The Original Tik-Tok from Disney’s “Return to Oz” Restored!

The Wizard of Oz, released in 1939, is still considered a masterpiece today. There is hardly a person alive who doesn’t know about the ruby slippers or hasn’t heard the song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” But what about the sequel that Disney released in the 1980s? How many of you have seen or even heard of the movie Return to Oz? Only some of you? That’s a shame but expected.

When Disney released Return to Oz in 1985, audiences expected a follow-up to the beloved technicolor Judy Garland musical they grew up with. Unfortunately, Return to Oz was not that. Yet, my sister and I loved it and still talk about it to this day. It felt more like a Jim Henson dark fantasy movie, ALA The Dark Crystal, rather than what we’d consider a classic Disney flick, but as far as my sister and I were concerned, it was always ahead of its time. The movie follows two of L Frank Baum’s books, The Marvelous Land of Oz and Ozma of Oz, and is more faithful to the source material than The Wizard of Oz ever was.

Return to Oz follows Dorothy Gale (Fairuza Balk) as she escapes an institution (see, I told you it’s dark!) and wakes up with her talking chicken in Oz, but it’s nothing like she remembers. Dorothy must work with her new friends and face creepy villains to restore Oz to its former glory. Among those friends is Tik-Tok the Mechanical Man, one of the first working robot-like costumes to ever appear onscreen. Adam Savage, formerly of MythBusters, is also a massive fan of the movie and character and couldn’t wait to see the restored costume in person. Check it out!

While at Prop Store’s Los Angeles offices, Adam meets the original Tik-Tok from Return to Oz! This was the actual costume wore by stunt performer Michael Sundin in the classic dark fantasy sequel to The Wizard of Oz, recovered and now restored over 35 years after the film’s release. Prop Store’s Brandon Alinger walks Adam through the history of this incredible costume and the two open Tik-Tok up to examine the mechanisms that brought this robot to life.

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