Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Jello Commercial with Cheshire Cat - 1956?

Here is one of two Jello commercials that I have featuring Alice in Wonderland animation. This first one is pretty standard stuff, it re-uses feature film animation exclusively (with some new live action of a little girl with Jello), but re-rendered for TV with thick black lines for the crappy TV pictures in the 1950s. This originally came from a collection of commercials entitled Cartoons Celing Commercials. The jacket of this collection lists the date of these commercials as 1956, but I have no other corroborating evidence to support that date.

Voice over is by Sterling Holloway, which is pretty cool, and Alice's voice sounds like Kathryn Beaumont, but have not confirmed that.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

A very merry Christmas cover on this Disney Newsreel from December 21, 1984. Have a safe and happy holiday.

Art for this cover was done by Russell Schroeder of Lost Chords fame.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

TV Junior - December 1959

What a great idea, a TV Guide-like magazine strictly for kids. Man, I wish I had had a subscription to something like this when I was a kid.

This is the special Christmas issue from 1959, featuring an article on the upcoming episode of Walt Disney Presents on Christmas Day. The feature presentation - Alice in Wonderland.

This would be the second time a Christmas Day Disney TV show was centered around Alice in Wonderland, the other show being the very first Disney TV show One Hour in Wonderland back in 1950 (click here for a great article by Wade Sampson on this groundbreaking TV show). Alice would go on to be presented on the various broadcast network incarnations of the Disney show a total of nine times (that I am aware of) through 1992.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

1955 Hudson Commercial

My new toy is finally installed, called VCR2PC it digitizes video tape directly to digital files on disk so you can edit and upload or burn to DVD. Woohoo! I can finally transfer some of my rare video to a more stable medium. First up is this bizarre Hudson commercial for the 1955 model year, so probably actually from 1954. Quality is not that great, but cool to see nonetheless.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A New Discovery - McCall's Alice Sewing Pattern - Minikin Display Pattern

I have recently acquired the following, something I had never heard of before. What at first glance looks just like a standard McCall's pattern from the 1951 promotion with Indian Head Cotton, is in fact something pretty unusual - and quite cool.

This is a pattern for a display minikin. What is a display minikin you may ask? That is a very good question, something that I did not know myself until I found this item and received some assistance from people in the know sewing-wise.

Once you know what it is, it makes perfect sense. A minikin is a miniature mannequin. These were used in fabric stores to display finished clothing made from the featured patterns. These were of course smaller versions of the regular pattern, presumably to save money on fabric and time to sew them together. My wife actually has a minikin, it looks like a miniture dress form. We did not know that it had this special name until we found this pattern.

Apparently there were LOTS of these patterns made for use in stores, conceivably there are minikin versions of EVERY pattern, but that is probably unlikely, probably only those patterns that were thought to be big sellers got a minikin version. I would love to see photos of minikins in action with these Alice clothes...there must be some out there somewhere!

UPDATE: Sandra commented that the photo of my wife's 'minikin' is in fact just a miniature dress form. I'm on the hunt for a photo of a real minikin, if anyone out there has one, I'd love to see it!

UPDATE #2: Thanks again to Sandra, she provided me with this fantastic photo of a real minikin. I think she looks like Scarlett Johansson.

Apparently minikins are about 30 inches tall, and are essentially big (sometimes) articulated dolls. The ultimate Barbie ;-)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Marx Snowdomes - 1961

A quickie for now, holiday festivities are consuming more time than I realized. This is a pair of vintage Marx snowdomes featuring Alice in Wonderland characters. These are pretty difficult to come by, and in fact I did not even realize the March Hare dome existed for many years.

These two examples were recently sold on Hake's Americana.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Pageant Magazine - August 1951

By far the coolest magazine from the initial release, and maybe ever, is this Aug 1951 issue of Pageant magazine.

On the surface it looks just like any other digest-type magazine of the era, complete with starlet cover girl. But the back cover tells of the amazing Alice content inside!

Some marketing genius decided to publish a set of Alice playing cards in this issue. And not only that, said genius actually devised a way to get people to buy MULTIPLE copies in order to do it! What I like best about this is the fact that they are just brazen about it, they even joke about it in the copy on the page that explains how to do it.

