Thursday, April 30, 2009

Alice in Wonderland Sandpiper Book - Fact or Fantasy?

When I first began collecting Disneyana in the late 1980s, I purchased the fantastic set of TOMART reference books. When I made the decision to collect only Alice in Wonderland items, I scoured the entire 4 volume set, and the condensed edition.

This is when I first encountered mention of the Alice in Wonderland Sandpiper book. TOMART volume 4 lists it as B5547 - Alice in Wonderland (1951) Sandpiper. But, even though TOMART illustrates the Donald Duck Sandpiper book (B5546), it does not illustrate the Alice one. Thus began my quest for the Sandpiper book.

Over the years I gathered more reference material, including the original Campaign Book, which has a small section on Simon and Schuster books, but does not list the Sandpiper Book. Yet I was not deterred.

I eventually found the Donald Duck book, but without its dust jacket, which is understandably harder to find, as it was a children's book. Then I encountered this Lone Ranger book with dust jacket, and I discovered that there were 10 Sandpiper books, of which Alice was number S10.

Now I had fairly substantial evidence that the book did exist. After all, I reasoned, they would not have printed up all these dust jackets advertising books that did not exist. Plus the book that I found was number S9, surely they would not have stopped the series one book from the end.

As the years rolled by, I encountered 6 of the 10 books, and at least one dealer who claimed he had an entire set of 10. I pestered that guy literally for years to at least give me a photo of the book, to no avail. And there the trail ended, nearly 20 years ago. Until last week.

Last week I acquired a large lot of original Simon and Schuster Golden Book catalogs, including the Spring and Fall 1951 issues. I had seen a copy of the Spring '51 catalog previously on ebay, but failed to win it. But last week, the group of catalogs arrived and imagine my surprise when I opened the Spring '51 to pages 6 and 7 and saw a double page spread all about the new series of Sandpiper books.

Now we're talking. The cover of the Alice book, at last! I must admit, I was feeling pretty good about it, since I recognized 6 of the 10 covers pictured.

And yet, the previous 20 years of looking for this book tempered my elation. I started perusing the remaining catalogs, starting with the Fall '51 issue.

And on page 14 is another full page featuring the Sandpiper books . But wait, something's different.

There are now only 6 Sandpiper books listed, the same 6 books that I have seen over the past 20 years of searching. And no mention whatsoever of the other 4 books pictured in the Spring catalog, a mere 6 months prior. They didn't even renumber the remaining books, just removed them leaving holes in the sequence.

The back cover, as on the Spring '51 catalog, contains a checklist, and there is Sandpiper book section, with only 6 books listed.

So, I must conclude, after years of searching, that the Alice Sandpiper book probably does not exist. I cannot be sure of course, but all the evidence now seems to point this way. It is hard to believe that after 20 years I would not have at least SEEN a copy of a mass-produced book by the publishers of Little Golden Books.

If anyone does have a copy, I would of course be MOST anxious to see it.

UPDATE: I have just received additional anecdotal evidence to support my theory on the non-existence of the Alice Sandpiper book. I just received a copy of Steve Santi's excellent Golden Book reference guide, 5th edition.

In it he pictures the same six books that are in the Fall '51 catalog. In the text he states that S6 and S8 were probably never printed, lists a author and illustrator for S5, but only lists Walt Disney Studios as illustrator/author of Alice (S10).

While this could be taken either way, I'm still inclined to interpret this as further evidence Alice not being published.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Simon and Schuster Golden Catalog - Spring 1951

Another recent acquisition is this excessively cool catalog for Golden Books and Golden Records for the spring season of 1951. The cover is taken from the Al Dempster art for the Big Golden Book cover.

Lots of great stuff in here, S&S was pulling out all the stops with their support of Alice in 1951, and there are no less than 12 separate Alice items advertised in this catalog.

The inside front cover is a full page notice for the Big Golden Book, again utilizing Al Dempster art from the book itself.

