When I first started this blog, I was an unemployed costumer attempting to create period gowns and costumes with very limited means. Although now employed, I still try to be as thrifty as possible. I am still "The Broke Costumer"!

In addition to posts about the outfits I make on a budget, this blog includes short research articles on fashion, history, accessories, styles, or whatever interests me at the moment.

I hope you enjoy my journey into the land of inexpensive costuming and short articles.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Alice and Dorothy on Stage and Screen - Part Two

 I hope you liked your visit in Wonderland, now lets travel to Oz.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was written by L. Frank Baum and published in 1900.  In 1902, the first musical stage production premiered at the Chicago Grand Opera House, moving to the Majestic Theater in 1903.  "Baum decided to collaborate with his friend, composer Paul Tietjens, and Oz illustrator W.W. Denslow as set and costume designer, to bring the book to the stage. They completed a script, score and designs in 1901, fairly close to the original novel.They submitted it to manager of the Opera House Fred R. Hamlin, who liked it and asked Julian P. Mitchell to be director.  Mitchell did not like the script, calling it too subdued and small-scale. However, he stated he "Can see possibilities for extravanganza". When Mitchell accepted the project, he brought in new songwriters to write songs, cutting some of the original Tietjens numbers. He totally rewrote the script, introducing new characters and incidents, reducing the Cowardly Lion's role, deleting the actual appearance of the Wicked Witch entirely, and substituting a cow named Imogene for Toto. Baum was anxious about this, but went along with it, hoping Mitchell's experience in directing and the casting of comedy team Fred Stone and David C. Montgomery as the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman would make the show a hit. It was a roaring success." source

I found these wonderful images from the stage production.

Kansas Historical Society. Fred Stone 1902
David C. Montgomery as The Tin Man

Anna Laughlin as Dorothy 1902.  Wikipedia
Arthur Hill as the Lion 1902. Wikipedia

Less than a decade after the publication of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum’s short-lived multimedia production Fairylogue and Radio-Plays offered "a blend of live stage actors, photographic slides, and film clips portraying scenes from Baum’s early Oz novels. Today, only a few slide images from the show are known to exist. Below, is one of these images". Source
"This early attempt at motion pictures had a mixture of  live actors, hand-tinted magic lantern slides, and film. Baum himself would appear as if he were giving a lecture, while he interacted with the characters (both on stage and on screen). Although acclaimed throughout its tour, the show experienced budgetary problems (with the show costing more to produce than the money that sold-out houses could bring in) and folded after two months of performances."  Wikipedia  

Below, in a hand-tinted slide, Romola Remus plays the very first screen Dorothy.

"The Selig Polyscope Company released four shorts based on Baum’s early full-length fantasy works: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Land of Oz, Dorothy and the Scarecrow in Oz, and John Dough and the Cherub (the latter based on a non-Oz novel of the same name). To date, only The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (approximately 13 minutes) has been found".   Here is the link to the Full Movie  from 1910.  The Cyclone scene is pretty neato!  The credits are lost, but its believed that Bebe Daniels plays Dorothy.

After moving to Hollywood, Baum co-founded the Oz Film Manufacturing Company with three business partners. The independent studio produced The Patchwork Girl of Oz, The Magic Cloak of Oz, and His Majesty, the Scarecrow of Oz in 1914.  None of these films was a success. After making a few short subjects the following year, the Oz Film Manufacturing Company folded.

This is the kinda creepy logo lady for Oz Film Manufacturing Company. Watch for her in the opening credits of the Patchwork Girl and His Majesty the Scarecrow.   Vivian Reed as Ozma.

First is The Patchwork Girl of Oz.   Much of the film was shot in Balboa Park in San Diego.   Ojo and Unc Nunkie are out of food, so they decide to journey to the Emerald City where they will never starve. Along the way, they meet Mewel, a waif and stray (mule) and get into all sorts of mischief.                                                    
Photo to the right:   Violet MacMillan as Ojo the munchkin   
Watch the whole movie HERE

Second we have The Magic Cloak of Oz.  This movie had problems, due to the box office failure of  The Patchwork Girl of Oz. It was to be released in 1914, but wasn't released in its entirety in 1917. It was reduced from a five-reel film to two two-reel films known as The Magic Cloak and The Witch Queen. The current prints are assembled from these two films. (wiki)  Watch the movie Here!

No creepy Ozma lady opens this movie.

