Here is another missive from one of our most active minions:
“Carroll’s Isa Bowman and ’60s icon Petula Clark? In the same movie!? Yep, Vote for Huggett (1949) featured Isa (then 75), her sisters Nellie and Empsie Bowman, and former child star Petula Clark (17, singing “In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree”). Also in the cast were David Tomlinson (George Banks in Mary Poppins), popular screen beauty Diana Dors (18), and Anthony Newley. Based on the radio series Meet the Huggets (1953–61), the movie is now available in a 4-DVD set called The Huggetts Collection, from ITV.”
Isa Bowman of course was one of Lewis Carroll’s closest child friends after Alice, and wrote a book about her visits with him, Lewis Carroll As I Knew Him(and later published under another title, as well). She had a small role in the first authorized stage production of Alice in London, and played the role of Alice in the revival a few years later.
If you attended our fall meeting in Los Angeles, you may have already seen a sample of this new tool in action: a company called Plotagon has created an Alice in Wonderland pack for their animated movie creation software. All you need to do is write your own story, add it to Plotagon’s software, and the Wonderland avatars then perform your script. The tool is currently in Beta (final testing) stage, and at the moment it’s completely free to download and use.
Please read their FAQs and Terms of Service carefully before you start. If you want to share your little featurettes, you would need to upload your finished project to Plotagon’s web site, and share a link from there. And while you retain rights to any original story you create, Plotagon retains rights to all aspects of their software, so you are creating projects with joint ownership. There is of course also the likelihood that Plotagon will charge for use of the software and/or hosting down the road. For now, however, we have been assured it’s free to download and use.
Memory lane is strewn with many curious things, including Wonderland-themed musical numbers from various television shows. Here, in Episode 506 of The Muppet Show, a young and charming Brooke Shields (whose singing has improved significantly since this very early effort) plays the role of Alice in a musical number about her trip down the rabbit hole, appropriately titled “Falling.”
All sorts of odd Jim Henson creatures float by Alice as she falls. Doctor Teeth’s head is on the Cheshire Cat’s body, and he gets to sing the best lyrical zinger, one that pretty much sums up most Alice adaptations. Listen for it!
Thanks to one of our mimsy minions for sending along the link to this amusing vintage clip. (If the video doesn’t show below, try refreshing this page.)
In case you missed all the advertising online, on TV, on buses, on billboards, and even the occasional giant mushroom out on the streets of Manhattan, ABC’s spinoff series Once Upon a Time in Wonderland premieres tonight (October 10th) at 8pm EST. To visit the web site, click me.
Here’s a preview of the premiere episode. It appears that this Alice has much to learn–including the proper way to hold a rabbit! If you watch the premiere, leave us all a comment to share what you thought of it!
For those of you out there who are not regular watchers of the long-running (and frequently brilliant) animated series The Simpsons, we have a treat (not a trick) for you. This year, for the Simpson’s 24th annual Treehouse of Horror Halloween special, they’ve enlisted noted film director Guillermo Del Toro to put his own bizarre spin on the show’s ever-popular (and ever-changing) introductory sequence, also known to insiders as “the couch gag.” The resulting clip is already being hailed as an instant classic. And to make it even better, at one point Lisa Simpson finds herself becoming Alice! You may need to watch it more than once to catch all the horror and sci-fi references jammed into this slice of silliness (including liberal helpings of images from Del Toro’s own oeuvre, including Pan’s Labrinth and HellBoy). It’s also nice to see some authors of the genre honored briefly, as well.
The full episode (three unrelated stories) will be aired tonight (10/6) at 8pm on the FOX network. But the inspired intro has already been released and you can watch it right here, right now!
LCSNA member Jenny Woolf posted this intriguing video on her blog (which is well worth visiting, if you don’t already know about it). It’s from the US National Archives, and was made in 1971 for the National Institute of Mental Health, to discourage children from experimenting with drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes.
The animation and voice work are really quite good. As Jenny points out, they’re almost too good! Looking back now at this clip, the girl’s bouffant hair, and (ahem) eye shadow, is pretty trippy, too.
Here is a blog post from the National Archives, where they discuss the 1972 critical reception of the film. As one might expect, reviewers considering the film’s applicability as a teaching tool found the animation a little too entertaining, obscuring the intended message that taking drugs is a bad thing. Still, with proper guidance, the film might stimulate a helpful discussion. And for adults, it’s an interesting piece of film in its own right.
One of our mimsy minions has alerted us to this NY Times review of the new film Abigail Harm, starring Amanda Plummer and directed by filmmaker Lee Isaac Chung. The tie-ins with Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There are both literal and metaphorical, playing with the Alice and Fawn sequence. The film also explores a myth that appears in more than one culture: a wild creature that can be captured by hiding its “robe” or skin (the film The Secret of Roan Inish offers an Irish version.) To read the review of Abigail Harm, click me.
If you haven’t already seen this clip (or the film from which it comes), one of our UK mimsy minions pointed out that this parody of the Twilight series included a brief (and semi-violent) sight gag cameo from Alice. Perhaps the makers of Vampires Suck will next turn their attention to spoofing Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Unless that’s redundant. 😉
In case you missed our earlier post on this topic (which was, of course, brilliantly written and well worth looking up–oh, well, never mind): the popular TV series Once Upon a Time is launching a spinoff this fall called Once Upon a Time: Wonderland. A handful of cast members for the new show made a press appearance at this years Comic-Con in San Diego. To see a photo and read a recap of the press panel discussion, click me.
For those of you who like to schedule your DVR recordings, the show is scheduled to premiere on Thursday, October 10th, at 8pm on ABC.
Here again is the trailer, for those who missed it in our prior post:
From the Department of Dubious Distinctions: It seems that Disney’s animated version of Alice in Wonderland has been named to the Rolling Stone list of “10 Best Movie Drug Trips.” I don’t think Lewis Carroll would have been pleased. But then, like many of us, he might find other reasons not to be pleased by Rolling Stone. I suppose we should be grateful it didn’t also make their “10 Best Stoner Films” list, as well. To read the full list, click me.