Josefine Balluck: Austrian actress (1908 - 1984) | Biography
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Josefine Balluck
Austrian actress

Josefine Balluck

Josefine Balluck
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Austrian actress
Was Actor Film actor
From Austria
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender female
Birth 9 September 1908, Vienna, Austria
Death 1984 (aged 75 years)
Star sign Virgo
The details (from wikipedia)


A Munchkin is a native of the fictional Munchkin Country in the Oz books by American author L. Frank Baum. They first appear in the classic children's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) where they welcome Dorothy Gale to their city in Oz. The Munchkins are described as being the same height as Dorothy and they wear only shades of blue clothing, as blue is the Munchkins' favorite color. Blue is also the predominating color that officially represents the eastern quadrant in the Land of Oz. The Munchkins have appeared in various media, including the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, as well as in various other films and comedy acts.


While Baum may have written about it, there are no surviving notes for the composition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The lack of this information has resulted in mere speculation of the term origins he used in the book, which include the word Munchkin. Baum researcher Brian Attebery has hypothesized that there might be a connection to the Münchner Kindl, the emblem of the Bavarian city of Munich (spelled München in German). The symbol was originally a 13th-century statue of a monk, looking down from the town hall in Munich. Over the years, the image was reproduced many times, for instance as a figure on beer steins, and eventually evolved into a child wearing a pointed hood. Baum's family had German origins, suggesting that Baum could have seen one such reproduction in his childhood. It is also possible that Munchkin came from the German word Männchen, which means "mannikin" or "little figure". In 1900, Baum published a book about window displays in which he stressed the importance of mannequins in attracting customers. Another possibility is a connection to Baron Munchausen, whose name is now similar to the word "fabulous". This fictional character is based on a real baron who told outrageous tall tales based on his military career. Like the other Oz terms, the word Munchkin ends in a diminutive which in this case refers to the size of the natives.


Oz Books by Frank Baum

"she noticed coming down toward her a group of the queerest people she had ever seen. They were not as big as the grown folk she had always been used to; but neither were they very small. In fact, they seemed about as tall as Dorothy, who was a well-grown child for her age, although they were, so far as looks go, many years older."

L. Frank Baum

The Munchkins are first mentioned (quote shown) in an excerpt from chapter two of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, titled "The Council with the Munchkins". Dorothy initially meets only three of them, along with the Good Witch of the North. The rest of the Munchkins then come out of hiding and are shown to be grateful towards Dorothy for killing their evil ruler the Wicked Witch of the East. Dorothy later eventually finds the yellow brick road, and along the way attends a banquet held by a Munchkin man named Boq. Sometime in the book a background story is also given about a "Munchkin maiden" (named Nimmie Amee in later books), who was the former love interest of the Tin Woodman.

Baum also included the Munchkin characters in his later works as minor and major individual characters. The Munchkin Jinjur is the main antagonist in Baum's second book The Marvelous Land of Oz, where she seeks to overthrow the Scarecrow and take over the Emerald City. Jinjur makes a brief appearance in the next book, entitled Ozma of Oz, and is later brought back in Baum's twelfth book, The Tin Woodman of Oz. By this time, she is shown to be a more prominent character who is helpful and friendly to Dorothy and her friends. Two other major Munchkin characters also appear in The Tin Woodman of Oz: Tommy Kwikstep and Nimmie Amee. The former appears in the story asking for a wish for running an errand for a witch; the latter is the name given to the mystery "Munchkin maiden" from the first book, who was the former lover of the Tin Woodman. More information is revealed that tells about the Tin Woodman's origin, and their tragic love story. Lastly, the Munchkin Unc Nunkie appears in Baum's seventh book, The Patchwork Girl of Oz, where he is accidentally turned to stone. His Munchkin nephew Ojo successfully goes on a quest in search of an antidote while learning more about himself in the process.

