Alice Comedies

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The "Alice Comedies" are a series of animated cartoons created by Walt Disney in the 1920s, in which a live action little girl named Alice (originally played by Virginia Davis) and an animated cat named Julius have adventures in an animated landscape.

Alice's Wonderland[edit]

Disney, Ub Iwerks, and their staff made the first Alice Comedy, a one-reel (ten-minute) short subject titled Alice's Wonderland, while still heading the failing Laugh-O-Gram Studio in Kansas City, Kansas..

Alice's Wonderland begins with Alice entering a cartoon studio to witness cartoons being created. Alice is amazed by what she sees: The cartoon characters come to life and play around. After heading to bed that night, she dreams of being in the cartoon world, welcomed by all of the characters. Alice plays with them until a group of lions break free from a cage and chase her.

This short helped set the stage for what was to come in the later Alice Comedies, as it established the world as a playful dream and also introduced the elements which would soon define the series.

The Alice Comedies series begins[edit]

After completing the film, the studio went bankrupt and was forced to shut down. After raising money by working as a freelance photographer, Disney bought a one-way train ticket to Los Angeles, California to live with his uncle Robert and his brother Roy. In California, Disney continued to send out proposals for the Alice series, in hopes of obtaining a distribution deal, which was finally arranged through Winkler Pictures, run by Margaret Winkler and her fianceé, Charles Mintz, on the basis of Alice's Wonderland. Disney convinced Davis' family to bring her from Missouri to Los Angeles to star in the series.[1]

Content[edit]

Although seen as cute and funny in their time, the Alice Comedies contain content which might be considered surprising and somewhat harsh today by sensitive viewers. Alice is a little girl, yet she spends much of her time avoiding danger, and even getting kidnapped by the cartoon villains, threatened with such perils as being tied to a log in a sawmill. These scenes are parodies of similar scenes in movie serials, such as The Perils of Pauline (1914) starring actress Pearl White. One such Alice cartoon, Alice's Mysterious Mystery (1926) features two cartoon characters who resemble members of the Ku Klux Klan. One of the villains drags a dog character into a room marked "Death Chamber" and pulls out a long strand of sausage. In "Alice and the Dog Catcher" she is leader of a club called the Klix Klax Klub, in where the kids wear paper bags with their faces painted on them over their heads.

Shorts and subsequent releases[edit]

The shorts are now in the public domain.[citation needed] In 2000, Inkwell Images released a DVD titled Alice in Cartoonland – The Original Alice Comedies by Walt Disney in the series Golden Classics with ten short films from the series as well as some documentaries and a poster gallery. In 2007, Kit Parker Films released another DVD called Alice in Cartoonland by Walt Disney: 35 mm Collector's Set with ten films from the series and a selection of bonus features. There are 14 films from the series on these two DVDs.

In 2005 and again in 2007, ten shorts in the series were released as part of the Walt Disney Treasures series. Seven were part of the Disney Rarities that was released in 2005, while three more were released as part of The Adventures of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, released in 2007.

Walt Disney both directed and produced every film in this series. All animation was done by Walt Disney himself in the period of time before he was financially stable enough to employ a team of animators for successive films. Four actresses have played Alice: Virginia Davis (15), Margie Gay (31), Dawn O'Day (1) and Lois Hardwick (10). The film Alice in the Jungle contains only archival footage of Virginia Davis.

