OZ at Children’s Fairyland

Capturing Beauty


John Presco

This morning as I awoke I had a image of my grandmother taking her grandchildren to Oakland’s Fairyland. She did so once a year. I was puzzling over why the Belmont Historical Society was only showing the top half of the photograph of the carousel and perhaps the sons of Carl Janke. When I saw the children gathered on the bridge, to I assume is the entrance to Carlmont Land, I then added the pictures in these giant oaks, the claim that my great, great grandfather built a place for drunks to come and get drunk – faded away! Carl had built a Turnverein Hall in San Francisco where I am sure beer was consumed in large quantities, but Belmont was going to be a special place for….The German Children of The Future…..and all Children! I google Children’s Fairyland…and I am blown away! Alas, I am home!

On this day, May 13, 2021, I add a Children’s Fairyland to Sarsaparilla Pier. When you add the images of Corey, who encouraged Royal Rosamond to take up writing, then we have arrived at Disneyland. What will be – will be! Follow the Yellowbrick Road. I beseech my daughters Heather Hanson apologize to me, and accept her heritage. I told her from the beginning

“All’s well, that ends well!”

I had a vision of the brownie camera Melba Charlotte Broderick owned and she forever taking pictures of the Presco Children. She has us pose in front of the oak trees at the entrance to Fairyland, and then there were many pics taken insider the FIRST CALIFORNIA THEM PARK that Walt Disney used as a model. I wondered what happened to them. Then I recalled her only child, my father, telling me his mother burned our photos and letters because we had neglected her. Th reason we did that, was, Melba had this HIDDEN AGENDA that Vic was made aware of. Rosemary did not not have a clue who those people were sitting in a forest that I now suspect is Twin Peaks Park. My mother said those were our “Bohunk kin”. Vic did go on about our German heritage, but it was distorted not full of any facts. Since I got into recovery thirty-four years ago, and then into therapy, I talked about how THE CHILDREN were supposed to figure out what THE ADULTS were fighting about, why we were always mentioned. They were fighting for – our sake! To be met with a rude non-greeting by members of BHS, perhaps because, I posted on Vice President Kamala Harris and her families connection to the Black Panthers?Did Kamala and Huery Newton go to Oakland’s Children’s Fairyland?

I have made numerous references to Sleeping Beauty, who Grimm named ROSAMOND, and how I might be the New Walt. Spooky Noodles has compared me o Disney. Three days ago I said I was a Ring Master in the Belmont Circus, and was bringing all the history I have gathered under….THE BIG TENT….like the striped one you see over the Janke Carousel.

Yesterday I discussed with my therapist about authoring MY REVENGE BOOK to destroy those who tried to destory me – and my late sister – who drowned on her first sober birthday! I have refrained from posting too much about OUR MAGICAL CHILDHOOD lest The Art Parasites come and steal that too! This morning at 8:39, I own a theme to my autobiography…

The Magical Children of Beautiful Mountain

I just posted this on the facebook of my frriend, Ed Howard, who has made a historic film about Oakland.

“Ed, do you have any pics of Fairyland? I would like the testimony of black people who may have felt unwelcome at Fairyland. There is much evidence my grandfather’s had their theme park taken from them at the end of world war one because they were Germans. The Belmont Historical Society snubbed me and was very rude to me when I posted on Kamala VP connection to the Black Panthers. If any former Panther went to Oakland’s Fairyland, I would like to hear your story. The Jankes were Turnverein Germans who put Lincoln in office, and nominated my kin, John Fremont. They were abolitionists.”

John Presco

Copyright 2021

President: Royal Rosamond Press: Belmont Soda Works, California Barrel Company.

