Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween Alice! - Pictorial Review Oct. 29, 1950

The first time I saw this I just about died. This piece of Alice ephemera has me written all over it. You see, my birthday is today, Halloween, and what better gift for me than an obscure piece of vintage Alice paper with a Halloween theme.

What this is, is a newspaper supplement from 1950 (nearly a full year before the film's release) called Pictorial Review, dated October 29th, 1950. Pictorial review is one of several newspaper supplements of the time that appeared in (usually) the Sunday paper. These kind of supplements still exist today, but I don't think this particular one does.

I'd love to find the original art on this...perhaps for my birthday next year.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

RCA Victor Storyteller - Mexico

As we saw in the previous 3 posts, the US RCA storyteller 45s were quite extensive, each one adapting a segment of the film. Today we have the Mexican version of the RCA storyteller, and it adapts the entire film on one 45 rather than spread out over three. Also, there is no book or illustrations with it, just the bizarre 2-color cardboard sleeve.

Side A

Side B

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

RCA Victor Storyteller Single WY-436 - Alice and the Trial

Third part of the adaptation is Alice and the Trial.

Again, very nice art on the sleeve illustrating the story.

Take a listen!

Side A

Side B

Monday, October 27, 2008

RCA Victor Storyteller Single WY-435 - Alice and the Mad Tea Party

The second of the three story singles is Alice and the Mad Tea Party. For some reason I had a very difficult time acquiring this particular record for my collection, it was the last one of the three I found, and took me about 10 years to get it!

I really like the art on these sleeves, wish I knew who did it.

Take a listen!

Side A

Side B

Sunday, October 26, 2008

RCA Victor Storyteller Single WY-434 - Alice and the White Rabbit

As you may (or may not) recall from this post, RCA put out a lot of records in a lot of formats for the Alice in Wonderland release. This is one of three storyteller singles, Alice and the White Rabbit, WY-434.

Check out that cover, our old friend Figaro-as-Dinah makes another appearance.

The storyteller singles came in two speeds, 45 (WY prefix) and 78 (Y prefix). This is the 45, and all the 45s were this cool transparent yellow vinyl (the transparent quality does not show up well in this scan).

The gatefold sleeve opens up to some pretty nice art illustrating the story segments told on this single, Alice meeting the White Rabbit, and entering Wonderland. Love those red-striped stockings!

These singles have some of the original cast from the film recreating their roles, but the dialog is not lifted from the soundtrack, these were all new recordings. Hard to imagine that they would go to the expense to re-record dialog...something I'm sure they would never do now, unless they used alternate cast. Some of the alternate cast on THIS recording is ... interesting. I must say that I find the Doorknob particularly annoying ... but I love the name of the vocal quartet - Three Beaus and a Peep! Quintessentially 1950s!

Take a listen!

Side A

Side B

Monday, October 20, 2008

Big Golden Book - Australia

Another interesting foreign edition of the Big Golden Book, this time from Australia. At first glance (and a quick one at that) this also looks like an early US edition, except for one thing.

The 'gold' highlights on this cover are not really gold, or rather they are not an applied metallic highlight. On the US (and Dutch) editions the highlights are actually metallic gold, but here on this Australian edition, they are merely gold colored, they are not metallic but just a golden color, like a goldenrod color, and part of the printed paper cover, not applied. Except for that one very odd difference, the rest of the book is identical to the first printing of the US edition, down to the A100100 on the inside front cover. Published by Golden Press Sydney.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Big Golden Book - Netherlands

Continuing with our foreign Big Golden Book editions, we come to one of the most interesting of them all, the Dutch version.

This version is from 1955, and at first glance looks to be an early US edition since the title in Dutch is the same as in English and the cover has the same gold highlights. But, the Dutch apparently really liked the whole 'gold highlighting' motif, because they continued it on every interior page.

It was quite surprising when I first saw this, seeming a bit much, but has acquired a certain charm for me in years since.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Big Golden Book - England

As with the Little Golden Books and the Cozy Corner book, the Big Golden Book was published in a number of countries. Some were almost identical to the US versions with similar covers, but in this instance new cover art was created. This edition by Collins is softcover and smaller than a standard Big Golden Book, with fantastic new cover art, but the interiors are identical to the US.

To the best of my knowledge this is a first printing coincident with the original release of the film, but as there is no printing information within, I cannot be certain.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Big Golden Book - EBF Big Story Book Edition

Who here remembers filmstrips in school? It was a staple of my elementary education. This next edition was part of a large filmstrip set that included 8 filmstrips of popular Disney movies, along with the corresponding 8 Magic Mirror albums, and 8 story books like this one.

