Monday, July 4, 2011

Surprise Package - Happy 4th of July!

Edith, Lorina, and Alice Liddell
Today marks the 235th anniversary of our independence from Britain, but more importantly it also marks the 149th anniversary of the fateful boating trip during which the Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson told the story of the little girl Alice following the White Rabbit into Wonderland to Alice Liddell and her sisters.  To commemorate this momentous anniversary I present to you the first publication of an Alice story by the Walt Disney company.

Surprise Package was published by Disney in 1944 as a Giant Golden Book.  It is a compilation of 12 stories that were all in various stages of development at the studio, of which Alice in Wonderland was one.
The book was originally issued with a dust jacket that is rarely found in decent condition. 
The coolest thing about this book though is the illustrations of the Alice story: they are all by David Hall!  I've posted about David Hall before, so I won't go into details here, but all the illustrations were created by Hall in 1939 as part of story development for a proposed Alice feature that got put on hold due to the war.  This was the first time any of these illustrations were released to the public, and they would not see the light of day again until the 1980s when Disney published a full edition of the original Carroll text profusely illustrated with David Hall art.
As with most Golden books of the time, there was also a Goldencraft edition, which was distributed to schools and libraries.  Interestingly, the Goldencraft edition uses a David Hall illustration for the cover.
 Surprise Package stayed in print for a number of years; I've seen it in Golden Book catalogs as late as 1953, although the story count by that time had been reduce to 9.


Major Pepperidge said...

My mom got me a copy of the "Surprise Package" book many years ago, it's one of my favorites.

Snow White Archive said...

The David Hall illustrations are terrific.

Cool Stuff At Amazon