Subsequent Oz books

L. Frank Baum died on 6 May 1919 after which other writers took up writing additional Oz stories. In some cases these books were written under Baum's name, and include among other characters the Munchkins. There is at least one known Munchkin character that was created after Baum's death that appears as a major character. Zif is a Munchkin boy who appears in John R. Neill's first adaptation called The Royal Book of Oz. Zif is a student at the College of Art and Athletic Perfection; he is both respectful and resentful towards his teacher Wogglebog who considers Zif a "nobody or a nothing." The Munchkin characters that Baum had created in his lifetime also appear in these additional works.

Film and musicals

Early works (1902–1933)

While the 1939 film is the most well known adaptation (see section below), it was not the first outside work to show the Munchkins in film or musical format. One of the first musical adaptations of Baum's books took place in 1902; it was also dubbed The Wizard of Oz. The Munchkins make their appearance in act one, called "The Storm," in which they are shown dancing around their maypole, not noticing that Dorothy's house has fallen to earth killing the Wicked Witch of the East. The first film adaptation of Baum's works, titled The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, was released in 1910, followed by three sequels. However, it wasn't until 1914 that Munchkin characters first appeared in film works. Ojo the Lucky and Unc Nunkie both appear in a film titled The Patchwork Girl of Oz (based on the book of the same name). This film stars American actress Violet MacMillan as Ojo, and was produced by Baum.

1939 film

The Munchkins (specifically the "Lollipop Guild") as depicted in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. L-R: Jackie Gerlich, Jerry Maren and Harry Doll

The 1939 movie musical The Wizard of Oz was loosely based on Baum's novel. Notable differences of the Munchkins include their country name of Munchkinland, and their clothes of many colors instead of an all-blue attire. In the musical the Munchkins are mostly portrayed by adult actors with dwarfism, but a few average-sized children were also included as background extras. The movie also combines the character of the Good Witch of the South (Glinda), with the Good Witch of the North (named "Locasta" or "Tattypoo").

In the musical, the Munchkins first appear when Dorothy and Toto arrive in the Land of Oz after her house lands on the Wicked Witch of the East. The Munchkins hide from all the commotion until Glinda the Good Witch arrives reassuring them that everything is okay. Dorothy tells them how she arrived in the Land of Oz (through a musical number) and the Munchkins celebrate. To make it official, the Mayor of Munchkinland and his assistant have to make sure that the Wicked Witch of the East is really dead before the celebration continues. The coroner confirms this to the mayor by saying that the witch is "not merely dead", but is indeed "most sincerely dead" while showing the Certificate of Death. The Munchkins then celebrate further as Dorothy receives gifts from the "Lullaby League" and the "Lollipop Guild." Near the end of the song, the Wicked Witch of the West arrives, which causes the Munchkins to panic. After the Wicked Witch of the West leaves, Glinda tells Dorothy to follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City as the Munchkins guide her out of Munchkinland.

The Munchkin actors have since not avoided controversy with alleged behavior behind the scenes. In a 1967 interview, Judy Garland referred to all of the Munchkins as "little drunks" who got intoxicated every night to the point where they had to be picked up in "butterfly nets". These accusations were denied as fabrications by fellow Munchkin Margaret Pellegrini, who said only "a couple of kids from Germany even drank beer". On 20 November 2007, the Munchkins were given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Seven of the surviving Munchkin actors from the film were present. As a result of the popularity of the 1939 film, the word "munchkin" has entered the English language as a reference to small children, persons with dwarfism, or anything of diminutive stature.

Actors and actresses

The following is a list of actors who portrayed the Munchkins in the 1939 film. Most of the dwarfs hired were acquired for MGM by Leo Singer, the proprietor of Singer's Midgets. A Daily Variety news story from 17 August 1938, stated 124 midgets had been signed to play Munchkins; modern sources place the number either at 122 or 124. An additional dozen or so child actresses were hired to make up for the shortage of little people. At least one Munchkin actor, Dale Paullin (stage name Paul Dale), did not make the final cut for the movie. Only two actors (Joseph Koziel and Frank Cucksey) used their actual voices for the dialogue exchanged with Dorothy where she is given the flowers. The rest of the voices such as the "Munchkin chorus" were created by studio voices recorded at a slow speed.