The set was put out by Encyclopedia Britannica Films (EBF). It is difficult to find the complete set, and quite frankly I'm not sure there is anyone other than me that would really be interested in it. The book is a rebound Unbreakable Binding edition, complete with funky endpapers. This one happens to be a C printing. Truly uninspiring cover, but the line art of Alice is quite nice.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Big Golden Book - Goldencraft Edition

Western Publishing (aka Golden Press, aka Simon and Schuster, aka Dell, etc etc) made a habit of offering their Disney books to schools and libraries with more durable bindings, that could handle more wear and tear than the books would typically encounter in a private home. These special editions were called Goldencraft Editions. Below is the Goldencraft Edition of the first printing of the Alice Big Golden Book.

It has all the first printing points of the standard edition except the gold highlights (not possible because of the special binding) including the floral borders and the A100100. The Goldencraft Editions seem to have been offered throughout the print run of the book, but only the first printings have this nice cover with a vignette of the standard edition cover.

The back cover has this cool logo for the Goldencraft Edition which shows children entering a what is presumably a school. These editions are difficult to come by as they would have only been distributed to schools or libraries, so only via some sort of library sale would these ever see the light of day ... or perhaps someone 'forgot' to return it ... it has been known to happen.

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.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Big Golden Book - Unbreakable Binding Edition

The second variant of the Alice in Wonderland Big Golden Book is what as known as the 'Unbreakable Binding' variant, due to the fact that that phrase is printed on the price sticker (on those copies that retain the sticker).

This is a second printing, or "B" printing. Unbreakable binding editions are about the same size as a standard edition, but the construction of the book makes it look like a very large Little Golden Book, with the hard cardboard covers that are trimmed even with the pages, and the gold foil spine, just like their Little cousins.

The end papers of these editions are wild, with lots of red and yellow flower-like things on a white background. The printing information is a little odd too, it is a single letter, just like a Little Golden Book, and it can be located in one of two areas. The first is on the last page near the gutter at bottom right, just like a Little Golden Book.

The second is just like the standard edition, on the third page, which reprints the endpapers of the standard edition, in the same location, to the left of the baby oysters.

I'm not exactly sure of the dates of this edition, but my guess is that it is much later than the standard edition. This "B" copy here has a Golden Press imprint, and I have a "C" copy that has a gift inscription dated 1964.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Big Golden Book - First Printing Standard Edition

The Big Golden Book for Alice in Wonderland was in print for a bazillion years, 30 years at least since earliest printings are from 1951 and I have a 35th printing from 1980. With all those printings over all those years, it can be very difficult to figure out which printing you have, since the earlier printings don't actually say 'first printing', and all have a 1951 copyright date.

So how do you tell? Follow along with me, it is pretty simple. Pictured above is a first print standard edition (there are 4 editions of the Big Golden Book for Alice, although 2 are variations of the other 2). There is an easy way to tell if you have an early printing just at a glance. The first TWO printings have gold highlights on the cover, making it instantly obvious that you have an early printing.

Secondly, the interior pages on early printings have this funky floral border. Also, the stock number (located at the top of the spine) for the first 7 printings was 3 digits (426), and afterwards it was 5 digits (10426). Additionally, the imprint for the early printings is Simon and Schuster, whereas for printings as early as 7th (G) the imprint changes to Golden Press. Early printings also have fully illustrated endpapers, in fact the same art used as the backdrop for the Whitman Stand-Up Figures set (stay tuned for a future post) whereas later printings have plain white endpapers.

And finally, although only useful if you have several various printings side by side, the earlier printings are taller, a fact that remains true throughout the print run: the taller the book, the earlier the printing.

But, the only sure fire way to determine if you have a first printing or not is to look in the lower left hand corner of the inside front cover, and you'll see printed just to the left of the baby oysters the text A100100. The 'A' is the printing (A = first, B = second, etc), and the 100100 is the price in cents twice ($1). The last printing to use the code was the thirteenth printing (M). Beginning with the fourteenth printing, the print information was located at the bottom of the title page and lists printing number and year - e.g. Fourteenth Printing 1968.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Al Dempster Art from Big Golden Book

This is another of my favorite pieces of art, an original page from the Big Golden Book, beautifully painted by Al Dempster. I've had this for a very long time, 15 years at least. Thank goodness too, because a few that have turned up recently on the Heritage auction site have sold for surprising amounts of money.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sunday Comic Section Advertisement - August 1951

A very nice full color ad from the comic section from the Jacksonville Times-Union newspaper, promoting the film at the Florida Theater in Jacksonville, Florida. Alice opened at the Florida Theater on August 11th, 1951, so this ad is very likely from August 12th since it mentions that it is currently showing. And look, red striped stockings, my favorite!

