Seventy years ago, when I was just 4, so I don’t really remember it at all, my mother took me to see the Broadway production of Alice in Wonderland. I remember her telling me in later years that I had seen the great actress Eva Le Gallienne, as the White Queen, but it meant little to me then. Today I know that Miss Le Gallienne co-wrote and starred in the play that combined the two Alice books, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, and that on and off, she brought the production back to Broadway for a few performances. I can’t find a definite/probable date for our going to the show.
Since then I’ve seen all manner of Alice adaptations. The Disney version sticks in my memory for the songs (I’m Late, I’m Late, and A Very Merry Unbirthday from the scene I loved the most – the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.) The 1933 movie version, which I’ve seen only once, I remember for all the wonderful Hollywood personalities as the book’s characters. I especially loved and remember Gary Cooper as the lugubrious (I love that word!) White Knight. I will have to see if I can find a video of that.
|The jaws that bite, the claws that catch|
But, book lover that I am, my favourite Alices are Tenniel illustrated editions of either book - and don’t I wish I had first editions! The Tenniel drawings are how all the Alice characters look in my mind. There is no other Jabberwock, there is (are) no other Tweedledum and Tweedledee, there is no other Alice.