Children’s Fairyland – Wikipedia

Yes, Oakland, there’s still a black Santa Claus at Fairyland (sfchronicle.com)

Oz was born in Hereford, England; the son of Frances (née Ghevaert; 1910–1989) and Isidore Oznowicz (1916–1998), both of whom were puppeteers.[6] His father was also a window trimmer.[2][7] His parents moved to England after fighting the Nazis with the Dutch Brigades. Oz’s Dutch-Polish father was Jewish, and his Flemish mother was a lapsed Catholic.[3][8][9][10] They left England when he was six months old and lived in Belgium until he was five.[11][12] Oz and his family moved to Montana in 1951.[7] They eventually settled in Oakland, California.[2] Oz attended Oakland Technical High School and Oakland City College. He worked as an apprentice puppeteer at Children’s Fairyland as a teenager[13] with the Vagabond Puppets, a production of the Oakland Recreation Department, where Lettie Connell was his mentor.[14]



Oz is known for his work as a puppeteer, performing with Jim Henson‘s Muppets. As a teenager, he worked with the Vagabond Puppets at the Children’s Fairyland of Oakland,[15] which is how he first met Henson.[16] He was 19 when he joined Henson in New York to work on the Muppets in 1963.[17] His characters have included Miss PiggyFozzie BearAnimal, and Sam Eagle on The Muppet Show, and GroverCookie Monster and Bert on Sesame Street.

Children’s Fairyland, U.S.A. is an amusement park, located in Oakland, California, on the shores of Lake Merritt. It was one of the earliest “themed” amusement parks in the United States.[1] Fairyland includes 10 acres (4.0 ha) of play sets, small rides, and animals. The park is also home to the Open Storybook Puppet Theater, the oldest continuously operating puppet theater in the United States.[2]

Fairyland was built in 1950 by the Oakland Lake Merritt Breakfast Club, a local service club.[3] The park was immediately recognized nationally for its unique value, and during the 1950s it inspired numerous towns to create their own parks. Walt Disney toured many amusement parks in 1950, including Children’s Fairyland, seeking ideas for what turned out to be Disneyland.[1][2] He hired the first director of Fairyland, Dorothy Manes, to work at Disneyland as youth director, in which position she continued from the park’s opening until 1972.[4]

Numerous artists have contributed exhibits, murals, puppetry, and sculptures to the park. Some of the better-known artists are Ruth Asawa and Frank Oz, who was an apprentice puppeteer in the park as a teenager.[2]


Origins of the park[edit]

On a 1947 trip to the Detroit children’s zoo in Belle Isle Park, Oakland nurseryman Arthur Navlet saw a collection of small nursery-rhyme themed buildings, and wanted to create something similar in Oakland’s Lake Merritt Park. His hope was to create much larger sets that children could climb in and interact with. After getting the backing of the Lake Merritt Breakfast Club, a civic organization devoted to improving the park, he took his ideas to William Penn Mott Jr., then director of Oakland’s parks department. Mott and the Breakfast Club were able to raise $50,000 from Oakland citizens. Contributing sponsors included Earl Warren, Clifford E. Rishell, Joseph R. Knowland and Thomas E. Caldecott.

Navlet hired fantasy artist and architect William Russell Everritt (1904–1978) to design the original 17 sets. Everritt originally presented models which followed a standard fantasy architecture: straight-sided, “precious” buildings in gingerbread and candy. When told his models were too staid, he delightedly destroyed them and came back with buildings with no straight sides and outré colors and textures. It was exactly what Navlet was looking for.

The original park[edit]

The park opened on September 2, 1950. Admission was 9 to 14 cents, depending on age. The original guides to the park were a dwarfish married couple dressed in glamorous Munchkin-style costumes. The park was reported on nationally, with numerous newsreels shot in the park. The original sets included Pinocchio‘s Castle, ThumbelinaThree Billy Goats Gruff, The Merry Miller, The Three Little Pigs, Willie the Whale, and several others. The entrance to the park was through the shoe illustrating the Old Woman in the Shoe. The entrance through the shoe was sized for children, so that adults had to bend over to go through. The park thrived, and in 1956, the City of Oakland Parks and Recreation Department hired Burton Weber to promote the wonders inside Fairyland’s gates. Weber created a program for young children called Fairyland Personalities, which is still part of Fairyland’s Children’s Theater program.

