Meinhardt Raabe

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Meinhardt Raabe
(1915-2010)

Meinhardt Raabe played the Coroner of Munchkinland in the 1939 MGM film version of The Wizard of Oz. He has generously assisted others in their research about the 1939 MGM film and been interviewed for documentaries, television, and radio programs. Meinhardt wrote for The Baum Bugle and published his autobiography, Memories of a Munchkin: An Illustrated Walk Down the Yellow Brick Road.

For decades Meinhardt appeared in costume at annual Oz events around the country. These included many Oz Club conventions, beginning with Munchkin Conventions in the early 1970s, and the Ozmopolitan Convention. He attended three Munchkins reunion cruises and the 2006 Oz-Mania celebration of L. Frank Baum’s 150th birthday, and joined his fellow cast members in Los Angeles when a star was presented to the surviving Munchkins on Hollywood Boulevard. The Southeast Oz Festival in Jacksonville, Florida, was organized by community members to recognize and honor him in his “own back yard.”

Meinhardt would often retell the story of first hearing about a “Munchkin Convention” in the 1970s. It was long before the MGM little people were sought out for personal appearances and given celebrity status at Oz events. He registered to attend, assuming that it was a reunion of cast members like himself and not an East Coast gathering of fans. Although he was disappointed to find that none of his old friends were there, he had a host of new friends in no time at all.

When the award was announced in the summer of 2008, Meinhardt Raabe was 92, making him the oldest—and smallest—recipient of the L. Frank Baum Memorial Award.

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