was very attached to her and was deeply grieved by her death, so there is speculation that Baum inserted her name into his stories as a memorial. Elements of Dorothy Gale's character are possibly derived from Matilda Joslyn Gage, Dorothy Gage's grandmother. Dorothy Gage is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Bloomington, Illinois.
Lee Sandlin writes that L. Frank Baum read a disaster report of a tornado in Irving, Kansas, in May 1879 which included the name of a victim, Dorothy Gale, who was "found buried face down in a mud puddle."
In Baum's 1902 stage musical adaptation, Dorothy was played by Anna Laughlin. In 1908 L. Frank Baum adapted his early Oz novels as The Fairylogue and Radio-Plays, with Romola Remus as Dorothy. This was followed by The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, a motion picture short that Otis Turner, one of the directors of Fairylogue, made without Baum as part of a contract fulfillment. In this 1910 film, Dorothy was played by Bebe Daniels. It was followed by two sequels (the same year), Dorothy and the Scarecrow in Oz and The Land of Oz, both of which included Dorothy, but whether Daniels participated is unknown. Baum subsequently loosely adapted The Wonderful Wizard of Oz into a 1914 motion picture directed by J. Farrell MacDonald titled His Majesty, the Scarecrow of Oz with Violet MacMillan as Dorothy.
Dorothy does not appear in The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1914), although some film books claim that Mildred Harris, who had yet to sign her contract with The Oz Film Manufacturing Company, played the role. The character, is, in fact, eliminated from the film version, although she has a fairly large role in the novel.
Dorothy Dwan portrayed Dorothy in the 1925 film Wizard of Oz. In this film, Aunt Em (Mary Carr) informs her on her eighteenth birthday that she was left on their doorstep and is really a princess of Oz destined to marry Prince Kynd (Bryant Washburn), who has currently lost the throne to Prime Minister Kruel (Josef Swickard), in a storyline similar to that of His Majesty the Scarecrow of Oz, only with Dorothy as the love interest. In the end, the story proves to be the dream of a little girl who has fallen asleep listening to the story of Kynd and Kruel, said to be the story of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The film also introduced the idea of the farmhands also being the Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman and Cowardly Lion, albeit as costumes they don in order to conceal themselves in Oz.
In the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy was played by Judy Garland, who received an Academy Juvenile Award for her performance. Since she was sixteen years old at the time of filming, Garland's maturing figure was bound into a figure-hiding corset. Since fantasy films generally were unsuccessful at that time, MGM portrayed Oz as a head-trauma-induced delirium, instead of a real place. It is implied that Oz is merely Dorothy's dream since she awakens in bed at the end, though Dorothy is convinced that her journey was all in fact real.
A window knocked out Dorothy when the tornado was approaching the farm. After that storm lifted the farmhouse, she and Toto saw a chicken coop, an old lady knitting calmly in a rocking chair with a cat on her lap, a cow, and two men rowing a boat who doff their hats to her as well as miscellaneous debris flying by them. Finally, Dorothy saw Miss Almira Gulch, who was going to abduct Toto to the sheriff, fly on her bicycle outside the window, becoming a witch on a broom. As one of the first movies to be filmed in Technicolor, the director had the color of the famous magic slippers changed from silver to red because the Ruby slippers were more visually appealing on film.
She is reunited with Aunt Em, Uncle Henry, their three farm workers (Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion's alter egos), and Professor Marvel (The Wizard's alter ego) when she awakens from being unconscious at the end of this film, back at home and safe.
Dorothy's characterization in the 1939 film is more of a damsel in distress, somewhat unlike the adventurous, forthright and bold Dorothy of the books.
The 2007 Sci-Fi Channel miniseries Tin Man reworked her into DG, a descendant of Dorothy's, and is played by Zooey Deschanel. In this iteration, the trademark dress is actually a diner waitress uniform; the rest of the time she wears a leather jacket and jeans and rides a motorcycle. When she is taken into Oz, she learns that she is actually the princess of the kingdom of Oz, sent to another world and raised by androids to protect her after her sister was possessed by the spirit of an ancient witch that she unleashed by accident.
In the 2012 TV miniseries Dorothy and the Witches of Oz, Dorothy (played by Paulie Rojas) is shown as an adult writer and starts regaining suppressed memories of her actual adventures in the Land of Oz when the Wicked Witch of the West plans to conquer the Land of Oz and all of Earth.
In Emerald City, Dorothy is an adult when she is taken to Oz, working as a nurse. She is still living with Em and Henry, but here they are identified as her adopted parents, her biological mother having left her with them as a baby and only recently getting back in touch with Dorothy. Months after receiving the letter, Dorothy makes her first official visit to her biological mother when the tornado occurs that takes her to Oz. Faced with an Oz that is increasingly opposed to magic on the Wizard's orders and accused of the death of the Witch of the East- which was initially an accident and later self-defence when the Witch survived her injuries- Dorothy learns more about her true ties to this world as she searches for answers, accompanied by a police German Shepherd she names 'Toto' and the amnesic Lucas. The TV series concludes with her returning to Earth after the wizard's forces are decimated by the Beast Forever, but she is subsequently contacted by Lucas and Toto- both of whom she left behind in Oz- appearing to her in Kansas to ask for help.
