The Alice Comedies
was a series of short cartoons made by Walt Disney
and Ub Iwerks
during The Silent Age of Animation
. A precursor to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
, 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 Fleischer Studios Out of the Inkwell
, another live action/animation blending cartoon that was the inspiration for this series.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Marth Debuted in Smash Bros.: Mickey's nemesis Pete got his start here, although as some sort of bear-mouse....thing.
- This makes him the oldest still-active Disney character, beating out even Oswald the Lucky Rabbit by a couple of years.
- Medium Awareness: Characters are aware they are made of ink and take advantage of the fact.
- Medium Blending
- Missing Episode: Several of the shorts are currently lost.
- Negative Continuity
- The Other Darrin: Four different actresses played Alice throughout the series, due to either getting older or contract disputes.
- In reality there were really only three Alices as we know them. Dawn O'Day shows up for exactly one short.
- 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