Third is His Majesty, the Scarecrow of Oz.   Opening credits has Ozma again.  Watch her and the movie here    The movie opened on October 14, 1914 to little success, though it was received as well above average fare by critics of the time.   Early in 1915, it was reissued under the title The New Wizard of Oz and was slightly more successful.    Violet MacMillan plays Dorothy in this film. Vivian Reed also plays Princess Gloria in this film.

Photo Oz.wikia.com

The first large-scale Oz film adaptation was Chadwick Pictures’ production of The Wizard of Oz, released in 1925. It co-starred film comedians Larry Semon and Oliver Hardy (prior to his partnership with Stan Laurel) as the Scarecrow and the Tin Man, and Semon’s wife, Dorothy Dwan, as Dorothy. With a disjointed screenplay cowritten by Semon and L. Frank Baum’s eldest son, Frank Joslyn Baum, the movie bears almost no resemblance to the original book.   Watch the full movie  Here
Heads up:  there is some racial stereotyping in it regarding a farm hand in Kansas.  Dorothy Dwan is a typical 1920s, Betty Bop kinda gal.

1939 - The Big One!
We have all seen this definitive Oz movie, but you may not have seen some of these interesting photos.

Judy Garland screen tests for hair and costume  


Above, Judy Garland takes a break from filming Source
Right, Buddy Ebsen was cast as the tin man, but fell ill due to the aluminum dust in his makeup and was forced to drop out of the film. 

"An early idea was to have the Wicked Witch portrayed as a slinky, glamorous villianess in a black sequined costume, inspired by the Evil Queen in Snow White.  Gale Sondergaard was originally cast as the witch in "Oz" and was photographed for two wardrobe tests. One was as a glamorous wicked witch, and another as a conventionally ugly wicked witch. After the decision was made to have an ugly wicked witch, Sondergaard, reluctant to wear the disfiguring makeup and fearing it could damage her career, withdrew from the role, and it went to actress Margaret Hamilton."  Wikipedia

Judy with camera double Bobbie Koshay and  Munchkin Olga Nardone source

  Right - Margaret Hamilton in a more glamorous screen test
Look at these darling color photos of Judy having fun during screen tests  cute pics

1960 - The Shirley Temple Hour.  
Shirley finally made it to Oz!    Not as Dorothy, but as Ozma and a young boy named Tip. Watch Shirley  in this television special, with the Scarecrow, Jack Pumpkinhead, the Tin Man and Mombie. 
"Shirley's three children made their acting debuts in the last episode of the first season, "Mother Goose". When a stagehand said "shit" during a "Mother Goose" rehearsal, Temple had him fired, telling the stunned cast it was a children's show–although no children were present during the rehearsal"  Wikipedia

1978 - The Wiz
Lovely Diana Ross plays the part of Dorothy in this star studded cast, with all new songs, including the popular "Ease on Down the Road".  Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow, Nipsy Russel as the Tin Man, and Ted Ross as the Lion.  Richard Pryor played the Wiz, and beautiful Lena Horne played Glinda.  Watch Michael and Diana Ease on down

1985 - Return to Oz 
 Ok, I really like this "Sequel" with Fairuza Balk as Dorothy.  In October 1899, six months after returning home from Oz, Dorothy is melancholic. Aunt Em and Uncle Henry take her to a hospital, known for electrotherapy treatments. During a thunderstorm, the lab suffers a blackout and Dorothy is saved by a mysterious girl. They escape and fall into a river. Dorothy climbs into a chicken coop, but the other girl vanished underwater. Upon awakening, Dorothy finds herself back in Oz with her chicken Billina, who can now talk. They find the Emerald City in ruins and its citizens, including the Tin Man and Lion, have turned to stone. With new friends Tik Tok and the Gump, they fight the Nome King and Princess Mombi, and return Ozma to her rightful place on the throne.   Paraphrased from Wikipedia  Watch the original trailer here

There were several other stage productions and animated versions not discussed here. I hope you enjoyed these movies and film clips, both from Oz and Wonderland.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Alice and Dorothy on Stage and Screen - Part One

One saying that is a favorite among costumers is "I fell down the rabbit hole", when researching a project online.   Well, I literally fell down that hole for this post.  While surfing YouTube for early 20th century film footage, I came across a beautiful silent version of Alice in Wonderland.

