Friday, January 29, 2010

Alice in Wonderland: The 1985 Made for TV Musical Spectacular

I LOVE the books Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and it's sequel Through the Looking Glass. I've read each one inside and out and have even studied The Annotated Alice which has notes in the margins so one could get a sense of the mayhem which isn't really mayhem once you understand where Lewis Carrol is coming from. For the die hard fan, one should check out the almost forgotten movie, Dreamchild. I say almost because, hey, I didn't forget it.

1985 saw the production of a big musical production of Alice in Wonderland, based off of both books, complete with acclaimed director Irwin Allen who was known for disaster movies. Poseidon Adventure being one of his most famous.

Along with a big name director came a big name cast that included Carol Channing, Imogene Coca, Ringo Starr, Sammy Davis Jr., Shelley Winters, John Stamos, Harvey Korman, and man this list could go on and on.

The TV Musical spanned two nights on CBS and was a HIT. Well, it was to me, heheh. I don't know the real stats.

Newcome Natalie Gregory played Alice and went on later to play Jenny in Disney's Oliver and Company. Like in that movie, she doesn't do her own singing here either.

Once in Wonderland, Alice meets the familiar faces and the casting goes from genius to insane.

A stand out would have to be Carol Channing as The White Queen who really makes this character her own. And she turns into a creepy lamb.

Shelley Winters in the small part of The Dodo Bird seems very wasted as they do nothing with her and she's a huge name. Come on, she's Shelley Winters, not someone with a small name. Even John Stamos had more screen time than her.

Martha Raye as The Duchess, Steve Lawrence as Tweedle Dum and Eydie Gormé as Tweedle Dee look like they've been doing these parts of years now. It came so natural to them.

Pat Morita plays a horse.

Natalie Gregory really holds her own next to all these veterans.

The music is very energetic and some of the songs contain lyrics from Lewis Carrol's text.

That's one thing I LOVE about this production. A lot of Carrol's dialogue is contained which is what prompted me me to read the original books when I first saw this as a kid in the 80s. It was the first book I read. It's still my favorite.

If you want an old fashioned, fun, family musical, go   check this out, and watch it like how Mark and I watch Bette Midler in Gypsy. Turn off all of the lights, sit in your living room as if you're in a theater and watch it and behave like how you would in a theater. Give yourself a 15 minute intermission even between acts. It's an experience let me to tell ya.

For fans of this movie, please visit this website You can obtain a copy of the long sought after soundtrack here as well.


  1. Carol Channing was a gem in this film, Ringo Starr too

  2. I love Ringo Starr as The Mock Turtle


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