23 July 2007

Constabulary Notes from All Over

From a story by Michael Jones in the 20 July Observer-Reporter of Washington, Pennsylvania:

McDONALD - Follow the yellow-striped road through McDonald, and you'll see the characters from the "Wizard of Oz" greeting visitors at the borough's entrance.

But a few brainless mischief-makers seemingly committed a cowardly and heartless act two weeks ago, when they stole the head of the Cowardly Lion, one of four metal statues standing in a line.

The Lion, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Dorothy were built in recent years by Richard "Herky" Kendall of Candor, who died in April at age 69.

The foursome face east along Noblestown Road in the Allegheny County portion of the borough. The maniacal Wicked Witch of the West, with glowing red eyes, rides her broom next to them.

Kendall's widow, Loretta, said he originally made two tin statues and named them Mr. and Mrs. Valvoline - a tribute to their daughter's instant oil-change garage - and placed them on the family's farm for their grandchildren. Soon, he turned them into Dorothy and the Tin Man, and erected them in public.

But some residents eventually asked Kendall, a construction worker for 47 years, to build the remaining Oz personalities. Loretta Kendall said people are still waiting for a metal-forged Toto . . .

The head was discovered missing two weeks ago during the borough's McSummerfest activities. Police have no suspects, although a gang of flying monkeys is being sought for questioning.

The Lion appears to have been an easy target because - besides his reluctance to fight - the head was never riveted to the neck. Instead, it swung freely from side to side.
I haven't been able to find any online photos of this artwork, before or after defacement.

Ironically, in chapter 21 of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Lion becomes King of Beasts by knocking the head off "a most tremendous monster, like a great spider, with a body as big as an elephant and legs as long as a tree trunk."

(Thanks to Scott Hutchins for the original tip.)

1 comment:

J. L. Bell said...

The day after this posting, the Observer-Reporter reported: "the head was found Saturday [i.e., the 21st] inside a garbage bag in a grassy area not far from the statues." The family then riveted it back on.