The Wizard of Oz (1939)
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The Nikko Controversy
November 8, 1998
Ever noticed that the end credits of THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939) feature
a character named Nikko who was played by Pat Walshe? Well they do, and
for a long time people were trying to figure out exactly who this
was, given that no one by the name of Nikko is ever mentioned in the film.
The leading contending explanations were:
- Nikko was the head of the guards at the palace of the Wicked Witch
of the West
- Nikko was the head flying monkey whom the Witch sends to capture
Dorothy in the forest
Below are a few of the expert opinions on the matter. Then keep reading
for the REAL answer.
The Indianapolis News January 7, 1995, TV Time page E17
Who was Nikko, played by Pat Walshe, in "The Wizard of Oz"
? I can spot the others in the cast, but not Nikko. - B.D.
Nikko was the head of the witch's palace guard, the one with the
speaking part who hailed Dorothy and presented her with the broomstick
after the wicked witch was liquidated.
© 1995 The Indianapolis Newspapers, Inc.
TV Q&A: The Incredible Inman
by David Inman
The Louisville Courier-Journal December 27, 1994
Hey, Incredible-Type: I'm pretty sure I have solved one of the great
mysteries of our time, and I need you to verify my theory. Paying close
attention to the closing credits of "The Wizard of Oz, " I can
account for all but one character named Nikko. My theory is that only the
players with speaking roles are in the closing credits, and the only other
character besides the main cast I can think of is the green guard in the
witch's castle who says, "You melted her...all hail to Dorothy."
Was that Nikko? - Doug, Cocoa Beach, Fla.
Dear Doug: Remember that flying monkey who worked for the Wicked
Witch of the West? That's Nikko.
© 1994 Gannett Company, Inc.
Reel Classics sides with Inman over Shull in this matter, for
the reasons listed below (and you may quote me on this).
Nikko was the head winged monkey.
- Most complete cast lists give credit for the Captain of the Winkie
Guard role to Mitchell Lewis (1880-1956), an actor who made over 100 different
films in the course of his career.
- Pat Walshe, credited as Nikko, made only two other films (ROSEANNE
MCCOY (1949) and PANIC IN THE STREETS (1950)) which, if he was short enough
to play the head of the winged monkeys, would make sense, given that other
roles for such short actors would be hard to come by.
- Michael Vezza, a visitor to Reel Classics who read this feature, reports that Pat Walshe was in fact a famous animal impersonator.
- Jim Nowakowski, another visitor, wrote in that according to The
Complete Unabridged Super Trivia Encyclopedia Volume II by Fred L.
Worth (1981), Nikko (played by Pat Walshe) was the head winged monkey.
- Georgina Dockery, still another visitor, said that Pat Walshe visited an
elementary school in her area once and acknowledged that he had played Nikko,
the head winged monkey, in THE WIZARD OF OZ.
- In the stage production of The Wizard of Oz (featuring Mickey
Rooney as the Wizard) that AMC helped produce at Madison Square Garden
in 1998, the head of the winged monkeys was named Nikko.
So in the opinion of Reel Classics, the controversy is resolved--but if you have reason to
disagree, let me know.
© 1998 Reel Classics, LLC.
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