"Ahem!" exclaimed the Printer. "But the cards will be printed back-to-back. One card on one side, another card on the other. You can't paste 'em!"

"Oh, you silly!" exclaimed Alice. "That's easy. Just tell the kids to get an extra copy of Pageant. They can paste up one side of a page from one copy, and the other side from the other copy. Then cut out each card."

"Great, great," said the Circulation Man. "Very smart child."

I must say though, I have never come across any of these created cards, just this magazine.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Storyteller 8-Track

Outdated technology anyone? Believe it or not, they actually made 8-tracks of the old storyteller records. Anyone got a player?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Disneyland 1963

I love this photo. Not because it is of the White Rabbit posing with a cute little girl, but because the Alice character is dangling off the Central Ticket Booth sign pole.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Italian Song Book

Very nice song book from Italy "All Songs from Alice in Wonderland", from the original release, Edizioni Curci of Milan publisher, which is still in business today. Great cover art on this one. I've not seen individual sheet music from Italy as of yet, just this song book.

Has music from seven songs - Alice in Wonderland, In a World of my Own, All in the Golden Afternoon, I'm Late, Very Good Advice, The Unbirthday Song, Twas Brillig.

No interior art, just the music. Interestingly, lyrics are in both English and Italian.

I gotta get a larger scanner...any suggestions?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Inker's Test of Mother and Baby Oysters

This is one of those things you find and you just say 'wow, that is really pretty cool'. This is a set of inker's test cels of Mother Oyster and several Baby Oysters.

The ink lines are pretty amazing, and surprisingly done in multiple colors, including a little dry brush work on Mother's pearl nose and shell. I've only ever come across two sets of inker's tests, these and an Alice I have that is just black ink only...not sure how rare these are, I imagine they were used for practice or to test the ability of new hires or potential hires, so were probably discarded or wiped.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

New Screen News - December 7, 1951

One more magazine before I move on to another category. This strange little 2-color magazine is from Britain, and is another in the apparently HUGE category of film news periodicals. This issue is dated exactly 57 years ago today.

As far as Alice is concerned, the content is pretty sparse, just 7 stills from the film with extremely brief story synopses as captions.

The two color printing is pretty strange, even more strange that they only did the large panel in the two color process...wonder if orange and blue is what it started out as...

Nice full page ad on the inside back cover.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Children's Digest - September 1951

This is the first magazine I knew about from 1951 that had an Alice cover, Tomart actually pictures it! It did take me a very long time to find one however. I guess children's periodicals don't really survive that well (with the exception of comics), but this one has survived in relatively good shape.

I wish I knew who did the art on the cover, looks kinda like Bill Justice but the credit inside just says Walt Disney Productions. And that text box on the cover is quite annoying...

The interior is pretty cool, it is the actual poem from Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll.

Pages have browned a little, and are no longer the light green 'eye-ease' tint that they expound upon inside...

I have always liked the oysters with their disembodied feet...

It is interesting to see how the poem was edited for inclusion in the film - it is amazing to me that this sequence is even IN the film as it has nothing to do with Alice and her journey. Probably why it is edited out of most, if not all, of the network TV broadcasts of the film, to make it fit in a one hour time slot - with commercials of course.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Big Screen Scene Showguide - December 1969

This small magazine from England was the very first item I found that mentioned the 1969 re-release in Britain. Up until that time I had no knowledge of that release whatsoever, and even today I have very little info about it. I am only aware of a 1969 release in Britain, but it may have been released elsewhere prior to the US re-release in 1974. If anyone has info on that, I'd love to see it.

Magazine itself is fairly standard film review fare, although surprisingly positive about Alice given that it is English. In 1951 the Brits were not so kind to my favorite Disney film. Absence makes the heart grow fonder I guess.

Interesting to see that it was another Christmas release for Alice; in 1951 Alice was released at Christmastime throughout most of Europe (England being the exception).

Also interesting to note is the fact that the reviewer draws attention to Sterling Holloway (Cheshire Cat) and J. Pat O'Malley (Walrus, Carpenter, Tweedles) voicing characters in Jungle Book, the most recent Disney feature released at that time.

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