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Trivia / Alice in Wonderland

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The 1951 Disney Film

  • Blooper: The opening credits list Lewis Carrol as the author of the books, instead of Lewis Carroll.
  • Box Office Bomb: The first one since Bambi. Budget, $3 million. Box office, $2.4 million (domestic). This ultimately didn't even dent Disney's emerging animation empire, but convinced Walt to personally never reissue the film, instead airing it on TV.
  • Creator Backlash: Walt Disney disliked how the final film turned out and was glad that it failed at the box office, feeling that the film had "no heart." He also felt that the original story had no plot, and was therefore inappropriate for a film adaptation. In fact, while most of Walt Disney's animated movies experienced their first theatrical rereleases 5-7 years after their premieres, this one took 22 years to return to the big screen. It did play on Walt Disney Presents at least three times by then, but during a period in which Disney refused to play their most successful animated movies on TV.
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  • Cut Song: Loads. One of them, an "I Want" Ballad titled "Beyond the Laughing Sky", eventually received new lyrics and became "The Second Star to the Right".
  • Dawson Casting: Mildly. The film does avert the trend of having a teen or young adult play Alice. Alice's voice actress, Kathryn Beaumont, was thirteen when the film came out and therefore probably about eleven or twelve when she recorded her lines. Kathryn Beaumont was also the physical model for the character. As a result, Alice is drawn looking like she's around eleven or twelve, whereas she was seven in the book. It's generally accepted by Disney fans that Disney!Alice is the age she looks rather than her book age.
  • Development Hell: The entire concept of a film adaptation of a story such as this was in development since the 1930s. Some issues the production included an art style similar to that of the book's being hard to animate, issues with turning the story's unconventional structure into a three act movie, and a lack of manpower during World War II.
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  • Distanced from Current Events: On August 10th, 2015, the Japanese Disney Twitter account sent out a tweet themed after this movie which said "A very merry unbirthday to you!" in English accompanied by a picture of Alice holding a birthday cake, with the Japanese translation, "Happy nothing special day!" directly below it. note  Unfortunately, they chose to send the tweet out on the 70th anniversary of the Nagasaki bombing. Disney later apologized for the mistake.
  • Doing It for the Art: For the scene in which Alice grows gigantic while inside the White Rabbit's house, animators built a prop house for Kathryn Beaumont to sit in - and they sketched it for reference. As they also needed to see how Alice moved while inside the house, they then rebuilt it with transparent walls.
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  • Dueling Works: Around the time the film was set to be released, another adaptation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland coincidentally came out. Directed by Dallas Bower and featuring a mixture of live-action and Stop Motion puppets created by Lou Bunin, it bore no resemblance to Disney's version apart from being based on the same source material. However, sensing competition, Disney took the American distributor of the film to court, erroneously claiming to own the rights to the original book. Though the case was ultimately thrown out, Disney succeeded in ensuring Bower's film fell into obscurity.
  • DVD Commentary: The Masterpiece Edition DVD became Disney's first two-disc DVD, outside of the Walt Disney Treasures collection, not to include an audio commentary. This would eventually become rectified for the 60th Anniversary Blu-Ray, when historians of Disney animation and/or classic literature teamed up for a picture-in-picture commentary titled, "Through the Keyhole: A Companion's Guide to Wonderland."
  • Enforced Method Acting: It was proving difficult to get Kathryn Beaumont to create a natural-sounding laugh for the scene where her flamingo serving as a croquet club tickles her with his feet. Walt Disney himself came up with the idea of tickling Kathryn while they were recording in the studio, causing her laughter and cries of "Stop!" that ended up in the picture to be for real.
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  • Talking to Himself:
    • J. Pat O'Malley voices both Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum and all of the characters in the "Walrus and the Carpenter" segment. Justified because the Tweedles are twins and are the ones reciting the "The Walrus and the Carpenter" poem.
    • Bill Thompson voiced the White Rabbit and the Dodo. Most of the Dodo's appearance in the film consists of him having a conversation with the White Rabbit.
  • Throw It In!: Much of the Tea Party consists of Ed Wynn (the Hatter) improvising for the artists. Most notably, the entire bit with him "fixing" the White Rabbit's watch began with Ed Wynn just messing around the recording booth after he'd finished a take. Disney noticed that the equipment was still recording and decided they should use it, requiring the recording staff to put in a lot of work cleaning up the audio to make it usable.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The Gryphon and the Mock Turtle. They popped up in a Jello commercial.
    • Apparently, the Cheshire Cat's recitation of the opening lines of "Jabberwocky" was to give way to an actual encounter with the Jabberwock itself, voiced by Stan Freberg. It was trashed for evidently being too scary. Concept art was made of the Jabberwock, the Bandersnatch and the Jub Jub Bird, too. The Jabberwock had fiery eyes, the Bandersnatch had a long neck and a net for a tail, and one of many concepts for the Jub Jub Bird survives as the vulture-like "umbrella birds" that gave Alice a Death Glare when she interrupted their bath. Another concept for the Jub Jub Bird was a large eagle-like creature. The designs for the Bandersnatch and the Jub Jub Bird can be seen here and one for the Jabberwock and another for the Jub Jub Bird here.
    • An earlier adaptation was planned for the thirties. The storyboards were done by the talented British artist David Hall. It was a bit closer to the book. It was, once again rejected for being too scary. Amongst the concepts from this version was the Mad Hatter and March hare chasing Alice with a knife and scissors, the Cheshire Cat with hundreds of sharp teeth, and Alice nearly beheaded by a grinding gear. See the ending here
    • Disney even toyed with the idea of having a live-action Alice explore an animated Wonderland. Mary Pickford did screen tests for Alice which can be seen here. (Unsurprisingly, this was around the time when Disney started releasing his cartoons through United Artists, which Pickford co-owned.) This was abandoned because Paramount were also developing a live-action version at the same time.
    • Janet Waldo, best known as Judy Jetson, was considered at one point to voice Alice. She would later voice Alice in Alice in Wonderland or What's a Nice Kid Like You Doing in a Place Like This?, televised in 1966 over ABC.
    • There were a ton of cut songs composed for this film (over thirty according to some sources). A few were reworked into songs for other projects. For example "Second Star to the Right" and "Never Smile At A Crocodile" from Peter Pan was going to be "Beyond the Laughing Sky", sung by Alice and "Lobster Quadriddle",from the late 30's version. There were also a couple of cut songs for the Cheshire Cat and Mr. Caterpillar; the Cheshire Cat got "I'm Odd", which was to sum up his Blue-and-Orange Morality and Cloudcuckoolanderness, while the Caterpillar got "Dream Caravan", which portrayed him as a Dream Walker and had a catchy tune...
    Caterpillar: Zoom golly golly golly zoom golly golly...note 
    • Another early plot idea involved Dinah falling into Wonderland along with Alice and becoming the Cheshire Cat. Alice, the cat, the Mad Hatter, and the March Hare were to accompany Alice on her journey, climaxing with Alice's arrest by the Queen. In the end, the Cheshire Cat redeems him/herself and is turned back into a real cat and escaping with Alice for a happy ending.
    • Another idea involved a live-action feature about Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell, which included animated segments involving Carroll's stories of Wonderland, using a plot similar to that of Song of the South.
    • A planned sequence for the Tulgey Wood had Alice running into the White Knight - who would give her some advice. The character would be drawn to resemble Walt Disney. Walt cut the character himself in favour of the song "Very Good Advice" - feeling Alice needed to learn the lessons on her own.


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