Friday, 10 September 2010

Alice in Wonderland Casting

Hi all - I'm back from school and Iive entered Key Stage 4 and I'm stage where I'll be doing many exams and coursework so my posting schedules could change slightly but I don't know when...
As a treat, remember when I've counted the scenes of Pinocchio and Dumbo of how many scenes each animator did based on the drafts collection by Hans Perk - well I've already prepared the scenes and counted them some while ago for postings for the future and as a treat I'll show you the number of scenes of animators in the draft in the film Alice in Wonderland.

Alice in Wonderland I think is a good Disney feature, and I know many of the Disney fans and public are not much of a fan of the film and there may be some dark elements like some people I know of find the Mad Hatter quite scary and a weird design (well no wonder why he was animated by Ward Kimball) - and what I do find slightly dark about the film are those weird Tulgey Wood creatures.
From Animation Supervisors, Character Animators and Effects Animators: here's what came in the final draft...
  • Milt Kahl - 60 scenes (Dodo, Alice in Croquet Game)
  • Ward Kimball - 56 scenes (Mad Hatter and March Hare, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Walrus and Carpenter)
  • Frank Thomas - 116 scenes (Doorknob, Tulgey Wood creatures, Queen of Hearts)
  • Eric Larson - 86 scenes (Alice, Dinah the cat, Caterpillar, Queen of Hearts)
  • John Lounsbery - 96 scenes (Chesire Cat, Flowers, Mad Hatter, Tulgey Wood creatures, Caterpillar)
  • Ollie Johnston - 90 scenes (Alice, King of Hearts)
  • Wolfgang Reitherman - 78 scenes (White Rabbit, Dodo, Hatter and Hare, Walrus and Carpenter, Bill the Lizard)
  • Marc Davis - 75 scenes (Alice)
  • Les Clark - 68 scenes (Alice)
  • Norm Ferguson - 8 scenes (Walrus and Carpenter)
  • Hal King - 96 scenes (White Rabbit, Bird in a Tree, Croquet flamingo and mole, Tulgey Wood creatures, King of Hearts)
  • Don Lusk - 76 scenes (Alice)
  • Hal Ambro - 77 scenes (Alice)
  • Judge Whitaker - 72 scenes (Flowers, Cards)
  • Cliff Nordberg - 94 scenes (Dum and Dee, Hatter and Hare, Tulgey Wood creatures)
  • Harvey Toombs - 54 scenes (Alice, Queen of Hearts)
  • Bill Justice - 21 scenes (White Rabbit, Alice's sister)
  • Fred Moore - 22 scenes (Oysters, White Rabbit)
  • Marvin Woodward - 42 scenes (White Rabbit, Garden Flowers, Teapots and Dormouse)
  • Phil Duncan - 38 scenes (Caterpillar, White Rabbit, Cards)
  • Bob Carlson - 32 scenes (Caucus racers, White Rabbit and Dodo)
  • Hugh Fraser - 22 scenes (Walrus and Carpenter, Cards)
  • Charles Nichols - 9 scenes (Walrus and Carpenter)
  • Josh Meador - 56 scenes (Tears and Bottle, Garden Flowers)
  • George Rowley - 40 scenes (VARIOUS EFFECTS, Cards)
  • Dan MacManus - 3 scenes (BUTTERFLIES)
  • Blaine Gibson - 1 scene (HAND)
Its very interesting since I counted all this stuff from the draft of Hans Perk which is available here - and its all very interesting once you see it today. Ward Kimball as we know animated the Mad Hatter and March Hare and he doesn't appear in such scenes of the Hatter and Hare and his animation of the Mad Hatter in the sequence "Mad Tea Party" and his animation mainly appears earlier in the sequence and comes back later on, and its suprising because you'd expect to see so much of Kimball in this sequence and it only ends up with 56 scenes while the other lesser known animators get more scenes than him, the rest of the Mad Tea Party was animated mainly by Woolie Reitherman, John Lounsbery, Marvin Woodward and Cliff Nordberg with Marc Davis, Les Clark and Don Lusk animating Alice.

