Friday, March 5, 2010

ALICE in TV LAND Returns

As Tim Burton's new ALICE IN WONDERLAND film opens in theaters, here's another look at rare TV event from the past. No, not the Linda Lavin comedy series (based on one of my favorite movies ever-that's another blog entry altogether), but Alice in Wonderland on TV. There have been dozens of odd adaptations of the Lewis Carroll classic - from Meryl Streep's ALICE AT THE PALACE to the star-studded CBS miniseries to the X-rated musical. Each of these attempts deserve their own articles - so I will address them in the future (maybe during a week-long Alice-fest?). This time out, I want to concentrate on a lost classic - and one which I have yet to see.
Yes, Hanna-Barbera's hour-long 1966 animated musical comedy special entitled ALICE IN WONDERLAND or "What's a Nice Kid Like You Doing In a Place Like This" featuring the voices of Sammy Davis Jr. (The Cheshire Cat), Zsa Zsa Gabor (The Queen of Hearts), Harvey Korman (The Mad Hatter), and voiceover superstars Janet Waldo, Alan Reed, Mel Blanc, Daws Butler, Don Messick plus a guest appearance by Hedda Hopper!
With original music by Charles Strouse (ANNIE, IT'S A BIRD, IT'S A PLANE, IT'S SUPERMAN, and BYE, BYE, BIRDIE) and guest appearances by Fred Flintsone and Barney Rubble - how bad can this be???
Here's some great TV Guide images from the show. I think it looks pretty darn cute. Especially since The March Hare looks just like Ricochet Rabbit (sans Droopalong) and the Doormouse is a dead ringer for Pixie (or is it Dixie?)
The White Rabbit, on the other hand looks like he was drawn in a totally different style. Neither are faithful to the original Alice illustrations by John Tenniel, but most adaptations usually avoid this high-detailed drawing approach anyhow–and I'd never expect H-B to stray that far from their recognizable brand style.
My wish (besides world peace & financial security) is that somebody at Warner Bros. will discover this wonderfully odd program exists and put it out on dvd-maybe perhaps part of a Hanna-Barbara Lost Classics box set??? Now that would be cool. (EDITOR'S UPDATE: rumors are that The Warner Archives Collection may be releasing this lost classic at some point).

1 comment:

Wendel said...

I am afraid to say that I DO remember this fine show with a warm hart. I was, fortunately, very young, but old enough to not only have watched it, but to have asked for the album as well.

Yes, they made a story album about it with a lot of the original songs.

Interestingly, they could not get the rights to Sammy Davis Jr. (the Cheshier cat) so the record used Scatman Crothers.

I never understood why, with the explosion of VHS, they never released this.

Fortunately the DID release "The Point," but that is for a different post.