The Florida Theater is still in existance today, one of the few remaining movie palaces originally built in the 1920s. If you are interested in the history of that theater, look here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ciné Revue May 25, 1951

This is a French magazine called Ciné Revue from May 25, 1951. It is your basic movie magazine, but large format 11x14. This particular issue has an amazing four page article on the making of Alice in Wonderland.

This mag is chock full of live action reference photos, some of which I've not seen in any other publications, and lots of art taken directly from model sheets too.

If you look closely at some of the photos, especially the large one of Kathryn Beaumont holding the kitten and the one with Walt, you can see some Mary Blair concept art.

The photos of Kathy and Bobby Driscoll in various locations are pretty fun too, since they were probably already recording the voices for Peter Pan at this time. The photo of them outside the Brown Derby is particularly cool.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Alice au Pays des Merveilles Storyteller by Marie-Claire Marty

This is a French storyteller EP from I think 1951. It has Alice on side 1, and Snow White on side 2. The voice of Alice is provided by Marie-Claire Marty, the film voice of Alice in the original 1951 release in France (which is why I think this is from 1951). Her voice is very good, she's the proper age - about the same age as Kathryn Beaumont - and her vocal quality is very similar. In fact, she also provided the voice of Wendy when Peter Pan was released in France in 1953, just like Kathryn Beaumont did. You can find out more about Marie-Claire Marty at the French Wikipedia site entry, and if you read French there is an interview with her here.

They changed voices when they re-released the film in 1974, don't know why.

The storyteller consists of 4 scenes, and lasts about 12 minutes. Since I'm having so much fun with my new toy, I'm including the first scene here.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Disney Time Cheshire Cat Watch

Here we have something I don't really have any information on, so perhaps one of my faithful readers can help me out. This is a Cheshire Cat watch, made in Japan, under the Disney Time imprint. The watch is battery operated, so can't be too old, but does have Walt Disney Productions copyright, so must be prior to 1986. My guess is the 1970s, but again don't know for sure. I have not found any reference material to illustrate this watch.

I do really like this watch, with his head spinning as the second hand.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Bill Hayes Sings 'Twas Brillig (?!)

Ok, so I just hooked up my new toy, a USB turntable! Now I can finally record all those 78s I have and save them for posterity - or at least make CDs for myself and put them on my iPhone :). To try it out I recorded a track from Bill Hayes sings the best of Disney, Vol. 2.

Bill Hayes is probably most famous in the wonderful world of Disney for his recording of the Davy Crockett theme song. After that HUGE smash hit, the dollar signs started rolling, so they figured they'd have him record a bunch of other Disney tunes. This collection features songs from Alice, So Dear to My Heart, Song of the South and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The track they chose from Alice is 'Twas Brillig. Why on earth they would have chosen that track is beyond me, but they did. Take a listen for yourself. Oh, and if you go back to previous posts here and here, you can listen to those tracks too.

Friday, October 3, 2008

1951 English Front of House Cards

English movie items for Alice have always held a certain fascination with me, probably because the film premiered in London, making the English items sort of 'first release', at least in my mind. The movie paper from England is especially hard to find. This is a complete (?) set of eight front of house cards, the English equivalent of lobby cards, from the original RKO release in 1951.

Front of house cards are slightly smaller than their American counterparts, they are 8 x 10 inches, the size of a standard American publicity still. The images on these English cards are also completely different from the American lobby cards, for one thing the colors are correct to the film whereas the RKO lobby cards are notorious for their bizarre colors.

The images for the FOH cards are taken directly from publicity stills, in fact you can actually see the negative numbers in some of the cards.

Normally I would spread these out over several days, but I don't really have any clever commentary on most of the images, so you get them all at once.

This is one of the cards where the negative number is quite visible in the lower right corner of the image, A-224.

I made the distinction in the title as 1951 FOH cards, because there are sets of cards from both the 1969 re-release and another later re-release, possibly 1970s or 1980s, I'm not sure which. And yes, there really was a 1969 re-release in the UK, a full 5 years prior to the first re-release in the US.