Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Original Production Animation Setup of Alice, The Mad Hatter, The March Hare, and The Dormouse from "Alice In Wonderland," 1951

Original hand inked and hand painted production animation cel setup of 1) Alice 2) The Mad Hatter, The March Hare, & The Dormouse; Production numbers bottom right of both cels; Set on a hand prepared watercolor non-production background from "Alice In Wonderland," 1951; Size - Alice, The Mad Hatter, The March Hare, & The Dormouse: 5 3/4 x 8 1/4", Image 11 1/2 x 15", Frame 24 1/4 x 27 1/4"; Framed using a gold wood frame, three acid free mats, a gold fillet, and UV conservation clear glass.

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"Well, it all started while I was sitting on the riverbank with Dinah." - Alice

"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" (commonly shortened to "Alice in Wonderland"), is a 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson who wrote under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. Disney reworked the story to fit with both a younger audience and a time frame suitable for an animated film (it's run time is only 75 minutes).

Kathryn Beaumont, who was born in London England, was just 10 years old when she was chosen for the voice of Alice. Walt Disney personally cast Beaumont after seeing her in the film "On an Island with You," in which the child actress had a small role. Disney was so impressed by her that she was also chosen to be the model for Alice, and would also go on to provide the voice for Wendy in "Peter Pan," 1953. Beaumont has also reprised her voice acting role as Alice in two episodes of the animated series, Disney's "House of Mouse," and as both Alice and Wendy in the video game "Kingdom Hearts." She did not retire as the voice of Alice and Wendy until 2005, when her role for these two characters was taken over by Hynden Walch.

Initial design for the character of Alice was accomplished by Mary Blair during the storyboard phase and also by Les Clark. Alice was animated by Ollie Johnston and also by Marc Davis, who animated her for the tea party scene.

Close up of the original production cels of Alice, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, and the Dormouse.

The animator Ward Kimball was a tour de force for the film "Alice In Wonderland," and he animated the following: Alice (one scene), the White Rabbit, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, the Walrus and the Carpenter, the Oysters, and the Dormouse. Kimball, was a superb draftsman, and he preferred to animate comical characters rather than realistic human figures. Because of this, "Alice In Wonderland" was the perfect film for him as it was filled with wonderful creatures all acting odd and comical. Animating came easily to him and he was constantly looking to do things in a different way; which lead Walt Disney to call Kimball a genius in the book "The Story of Walt Disney."

The Mad Hatter was voiced by Ed Wynn and he is one of the most memorable voices in "Alice" and a real stand out for the film. Wynn had a long history in Vaudeville and had developed his giggly, wavering voice in 1921 for the musical review, "The Perfect Fool." He had several roles at Walt Disney Studios, including his most famous acting role there as Uncle Albert in the film "Mary Poppins," in 1964.

The March Hare's appearance and mannerisms were modeled after his original voice actor, Jerry Colonna. Gerardo Luigi "Jerry" Colonna was an American comedian, singer, songwriter, and trombonist; who is best remembered as the zaniest of Bob Hope's sidekicks in his popular radio shows and films of the 1940s and 1950s.

The Dormouse was voiced by Jimmy MacDonald. John James "Jimmy" MacDonald was a British-born voice actor and the original head of the Walt Disney Sound Effects Department, and also is most known as the voice of Mickey Mouse from 1947 to 1977.

This wonderful cel setup is from the Mad Tea Party scene, one of the greatest sequences in the film and one of the greatest in all of the Disney feature films! To have all four of the characters together in one setup is extremely rare. The cels occur in the scene when Alice mentions her cat Dinah and the Dormouse breaks out in a mad crazed frenzy. The Mad Hatter and the March Hare begin to chase him around the tea table and yell to Alice to get the jam. All three then help to apply jam to the nose of the Dormouse to calm him down, and he soon sinks back into a teapot. The dialog for the scene is below:

ALICE: "Well, it all started while I was sitting on the riverbank with Dinah."
MARCH HARE: "Very interesting. Who's Dinah?"
ALICE: "Why, Dinah is my cat. You see..."
MARCH HARE: "Hurry! Give the jam! Quickly! Give the jam! On his nose! Put it on his nose!" MAD HATTER: "On his nose, on his nose!"
DORMOUSE: "Where's the cat... "
MAD HATTER: "Oh. Oh, my goodness! Those are the things that upset me!" 

To see these cels in the film, just click on the short video below: