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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

July 26, 1951

It's time for another edition of the Tuesday Timeline.  And all I have to say about this week's version is that it's filled with magic, wonder, imagination, and whimsy. 

Seriously, it is!

Before I get started, join me in wishing my dad a very happy 70th birthday today!  I really tried to find an event that took place in 1946 to commemorate the event, but nothing really happened in 1946 - aside from one minor thing which you'll see on my list of significant happenings that took place on this date...

1745 - The first women's cricket match reportedly takes place in England

1788 - New York officially becomes the eleventh state to join the United States of America

1803 - The Surrey Iron Railway opens in south London, United Kingdom

1861 - After being defeated at the First Battle of Bull Run during the American Civil War, George B. McClellan assumes control of the Army of the Potomac

1875 - The founder of analytical psychology, Carl Jung (d. 1961) is born in Switzerland

1895 - Singer/actress Gracie Allen (d. 1964) is born in San Francisco, California (though birth years of 1896, 1902, and 1906 have also been given as possible birth years)

1922 - Director Blake Edwards (d. 2010) is born in Tulsa, Oklahoma; also born on this date was actor Jason Robards (d. 2000)

1928 - Director Stanley Kubrick (d. 1999) is born in Manhattan, New York

1940 - Singer-songwriter Dobie Gray (d. 2011) is born in Simonton, Texas

1941 - Franklin D. Roosevelt orders the seizure of all Japanese assets in the United States following the Japanese occupation of French Indochina

1945 - Winston Churchill is voted out of office following the victory of the Labour Party in the United Kingdom

1946 - Aloha Airlines begins chartering flights out of Honolulu, Hawaii

1948 - Harry S. Truman signs Executive Order 9981

1953 - The 26th of July Movement takes place which leads to the beginning of the Cuban Revolution

1958 - Explorer 4 is launched

1963 - The world's first geosynchronous satellite - Syncom 2 - is launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida

1971 - Nicolette Milnes-Walker becomes the first woman to sail non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean single-handedly

1977 - The National Assembly of Quebec officially makes French the official language of the provincial government

1989 - Robert T. Morris Jr. becomes the first person to be prosecuted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for releasing the Morris worm

1992 - Singer Mary Wells dies of cancer at the age of 49

2005 - Over five thousand people die in Mumbai, India after almost 100 cm of rain falls in a 24 hour period causing massive flooding

2008 - The Ahmedabab bombing takes place in India, killing 56 and wounding 200

2015 - True crime novelist Ann Rule dies at the age of 83

And celebrating a birthday right alongside my dad are the following famous faces; Joe Jackson, Barbara Jefford, Bobby Rousseau, Darlene Love, Mick Jagger, Linda Harrison, Helen Mirren, Roger Taylor, Susan George, Dorothy Hamill, Hart Hanson, Tom McGowan, Kevin Spacey, Gary Cherone, Andy Connell, Sandra Bullock, Danny Woodburn, Jeremy Piven, Jason Statham, Olivia Williams, Kate Beckinsale, Mageina Tovah, Dave Baksh, Abe Forsythe, Chez Starbuck, Audrey De Montigny, Matt Riddlehoover, Monica Raymund, Elizabeth Gillies, and Taylor Momsen.

So, as I mentioned before, today's Tuesday Timeline entry is filled with whimsy and magic and all that good stuff.

And that date is July 26, 1951.

Okay, so the year 1951 was a great year in motion picture releases.  You had dozens of options to choose from and you had all sorts of different genres to pick from ranging from B-movie horror flicks to epic romances.  Among some of the top films at the box office that year were "A Streetcar Named Desire", "The Day The Earth Stood Still", "The African Queen", "An American in Paris", and "Quo Vadis". 

It was on this date in London sixty-five years ago that Walt Disney debuted his thirteenth animated motion picture...and that movie would go on to be the second highest grossing film of 1951.