Fairyland is also home to the original “Magic Key” and Talking Storybook Boxes. Oakland television personality Bruce Sedley would often make appearances at the park to tell the stories of the sets. The constant strain of speaking threatened his voice, and he invented a system of talking books with recorded stories on tape. The boxes were activated by a plastic key. Sedley took the system he developed at Fairyland to zoos and children’s parks across the country, where they are still used extensively. The Magic Key system is still in effect at Fairyland.

Puppet theater[edit]

Fairyland’s Storybook Puppet Theater, which opened in 1956, is the oldest continuously operating puppet theater in the United States. The theater presents three performances a day, year round, from a repertoire of more than 150 puppet shows. Most of the shows are based on classic fairytales and folk tales from around the world, including The Three Little Pigs, Pinocchio, and The Pied Piper. All of the puppets – including bunraku, shadow puppets, hand puppetsrod puppets, and marionettes – are constructed at the theater by the puppet director and apprentices.

The theater structure was designed by the park’s original architect, William Russell Everitt, with the assistance of members of the San Francisco Bay Area Puppeteers Guild.[5] It accommodated hand and rod puppets. For the theater’s 50th anniversary, in 2006, the building was redesigned with a storage area, workshop, and higher ceiling for dramatic effects.[6]

Many accomplished puppeteers have worked at Fairyland’s puppet theater, including Tony Urbano,[7] Luman Coad,[5] and Frances and Isadore (“Mike”) Oznowicz.[8] The Oznowiczes’ son, Frank, performed at the theater when he was a teenager; he later shortened his name to Frank Oz and went on to perform with The Muppets and to direct many Hollywood films. Muppet performer Alice Dinnean also got her start at Fairyland’s puppet theater. Lewis Mahlmann, who served as the puppet theater’s director from 1967 to 2005, authored four books about puppetry, and twice served as president of the Puppeteers of America.[9]

The current theater director is Randal J. Metz,[10] who apprenticed with Mahlmann while he was still in grade school. Metz shared the director’s job with Mahlmann beginning in 1991, and became sole director upon Mahlmann’s retirement in 2005.

The park today[edit]

The park continued to grow through the early years, adding the Open Storybook Puppet Theater, also designed by Everritt, in 1956, as well as other sets. In 1994, with help from the Lake Merritt Breakfast Club, Fairyland applied for and received 501(c) (3) nonprofit status to allow it to apply for grants, receive bond funds, and solicit donations.

In 2006, the Storybook Puppet Theater celebrated its 50th anniversary with a near-complete renovation including the addition of a new facade and workshop. The current master puppeteer is Randal Metz.[11]

In addition to exhibits, the park today has rides such as the spiderweb Ferris wheel, a carousel, and the Jolly Trolly (a train). For safety reasons, Fairyland admits adults only when they’re accompanied by children and children only when they’re accompanied by adults.[12]

Fanny Corey

Posted on August 4, 2018 by Royal Rosamond Press

    Fanny Corey could have worked for Walt Disney. Were they aware on one another? Fanny and her brother encouraged my grandfather to become a writer. Fanny’s magical illustrations were known all over the world. Her books came out about 1920. The Hobbit was published in 1937. The Chronicles of Nania were published around 1954. I will be putting Fanny in the Liz Taylor Society I am forming.

John Presco





Moy Mell

Posted on August 4, 2018 by Royal Rosamond Press

The Avatar of Moy Mell

Posted on February 23, 2014by Royal Rosamond Press


Here is the post that Rena Easton responded to.


I am a very spiritual and religious person. All my letters and writing are protected by a special copyright for ministers. To destroy my letters and words may constitute a hate crime.

Jon the Nazarite

“Rosamond recalls that Jack Cory and his sister Fanny Y. Cory, cartoonist, started him on his writing career.”