The Walrus and the Carpenter sequence is possibly the most interesting draft and because it features a lot of animators who really only work on this sequence and you find Norm Ferguson doing good animation in this sequence and he only does 8 scenes in this sequene and we never see him in the rest of the draft which I find annoying because he's a great animator, another animator who only works on this sequence is Charles Nichols and we've seen him animate the Coachman in Pinocchio, and directing some Pluto shorts in his Disney career and only works on some 9 scenes of the Walrus sequence, mainly the scenes of the Walrus playing the flute and leading the oysters out of the sea. You'll see that Tweedledum and Tweedledee is animated by Ward Kimball as you people should know and he animates about half those stuff but about the other half of Dum and Dee is animated by Cliff Nordberg and Cliff seemed to have worked very close with Ward Kimball.
Milt Kahl's work in this film is rarely ever spoken about and to tell you I never really mention much about Kahl on Alice because I think that he doesn't do one of the best scenes really - its pretty dull but the animation is ok, not one of Milt's best performances but probably didn't enjoy working on it. About the Alice animators, to tell you one of my favourite Alice animation comes from Les Clark and Harvey Toombs. Toombs does a great Alice and it really appeals me and Milt Kahl does it quite appealing and Les Clark does a great job at some of the important Alice scenes that hardly anyone ever talks about.
Fred Moore does some of the great jobs of the Oyster shells (I have the Oysters as a background layout on my laptop) and its a shame that his animation and some White Rabbit stuff is hardly seen from the film again - I like the Walrus and the Carpenter and with Fred, Fergy and Ward animating on it and many other animators; I must say that my favourite animation on this sequence is Woolie Reitherman's Walrus and the Carpenter, and favourite animation in the film is actually Woolie Reitherman's stuff, I think its great but what's really favourite because Woolie Reitherman animates most of my favourite scenes in the film and my favourite Hatter and Hare stuff and along with him and Cliff Nordberg both animators animate some of my favourite March Hare stuff and its great.

Its a shame really, Ward Kimball is a lot known for his work on the film and its a shame that we don't see much of it and he seems to do the acting scenes of the Mad Hatter while Woolie, Lounsbery or Nordberg do my favourite Hatter stuff and but Ward Kimball does the best Tweedledum and Tweedledee and I like his Walrus and Carpenter stuff more than his Mad Hatter and March Hare (did you know that the name March Hare Lewis Carroll used in his book that it was an old idiom meaning "mad as a march hare" idioms mean sayings like "as old as the hills" or "as white as snow", etc. We know that Ward Kimball is long-credited for the Chesire Cat animation and its very suprising because he is only credited for one scene of the Cat and most of the animation went to John Lounsbery and later stuff with Eric Larson (in Queen of Hearts scenes). Oh, my favourite Cliff Nordberg animation in the film is the Mad Watch scenes after the Mad Hatter attempted to fix the White Rabbit's watch and it all goes wrong!

Yes, how could I forget that Lewis Carroll wrote the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and the sequel Through the Looking Glass, and I've read the books before and I've seen the recent Tim Burton film adaptation and I don't like the recent Burton version because he completely changed the plot and I was very disappointed to see it - they made Alice an adult and about to be engaged and she seems to be friends with the Mad Hatter and the White Queen (book character), and she seemed to Wonderland well and except Wonderland is called "Underland" for some reason, and its not good at all and its completely different because Alice, the White Queen and Mad Hatter fights a battle with the Queen of Hearts which is similar to the chess chapter in the book Through the Looking-Glass, and the Hearts of course is defeated and the Hatter randomly does some break-dance after the victory and Gee, I didn't know they had break-dancing in 1865 wouldn't that have been invented in decades and decades to come?? They seemed to have not used a lot from the film and they didn't show the Walrus and the Carpenter, or even the Pool of Tears, The Doorknob (well, it was just a Disney creation not a Lewis Carroll creation), and you only see about 10 seconds of the Croquet game. However, to anyone who hasn't seen it, you're not missing much.
Blimey, that's a lot I've explained in this post and I think I'm at the conclusion on this talk on the draft and I must have made it an interesting one (hopefully to people who know the Alice draft it won't be too boring) and my teacher told me that my talks and that would be interesting for animation fans and for non-animation fans they'd be like What on earth is he talking about?? Anyway, that's all for today!!


Eric Noble said...

Very good article. I will have to go look at Hans Perk's drafts of this film.

I was excited at first when I heard that Tim Burton would be doing a version of the story, but when I heard what it was about, I stayed away. It just sounded stupid and too much like a fanfiction.

Steven Hartley said...

I'm glad you managed to stay away from the film because I saw it at a party with my friends inc. girls and they all wanted to see the new Tim Burton film and I was the only one in the party out of everyone who read the book - and everyone seemed to have enjoyed it while I didn't because I read the book and I knew what was coming.

I like this 1951 Alice version because it sticks closer to the book even though the plot of the animated-version may have altered, but at least the characters were designed the way they should be...

Eric Noble said...

I've also read the books. I enjoyed them very much. I love John Tenniel's illustrations. It's a shame that nobody reads the books anymore. I'm actually in the middle of reading Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Books.

I too prefer the 1951 Disney version of Alice. It is actually pretty close to the source material. Slight alterations here and there, but not as much as some other stories Disney did.

Good post.

Pokey said...

Hi, firtst post hee. I've always enjoyed the Disney version myself. BTW One voice actor does all the males in the Tweedle Dee/Dum and follow Walrus and Carpentert scenes, another classic British character actor, J.Pat O'Malley;he also appeared in amny later DIsney films,too.

PS My username is borrowed from the USA 1950s-60s stop motion TV series Gumby; was Gumby's pony.