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The Lollypop Guild

Folklore Piece

“So I’m from Culver City, and it’s kind of “The Heart of Screen Land” is what it’s called. So a lot of the movies, productions that were made in the earlier 1900s that were said to be made in Hollywood were actually made in culver city. And since we didn’t have a lot of entertainment life around us, we had a lot of entertainment related happenings. So we have this hotel, called the Culver Hotel, and it’s said to be haunted, of course, cause why wouldn’t it be. But also, there’s this story about the munchkins from The Lollipop Guild, from, uh, The Wizard of Oz. So The Wizard of Oz was filmed in Culver City, and so to house all of the people, the stuck them all in the Culver Hotel. The Hotel is really small, so I don’t even know, how they even, I don’t know. That’s like a clown car, like, hotel I guess. But the munchkins were said to be, like, really, really, rambunctious, and just like crazy Lollipop Guild kids. But they were adults! And so they were on the top floor, or something like that, and they got raging drunk, and destroyed the room, threw stuff out of windows, jumped off of stuff, and it was just crazy. And like, I don’t know if it’s true or not.

 

Background information

“Well, the hotel is in Culver City, like downtown Culver City, so I spent a lot of my childhood there. Movie theaters there, and a lot of eateries there and stuff. So any time I walked past it, not like anytime, but like when I asked ‘Oh what is that?’ because I never really knew what it was, it was just kind of a nondescript building in the middle of downtown, they would say “Oh, that’s the Culver Hotel, did you hear about the time when The Lollipop Guild just wrecked it.” I think I just accepted the story because it’s a funny story, if the story was like ‘The Lollipop Guild was just awesome, they were just pristine visitors’…”

Context

“I think this is one of the first times that I’ve actually told this story. I’m not, like, that culturally diverse or anything and there aren’t many things from my hometown so I’ve never really had to think about it. But yeah, I mean, I guess that’s one of them.”

Analysis

This legend about The Lollipop Guild is hilarious. In the movie, sure, they can seem creepy and adult-like to a viewer, but they’re dressed up in little kid outfits doing a jig and singing along with the rest of the crazy characters. It’s clear even in the movie that these are full grown men, both by their voices and their faces, but they’re also clearly not dressed in the manliest attire.

Oftentimes, legends and humorous stories are so funny because they subvert the preconceived notion of what that person or figure should be acting like. In this circumstance, it is that we wouldn’t expect The Lollipop Guild to get blackout drunk and destroy a hotel room. If a group of college students, or a rock band, were to do it, then who cares? But The Lollipop Guild? Now that’s good.

Also interesting is the type of folklore that this participant shared. I asked her if there were any traditions, or cultural artifacts, or jokes, or anything that she could tell me. “I mean, we’re funny people. But we don’t believe in pre-written jokes.” She’d also say “I mean, I’m American, I don’t have anything like that.” She almost seemed to begrudgingly give this story, because she said she felt she “lacked a cultural identity or ethnicity.” In this sense, folklore can be exclusionary of some people entirely; not in that they don’t have folklore to share, but that they don’t have any that they identify with or take pride in.

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