In looking for traces of my Muse, Rena Easton, in Montana, I found what can be described as the Rosamond Holy Grail in Helena Montana. My grandfather lived in Helena and says he was inspired to write by Jack Cory, a political cartoonist and equestrian artist, and his sister Fanny Y. Cory, a famous illustrator who lived in a secluded ranch in Montana.

There was an art show of four generations of this family. This is the vision I had for my family when I became a Pre-Raphaelite. Christine Rosamond Benton did several Fairy paintings, as did Drew, who is employed rendering avatars for fantasy games.

Alas we have a true genealogy that traces the Rosamond Family Muse from the Cory family, to my grandfather, to me, to my sister, and to her daughter Drew Benton whose father was the famous muralist, Garth Benton, the cousin of the artist, Thomas Hart Benton. This is the convergence of three creative families – that is unheard of! The Great Muses are at work here. Consider our DNA!

If I had not been following my Muse wherever she leads me, then I would not have made this profound discovery that cast out the outsider from Rosamond Creative Legacy, those parasites who dare title themselves “caretakers” of Rosamond’s art and life story. If my grandfather came back from the dead, he would take a bullwhip to these usurpers – of his history! Fanny was a very famous woman artist – before Christine was born!

Thank you my dear grandfather, whom I never met, for laying down the true stepping stones of our family history.

Royal wrote a short story about a bullfight in Montana where his sister lived. It appears their father adopted these sibling out to W.S. Spaulding after his wife died.

The top two images were done by Drew Benton. The boy with dragon was done by Drew’s mother, Christine Rosamond Benton. The connections I just made – with no ones help – increase the value of all my families creative efforts. This is what real Art Books look like!

I’ve considered doing illustrations for most of my books. C’mon Rena. Show yourself. Do it for Montana! You were Rosamond’s Muse. This is your State History. You got some major bragging rights! Put this in your resame. At least send me copies of photos of you that I can work from to illustrate
‘Capturing Beauty’. I want your side of the story! I will got to the Governor and have you declared Montana’s State Treasure who brought the history of Royal Rosamond and Fanny Cory, together!






Jon Presco

Copyright 2013

I also found an article about a Royal Rosamund, who was said to be the son of W.S. Spaulding – I do not know if that was the same person as the Frank Rosamund who is the coach driver with the family in 1900, but the ages match.


Royal Rosamond, Helena native, is Planning Book About
Home City, Chamber Is Told
Royal Rosamond, widely known
author and Helena native, is planning
a book about the city according
to a letter received by the
Helena Chamber of Commerce
from the resident of Oklahoma
Rosamond said the book will
be based on recollections of his
childhood in the city. He asked
the chamber for assistance with
additional material about the city
and the surrounding area.
Rosamond said his parents followed
my grandfather, John L.
Reese, to Helena from Missouri
In the spring of 1884.” The family
lived in the Sixth ward for three
years before moving to the Sanford
and Evans building.
His father, W. S. Spaulding,
and Gary Cooper’s father were
Business partners with a shop on
the lot where the post office now
stands. When he was six years old,
Rosamond said, he was a playmate
of Tommy Cruse’s little boy,
about the time the elder Cruse
was financed with a grub stake by
a local grocer and struck it rich
at Marysville. .
Rosamond asked the name of
the grocer and wanted to know
the Cruse boy’s name. The letter
said Rosamond attended Hawthorne
school when he was six,
seven and eight years old. “There
was not a bob sled in town that
I had not ridden. . . . I was on
speaking terms .with every horse in
every barn in town. . . . I doted
on pigtailed Chinamen but failed
to win their friendship except for
one, a merchant up the gulch,” he
A frame residence built hy Rosamond’s
father at the head of Walnut
still stands. .The author
visited the city In 1945.
His mother died when he was
nine years old and he moved to
Missouri until he was 18 when he
returned to Helena. Rosamond recalls
that Jack Cory and his sister
Fanny Y. Cory, cartoonist, started
him on his writing career.
Rosamond asked for information
about the earthquake, early gold
operations, a map of the city and
other information which he expects
to include in his book.
One of his novels, “Bound in
Clay” is available at the Helena
public library. He has been called
“Oklahoma’s greatest living humorist,”
and is holder of the international
Mark Twain award for
his contribution to literature.

