Monday, June 30, 2008

Disney Signs the Voice of Alice

I love this photo. Totally staged of course, but a great photo nonetheless. Caption is dated June 13, 1949 and shows an 11 year old Kathryn Beaumont signing the contract to be the voice of Alice with Walt Disney looking over her shoulder. The photo was taken in Walt's formal office, the office where these kinds of events took place rather than his 'working' office which is much more subdued (you can see both of these offices at Disneyland in the pre-show area of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln).

Kathy is so cute in this photo with her nose full of freckles. Entire text of the caption reads:

C1116207..Watch your credit..International News Photos Slug (Disney-Beaumont)

Disney Signs the "Voice" of Alice

Burbank, CAL....Kathryn Beaumont, 11-year-old English girl, is shown as she signed a contract as the voice of Alice in Walt Disney's lavish cartoon feature production of "Alice in Wonderland". Kathryn is the daughter of British actor-singer Kenneth Beaumont. Disney (who stands beside her) gave her a voice test and was immediately captivated. It was originally intended for Margaret O'Brien to play the voice.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Up to the Minute News...

Prior to the release of the film, the studio would send out tidbits about production, marketing, and other information to a variety of people; from individual theatre owners to merchandisers to studio personnel. This is an original piece of legal-sized stationary that was usually the first page of any given correspondence, the remaining pages being standard onionskin or other plain paper.

I really like the minimal color scheme of red line art and black text. The line art itself is particularly engaging. In fact, some of this line art was reused in other places. The entire art is featured on the inside front cover of the National Screen Service Campaign Book, and some individual vignettes are used in the Whitman stationary set.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Good Teeth Certificate

This is a cool piece of ephemera from Australia. If you were a good little boy or girl, and had a good checkup at the dentist, you'd get this nifty certificate with all the Wonderland character on it congratulating you on your dental diligence. Perhaps if my dentist has given these out when I was a child, I would have had better experiences in the chair. Live and learn :)

The list of characters is interesting - the Dormant Doormouse? Who's that? And what has the Mad Hatter been drinking, he looks like W.C. Fields!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tobler Postcards

In the 1950s Tobler, the chocolate company, put out a very large number of postcards as premiums. The total number of Disney cards is vast, I don't know how many, dozens certainly, perhaps as many as one hundred or more. This set of Alice cards is small in comparison to the other films they made cards for, hard to imagine why since Alice has more characters by far than any other Disney animated film.

The Alice card is especially nice, it is one of my favorite images. I do not know why Alice and the Tweedles do not have their names printed on the cards like the Mad Hatter and March Hare, but all of the copies I've seen are this way.

RCA Victor Boston Pops Medley

As was popular during the 1950s - with all studios not just Disney - songs from the film were recorded by a number of contemporary artists. This particular record is interesting in that is it a medley of songs performed by the Boston Pops, conducted by Arthur Fiedler. Especially nice is that this copy retains its original printed sleeve, and the record itself is red vinyl!

UPDATE: Take a listen!

Monday, June 23, 2008

TV Today - Week of June 9, 1951

I had originally meant to post this on June 14th - but I forgot. Oh well. This is a TV listing magazine (prior to the existence of TV Guide) for the week of June 9th, 1951. "Why are you posting this?" I hear you ask. Because, in addition to the magazine, newspaper, and radio promotions that were in full swing for the release, Walt Disney was availing himself of the newest mass-market media available to him - television. And that particular week, the Ford Festival had a filmed segment on the upcoming film.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Teacup Watch - Cel Overlay Variant

UPDATE: There is one of these on Hake's auction 196 - catalog listing here - closing Dec 4, 2008.

This is the variant that does not have a teacup, but rather an oddly shaped rectangular box with a printed image and cel overlay in the lid. I've only ever seen two of these, and one did not have the cel overlay. The box itself is very poorly designed, the lid is attached to the base by a small strip of paper. Neither example I've seen has the lid still attached.

Oh, and Happy Birthday Computer Girl (aka Hayley)!

Teacup Watch - Pink Round Ingersoll Box Variant

This is the round box variant, pink with line art and Ingersoll instead of US Time on the lid. This particular set also has the watch variant with the pink plastic case instead of the chrome/stainless one. I have not been able to figure out exactly where this falls in the timeline, I was always under the impression that the Ingersoll brand name went away once the company started going by US Time.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Teacup Watch - Pink Square Box Variant

As promised, this is the is the first of several variants that I'll be posting. This is the square box variant, and I believe this is the final variant produced in 1957 as I have only seen catalog pages picturing this box from that year. The teacup is also fairly odd, two-tone pink and brown rather than the standard clear plastic.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Teacup Watch

Following on the heels of the inspired packaging for the Cinderella watch that came out the previous year (the Glass Slipper watch), Disney's packaging of the Alice watch for 1951 was no less so. I believe that this box/watch combination is from the first year of release as all the ads I have for subsequent years show only the pink box variations (see below for list of known variations), and all the 1951 material describes or shows the box in full color with US Time on the lid.