# Short film Date Actress DVD release
1 Alice's Wonderland 1923 Virginia Davis Walt Disney Treasures: Disney Rarities: Celebrated Shorts, 1920s–1960s
2 Alice's Day at Sea March 1, 1924 Virginia Davis
3 Alice's Spooky Adventure April 1, 1924 Virginia Davis
4 Alice's Wild West Show May 1, 1924 Virginia Davis Walt Disney Treasures: Disney Rarities: Celebrated Shorts, 1920s–1960s
5 Alice's Fishy Story June 1, 1924 Virginia Davis
6 Alice and the Dog Catcher July 1, 1924 Virginia Davis
7 Alice the Peacemaker August 1, 1924 Virginia Davis
8 Alice Gets in Dutch November 1, 1924 Virginia Davis Walt Disney Treasures: Disney Rarities: Celebrated Shorts, 1920s–1960s
9 Alice Hunting in Africa November 15, 1924 Virginia Davis
10 Alice and the Three Bears December 1, 1924 Virginia Davis
11 Alice the Piper December 15, 1924 Virginia Davis
12 Alice Cans the Cannibals January 1, 1925 Virginia Davis
13 Alice the Toreador January 15, 1925 Virginia Davis Alice in Cartoonland – The Original Alice Comedies by Walt Disney
14 Alice Gets Stung February 1, 1925 Virginia Davis Walt Disney Treasures: The Adventures of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
15 Alice Solves the Puzzle February 15, 1925 Margie Gay Alice in Cartoonland – The Original Alice Comedies by Walt Disney
16 Alice's Egg Plant May 30, 1925 Dawn O'Day Walt Disney Treasures: Disney Rarities: Celebrated Shorts, 1920s–1960s
17 Alice Loses Out June 15, 1925 Margie Gay
18 Alice Gets Stage Struck June 30, 1925 Margie Gay Alice in Cartoonland – The Original Alice Comedies by Walt Disney
19 Alice Wins the Derby July 15, 1925 Margie Gay Alice in Cartoonland – The Original Alice Comedies by Walt Disney
20 Alice Picks the Champ July 30, 1925 Margie Gay
21 Alice's Tin Pony August 15, 1925 Margie Gay Alice in Cartoonland – 35 mm Collector's Set
22 Alice Chops the Suey August 30, 1925 Margie Gay Alice in Cartoonland – 35 mm Collector's Set
23 Alice the Jail Bird September 15, 1925 Margie Gay Alice in Cartoonland – 35 mm Collector's Set
24 Alice Plays Cupid October 15, 1925 Margie Gay
25 Alice Rattled by Rats November 15, 1925 Margie Gay Alice in Cartoonland – The Original Alice Comedies by Walt Disney
26 Alice in the Jungle December 15, 1925 Virginia Davis Walt Disney Treasures: Disney Rarities: Celebrated Shorts, 1920s–1960s
27 Alice on the Farm January 1, 1926 Margie Gay Alice in Cartoonland – The Original Alice Comedies by Walt Disney
28 Alice's Balloon Race January 15, 1926 Margie Gay Walt Disney Treasures: The Adventures of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
29 Alice's Orphan January 15, 1926 Margie Gay Alice in Cartoonland – 35 mm Collector's Set
30 Alice's Little Parade February 1, 1926 Margie Gay
31 Alice's Mysterious Mystery February 15, 1926 Margie Gay Walt Disney Treasures: Disney Rarities: Celebrated Shorts, 1920s–1960s
32 Alice Charms the Fish September 6, 1926 Margie Gay (Lost cartoon)
33 Alice's Monkey Business September 20, 1926 Margie Gay (Lost cartoon)
34 Alice in the Wooly West October 4, 1926 Margie Gay Walt Disney Treasures: The Adventures of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
35 Alice the Fire Fighter October 18, 1926 Margie Gay
36 Alice Cuts the Ice November 1, 1926 Margie Gay (Lost cartoon)
37 Alice Helps the Romance November 15, 1926 Margie Gay
38 Alice's Spanish Guitar November 29, 1926 Margie Gay
39 Alice's Brown Derby December 13, 1926 Margie Gay
40 Alice the LumberJack December 27, 1926 Margie Gay (Lost cartoon)
41 Alice the Golf Bug January 10, 1927 Margie Gay (Lost cartoon)
42 Alice Foils the Pirates January 24, 1927 Margie Gay (Lost cartoon)
43 Alice at the Carnival February 10, 1927 Margie Gay (Lost cartoon)
44 Alice at the Rodeo February 21, 1927 Margie Gay
45 Alice the Collegiate March 7, 1927 Margie Gay (Lost cartoon)
46 Alice in the Alps March 21, 1927 Margie Gay (Lost cartoon)
47 Alice's Auto Race April 4, 1927 Margie Gay (Lost cartoon)
48 Alice's Circus Daze April 18, 1927 Lois Hardwick
49 Alice's Knaughty Knight May 2, 1927 Lois Hardwick (Lost cartoon)
50 Alice's Three Bad Eggs May 16, 1927 Lois Hardwick (Lost cartoon)
51 Alice's Picnic May 30, 1927 Lois Hardwick
52 Alice's Channel Swim June 13, 1927 Lois Hardwick (Lost cartoon)
53 Alice in the Klondike June 27, 1927 Lois Hardwick (Lost cartoon)
54 Alice's Medicine Show July 11, 1927 Lois Hardwick (Lost cartoon)
55 Alice the Whaler July 25, 1927 Lois Hardwick Walt Disney Treasures: Disney Rarities: Celebrated Shorts, 1920s–1960s
56 Alice the Beach Nut August 8, 1927 Lois Hardwick (Lost cartoon)
57 Alice in the Big League August 22, 1927 Lois Hardwick

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Hand Behind the Mouse: The Ub Iwerks Story, Leslie Iwerks, Walt Disney Pictures, 1999

External links[edit]