Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Alice Twice


I have had several posts over the years regarding Disney's Alice from the the 1951 film Alice in Wonderland. Artists like David Hall and Mary Blair created a ton of stunning development art for the film. Blair's incredible color aesthetic dominates the movie. Look at that specific and contrasting blue in the background painting for this cel set up. Fantastic!

Alice's final design was set by Milt Kahl, who also animated key scenes with the character along with Marc Davis and Ollie Johnston.

15 years later Hanna-Barbera came up with their own version of Alice for a TV special called The New Alice in Wonderland or What's a Nice Kid Like You Doing in a Place Like This? 

If this character design reminds you of Princess Aurora from Disney's 1959 film Sleeping Beauty, you are not alone. In that film clean up genius Iwao Takamoto worked on Marc Davis' Aurora scenes. After Sleeping Beauty's completion Takamoto moved over to Hanna-Barbara, where he became that studio's main character designer.  

I actually quite like these drawings, which graphically fit right into the American mid century-modern cartoon style. Influences by Marc Davis and Milt Kahl are more than obvious. I have not seen the film yet, but it might be worth checking out...just for the fact that Zsa Zsa Gabor voiced the Queen of Hearts.

Here is a link to a previous long post about Disney's Alice:


  1. Beautiful stuff. Heck, this is what Aurora would have looked like as a 10 year old! (different hair of course). I also find Daphne (from Scooby Doo from the 70s) very similar to Aurora at times. Not a coincidence Im sure.

  2. While not my favorite Disney movie, it will always have a special place in my heart because it was one of the first I saw with the original voices. (It wasn't until Aladdin that the larger cities started showing both the original and the dubbed versions of Disney movies here in Sweden, I believe.)

    But one thing confuses me to this day: In the scene where the March Hare smashes the White Rabbit's watch, the color drains from the scene for a moment. Am I missing some joke here? If it was a mistake or damage (and it looks a bit too well timed for that), surely it would have been the first thing to be fixed when the movie was re-released?

    (There also seems to be a rare coloring error in the scene where the caterpillar tells Alice to keep her temper.)

    1. About the black and white watch scene, I remember reading somewhere that it was done to emphasize the dramatic moment... another version said that it was considered too "violent" to be played in colour, but both these explanations may be entirely wrong as there was no source available, so don't quote me on that.

    2. Seems like an odd way of doing it, and to me that's not the most violent thing the March Hare does with that mallet.

      Still, it *is* the closest I've heard to an explanation so far, so thanks!

    3. No problem! :) I too think that the "too violent to be played in colour" explanation is a bit of a stretch, but I guess the point is, it was intentional.

  3. My first thought was that she looks quite like Daphne from Scooby Doo (even though it should be the other way around), but now that you mention Aurora... the hair too! I personally find both these character designs very likeable.

  4. Beautiful drawings indeed and our friend Luca here in Italy have these originals and they are really incredible. Iwao Takamoto was brilliant!

  5. Thanks for reminding me of this. I found this special some years ago and I didn't think it had the powerful appeal than the Disney version but I'll try again if I come back to it. And her's like if Alice and Aurora were close sisters.

  6. ...but most of all I like Fluff the dog :)

  7. Hey, Andreas D., this is me again, and I’m here in the comments for two reasons, from being a greater fan of your Blogger blog and your love of Uncle Walt’s drive for character driven hand-drawn stories: First of all, how’s Mushka? I can’t wait to see it done! And second, regarding the H-B Alice, did you get the chance to meet Iwao Takamoto before he passed on?(I know he was at his last years at H-B)
    If you’ve got the time and energy, please let me know.
    Cheers, and I hope you’ve found these illuminating.

  8. This version of Alice reminds me of Daphne from Scooby Doo. Especially the version of "Mystery Incorporated" (2010 - 2013)