|"I should've quit when I was just a head."|
Loosing one's head was a concern for pretty much everybody in the 1985 film Return to Oz. The Gump, however, had to get by with only a head. Nevertheless, the stuffed hunting trophy, brought to life by a sprinkling of magic powder, was one of the most charming and delightful characters in the movie.
|Click on all of the pictures to make them huge!|
Magic powders can only accomplish so much, of course. In actuality a team of puppeteers were required to coordinate the Gump's moves through a system of long cables. I believe the Gump in these photos to be a second version which was radio controlled for shots where the cables needed to be out of sight. Packaged in the crate alongside the Gump was a Futaba (model airplane) radio transmitter with toggle switches for controlling his movements. Rechargeable batteries went into both the transmitter and inside the Gump's head.
The Gump's horns were hollow cast resin and beautifully detailed, just like everything else about him.
Those big baby blues give him a sweet, soft look. I like how the Gump has a slightly worn, musty appearance just like an old taxidermied animal.
|Open up and say "AAHHZZ."|
Some of these photos are a little intense! Beautiful work, though.
All this leaves one to ponder what a whole living Gump might look like. It's easy to imagine a four-legged beast, but no one can say. Would he have toes like a camel? Hooves like an elk? Even Baum in his original stories (and John Neil's illustrations) offer no answer.
Only one rare example of Oz merchandise—a hand puppet— has ever been produced that attempted to solve the age-old mystery of the Gump's body:
Yeah, I'm not convinced either.
Coming Soon-- Part Four: Tik Tok!
Part One: Jack Pumpkinhead
Part Two: Tin Woodman