The Blog of the LCSNA

Far-Flung Knight

Jett Jackson: Stuck in Wonderland

Welcome to the LCSNA’s blog, where you can read regular updates about Lewis Carroll’s influence on all aspects of life.  Please keep in mind that these posts are informational only; we do not endorse any link, statement or product cited below unless we specifically state that within the post. Also, the bloggers do not speak for the LCSNA as a whole. We hope you’ll visit often to review the posts and add comments.

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To submit items for our blog, please email us at blogmaster@lewiscarroll.org.

The Blog of the LCSNA

Kathryn Beaumont Before Alice

Walt Disney first saw Miss Beaumont in a 1948 Esther Williams vehicle called On an Island with You, which led to her being cast as Alice and later, Wendy. Her elocution, accent, voice, and appeal are unmistakable here, even when she’s imitating Jimmy Durante! You can rent the movie on Amazon Prime or You Tube, but please be warned that although there are some nice dance sequences and musical numbers, in this #MeToo era, the central romance comes off as way more creepy than charming. Better perhaps just to see the excerpts in which Kathryn appears.

“But, Grandmother, how can one possibly be too British?”

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Our Virtual Book Club!

Please join us this Saturday (September 12, 2:00 pm Eastern Time, 11:00 am Pacific Time) for our very first Virtual Book Club! LCSNA Vice-President Emertita Cindy Watter will be interviewing author/scholar/founding LCSNA member Edward Guiliano about his entertaining and enlightening book Lewis Carroll: The Worlds of His Alices.

You can access the Virtual Book Club with this Zoom link. You do not need a Zoom account to attend. We’ll have the Q&A feature turned on so that you can submit questions and comments for Cindy and Edward during the interview.

“You’ll see me there,” said the Cat, and vanished.

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New Work by Abelardo Morell

Many of us grew enamored of the photographic assemblages of the world-renowned, award-winning photographer Abelardo Morell with his edition of Wonderland (Dutton, 1998) or A Book of Books (Bulfinch, 2002).

He has now illustrated Looking-Glass, and re-visited his Wonderland work. A suitable publisher is being sought.

We are anticipating an interview with him in the Fall Knight Letter. Meanwhile, he will be discussing this work along with others in a virtual presentation at the Eastman Museum on October 7 at 6 pm (Eastern time).

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A Virtual Time Machine to Disneyland, 1958

Alice in Wonderland opening, 1958. Karen Pendleton as Alice.

Former Imagineers Don Carson and Daniel Rover Singer (longtime LCSNA member) have created videos that digitally re-create the experience of riding Disneyland’s original “Alice in Wonderland” ride that opened in 1958.  It was visited by millions of Disneyland guests before it was destroyed in 1983 after 25 years, without any known attempt to properly document it.  The original art directors interpreted the Disney cartoon into more of a carnival spook-house ride, which is why the show was gutted to make way for a new version in 1984 that more closely resembled the animated film.

Don and Rover were lucky to find enough rare documentation to re-create the entire experience in fine detail and full color. (The indoor part of the ride, that is; the ride itself then went outdoors for its final third, wending through a winding vine of leaves. Walt loved the idea of passersby seeing caterpillars wiggling along amongst tall blades of [fiberglass] grass and towering dandelions that glowed at night.)

It’s difficult to say what Lewis Carroll would have thought of this attraction—it’s nightmarish and has little to do with his witty, charming stories.  But for “Alice” fans who may have seen this show, it’s a fun memory-jog and a fascinating piece of theme-park history.

* High resolution but no animated props or opening doors
* Lower resolution with animated props, opening doors; with a VR headset you can turn and look in any direction
* One of Don’s fascinating in-progress “making of” videos

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A Virtual Theme Park

Creation Theatre of the UK is offering Alice: A Virtual Theme Park throughout the month of August. It sounds like you will go between a “Wonderland” virtual experience and Zoom meetings with the cast (in character) and other participants. They also recommend having a deck of cards at hand. Shows must be booked in advance. Tickets are £20 ($26) and remember show times are listed in Greenwich Mean Time (5 – 8 hours ahead of the continental US).

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Furiouser and Spuriouser

Young Canadian composer Jason Noble sees the Internet as Alice’s Wonderland. In a 23-minute a cappella choral piece (with narration) in eight chapters, Furiouser and Spuriouser, he explores their parallels.

The composition was created at Pro Coro Canada’s Choral Art: Conductors and Composers program at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in 2018.

You can read his thoughts on the composition here and see its world premiere in its entirety here.

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Waring the World Am I?

OK, it was broadcast almost 70 years ago, but just came to our attention. The Fred Waring Show (yes, he of the Blendor [sic] and the Pennsylvanians) ran on CBS from 1948 to 1954. Half of his hour-long show of March 18, 1951 was devoted to previewing Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, which would be released six months later. (Although Fred makes a big deal about it being the first time Disney’s Alice was presented on television, he was mistaken: Disney’s One Hour in Wonderland had been shown the previous December 25 on NBC.)

Walt was present through a prerecorded intro, but Kathy Beaumont and Sterling Holloway were live. Walt talks a bit about the production, but the lion’s share of the show was taken up by live re-creations of the musical scenes from the upcoming film.

Click here.

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The Riddell with Many an Answer

Award-winning writer/artist/political cartoonist Chris Riddell, Children’s Laureate emeritus of the UK, whose illustrations to The Snark came out last year and whose Wonderland was due to come out in October from Pan-Macmillan but whose release apparently has been postponed, no doubt due to the pandemic, talks about Carroll and Tenniel in a long Alice Day interview, which also contains a drawing lesson, with Nicolette Jones of Oxford’s Story Museum.

His Wonderland’s ISBN is 9781529002461, and he says he is already working on illustrating Looking-Glass. We are very much looking forward to both of them.

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The Inky Parrot Strikes Again!

Dennis Hall’s marvelous Inky Parrot Press and its sister company, Artists’ Choice, which have in the past given us stunning fine-press editions of John Vernon Lord’s Wonderland, Looking-Glass, and Snark; Kalinovsky’s two Alice books; Russian Alices; the compendium Illustrating Alice; a Wonderland with each chapter featuring a different illustrator; and renowned Spanish artist Ángel Domínguez’s spectacular Looking-Glass,* now present:

ADHS

The Hunting of the Snark, illustrated by Ángel Domínguez (130 numbered copies, £38).

and

ADAW

A gorgeous edition of Wonderland, with the 1929 illustrations of Willy Pogany (126 numbered copies, £38)

To order, contact Dennis via email. The books will be sent out by the end of June.

* Ángel Domínguez’s Wonderland was published by Artisan in 1996. Inky Parrot published his Looking-Glass in 2015.


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