Not a bad draw for a movie whose supporting cast included a white rabbit, a crazy guy wearing a hat, a queen who wanted to chop off everyone's heads, and a cat that could go invisible on a whim.

Yes, it was 65 years ago today that the film "Alice in Wonderland" debuted in London.  Though it would see its worldwide release on July 28, 1951.  The Disney motion picture was based on the literary works of Lewis Carroll, and is just one of many adaptations of the classic piece.  Though, I have to say that the original Disney version remains a favourite of mine all these years later.

I think part of the reason why I loved this film a lot is because of the imagination behind it.  I know when I was a child, I had an extremely vivid imagination, and I really depended on it a lot when I was playing by myself.  I grew up in a neighbourhood that was mostly made up of senior citizens, and didn't have a whole lot of friends that were my age, so certainly having that vivid imagination saved me from being totally lonely.  I don't consider that to be an admission of insanity...more like, I sympathized with Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes.

Of course, I never had crazy tea parties where I shrank or grew every time I ate a pastry.  I never crawled down any bunny rabbit holes.  And I certainly never imagined myself being attacked by an entire deck of playing card soldiers.  I tell you, Alice's imagination was much more intense than anything that I could have ever dreamed up!

But "Alice in Wonderland" remains a sort of cult classic among Disney enthusiasts, and while the film did not get rave reviews when it was first released in the movie theatres, it would later be described as one of the best adaptations of "Alice in Wonderland". 

Though some also liked the 2010 live-action adaptation which starred Johnny Depp better.  Personally speaking, both were quite good.

Anyway, in celebration of the 65th anniversary of the film's release, I thought I would offer up a list of behind the scenes facts about the making of this film.  I don't have 65 facts, but the ones I did find are quite fascinating!

1 - The only surviving cast member from the film is Kathryn Beaumont, who played Alice.  Until a couple of days ago, there were two, but Marni Nixon who voiced the Singing Flowers passed away on July 24, 2016.

2 - Kathryn Beaumont also went on to voice the role of Wendy Darling in the 1953 film "Peter Pan".

3 - The Queen of Hearts was voiced by Verna Felton - who also had a recurring role on "The Flintstones" playing Wilma's mother.

4 - Believe it or not, "Alice in Wonderland" was originally pitched as a live-action film instead.

5 - This movie would be the last role for actor Dink Trout (who played the role of the King of Hearts).  He passed away sixteen months before the film's debut.

6 - The film adaptation had a doorknob as a character - this was added in by Disney.  The doorknob was not a part of any of Lewis Carroll's works.

7 - Although the movie does hold true to much of Lewis Carroll's book, "Alice in Wonderland", there are elements of the book's sequel "Alice Through the Looking Glass" present as well.  The best example of this would be the inclusion of the characters of Tweedledee and Tweedledum, who never appeared until "Alice Through the Looking Glass".

8 - The Mad Hatter was purposely drawn and designed to look like the actor who voiced him, Ed Wynn.

9 - This movie was one of the longest Disney productions to come to fruition.  Many of the voices were recorded two or three years prior to the film's release, and the overall film took over five years to finish!

10 - Kathryn Beaumont was just ten years old when she recorded the voice of Alice.

11 - This was the first Disney film to be shown on television - in 1954.

12 - Kathryn Beaumont voiced Alice for later Disney projects including Disneyland rides, direct-to-video Disney movies, and the Kingdom Hearts video game series.  She played the role from 1951 until 2005 when she retired, making her one of the longest serving actresses to voice a Disney character.

13 - Kathryn Beaumont was so into reading for the role of Alice that she even started to dress like her for her recording sessions!

14 - Ginger Rogers was Walt Disney's first choice for the role of Alice.

15 - Although they weren't all used, the music composers wrote at least thirty different songs for the movie.

So, there you have it.  That's our Tuesday Timeline for this week...and I certainly hope you learned a little bit more about "Alice in Wonderland"!

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