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The Wizard of Oz (1939)

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Article 1

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.

Shull's Mailbag

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Michael Vezza, a visitor to Reel Classics who read this feature, reports that Pat Walshe was in fact a famous animal impersonator.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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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