by Geoffrey Jones, Days Gone By

The rendition of “Alice in Wonderland” starring Mia Wasikowska as Alice with the Mad Hatter, The Red Queen and all the other characters, was attended in large numbers a decade ago. Like ‘Avatar’ this  Alice partakes of a great deal of computer effects. It is based on a combination of Alice in Wonderland and the later “Through the Looking Glass.”

It’s interesting to consider the actual  story of how “Alice in Wonderland” first was created. It all goes back to England in the eighteen sixties.
The writer who eventually took the name “Lewis Carroll” was actually a bookish clergyman and mathematician named Charles Lutwidge Dodgson.

Henry Liddell was Dean of Christ Church Oxford at that time and Dodgson taught there. As a friend of the Liddell family he and other friends would sometimes take boat rides along the Thames river. The deans daughter, Alice Liddell, would enjoy these rides and begged Dodgson to tell the children stories.

Out of the fanciful stories the world of Wonderland slowly emerged. When the group would stop and picnic at Nuneham, the old estate of the Archbishop Harcourt, the lovely Nuneham woods would serve as background for the storytelling.

Alice was so pleased with the stories that she finally asked Dodgson to write them down and he created a hand illustrated version of them called “Alice’s Adventures Underground.”

In 1865 the actual Alice In Wonderland book was first printed. It has never gone out of print to this day.

Regarding another classic, Ray Bolger, who played the scarecrow in the Wizard of OZ in an interview years after the movie appeared, commented that when his group began filming the screen version, no one had any idea the production would become a legend. Everyone thought it would be just another typical 1930s movie. Rev. Dodgson probably also felt surprise at the vast success of his stories.

Imagination is a wonderful thing, and it’s always finding some brand new way to surprise us.

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