Dorothy appears in the third and fifth seasons of the TV series Once Upon a Time. In this show, Dorothy is from a fictional version Kansas and not from Earth (dubbed the Land Without Magic in the show). She is portrayed as an adult by Teri Reeves and as a child by Matreya Scarrwener. Dorothy, caught in her Kansas farmhouse during a raging cyclone, is swept away to Oz. Taken in by the protectors of Oz, the sisterhood of witches, she comes to view them as family. One night, she is confronted by Zelena the Witch of the West (Rebecca Mader), while getting water from a well. Zelena intends to get rid of Dorothy as she believes the girl is destined to usurp her seat in the sisterhood. In defense, Dorothy throws a bucket of water at Zelena; causing the witch to melt. Glinda the Witch of the South (Sunny Mabrey), then appears to offer her to take Zelena's place as the Witch of the West, but Dorothy declines; wishing only to return home. With Glinda's help, she is taken to see the Wizard and given a pair of silver slippers to travel to any world. Dorothy thanks the Wizard of Oz (Christopher Gorham) and proceeds to click the slippers' heels three times to send herself home. Only after the girl's departure, Glinda discovers too late that Zelena masqueraded as the Wizard in order to usher Dorothy out of Oz.
Upon returning to Kansas, Dorothy tells her family about her experiences in Oz. However, her family doesn't believe her, and attempts to get her admitted into an asylum. Her aunt, Emily Brown (Gina Stockdale) is the only person who believes her, and refuses to let her be admitted. However, Aunt Em dies, gifting Dorothy a puppy named Toto before she does. Years pass, and Dorothy returns to Oz. Learning from the munchkins that Zelena is still alive and no longer fearing the witch, Dorothy storms the palace in time to stop Zelena from stealing the Scarecrow's (Paul Scheer) brain for a time spell. Dorothy taunts Zelena about having one thing she'll never obtain, the love of the people, as Zelena prepares a fireball to destroy her. Toto, hopping out of the bag, trots up to the palace curtains, while Dorothy ducks to avoid Zelena's fireball, which hits an approaching guard. Toto then tugs a string, causing the curtains to fall on Zelena, who fumbles to get free. While she is occupied, Dorothy escapes the palace with the Scarecrow and her dog. Later, she and her companions hide out in a cottage, but Zelena eventually finds them, after putting a tracking spell on Dorothy's old bicycle. Dorothy does her best to protect the Scarecrow, but Zelena ends up ripping out his brain. Fearlessly standing up to the witch, Dorothy dares Zelena to do her worst, while boasting that she'll never be afraid of her again. Zelena expresses brief interest in her brave attitude, wondering what made her change. In the end, Zelena leaves Dorothy unharmed to let the people of Oz see that, for once, their great hero has failed them.
When Zelena gets banished to Oz once again in a later episode, she steals Dorothy's dog Toto. When Dorothy tries to rescue Toto, Zelena puts her under a sleeping curse and she can only be awoken by true love's kiss. At the end of the episode Ruby/Red Ridding Hood wakes Dorothy up by giving Dorothy true loves kiss, making them the show's first LGBT couple.
Dorothy is one of the non-playable characters that appears in the 2015 crossover video game LEGO Dimensions. While on her way to the Emerald City with Toto and her three companions, they encounter Batman who thinks that the Scarecrow is the same one from his world. The interrogation is short lived, as Dorothy and her gang are sucked into a vortex where they are captured by the game's central antagonist, Lord Vortech. Lord Vortech imprisons Dorothy and uses the Ruby Slippers as one of the foundation elements needed to create his "perfect world". Whatever becomes of Dorothy after Vortech's demise is up for questioning.
The secret of Alice's success lay in the fact that she was a real child, and any normal child could sympathize with her throughout her adventures. The story may often bewilder -- having neither plot nor motive in its narrative --but Alice is engaged in strange and marvelous activity at every moment, so the child reader follows her with rapturous delight.
Two decades later, he writes, a struggling entrepreneur named Lyman Baum, who was working on a children's book, came upon a grim detail in a newspaper account of the Irving disaster: "The name of one of the victims, who had been found buried face down in a mud puddle, was Dorothy Gale" -- a name the author, writing as L. Frank Baum, would soon immortalize in "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz."
He makes a young, svelte, rather hot conjurer who has broken many a heart, including that of Dorothy Gale's mom-to-be (liquid-eyed Michelle Williams, resplendent in a blond wig).