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Cowardly Lion

Cowardly Lion by R. John Wright

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Cowardly Lion
by R. John Wright


The Cowardly Lion™ from R. John Wright's exciting series will be based on the characters in the classic 1939 MGM motion picture The Wizard of Oz™!

Faithfully based on the beloved character immortalized by Bert Lahr in the 1939 film, the Cowardly Lion™ will be brought to life by R. JOHN WRIGHT DOLLS for the first time ever in the medium of molded felt.

Bert Lahr (1895-1967) was an American actor and comedian. Prior to his appearance in The Wizard of Oz™, Lahr was already well-known for his work in burlesque, vaudeville and on Broadway. Lahr was signed to play the dual role of Zeke the Kansas farmhand and Oz's counterpart, the Cowardly Lion™. Lahr's lion costume was created from real lion pelts. Under the high-voltage lighting required for Oz's Technicolor© scenes the costume looked great, but was unbearably hot. Lahr also contributed many ad-lib comedic lines and elements to bring his unforgettable film character to life.

The Cowardly Lion™ from R. John Wright Dolls will be faithfully based on the original motion picture images. Standing 17 inches tall, he will be fully jointed at his shoulders, hips, knees, elbows, neck and ankles with the R. John Wright ball and socket jointing system with an internal wood mechanism. Under his costume, the Cowardly Lion™ will have a realistic molded felt torso and limbs. Under his fur mittens his amazing sculptural felt hands will have individually sewn fingers! The wig is a special mix of mohair and meticulously hand-knotted human hair. His molded felt character face will be finely modeled in a true likeness with hand-painted features and inset whiskers.

Extensively researched for the utmost authenticity, the Cowardly Lion™ will be costumed in a detailed lion suit fashioned of the finest custom-dyed and shaded mohair plush in varying lengths. His paws and feet will include resin claws and his wig will be meticulously hand-knotted of the finest mohair.

The Cowardly Lion™ will arrive inside the deluxe The Wizard of Oz™ presentation box along with a signed and numbered certificate of authenticity. Matching numbers to other characters in the R. John Wright Wizard of Oz™ collection subject to availability.


Capturing The Magic Of Oz

John Wright discusses the unique challenges and interesting techniques used in creating his new, authentic Cowardly Lion.

 Cowardly Lion from Wizard of Oz

The Cowardly Lion was one of the most challenging Oz characters. We studied photos of the original costume and videos of the restoration which was done on it prior to being sold. (The costume set a world record when it was auctioned in 2014 for over 3 million dollars.) The main challenge was to keep the bulky mohair suit from overwhelming the doll. It was important for us to maintain the impression that there was a man under the costume.

The face also had its own challenges. In the film, the makeup consisted of applied foam pieces covered with a heavy paste. To create the same effect on the molded felt head, we applied several layers of jesso onto the felt surface with extensive hand sanding in between coats. This is a similar to the process painters' use to prepare their canvas's for painting. The face was then airbrushed for coloration and the features hand painted.

 In essence we were making the 'actor' as a fully-articulated felt doll and then sitting him in the makeup chair for his transformation before dressing him in his costume. To our knowledge, this is the first time this approach has been attempted in one-quarter scale!

- JW


Special offers for Cowardly Lion

  • $25 RJW Bonus Dollars
  • Free Shipping over $99 w/code FREESHIP

Cowardly Lion
by R. John Wright

Size Height : 17 inches
Edition Limited Edition
Edition Size : 250
Materials All-Wool Felt
Hair Real Hair Wig
Mohair Wig
Features Hand-Painted Eyes
Airbrushed Accents
Jointing Number of Joints : 9
Jointed at the Neck
Ball-And-Socket Jointing
Special Jointing Designed by the Artist
Authenticity Officially Licensed
Copyright Verbiage : officially licensed by Warner Brothers
Includes Certificate of Authenticity
Age Appropriate Collectible, Not Intended For Children
Country of Origin United States

The Toy Shoppe Has Offered R. John Wright Creations For Over Three Decades

R. John Wright and Susan WrightThe Toy Shoppe has had the pleasure of offering the work of R. John Wright since 1979. When Danny Shapiro, the founder of The Toy Shoppe, first saw John and Susan's work he was impressed with the great charm and fine craftsmanship exhibited. Each piece created by R. John Wright continues to display the virtuosity of the artist when considering fine and original design, beautiful craftsmanship and the use of beautiful materials of exceptional quality. As work of this nature can only be produced in small quantities, each piece is all the more special.

Originality Of Design

Every great object begins with fine design. John and Susan often take their inspiration from famous illustrations found in the classic children's books which they love. What is most impressive is that each piece created from these illustrations remains true to the original artwork: two dimensional illustrations brought to life in three dimensions exactly as we expect them to be. They become the definitive interpretation of our favorite childhood characters. The Wright's designs are also inspired by nature. The realism with which they create their bears, mice and other animals is matched only by their ability to introduce rich character and personality in them without resorting to caricaturish extremism.

Inspired By The Classics

Established in 1976, R. John Wright has produced work based on the most famous illustrations of all time, including Ernest Shepherd's Winnie-the-Pooh, Jessie Wilcox Smith's storybook characters, Johnny Gruelle's Raggedy Ann and Andy, Walt Disney's Classics, Palmer Cox's Brownies, Saint Exupery's The Little Prince, Beatrix Potter's animal kingdom, Rose O'Neill's Kewpie, Michael Bond's Paddington and Sir John Tenniel's Alice in Wonderland... and the list continues to grow today with their new Peter Pan series!

Fine Craftsmanship

R. John Wright The Little Prince dollsIn our opinion, the making of an heirloom piece requires a marriage of fine design and quality craftsmanship. Poor manufacturing can shatter an artist's fine design. The RJW Workshop employs a unique process to address this. After designing an edition, John and Susan oversee every step of production at their workshop in Vermont ensuring each piece lives up to their artistic vision. Under their watchful eyes, a highly skilled team of trained artisans puts each limited edition into production, detailing and finishing these treasures by hand. Due to the complexity of their original designs, John and Susan must often develop innovative techniques to insure that the edition remains consistent and uniform throughout production: the first piece in the edition must be as wonderful and charming as the final one. Technically speaking, as amazing and delightful as the early R. John Wright creations were, the newer pieces are far more complex. Today’s RJW designs are now brought to life in a way that they never could have been done 20 years ago.

Each accessory that comes with an R. John Wright creation is also of original design. John and Susan are not content to merely use an existing object as an accessory. When the object cannot be created in their workshop due to the material or specialized skills desired, the company works with master craftsmen in their respective fields to custom make the final pieces.

We believe that these factors have been important in contributing to the already established higher value of earlier R. John Wright work.

Heirloom Quality Toys

At The Toy Shoppe, we believe that true collectibility is earned by the maker's dedication and commitment to design, craftsmanship and material usage. Rarity is naturally implied, as work of this nature cannot be mass-produced. The market has already well recognized the collectible nature of the work by R. John Wright. We believe this will easily continue to be the case.

Today, John and Susan continue to create and innovate with delightful felt dolls, bears, mice and many other characters at their workshop in Bennington, Vermont in the United States.

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