Hollywood and the “Dunites,” 1934

Meher Baba returned to Hollywood in 1934, avoiding publicity and instead working with a number of screenwriters and filmmakers on proposed film projects. During the earlier 1932 visit he had met a spiritual seeker named Sam Cohen, a Theosophist and resident of a loosely knit freethinkers’ community named “Moy Mell” nestled among the dunes on the beach at Oceano, California. The benefactor of this group of intellectuals, spiritual seekers, artists and social misfits was Chester Alan Arthur III, grandson of the 21st President, who went by the name of Gavin. For a time Gavin published a magazine called the Dune Forum, which included articles by such notables as Stuart Edward White (author of the spiritualist classic, The Unobstructed Universe), and photographic contributions by Ansel Adams and Edward Weston (whose dune photographs are well-known).

Gavin would frequently entertain the intellectual and artistic elite of America at his cabin in the dunes. Although accounts differ somewhat, it appears that Baba sent disciple Meredith Starr and his wife to Moy Mell in 1932, and that they stayed on for a period of time (this was approximately a year and a half before Meredith’s defection). When Baba returned to Hollywood in 1934, he agreed to visit the “Dunite” community. On the evening of Christmas day (accounts different as to the exact days), Baba arrived with eighteen of his followers, including Norina Matchabelli, wife of Georges Matchabelli, known for the popular perfume brand. Norina had previously arranged for a special cabin to be built for Baba, but he chose instead to stay in Gavin’s cabin. Gavin was not in Moy Mell at the time, and it was decided that he wouldn’t mind.

There was also a Theosophical center called the Temple of the People in nearby Halcyon, founded in 1904 with the intent of preparing for the arrival of the next incarnation of the Avatar, but there is no record of Baba visiting it.(21)

Three weeks ago I exchanged words with my niece, Drew Benton, for the first time in a cyber Land of Make Believe – that will go unnamed lest our worldly enemies track us down and snatch the secret key from us. Let us call this place ‘Moy Mell’ after a Faire Land far over the sea, where only………
The Dunites called their Bohemian community Moy Mell, a sanctuary for folks who had left the beaten path, could not cope, or, were just following their dream. It has been suggested that most people who can’t cope, become dreamers. But, it is a matter of what came first, the chicken or the egg. Whatever, we are not eggs or chickens. Usually wer are poets and artists, mystics, and hermits, who at an early age considered ourselves Foundlings.
I am a Foundling, after my grandfather, Royal Rosamond, who took his third born daughter Lillian down to the dunes in Ventura where there was another shanty town built by Bohemians and odd fellows.
“These are my people!” Royal proudly exclaimed as he he did an Irish Jigg to the music an old Scotsman played on his violin. My kindred had just had tea in a little shack in Ventura by the Sea.
When I interviewed Lillian for my autobiography, she told me her father took her to the top of hill overlooking Ventura where she and her three beautiful sisters had grown up. Royal had been away, and had come home……………just to say goodbye!
Mary Magdalene Rosamond had banished her husband from his home where dwelt the Faire Roses of the World. My grandfather was a very poor provider. Mary was making hats to support her children. However, there was a man lurking about, a dark man whose history did not survive for some reason. Perhaps it is because he sired no children. Uncle Conrad was Mary’s brother. He owned several home in the Ojai Valley, and the home the Rosamond’s lived in. He was a landlord.
With tears in her eyes, Lilian told me how her father imparted his dream to her, when he affixed her gaze out to sea, over the horizon, to the land of eternity, where the noblest attributes of humankind, dwell – a land where poets and artists are not punished for creating their beloved sanctuaries.
I met Drew Benton for the first time at her mother’s house, the day before Christine Rosamond Benton’s funeral in Carmel by the Sea. She had come over to play video games with her cousin, Shamus. Vicki Presco introduced us. Drew turned to look me in the eyes, did not speak, and went back to play in cyber world. When we met in Moy Mell, our Avatars, she approached this grey haired warrior and exclaimed with her computer keyboard;
“My long lost uncle!”