In 1989, author Stephen Cox researched, found, and wrote about the surviving Munchkin actors fifty years after they made the film. He wrote about them in his book, The Munchkins Remember (1989, E.P. Dutton) which was later revised as The Munchkins of Oz (Cumberland House), and his book remained in print for nearly two decades. When he wrote the book, 33 of the actors with dwarfism who appeared in the film were still alive and were interviewed. Jerry Maren, who played the green "Lollipop Guild" member, was the last living Munchkin actor.

Notes: Some of the information presented in the table below may never be complete as Social Security records remain sparse prior to the mid-twentieth century. Stage names and/or aliases are present in italics and quotation marks.

Actor Born Died Part(s) played Source
Gladys W. Allison Unknown Unknown Played a villager
John Ballas 1903 Unknown Played a villager
Franz Balluck ("Mike") Unknown Unknown Played a villager
Josefine Balluck Unknown Unknown Played a villager
John T. Bambury Unknown Unknown Played a soldier
Charlie Becker 1887 1968 Played "The Mayor of Munchkinland"
Freda Betsky 1916 Unknown Played a villager
Henry Boers 1896 Unknown Played a villager
Theodore Boers 1894 1945 Played a villager
Christie Buresh 1907 1979 Played a villager
Eddie Buresh 1909 1982 Played a villager
Lida Buresh 1906 1970 Played a villager
Mickey Carroll 1919 2009 Played a fiddler, a town crier, and a soldier
Casper "Colonel" Balsam Unknown Unknown Played a villager
Nona A. Cooper 1875 1953 Played a villager
Thomas J. Cottonaro 1914 2001 Played a villager
Elizabeth Coulter Unknown Unknown Played a villager
Lewis Croft 1919 2008 Played a soldier
Frank Cucksey 1919 1984 Played the villager that gives Dorothy some flowers
Billy Curtis 1909 1988 Played the Braggart
Eugene S. David Jr. Unknown Unknown Played a fiddler
Eulie H. David Unknown Unknown Played a soldier
Ethel W. Denis 1894 1968 Played a villager
Prince Denis 1892 1984 Played the Sergeant-at-Arms
Hazel I. Derthick 1906 1989 Played a villager
Daisy Earles 1907 1980 Played a "munchkin maiden"
Gracie Doll Earles 1899 1970 Played a "munchkin maiden"
Harry Doll Earles 1902 1985 Blue member of The Lollipop Guild
Tiny Doll Earles 1914 2004 Played a "munchkin maiden"
Major Doyle ("James D. Doyle") 1869 1940 Played a villager
Ruth Robinson Duccini 1918 2014 Played a villager
Carl M. Erickson 1917 1958 Played the 2nd Trumpeter
Fern Formica 1925 1995 Played a villager and a "sleepyhead"
Addie Eva Frank Unknown Unknown Played a villager
Thaisa L. Gardner 1909 1968 Played a villager
Jakob "Jackie" Gerlich 1917 1960 Red member of The Lollipop Guild
William A. Giblin 1916 1985 Played a soldier
Jack S. Glicken 1900 1950 Played a city father
Carolyn E. Granger 1915 1973 Played a villager
Donna Jean Johnson Stewart Hardaway 1933 2008 Played a villager
Joseph Herbst Unknown 1989 Played a soldier
Jakob Hofbauer 1898 Unknown Played a soldier
Clarence C. Howerton ("Major Mite") 1913 1975 Played the 3rd Trumpeter
Helen M. Hoy 1898 1945 Played a villager
Marguerite A. Hoy Unknown Unknown Played a villager
James R. Hulse IV 1915 1964 Played a villager
Robert Kanter ("Little Lord Robert") 1886 Unknown Played a soldier
Charles E. Kelley Unknown Unknown Played a soldier
Jessie E. Kelley ("Jessie Becker") Unknown Unknown Played a villager
Frank Kikel Unknown Unknown Played a villager
Bernard Klima ("Harry") 1897 1957 Played a villager
Mitzi Koestner Unknown Unknown Played a villager
Emma Koestner Unknown Unknown Played a villager
Willi Koestner Unknown Unknown Played a soldier
Adam Edwin Kozicki ("Eddie Adams") Unknown Unknown Played a fiddler
