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Uncle Henry
Uncle Henry.jpg
Uncle Henry with Dorothy Gale. Aunt Em is in the background
art by W.W. Denslow
First appearance The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
Last appearance arguable
Created by L. Frank Baum
Information
Species human
Gender male
Age unknown
Date of birth unknown
Occupation Farmer
Title Agricultural Adviser to Princess Ozma
Family Dorothy Gale (niece)
Spouse(s) Aunt Em
Children none
Relatives Bill Hugson (brother-in-law), unnamed sister-in-law, Zeb of Hugson's ranch (nephew), unnamed Australians
Address Farmhouse on the outskirts of the Emerald City
Nationality United States


Uncle Henry is a fictional character from The Oz Books by L. Frank Baum.[1] He is the uncle of orphan Dorothy Gale and husband of Aunt Em, and lived with them on a farm in Kansas.

Oz Books

After their house was famously carried off to the land of Oz by a tornado in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Henry mortgaged his farm in order to rebuild. This crisis, combined with the stress of Dorothy's prolonged disappearance and sudden reappearance, took a toll on his health, and his doctor ordered him to take a vacation. He took Dorothy with him on an ocean voyage to Australia, where he had relatives, but during this trip (in Ozma of Oz) Dorothy was lost again during a storm, and for several weeks a despondent Henry believed she had drowned, until she suddenly returned again, courtesy of the Nome King's Magic Belt.

In The Emerald City of Oz, Henry and Em finally confessed to Dorothy the extent of their financial problems, and revealed to her that their farm was on the verge of foreclosure. Dorothy solved this problem for them by bringing them to live with her in the Emerald City, as permanent guests of Princess Ozma. Henry was given the job of being Keeper of the Jewels in Ozma's treasure hoard for the purpose of keeping him occupied. Unlike Aunt Em, who is questioning everything about the Land of Oz, Uncle Henry accepts his new life and home with surprising ease, having traveled and seen the world a lot more than his wife had.

By Glinda of Oz, he has become one of Ozma's closest advisers, having taught his agricultural abilities to Ozite farmers, getting them producing surplus for the Emerald City storehouses.

Uncle Henry has been featured slightly more than Aunt Em in the Oz books, despite being less featured than Auntie Em in the film, The Wizard of Oz (1939). Ruth Plumly Thompson gave him only two brief mentions, in The Royal Book of Oz and Grampa in Oz. He had somewhat larger roles in John R. Neill's The Wonder City of Oz and The Scalawagons of Oz, Jack Snow's The Magical Mimics in Oz, and Eric Shanower's The Giant Garden of Oz.

Other media

Frank Alexander portrayed him as a villain in Larry Semon's Wizard of Oz.

In MGM's musical adaptation The Wizard of Oz, Uncle Henry is played by Charley Grapewin. The name "Gale" appears on his mailbox and Miss Almira Gulch (Margaret Hamilton) addresses him as "Gale." Baum never gave the character's surname nor made whether Henry or his wife Em 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.)


In the film Return to Oz, Uncle Henry's wife Emily is called "Mrs. Blue," implying that his full name is Henry Blue. He is played by Matt Clark opposite Piper Laurie. He has a broken leg throughout the film that Aunt Em insists is mended.

In the comic book The Oz/Wonderland Chronicles, Henry Gale was born in 1852, but died in old age of a heart attack. He was buried in St. Ann's Cemetery in Kansas. Due to Oz residents never really dying in entirety, the "new" Witch in Oz had Henry in unconscious stasis, after his Earthly soul had died.

In the American television program Lost, the character Benjamin Linus initially tells survivors his name is Henry Gale, and claims to have arrived on the island via hot air balloon. It is later revealed that the real Henry Gale was indeed a balloonist who died upon crashing on the island — just one of the many references to Baum's Oz novels on the show.

In the ABC telefilm The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, Uncle Henry was played by David Alan Grier and owned a diner.

In the VeggieTales episode The Wonderful Wizard of Ha's, Uncle Henry and his wife Aunt Em were substituted by a father (Dad Asparagus) to retell The Prodigal Son, a biblical parable from the Gospel.

References

  1. ^ Jack Snow, Who's Who in Oz, Chicago, Reilly & Lee, 1954; New York, Peter Bedrick Books, 1988; p. 227.
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