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The Highly Magnified Woggle Bug is a character in the Oz books by L. Frank Baum. He first appears in the book The Marvelous Land of Oz in 1904. He goes by the name H. M. Woggle Bug, T.E. (Thoroughly Educated). In later books, Woggle-Bug was sometimes spelled ''Wogglebug''. In illustrations he is often depicted wearing bright colors and several pairs of glasses on his elongated proboscis.
According to The Marvelous Land of Oz, the Woggle Bug was once a regular tiny woggle bug, about the size of a pea. He lived the life of a normal insect unill he crawled into a country schoolhouse (presumeably somewhere in the Winkie country of the Land of Oz) and listened to the lessons and lectures the famous Professor Nowitall gave his pupils for about three years. One day the teacher found and caught him, and decided to use him for an impromptu lesson on woggle bugs. Nowitall put the bug under a microscope and projected his highly magnified image onto a screen with advanced technology. The bug was proud of his new size; he bowed to the students, and one unnamed little girl standing on the windowsill was startled and fell backward out of the window. While everyone rushed outside to see if she was alright, the bug secretly jumped off the screen and ran away. He has remained magnified ever since. Later he found a tailor, and after he saved the tailor's life in an unknown way (although a few stories have been written to explain how, including The Wogglebug's New Clothes in the 1987 Oziana), the tailor made him his very first clothes.
He later founded and runs the Royal College of Art and Athletic Perfection, also known as the Royal College of Athletic Arts or the Royal College of Athletic Sciences, which is located in the western part of the Munchkin Country, not far from the Emerald City. He also invented knowledge pills that give a student knowledge without having to attend lessons, so that the student's time can be applied to Athletic pursuits.
When the Woggle bug is first introduced in The Marvelous Land of Oz, he is portrayed as having a charming disposition and a quirky and somewhat eccentric personality. He has a love of big words, Latin phrases, philosophy, and colorful puns relating to his immediate situation ''Were I to ride upon this sawhorse he would not only be an animal, he would become an equipage for he would then be a horse and buggy''. He is very proud of his education, and wants to put it to good use. He is always courteous and polite whatever the situation, and clearly cares about the well being of others. In the Sunday comics series through the following year, the Woggle bug is depicted as leading his companions out of trouble, displaying his wisdom, and also doing random acts of kindness for the poor citizens of America.
However, when he next appears in Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz as the prosecutor in Ozma's court, Baum seemingly decided to completely alter his personality and portray him as more pompous and arrogant and decidedly unlikeable. Baum was using him as a mocking of arrogance found in scholars (and also lawyers). In the continuing Oz series, the Professor goes on no more adventures until the last of Baum's books, Glinda of Oz, in which he is given a very harsh description as being so conceited no one cares to associate with him; he is no one's favorite in spite of his famous college of athletics. When Ruth Plumly Thompson took over the series after Baum's death, she portrayed him exactly like this. When he sets into motion the plot of The Royal Book of Oz, he accuses the Scarecrow of lacking any ancestry for him to list in the Royal Genealogy. Authors have portrayed him in varying ways ever since, sometimes lovable as he was originally, and sometimes extremely arrogant, and sometimes as just well meaningly lofty.
In other media
To promote his new book The Marvelous Land of Oz, Baum wrote a series of short stories called Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz, with comics illustrations by Walt McDougall. These stories were syndicated to newspapers across the country, and appeared in the children's page of the Sunday comics. The stories ran from 28 August 1904 through 26 February 1905. The first seventeen of them ended with a bit of missing information and the question, ''What did the Woggle bug say?'' One of the characters would ask the Woggle bug a question, and readers were invited to guess the answer for a prize. The correct answer was given the following Sunday. Much publicity surrounded the contest including sheet music, pin back buttons, postcards, games, and more.
Following the success of The Marvelous Land of Oz, Baum wrote a stage musical loosely based on the story; he hoped to recreate the smash hit of the 1902 musical stage adaption of The Wizard of Oz. The new musical was called the The Woggle Bug and 26 year old Fred Mace (who later became of star of Mack Sennet comedies) played the Woggle bug, singing such songs as ''I Am Mr. H. H. Wogglebug T.E.'' and ''There's a Lady Bug Awaiting for me.'' The play opened in Milwaukee and then re-opened in Chicago. It had little to do with the book: in the play, the Woggle Bug has a passion for a dress made of a bright Wagnerian plaid and he instantly falls in love with whoever wears it next. The show received a few kind reviews but ultimately it ''ceased to woggle,'' as one critique put it, and failed; it was too simple and childish, and lacked the charm and style of its predecessor. It closed in less than a month. The play was also adapted as a short book, The Woggle Bug Book, which critics have derided as one of Baum's poorest efforts.