Pages 4 and 5 list the new titles in the Little Golden Book line for 1951. Notice that the release dates of the various books are spread throughout the year, and at this point there are only 2 Alice titles - the Live Flowers and White Rabbit - the Mad Hatter book apparently had not been put on the schedule yet. Notice also the Mary Blair title I Can Fly. Based on the dates here, it appears that this catalog was released late in 1950 in anticipation of the spring season.

Pages 8 and 9 promote the relatively new Little Golden Records, of which they produced 8 different titles for Alice. And as Brian pointed out in his comment, some of the titles vary from what was actually produced, notably the Jabberwock title, and the Christmas Title (which I think is just a typo by an overeager editor, should be Unbirthday instead of Christmas).

The back cover is basically a check list for all the current titles available; none of the Alice titles appear yet.

There is one more item in this catalog, but I'm saving that for my next post. Stay tuned for when I explore one of the most elusive items in the world of Disney's Alice in Wonderland, with a shocking conclusion (well, perhaps a bit melodramatic, but still, should be worth a read).

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Icelandic Movie Program

Quite possibly the most esoteric piece of movie paper in the collection is this program from Iceland.

I have no idea what any of this says, but I love it just the same!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

German Movie Poster - A1

Sister to yesterday's post is this German A1 (23x33) poster, which uses the same art as the French petite affichette.

Reuse of poster art is very common, I wonder how many other foreign posters use this Grinsson art...

Monday, April 20, 2009

French Movie Poster - Moyenne

Sorry for the long break between posts, business travel and other real world issues were at the fore, but back now.

This is a very cool poster. It is an original release poster from France, size is 60x80 cm (23x31 in), a size known as "Moyenne."

The artist for this poster was a gentleman named Boris Grinsson (1907-1999), who provided the artwork for LOTS of French film posters, over 2000 I believe. There is a book available on his poster art from French Amazon, some of the most striking French posters ever made were done by M. Grinsson.

Boris Grinsson on Amazon

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Zaccagnini Cheshire Cat - Missed it by That Much

Just last week I discovered the existence of another Zaccagnini figure (and was of course the underbidder, thank you very much), the Cheshire Cat. I may never get one, but I have its picture now.

UPDATE: Matterhorn1959, thanks to your good Karma in your comment, I now have this figure! Woohoo!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

From the Walls - Alice Attraction Poster

Today is my wife's birthday (Happy Birthday Wendy!), and as we are fond of saying, she was the best acquisition I ever made to the Alice collection. You see, she is an Alice person too, in fact that is how we met. Although she has always been a more book-focused collector - and certainly not as over the top as I am with the Disney Alice - she is still a Disney fan. In fact she has worked at both Disneyland and the Disney Stores. And her favorite Disney Alice item is the attraction poster.

She has had this for a very long time - long before she ever met me - and it proudly graces our walls in the den by the computer. I still don't know how she found a frame that exactly matches the color of the poster background! We also have the Fantasyland variant (thank you Jed!) but it is not up on the walls and is resting comfortably in the Tulgey Wood.

This item is available in the Wonderland Bazaar.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Outside the Alice Attraction - April 13th, 1965

Just a quick post today, a cute little snapshot of Colleen, aged 5 years and 8 months standing outside Alice on a completely deserted day at Disneyland.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bill Peet Storyboard Stills - Alice Meets the Caterpillar

This is a great set of images from my favorite sequence in Alice in Wonderland, when Alice meets the Caterpillar.

As I understand it, this was the very first sequence in the film that was fully animated, which might explain why there are RKO promotional stills of the storyboards for this sequence.

Storyboard stills are not very common, most of the stills released to the press were actual frames from the film, or promotional cel setups.

The art in these is just fantastic, executed I believe by Bill Peet.

An interesting fact about this sequence, the color styling of Alice's dress is different in this sequence from the rest of the film. If you look closely, you'll notice that the collar tabs on her dress are a lighter shade of blue than the rest of her dress.

Art of the caterpillar is difficult to come by, I feel quite fortunate to have these even in still form.