Wednesday, July 28, 2021

70th Anniversary of the US Premiere

 Yes, that's right, the world premiere was 2 days before the US premiere.  Walt was doing a big push in the UK what with having so many productions active over there using up money in limbo.  So a great excuse for a big 'do across the pond.  But that doesn't mean interesting things didn't happen back here in the US.  Here are two items that are favorites in the collection, both have been posted before, but I think they deserve another day in the spotlight.  First up is a press preview ticket for the film, a full month before the premiere!

This is such a cool piece of ephemera, something that the studio would have mailed to various publications so they could review the film prior to release.  It is amazing things like this survive at all, means that whomever received it didn't go!  My thanks to you, unnamed press guy.

Next is a studio preview ticket, for 2 weeks before the premiere.  Again, the only reason this survived is they didn't go!  Which I find hard to believe.  Wouldn't you go to a preview of the most hotly anticipated film from the studio in ages if you could?

I owe a particular debt of gratitude to John Koukoutsakis for this post.  

Monday, July 26, 2021

70th Anniversary of the World Premiere in London

 I would be very remiss indeed if I let today go by without a post, it's not everyday one turns 70 after all!  Today we have a copy of the UK Photoplay magazine from August 1951, with a cover of Esther Williams looking quite fetching.  But the real gold is inside.

A four-page full color illustrated article on the film.  And while the illustrations are just frames from the film, the design is amazing!
Telling the story via this series of stills as if they were taken directly from the 35mm film is quite charming indeed.
And this was apparently a popular article.  It is the two centerfold wraps of the magazine, and this issue is often found with these four page missing.  People had good taste!

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Screen Stories Magazine - August 1951

As I continue to unearth items from the Tulgey Wood as part of the writing process, I have begun scanning the vast numbers of magazines in the collection - both to index and catalog them for my research, and to prepare the images for inclusion in the book.  A recent example is probably the most well-known cover from the original release, that of Screen Stories from August of 1951.
The is everything you could want in a cover:  bright colors, lots of characters, very little text to interfere with the images.  The only way you could improve upon it was if you used new bespoke art rather that the standard set of images used by nearly everyone.  But who am I to complain, it is a great cover!
The interior contains a frequently seen 2/3 page film advertisement in two colors (red and black), one that was published in seemingly ALL the movie fan magazines that summer.
It also sports one of the longer publicity pieces issued for Alice, a 6-page article, the first three of which are illustrated with some very standard black and white stills from the film.  
The article is basically a synopsis of the movie, hence the name of the magazine.
This magazine is notoriously difficult to find in good condition, as the paper is super cheap quality newsprint, thus making it very prone to brittleness and chipping.  
The cover, too, is nearly always slightly damaged at least, due to the way the magazine is constructed, with the interior sets of folded pages (called signatures) stapled together and the cover then glued around the full interior.  
The staples are never flush with the pages ('natch) so invariably they create impressions in the cover, and introduce damage.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

First Draft of the Ceramics Chapter Complete!

 Well, one down, a dozen or so to go!

Twenty sections in this chapter, probably the most of any chapter (I hope!)

Monday, March 22, 2021

Whitman Stationary Set

During the time of the original release for Alice (and for many other Disney films too), a lot of items were made under the auspices of any of the subsidiaries of the Western Publishing.  This includes Whitman, Golden Press, Sandpiper Press, Dell, and probably more that I'm not aware of.  There is also a link to Simon & Schuster that we'll go into in another post.  This item, the Alice in Wonderland Stationary Set, was made by Whitman.
This set (stock number 2054-25) consists of 18 sheets of illustrated paper (in red ink no less) with 12 envelopes.
The illustrate folder is what really sets this item apart, with beautiful graphics of the garden of live flowers on the inside (including an ultra close-up of a rocking horsefly), and tea party graphics on the outside.
The paper consists of three different designs, including my favorite the Caterpillar.
In the 1990s these were not too difficult to find, but as time has worn on it has become more scarce, as with pretty much everything else.  Finding a complete set with the correct number of sheets and envelopes is now quite difficult.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Zaccagnini First Draft Complete

 I just completed the first draft of one of the most difficult sections in the ceramics chapter, that for Zaccagnini.  Not counting the years it has taken me to acquire all the various information and references, I've spent hours just to create 2000 words.  Gotta pick up speed...

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Weatherby & Sons "Falcon Ware" - Walrus and Queen of Hearts

This is my first pass at the section on this manufacturer in my in-progress book.  As I (hopefully) unearth more information on this company and figures, this section will expand.  Or not.  Who knows?


Falcon Ware by J.H. Weatherby and Sons (UK)

Falcon Ware was a company located in the English town of Stoke-on-Trent, home to Weetman and approximately all the other pottery companies in the UK.  This company had a long and storied history, dating all the way back to 1891 under the parent name of J.H Weatherby and Sons, Ltd., and closing permanently in April, 2000 after 109 years of continuous operation as a family run business.  Sadly the buildings themselves no longer exist.

Image courtesy

Falcon Ware takes its name from the name of the pottery works itself, which was an existing, though disused, pottery works when purchased by Weatherby in 1891.  The majority of its output in the first half century were traditional table ware, but in the 1950s they began to make nursery items, and novelty animal figures.  Enter Walt Disney.

In 1958 Weatherby planned a series of at least seven figures based on Disney's Alice in Wonderland.  On February 2-6 of 1959 they exhibited at the Blackpool Gifts and Fancy Goods Fair at the Imperial Hotel.  By this the range had been reduced to six figures consisting of Alice, the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, the Walrus, the Queen of Hearts, and the Cheshire Cat.  The figures and their appearance at Blackpool was advertised in at least one periodical in the UK (Pottery Gazette and Glass Trade Review, February 1959), and price sheets from Weatherby are known to exist.

Advert from Pottery Gazette and Glass Trade Review, February 1959

Sadly the deal seems to not have been completed or perhaps canceled, and most of the range never produced.  But, there does exist an archive photo from the Weatherby family that I have reproduced below.  I have been unable to contact either the author or the Weatherby family, and the publisher is no longer in business.

Image courtesy of Susan Jean Verbeek, The Falcon Ware Story, (Pottery Publications, 1996)

Fortunately at least two of these figures appear to have been sold in some fashion.  Multiple examples of the Walrus and the Queen of Hearts have been seen over the years, and they are presented here.  Unmarked as they are, for years I suspected these might be Disney, but more likely knock-offs.  It wasn't until I discovered the Verbeek book that I realized their true history.

The Walrus

This was the first Weatherby Falcon Ware figure I acquired.  While I had no idea what it was, and it was not sold as Disney, it just looked right.  The design and style of him just screams Disney, and bears more than a passing resemblance to the Weetman figure.  Not surprising given that the two factories were less than four miles apart.

Scarcity:  πŸ”ŽπŸ”ŽπŸ”ŽπŸ”Ž

Value: πŸ’²πŸ’²πŸ’²

The Queen of Hearts

This figure of the Queen of Hearts is what led to my discovery of the history of the Weatherby Falcon Ware.  The auction listing actually referenced the Verbeek book in the description, and I was able to get a copy of the book even before the auction closed.  The look of this figure marks it as clearly Disney.  I am not aware of any other incarnation of the Queen that has the same color scheme and design as in the Disney version.  All this figure is missing is the black stripes in the front of her dress!

Scarcity:  πŸ”ŽπŸ”ŽπŸ”ŽπŸ”ŽπŸ”Ž

Value: πŸ’²πŸ’²πŸ’²

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