Grooving on Old School Disney: Alice in Wonderland Bonuses

27 Jan

Jeff Pepper’s 2719 Hyperion blog has a nice post this weekend, detailing some of the classic Disney characters in the 1936 short, Mickey’s Polo Team.

I’ve been pretty much grooving out lately on some classic Disney. All that time in the San Francisco airport on Friday gave me a chance to watch some of the bonus features on the Alice in Wonderland DVD, which I believe is about to go back into the Disney vaults.

In particular, disc 2 has a couple real gems. First is “One Hour in Wonderland,” Walt Disney’s first-ever television production. I think you can find it on YouTube, but if you can get a hold of the DVD it’s worth it for the better image and audio quality. It’s worth it even just for the opening commercial, where a stylish babe emerges from a Christmas present, seductively offering Coca-Cola in classic, curvy bottles. There are a number of clips leveraged from other productions, so you’ll recognize a little footage here and there, but if you enjoy classic Disney (or classic TV, for that matter), it’s worth a watch.

Also on disc 2, there’s a great Alice Comedy: Alice’s Wonderland. Now, let’s review here: This is not Lewis Carrol’s Alice. This is six-year-old Virginia Davis in all her black-and-white live action splendor, sharing the celluloid with cartoon characters. Alice’s Wonderland is the first of the Alice Comedies, and it may well be one of the best. It has a whimsical, carefree feeling that is sometimes lacking in this series, and none of the mean edge that sometimes crops up. Plus, Alice is really the star of the show, as opposed to later episodes where the unnamed cat (clearly a Felix knock-off) takes center stage.

Now mind you, I’d still rather not have spent so many hours Friday at SFO. But at least I had a little Alice to brighten my day.

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