Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (commonly shortened to Alice in Wonderland) is an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells of a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world (Wonderland) populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures. The tale plays with logic, giving the story lasting popularity with adults as well as children. It is considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre, and its narrative course and structure have been enormously influential, especially in the fantasy genre.
In 1865, Dodgson’s tale was published as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by “Lewis Carroll” with illustrations by John Tenniel. The first print run of 2,000 was held back because Tenniel objected to the print quality. A new edition, released in December of the same year, but carrying an 1866 date, was quickly printed. As it turned out, the original edition was sold with Dodgson’s permission to the New York publishing house of Appleton. The binding for the Appleton Alice was virtually identical to the 1866 Macmillan Alice, except for the publisher’s name at the foot of the spine. The title page of the Appleton Alice was an insert cancelling the original Macmillan title page of 1865, and bearing the New York publisher’s imprint and the date 1866.
The entire print run sold out quickly. Alice was a publishing sensation, beloved by children and adults alike. Among its first avid readers were Queen Victoria and the young Oscar Wilde. The book has never been out of print. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has been translated into at least 97 languages. There have now been over a hundred editions of the book, as well as countless adaptations in other media, especially theatre and film.
The book is commonly referred to by the abbreviated title Alice in Wonderland, an alternative title popularized by the numerous stage, film and television adaptations of the story produced over the years. Some printings of this title contain both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There.
Hanna-Barbera Productions produced a one hour animated musical version of Alice in Wonderland, sponsored by Rexall Drugs and Coca-Cola, which aired on ABC-TV March 30, 1966. The special, Alice in Wonderland or What’s a Nice Kid Like You Doing in a Place Like This?, was written by comedian Bill Dana, who portrayed his Jose Jimenez character as the White Knight.
The special had a high profile vocal cast. Sammy Davis Jr. was cast as the Cheshire Cat and Zsa Zsa Gabor voiced the Queen of Hearts. Gossip columnist Hedda Hopper was Hedda Hatter, the female counterpart of the Mad Hatter (who was voiced by Harvey Korman), and Mel Blanc and Alan Reed did their Barney Rubble and Fred Flintstone characters as the two-headed Caterpillar.
Other voices in the special included Janet Waldo as Alice (with Doris Drew providing Alice’s singing voice), Howard Morris as the White Rabbit, Allan Melvin as both Alice’s Father and Humphrey Dumpty, Daws Butler as the King of Hearts and the March Hare, and Don Messick as the Doormouse and Alice’s dog, Fluff. The music and lyrics were by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, with musical arrangements by Marty Paitch and Hoyt Curtin. The production was conceived by David Sontag and directed by Alex Lovy.