I ulcerated over this watch for years before I finally found this one. I hate to tell you what I (over) paid for it (ah, the pre-eBay days), but it does have its original shipping box and warranty card, so totally worth it <grin>.

Anyway, throughout the film's release (and beyond) the watch was promoted heavily and prominently. This is the ad from the National Screen Service campaign book,

and this is the page from the Character Merchandising Division catalog, both from 1951.

All this promotion paid off let me tell you, they sold a ton of them. The watch was available in one form or another for 7 years (1951-1957). The watch itself is fairly common, but the original packaging complete with plastic teacup is difficult to find in nice shape.

And for those completists out there (like myself) there are variations too. There are at least 4 variations of the teacup box (round full color US Time, round pink, round pink Ingersoll, square pink), 2 variations of the watch (plastic case, metal case), and 4 variations of the watch band (pink fabric with blue grommets, blue fabric with pink grommets, leather, and flexi). Oh, and there is a 5th variation of the box, one without a teacup, but instead an illustration of the Mad Hatter at the tea party with a cel overlay of Alice. More pictures to come...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

RCA Victor Record Catalog

When the film was originally released, RCA made a bunch of different records. This is the catalog that was available in record stores, and it is chock full of nice graphics and descriptions of the various formats that the records came in.

The cover is actually a gatefold cover, with gatefolds on both front and back covers. Back cover featuring the Queen of Hearts holding an RCA herald.

The front gatefold advertises the large storyteller record (a new format) in all three speeds. The inside cover advertises the three story singles in two speeds (78 and 45), and the first page has some art and photos of the original cast members who recorded the records.

The rest of the interior pages feature other RCA records available at the time.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Little Golden Book - Alice Finds the Garden of Live Flowers - Chinese

Sixth and final post of the Live Flowers series. I know this is Chinese, I just don't know where it is from, nor when, since I don't read Chinese. If I had to guess, I'd say Taiwan or Hong Kong.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Little Golden Book - Alice Finds the Garden of Live Flowers - Australia

This is #5 in the series, and probably the least interesting as the books are essentially identical with only minor differences in the cover.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day Bonus Post - Me as Seen by My Daughter

Ok, so my daughter has definitely got my number. She drew this for me as a gift a last year, and it seemed appropriate for the day. Note that this is where I got my avatar from as well.

Can you tell we also like Shag?

My character name eBayman originated when she was a little girl (about 9 I think) and she drew a bunch of comics featuring me as the hero, and herself as my sidekick Computer Girl (she used a twirling mouse as her weapon of choice). Over the years the name stuck within our family, and the above is the culmination. I really like it and it is framed in our den with our Shag art.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Little Golden Book - Alice im Blumenland - Germany

Today's post, #4 in the Garden of Live Flowers series, is from Germany. Alice im Blumenland.

Again, totally different art than on the US edition. But unlike yesterday's edition from France, this appears to be entirely new art. The French book used a frame from the film, albeit a frame NOT from the Garden sequence - those wacky French. Alice looks a little manic here, but still a very cool cover.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Little Golden Book - Alice au Pays des Fleurs - France

Today's post, #3 in the Garden of Live Flowers series, is from France. Alice au Pays des Fleurs literally translates to Alice in the Land of Flowers.

Again, different cover art than in the US edition, very nice art at that. There were a couple of different printings of this book, this is a first printing, but the only real differences in them are the back cover and the inside front cover.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Little Golden Book - Alice Finds the Garden of Live Flowers

Wednesday's post has put me in the mood for a series, so today's post will be #2 in the Garden of Live Flowers LGB series.

Today's post has the US editions. "Plural", you may ask? "I thought you said there was only one printing in the US?" you remind me. Indeed, that is the case, but there are two editions. The standard edition that everyone knows and loves, and the Goldencraft edition, also known as the library or school edition.

There are even variants of the Goldencraft edition, but I'm only posting the one I believe is the earliest edition. Other variants don't have the fully illustrated cover, but have plain text or generic LGB line art. Aside from the binding, the book is identical to the standard edition in every way.

UPDATE: Steve Santi in his excellent reference book on Golden Books identifies this as a Series Three Goldencraft book, which would be the first Goldencraft version available for this title. Series Three bindings were produced from around 1950-1959.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Little Golden Book - Alice i Blomsterland - Norway

I love the Little Golden Books, and I have a fascination for them in foreign languages. I recently acquired this copy of Alice in Wonderland Finds the Garden of Live Flowers in Norwegian (Alice i Blomsterland) - something I had not seen before. I especially like this cover, which is different from (although similar to) the US cover.
This is an uncommon title even in the US edition as there was only one printing...foreign versions are scarce. I know of only 5 foreign editions of this title: Chinese, Norwegian, Australian, French and German.

UPDATE:  I have recently discovered two more foreign editions, from Italy and Sweden!

