Western Animation: Alice Comedies
It all began with a girl. And a cat.
The Alice Comedies
was a series of short cartoons made by Walt Disney
and Ub Iwerks
during The Silent Age of Animation
. It was the successor to their failed Newman Laugh O Grams
series, and a precursor to 'their 'Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
'' series. The cartoons feature Alice, a live action girl, interacting with an animated world. Near the beginning, the shorts would start with something happening to Alice in the real world after which she falls asleep or gets knocked out. She then enters an animated dream world where she interacts with Julius the Cat and a host of other Funny Animals
. Hi-jinx Ensue
. Later installments dropped the real world Framing Device
and took place entirely in the cartoon world.
The cartoons themselves had little in the way of plot or continuity, and were mainly just for showing off the animation.
Compare Max and Dave Fleischer
's' Out of the Inkwell
, another live action/animation blending cartoon that was the inspiration for this series.
- Alice's Day at Sea March 1, 1924
- Alice's Spooky Adventure April 1, 1924
- Alice's Wild West Show May 1, 1924
- Alice's Fishy Story June 1, 1924
- Alice and the Dog Catcher July 1, 1924
- Alice the Peacemaker August 1, 1924
- Alice Gets in Dutch November 1, 1924
- Alice Hunting in Africa November 15, 1924
- Alice and the Three Bears December 1, 1924
- Alice the Piper December 15, 1924
- Alice Cans the Cannibals January 1, 1925
- Alice the Toreador January 15, 1925
- Alice Gets Stung February 1, 1925
- Alice Solves the Puzzle February 15, 1925
- Alice's Egg Plant May 30, 1925
- Alice Loses Out June 15, 1925
- Alice Gets Stage Struck June 30, 1925
- Alice Wins the Derby July 15, 1925
- Alice Picks the Champ July 30, 1925
- Alice's Tin Pony August 15, 1925
- Alice Chops the Suey August 30, 1925
- Alice the Jail Bird September 15, 1925
- Alice Plays Cupid October 15, 1925
- Alice Rattled by Rats November 15, 1925
- Alice in the Jungle December 15, 1925
- Alice on the Farm January 1, 1926
- Alice's Balloon Race January 15, 1926
- Alice's Orphan January 15, 1926
- Alice's Little Parade February 1, 1926
- Alice's Mysterious Mystery February 15, 1926
- Alice Charms the Fish September 6, 1926 (Lost cartoon)
- Alice's Monkey Business September 20, 1926 (Lost cartoon)
- Alice in the Wooly West October 4, 1926
- Alice the Fire Fighter October 18, 1926
- Alice Cuts the Ice November 1, 1926 (Lost cartoon)
- Alice Helps the Romance November 15, 1926
- Alice's Spanish Guitar November 29, 1926
- Alice's Brown Derby December 13, 1926
- Alice the Lumber Jack December 27, 1926 (Lost cartoon)
- Alice the Golf Bug January 10, 1927, lost cartoon
- Alice Foils the Pirates January 24, 1927 (Lost cartoon)
- Alice at the Carnival February 10, 1927 (Lost cartoon)
- Alice at the Rodeo February 21, 1927
- Alice the Collegiate March 7, 1927 (Lost cartoon)
- Alice in the Alps March 21, 1927 (Lost cartoon)
- Alice's Auto Race April 4, 1927 (Lost cartoon)
- Alice's Circus Daze April 18, 1927
- Alice's Knaughty Knight May 2, 1927 (Lost cartoon)
- Alice's Three Bad Eggs May 16, 1927 (Lost cartoon)
- Alice's Picnic May 30, 1927
- Alice's Channel Swim June 13, 1927 (Lost cartoon)
- Alice in the Klondike June 27, 1927 (Lost cartoon)
- Alice's Medicine Show July 11, 1927 (Lost cartoon)
- Alice the Whaler July 25, 1927
- Alice the Beach Nut August 8, 1927 (Lost cartoon)
- Alice in the Big League August 22, 1927
This series provides examples of:
- Alice Allusion
- Animal Stereotypes: Alice's Egg Plant. Buzzards are...Bolsheviks?!
- Amusing Injuries: Including severed limbs and decapitation.
- Appendage Assimilation: The way characters will recover from their Amusing Injuries.
- Bag of Kidnapping: Alice is kidnapped this way a couple of times, once from the character that would become Mickey's arch nemesis Pete.
- Battle Discretion Shot: Often preferred over the Big Ball of Violence.
- Behind a Stick
- Big Ball of Violence
- Cats Are Mean: Julius is notable for being one of the only Disney cats to avert this. Pegleg Pete first appears in this series, but won't officially become a cat until Mickey Mouse comes along.
- Captain Ersatz: Julius is nothing more than Felix moonlighting in a Disney cartoon. Pat Sullivan wanted him in.
- Or rather, Charlies Mintz wanted Julius in, which pissed off Pat Sullivan enough to cancel his distribution contract with Mintz.
- Cliffhanger: The version of Alice's Wonderland included with the DVD and Blu-Ray editions of Alice in Wonderland ends with Alice falling into a hole, since the people compiling the bonus features utilized a print that lacked the ending.
- Creator Cameo: Walt himself appears in the first short.
- Deranged Animation
- Detachment Combat: Julius' tail can detach and change itself into any tool he might need.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Meta-example; given these were some of the earliest cartoons he made, the Alice Comedies are quite different in tone and execution from the later shorts and films Disney would become recognized for.
- Everybody Do the Endless Loop
- Follow the Leader: The cartoons were heavily deriative of Otto Messmer's Felix the Cat, Paul Terry's Aesop's Fables and Max Fleischer's Out of the Inkwell cartoons.
- Framing Device: The world is a dream world Alice sees when unconscious.
- Funny Animal
- Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress
- Idea Bulb
- Interspecies Romance: Between Alice and Julius
- Weirdly enough, that subtext was dubbed in later during the public domain releases. It's more of a Brother-Sister dynamic.
- Medium Awareness: Characters are aware they are made of ink and take advantage of the fact.
- Medium Blending
- Negative Continuity
- Public Domain Animation
- Roger Rabbit Effect: Inverted in this case—Walt took inspiration from Max Fleischer's "Out of the Inkwell" comedies, but whereas that series was a cartoon character entering our world, Walt took a live action girl and threw her into a cartoon world!
- Scooby-Dooby Doors: Done with rocks in Alice in the Wooly West.
- Smurfette Principle: Alice is pretty much the only female character in the entire series. Most others are either decidedly male or Ambiguous Gender (but most likely male).
- Token Minority: In the real world, one of the friends in Alice's gang is black. To add to this, he's a member of their KKK club (KKK stands for Sekret Klues of the Kook Klakz).
- Toon Physics
- Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: Near the end of the series, Alice would have a new job every episode; from soldier to whaler to farmer.
- Your Size May Vary: Invoked