Fanny Y. Cory, Grandmother of Ann Cory on her mother’s side

Now I will go back in time. I will go back to one of the dearest people in my life, my grandma.

Today her art work is bought and sold today on e-bay and other sites and she is noted in books about illustrators of the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Her art name is Fanny Y. Cory, although sometimes she signed with FYC and other versions of her name. The one thing that never changed, though, was that she signed her art vertically and with carefully formed capital letters.

Fanny Y. Cory was someone who always drew from the time she was old enough to hold a pencil. One of her early memories was lying on the floor of her home drawing away with adults patiently stepping over her.

She drew so much and so well that not only could she draw anything she saw but anything she wanted to materialize out of her fertile imagination.

Fanny Y. Cory’s brother, Jack Cory, a well-known political cartoonist, paid her way to attend the Metropolitan School of Fine Arts in New York City.

She took part in the Artists Student Legue there but soon needed to earn money from her art to support her darling sister who had consumption.

Many times as I grew up I heard her tell the story about her beginning attempt to sell her illustrations. The first journey at 17 up the ”well-worn iron stairs” into the unknown world of “Scribners” was frightening.

“The young man at the desk flipped carelessly through my portfolio. Then he looked up and said to ‘Come back when you became known’ ”.

“I thanked him kindly and then walked across the hall to “Century” and they took my illustrations right away.”

Before long Fanny Y. Cory was known as the “Sweetheart of the Century Company,” and became one of the best known illustrators in the country.

She did covers and illustrations of St. Nicholas, Life, Scribner’s, Century, Harper’s Bazaar and The Saturday Evening Post.

She also illustrated many books during this time among them Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1902) by Lewis Carrol, and several books by Frank L. Baum, author of The Wizard of Oz.

Fanny Y. Cory married a Montana rancher whom she had gotten to know in earlier years via his sisters and moved to his ranch at Canyon Ferry, Montana.

They raised their children there and she continued her illustration work on a limited basis.

After Fanny Y. Cory’s children become older, it was apparent that they needed college training.

Fanny Y. Cory had always done her art for the good of others and to help her children have their dreams, she threw her talents into a new art field: two syndicated comic strips which she did for 25 and 30 years respectively.

One was “Little Miss Muffet,” a daily strip that King Features ran originally as their answer to the very popular “Little Orphan Annie” comic strip.





Aesop’s Playhouse[edit]

Aesop‘s Playhouse performance, 2008

In 2008, Fairyland opened Aesop’s Playhouse, a dedicated children’s theater funded by Oakland City bond measure DD. It is a Greek theater-style outdoor amphitheater seating 215 people. Fairyland had a long tradition of plays put on by local children ages 8–10, but they were performed on the smaller Emerald City Stage.[13] Previous plays have included The Monkey King’s Journey to the West, Brer Rabbit, The Wizard of OzCuoithe Boy in the MoonOhana Means FamilyLittle Red Riding Hood, Lost in FairylandHip-Hop PinocchioThe PanchatantraMéxicaAesop’s FablesThe Girl Who Lost Her SmileHarvest at the LakeClick, Clack, Moo: Cows That TypeThe Cat in the Hat, and Five Little Monkeys.


About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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1 Response to OZ at Children’s Fairyland

  1. Reblogged this on Rosamond Press and commented:

    I will send this post to Gavin Newsom and suggest there be a Disneyland North.

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