Monday, June 19, 2017

Toons After Dark: Alice in Wonderland (Or, What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This? (1966)

A few years after Disney had released their own adaptation, Hanna-Barbera took a stab at Lewis Carroll's classic tale, but opted for an all-star musical.

Alice in Wonderland (Or, What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This?) aired on ABC, and has rarely been rerun in 51 years since. The story moves forward to present-day, as you'd expect. Alice (Janet Waldo) enters Wonderland through a very unusual portal---her TV, thanks to her dog, Fluff (Don Messick, of course).

The late comedian Bill Dana wrote the adaptation, which turned the Mad Hatter into a woman (gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, who passed away weeks before the show aired), and turned the Cheshire Cat into a hep cat with the voice of---who else?---Sammy Davis, Jr. (Billed as simply Sammy Davis). Fred Flintstone & Barney Rubble (Alan Reed & Mel Blanc) are reincarnated as a two-headed caterpillar. You get the idea, I think. For what it's worth, Henry Corden took over as Fred when he had to sing.

When it was decided to release this on record, a number of cast changes were made, partially due to contractual conflicts. For example, Davis was signed to Reprise, along with Rat Pack pals Dean Martin & Frank Sinatra, so Scatman Crothers took over as the Cheshire Cat on the album. Veteran H-B scribe Charles Shows adapted Dana's adaptation. I can only imagine.

I never got to see this in its entirety, if at all, so there's no rating. In memory of Dana, who passed away over the weekend, we present this as a public service.


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