Vintage Disney is full with secrets that by some reason were hidden for a long time. For instance, did you know that the actor Kathryn Beaumont, who voiced both Alice in Disney’s Alice in Wonderland and Wendy in Disney’s Peter Pan, also modeled for the animators.
Walt Disney chose Beaumont to be the voice of Alice when she was just ten years old. He was so impressed by her looks that he chose her for the model of Alice.
These old photos show how much effort was put into classical animation at the Disney studio:
Walt Disney first attempted unsuccessfully to adapt Alice into an animated feature film during the 1930s. However, he finally revived the idea in the 1940s. The film was originally intended to be a live-action/animated film; however, Disney decided to make it an all-animated feature in 1946. The theme song of the same name has since become a jazz standard. While the film was critically panned on its initial release, the movie proved to be ahead of its time and has since been regarded as one of Disney’s greatest animated classics, notably one of the biggest cult classics in the animation medium, as well as one of the best film adaptations of Alice.
Almost two decades after its original release, after the North American success of George Dunning’s animated film Yellow Submarine (1968), Disney’s version of Alice in Wonderland suddenly found itself in vogue with the times. In fact, because of Mary Blair’s art direction and the long-standing association of Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland with the drug culture, the feature was re-discovered as something of a “head film” (along with Fantasia and The Three Caballeros) among the college-aged and was shown in various college towns across the country. Disney resisted this association, and even withdrew prints of the film from universities, but then, in 1974, Disney gave Alice in Wonderland its first theatrical re-release ever, and the company even promoted it as a film in tune with the “psychedelic” times (mostly from the hit song “White Rabbit” performed by Jefferson Airplane). This re-release was so successful it warranted a subsequent re-release in 1981. Its first UK re-release was on July 26, 1979. By the 1980s, the initial consensus of the film proved to be outdated. The film gained critical acclaim and became one of the most popular Disney movies of all time. Today, not only is the film considered the best movie adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s novel, but also one of Disney’s greatest animated films
Image credits: disney.wikia.com