Monday, June 9, 2008

A Trio of Alices

Anyone who collects Alice or even Disney in general is probably aware of the great set of figures produced by the Evan K. Shaw company when the film was released in 1951. Eight figures were produced (Alice, White Rabbit, Mad Hatter, March Hare, Dormouse, Walrus, Tweedledee, Tweedledum), and are arguably the nicest vintage Disney figures ever produced.

And some of you may be aware of the Australian company Modern Ceramic Products, who also produced a set of eight figures, based on the same designs as the Shaw figures, only LARGER.

But did you know that there was a Norwegian company that produced a set also based on the same designs? The name of this company was Galligani, and the figures they produced are extremely odd. First, they are made of plaster. Second, the colors are bizarre. I have only seen the Alice of the set (perhaps the only one?), but have seen other figures from other sets (Snow White dwarfs). I would very much like to hear from anyone who has any additional information on this company and their figures.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Disneyland Special Booth Tickets for Mad Tea Party

Back in the days of ticket books at Disneyland, there were additional ticket booths all over the place where you could buy individual tickets if you ran out of a specific letter in your book. Some attractions even had their very own tickets with the name of the attraction printed right on the ticket itself.

This is a matched set of Adult and Child ticket booth tickets for the Mad Tea Party attraction. These were probably samples or similar because they have the same serial number, and it is a very low number. Also, there are staple holes in them which leads me to believe they were never used in the park, but probably stapled to some sort of document.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Al Dempster Art from Little Golden Book

This is one of my most prized pieces of art, an original painting for the Little Golden Book Alice in Wonderland Meets the White Rabbit. I've had this for a very long time, but I cannot for the life of me remember exactly when or where I got it...a sure sign of old age . The art is surprisingly small, it is essentially actual size compared to the art as published in the book.

Over the years I've seen a number of the paintings from the Big Golden Book (I've owned two myself, and still own one), in fact Heritage has recently auctioned off two pages in their two most recent auctions here and here. But this is the only page from a Little Golden Book I've ever come across.

Friday, June 6, 2008

1951 Studio Letterhead

The studio created a brand new letterhead that featured art from whatever was the newest feature to be released, and all studio correspondence used this letterhead for (presumably) the period of time the film was in release, give or take a few months. I really don't know how long, but all the examples I have that were used in correspondence are dated in the summer of 1951, coincident with the release of the film.

This example is quite nice as it is unused. I particularly like the font used in the original release, and I really wish the studio would stop using the horrible font they created for the 1974 release.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

McCall's Sewing Patterns

In conjunction with a promotion with Indian Head Cottons, McCall's created two sewing patterns for children for the 1951 season. The girls pattern consisting of a dress, pinafore (apron), coverall and jacket. The pattern came in sizes 4-12. Oh, and if anyone has this in size 12, that is the last one I need :-)

For boys (or girls according to the envelope), the pattern was for Mad Hatter or March Hare costumes, and came in two sizes (small, large). I think the March Hare's ears are particularly cool.

The graphics on the pattern envelopes is very nice, very typical of the commercial art of the time. There is a two-page ad that illustrates these patterns that I'll post later, showing these Alice fashions on real kids.

A very special thanks to Hans for discovering where I has misplaced them during the big sort.

Monday, June 2, 2008

1951 Fan Card with 1973 Preview Screening Invitation

I must be in a preview screening mood this week.

At first glance this looks like a 1951 Fan Card - and it is. But it is also an invitation for a preview screening at the Walt Disney Studio Theatre in advanced of the 1974 re-release - the first time the movie had been released domestically since its original release in 1951!

In the 1950s, the studio printed up about a gazillion of these fan cards for pretty much every film they released. A fan card is simply an 8x10 card-stock picture of a scene, character, or art from the film. To get one of these fan cards, you simply wrote the Disney studio a letter, telling them how much you enjoyed the movie, or whatever. They would then send you this card. Pretty cool. I know for a fact that they continued this practice at least through The Little Mermaid (I sent in a letter myself). Problem was, they had WAY more of these than they needed. Disney was even selling originals for a time at WDW MGM Studios at Sid Cahuenga's in the 1990s.

But, back to the topic at hand. Since they had SO many of these left over, they decided to put them to good use and printed up the invitation to the special screening on the back. Apparently they must have realized that people would want to keep these, so they printed right on the card that you could keep it as a souvenir, and that the mailing envelope was the ticket.

A 3 month preview is pretty far in advance, one can only guess why they chose to preview it so far in advance of the release.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland Coloring Book - A Golden Coloring Book

Cool, my first request :-) This is the extremely rare Golden Coloring Book.

For years I didn't even know this existed, having thought that people who referred to it were mistaking the very common Paint Book.

What is interesting about this coloring book is that it is divided into two parts. The first part tells the story, and there are lots of pages that are pre-colored, giving the child a model to work from. The second part is more of a traditional coloring book with large figures for easy coloring.

The art in this book is particularly good, credited to Bob Grant of the Walt Disney Studios.