Joseph J. Koziel Unknown Unknown Played a villager
Dolly F. Kramer 1904 1995 Played a villager
Emil Kranzler 1910 1993 Played a villager
Nita Krebs 1905 1991 Member of The Lullaby League and a villager
Jeane LaBarbera ("Little Jean") 1909 1993 Played a villager
Hilda Lange Unknown Unknown Played a villager
John Leal ("Johnny") 1905 1996 Played a villager
Ann Rice Leslie 1900 1973 Played a villager
Charles Ludwig 1889 1941 Played a villager
Dominick Magro 1909 1959 Played a villager
Carlos Manzo 1914 1955 Played a villager
Howard Marco 1884 Unknown Played a villager
Jerry Maren 1920 2018 Green member of The Lollipop Guild
Bela Matina ("Mike Rogers") 1901 1954 Played a villager
Lajos Matina ("Leo") 1901 Unknown Played a villager
Matyus Matina ("Ike Rogers") 1901 Unknown Played a villager
Walter M. B. Miller 1906 1987 Played a soldier and a flying monkey
George Ministeri 1913 1986 Played the coachman and a villager
Harry Monty 1904 1999 Played a villager and a flying monkey
Yvonne Bistany Moray 1917 Unknown Member of The Lullaby League and a villager
Johnny Maroldo ("Johnny Winters") 1905 1985 Played the Commander of the Navy
Marie Bernadet Maroldo ("Marie Winters") 1901 1979 Played a villager
Olga C. Nardone 1921 2010 Member of The Lullaby League, a sleepyhead, and a villager
Nels P. Nelson 1918 1994 Played a villager
Margaret C. Nickloy ("Princess Marguerite") 1902 1961 Played a villager
Franklin H. O'Baugh 1922 1963 Played a soldier
William H. O'Docharty 1920 1988 Played the coach footman and a villager
Hildred C. Olson Unknown Unknown Played a villager
Frank Packard Unknown Unknown Played a villager
Nicholas Page ("Nicky") 1904 1978 Played a soldier and a city father
Leona Megest Parks ("Duchess") 1897 Unknown Played a villager
Margaret Williams Pellegrini 1923 2013 Played a "sleepyhead" and the "flower pot munchkin"
Johnny Pizo Unknown Unknown Played a villager
Leon Polinsky ("Prince Leon") Unknown Unknown Played a villager
Meinhardt Raabe 1915 2010 Played the coroner
Margaret Raia 1928 2003 Played a villager
Matthew Raia Unknown Unknown Played a city father
Friedrich Retter ("Freddie") 1899 Unknown Played a fiddler and villager
Billy Rhodes ("Little Billy") 1895 1967 Played the barrister
Gertrude H. Rice Unknown Unknown Played a villager
Hazel Rice Unknown Unknown Played a villager
Sandor Roka 1896 1954 Played a villager
Charles F. "Wojnarski" Royal 1900 1947 Played a soldier
Helen J. "Wojnarski" Royal 1897 1958 Played a villager
Stella A. "Wojnarski" Royal 1903 1959 Played a villager
Albert Ruddinger Unknown Unknown Played a villager
Elsie R. Schultz 1892 1987 Played a villager
Charles Silvern 1902 1976 Played a villager
Garland Slatton ("Earl") 1917 1995 Played a soldier
Karl Slover 1918 2011 Played the lead trumpeter, a soldier, a "sleepyhead", and a villager
Ruth E. Smith Unknown 1985 Played a villager
Elmer Spangler 1910 Unknown Played a villager
Pernell St. Aubin 1922 1987 Played a soldier
Carl Stephan Unknown Unknown Played a villager
Alta M. Stevens 1913 1989 Played a villager
George Suchsie Unknown Unknown Played a villager
Charlotte V. Sullivan Unknown Unknown Played a villager
Clarence Swensen 1917 2009 Played a soldier
Betty Tanner 1916 1994 Played a villager
Arnold Vierling 1919 1949 Played a villager
Gus Wayne 1920 1998 Played a soldier
Victor Wetter 1902 1990 Played the Captain of the Army
Grace G. Williams Unknown Unknown Played a villager
Harvey B. Williams 1905 1968 Played a soldier
Gladys V. Wolff 1911 1984 Played a villager
Murray Wood 1908 1999 Played a city father
From left: Jerry Maren (Lollipop Guild), Karl Slover, Clarence Swensen and Margaret Pellegrini (1998)

