As you may have read in my earlier post today, this month is the 60th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland, or AIW for short. Though clearly I do not need any help getting into the Alice spirit (I mean, did you see the picture in my last post!?), here are ten facts about the film for those who are not. Hope you enjoy!
- Though today Disney’s AIW is a cult-classic, when it was released in 1951, it was considered a complete failure. It wasn’t until the 1960s that AIW became more widely appreciated and treasured.
- Disney’s version of AIW is a combination of two books written by Lewis Carroll: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. For example, the Queen of Hearts in the Disney film was inspired by characters from both books – the Queen of Hearts (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) and the Red Queen (Through the Looking Glass). However, the two characters are quite different.
- Though AIW was said to be written by Lewis Carroll, that is actually a fictitious name. The author’s real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson and one may consider him a “Renaissance Man.” He was not only a successful author, but also a mathematician, photographer, and philosopher.
- For those who have read the original Alice books, you may recall the illustrations throughout the story. However, Disney opted against using those illustrations and instead hired Mary Blair as the concept artist. Mary Blair was a very successful artist famous for her work in both WDW films and parks. Her art can also be seen in the movies Peter Pan and Cinderella, and the ride “It’s a Small World”. (PS: I love Mary Blair! I have several books featuring her drawings.)
- The only character that was not from the books, but was included in the movie, was the Doorknob.
- The voice of Alice in Disney’s version was played by Kathryn Beaumont. She also played the role of Wendy in Disney’s Peter Pan. More recently, her voice was used again in the video game Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep.
- As with many Disney films, AIW features several hidden mickeys. Be sure to look out for one in the smoke from the Dodo bird’s pipe and another in the tea party scene.
- Speaking of the Dodo bird, many believe that this character was actually inspired by the author of AIW. Apparently, Charles frequently stuttered and had difficulty pronouncing his last name. Instead of saying it in its entirety, he would simply call himself “The Dodo.”
- A famous character from AIW is the White Rabbit, who always carries a clock and claims he is “late.” Each time his clock is seen, the time is set at 12:25.
- All of Disney’s parks include AIW inspired attractions. The most famous is the Mad Tea Party ride, which is featured at every Disney park. In California, Disneyland has ride simply called AIW and it depicts the scene of Alice following the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole into Wonderland. At Disneyland Paris there is Alice’s Curious Labrynth, and in Tokyo there is a Queen of Hearts themed restaurant. Alice and the rest of the gang are frequent additions to many of the parades and character meet-and-greets.
Be sure you’re following my daughter’s Disney blog. She is doing a professional internship there for the rest of the year and posts all kinds of fun, informative things…and lots of pictures!
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