The Animals in Film Blogathon: The Cheshire Cat in Alice In Wonderland (1951)

“Well, some go this way, and some go that way. But as for me, myself, personally, I prefer the short-cut.”

I have always been a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland. I have distinct memories of reading the book as a little girl, and of course, seeing the movie — but I also have the most vivid memories of  listening incessantly to a Disney LP version of it. The flip side of the LP was Peter Pan, so between Alice and Peter, I can’t even begin to tell you how many wonderful hours of imaginative fun I had listening! But — what I remember most about that LP, was the super soft sounds of Sterling Holloway as The Cheshire Cat.

walt disney peter pan and alice in wonderland record

The LP features the stories “Completely Dramatized with the Original Casts of the Motion Pictures”

So, why do I adore the The Cheshire Cat? Well, because he’s smart… he’s mischievous… and he’s mysterious — gradually fading in and out of scenes as he pleases, and sometimes only leaving behind a grin. He’s also so darn cute thanks to the Disney animators who made him delightfully pink, purple and playful. I just love the way he bounces around, both physically and logically. He engages Alice in perplexing conversations (think “Who’s on First”), gets her in and out of trouble, and likes to sing.  AND, quite frankly, he’s a tad mad, but then again who isn’t in ‘Wonderland?’

Disney's Chesire Cat 1951 film Alice in WonderlandThe Cheshire Cat introduces himself to Alice

Cheshire Cat: (singing) Twas brilig & the slithy toves & did gyre & gimble in the wabe
Alice: Why, why you’re a cat!
Cheshire Cat: A Cheshire Cat. (starts disappearing)

cheshire cat upside down alice in wonderland 1951Giving Alice advice

Alice: I just wanted to ask you which way I ought to go.
Cheshire Cat: Well, that depends on where you want to get to.
Alice: Oh, well it really doesn’t matter, as long as I can…
Cheshire Cat: Then it really doesn’t matter which way you go.

cheshire cat alice in wonderland 1951

So nonchalant…

Cheshire Cat: Oh, by the way, if you’d really like to know, he went that way.
Alice: Who did?
Cheshire Cat: The White Rabbit.
Alice: He did?
Cheshire Cat: He did what?
Alice: Went that way.
Cheshire Cat: Who did?
Alice: The White Rabbit.
Cheshire Cat: What rabbit?
Alice: But didn’t you just say – I mean – Oh, dear.
Cheshire Cat: Can you stand on your head?

cheshire cat on head

Just one of his many talents!
cheshire cat grin alice in wonderland 1951And, yes, he is a little mad himself…

Alice: But I don’t want to go among mad people.
Cheshire Cat: Oh, you can’t help that. Most everyone’s mad here.
(he starts disappearing)
Cheshire Cat: You may have noticed that I’m not all there myself.

cheshire cat alice in wonderland 1951But he does help when he can…

Alice: I want to go home, but I can’t find my way.
Cheshire Cat: Naturally, that’s because you have no way.
Cheshire Cat: All ways here you see, are the QUEEN’S WAY!
Alice: But I’ve never met any queen.
Cheshire Cat: You haven’t? You ha-VEN’T? Oh, but you must! She’ll be mad about you, simply mad!

cheshire cat and queen of hearts alice in wonderland 1951

Although he also likes to have his fun…

Queen of Hearts: And uh, what were you saying, my dear?
Cheshire Cat: Why, she simply said that you’re a fat, pompous, bad tempered old tyrant!
Queen of Hearts: Off with her head!

…..

You probably all know what happens next, but if you don’t, I won’t ruin it for you, but suffice to say that all’s well that ends well :)

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Before I sign off, I just want to share a clip with you, so that you can see how The Cheshire Cat moves… graceful and jumpy as a cat :)

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A Big Thank You to In The Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood for hosting this wonderful event! There are so many more wonderful Classic Bloggers participating in this Blogathon so please be sure to check out the other entries.

—Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

 

 

 

 

 

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10 Responses to The Animals in Film Blogathon: The Cheshire Cat in Alice In Wonderland (1951)

  1. Pingback: THE ANIMALS IN FILM BLOGATHON HAS NOW ARRIVED – In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood.

  2. I love how that album was so important to your young self. I’m constantly tickled by the outlandishness of “Alice in Wonderland” and frequently awed by the glorious animation of this Disney production.

    Alone at home yesterday, for no apparent reason, I started walking around and singing “Twas brilig & the slithy toves & did gyre & gimble in the wabe”. I’m no Sterling Holloway, but I thought it sounded pretty good and it made me very happy. Ah well, we’re all a little mad around here, aren’t we?

    • Annmarie Gatti says:

      LOL! Oh that is just wonderful! And, yes, I think we all are a little mad around here :) Have a wonderful Memorial Day!

  3. Amazing idea for the blogathon and awesome article! I love Alice in Wonderland too and I also love the “other” cat, Dinah, even if we don’t see her very often. ;)

  4. I remember being fascinated and puzzled by this film as a child. I haven’t seen it since, but the one scene that sticks with me is Alice’s conversation with the Cheshire Cat. I remember thinking that being able to remove your head and then standing on it would be a very exciting thing to do.

    I love that you chose the Disney Cheshire Cat for the blogathon. He doesn’t seem to get a lot of love these days.

    • Annmarie Gatti says:

      Isn’t it funny what sticks with us from when we’re a kid, and how vividly we remember those moments :)

  5. Thanks so much for participating in the blogathon, and thanks for your great article on “Alice In Wonderland”. I remember watching “Alice In Wonderland” as a kid but I haven’t seen it since. I will have to revisit it.

    I’ve also just announced another blogathon. This time the theme was suggested to me by another fellow blogger. Would love to invite you to join in. The link is below with more details.

    https://crystalkalyana.wordpress.com/2016/05/28/announcing-the-joan-crawford-blogathon/

    • Annmarie Gatti says:

      It was such fun to participate… If I can join the Joan one I will… :) THANKS for hosting such a fun event!

  6. Le says:

    The Cheshire cat could easily have been the scariest thing in Alice in Wonderland, but Disney managed to turn it into one of the cutest. I also like how he moves and disappears. Now I have to watch the movie in English in order to catch all puns and smart cat phrases that were lost in translation!
    Don’t forget to read my contribution to the blogathon! :)
    Cheers!
    Le
    http://www.criticaretro.blogspot.com

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