Child actresses

A dozen or so children of average height were hired so they could be used for background fill. Of these child actresses, five are known to still be living.

Actor Born Died Part(s) played Source
Betty Ann Cain Bruno 1931 Living Child actress
Priscilla Ann Montgomery Clark 1929 Living Child actress
Joan Kenmore 1931 Living Child actress
Eva Lee Kuney 1934 2015 Child actress
Rae-Nell Laskey 1930 1991 Child actress
Elaine Mirk Unknown Living Child actress
Valerie Lee Shepard Unknown Unknown Child actress
Ardith Dondanville Todd 1930 Living Child actress
Shirley Ann Kennedy Vegors 1932 2005 Child actress
Viola White Banks 1931 2000 Child actress

Later works (1940–1989)

The 1939 film was adapted into a musical that was released in 1942 that includes the Munchkin characters. The events that take place mirror the film including the song "Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead". Twenty-seven years later an animated film called The Wonderful Land of Oz was made; it has Jinjur as a major character.

Other works

  • The Munchkins appeared in The Wiz and were played by children and teenagers. (1978)
  • The Munchkins appear at the end of Return to Oz. They are seen celebrating Dorothy's return after defeating the Nome King and are present at Princess Ozma's coronation. Tommy Kwikstep was also seen there. (1985)
  • In The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, the Munchkins were played by Rizzo the Rat (who portrayed the Mayor of Munchkinland) and his fellow rats. (2005)
  • The Munchkins appeared in Dorothy and the Witches of Oz. The Munchkins were first seen in the battle against the Wicked Witch of the West's forces in Oz. They were later brought to Earth by Glinda in order to combat the forces of the Wicked Witch of the West. (2012)
  • The Munchkins appear in Oz the Great and Powerful. They alongside the Quadlings and the Tinkers as inhabitants of Glinda's protectorate. Although the film is not otherwise a musical, the Munchkins sing and dance much as they do in the 1939 film. (2013)
  • The Munchkins appear in more than one skit on Mad TV where the 1939 film is parodied. The actors are played by people with dwarfism.
  • The Munchkins appear in the television series Once Upon a Time. Not much is known about them, but they seem to be similar to the Dwarves in the Enchanted forest as Zelena originally thought that Sneezy was a Munchkin. Also, Regina Mills once mistakenly referred to the Seven Dwarfs as Munchkins.
  • The Munchkins appear in Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz with the Mayor of Munchkinland voiced by Bill Fagerbakke and the background Munchkins voiced by Steven Blum and Jessica DiCicco. Ojo, Dr. Pipt, the Lollipop Guild, and the Lullaby League are also featured. Also, Smith & Tinker are depicted as Munchkins in this show.
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 31 May 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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