Wondering if there were other vintage Alice films, that rabbit hole lured me in deeper.  Not only did I find multiple Alice movies, but suddenly up popped Dorothy Gale in silent film. I am excited to see that these films are still available 100 + years later.

This will be a two part post.  One for Miss Alice and one for Miss Dorothy.  Let's start with Alice. I am not including any animated versions below (we all know the Disney one!)

Charles L. Dodgson, who wrote as Lewis Carroll, published Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in 1865, followed in 1871 by Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There.  John Tenniel illustrated both.

The earliest photo I found of Alice on stage was this 1898 production  at the Opera Comique Theatre in London.  Rosa Hersee as Alice and Arthur Elliot as the Hatter.  Getty Images.  Below, Right

Below Left, we have this lovely photo of  the Mad Hatter's tea party, a scene from a theatre production of “Alice In Wonderland”. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images). Circa 1910

In 1903, the very first film version of Alice was made.  Starring eighteen year old May Clark as Alice, this film has wonderful special effects from the time period.   Here is the link so you may watch this delightful film 1903 Silent Film

May was quite the pioneer:  She went on and worked as a camera operator, carpenter, cinematographer, co-producer, company executive, costume designer, set decorator and in special effects.  She died in 1971 at the age of eighty six.

In 1915, we have the second film about Alice.  Sixteen year old Viola Savoy played the lead. "This film version is notable for depicting much of the Father William poem, and it includes footage resembling Tenniel's illustration of Father William doing his back-somersault at the front door" (wiki)  The entire silent film can be watched here 1915 silent version

1923-1927 brought us Walt Disney and his Alice comedies, short (about 8 -10 minutes) animated films with live action Alice and her adventures.  Adorable  five year old Virginia Davis was the first Alice, who was in 15 shorts, followed by three other actresses, for a total of 57 films.  The first film is the only one named Wonderland, and it certainly isn't about the adventures we are familiar with.   Watch this quick film.  Alice Short

My absolute FAVORITE Alice move is 1933's version.   Lovely nineteen year old Charlotte Henry stars in this one, along with other big name actors such as Gary Cooper as the White Knight, W.C.Fields as Humpty Dumpty, Cary Grant as the Mock Turtle and Edna Mae Oliver as the Red Queen. All I could find was a lengthy trailer, watch it Here   and a dubbed over version in, I think, Russian (talking over the English) if you want to watch Russian dubbed version

In my own opinion, the WORST Alice is 1931's version. It is the first talkie, but the acting is atrocious (and her wig is awful). Nineteen year old Ruth Gilbert plays Alice, and acts like a petulant child. I will let you watch and decide :)   1931 Talkie

Above, A nice stage performance at the Scala Theatre, London. Alice, played by actress Roma Beaumont, in a scene from “Through The Looking Glass”, where the Sheep, played by Phyllis Morris gives Alice a pair of knitting needles and they turn into oars in her hand. (Photo by Kurt Hutton/Picture Post/Getty Images). 15th January 1944   Roma was about 31 years old at the time.

1949 brought us a beautiful color version starring a very pretty twenty year old, Carol Marsh.  “All of the other live actors in the film are seen only in the live action scenes.  However, they lend their voices to the Wonderland characters, and the staging of the scenes in England vs. the scenes in Wonderland is reminiscent of the Kansas scenes vs. the OZ scenes in The Wizard of Oz, in that several of the live action characters seem to have counterparts (of sorts) in Wonderland.  The film was kept out of Britain because the representation of the Queen of Hearts was seen as too close and too unkind to Queen Victoria1949 Movie


In 1966, BBC did a televised play starring thirteen year old Anne-Marie Mallik.  It also starred Peter Sellers as the King of Hearts, and John Gielgud as the Mock Turtle.  "Director Jonathan Miller's production is unique among live-action Alice films in that he consciously avoided the standard costume design and "florid" production values. Most of the Wonderland characters are played by actors in standard Victorian dress, with a real cat used to represent the Cheshire Cat. Miller justified his approach as an attempt to return to what he perceived as the essence of the story: "Once you take the animal heads off, you begin to see what it's all about. A small child, surrounded by hurrying, worried people, thinking 'Is that what being grown up is like?"  Wikipedia.    A very artsy movie, with haunting music by Ravi Shankar. Listen

My daughter's and my favorite modern Alice is the 1985 mini series that combines Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.  It stars ten year old adorable Natalie Gregory and a huge, all star cast, including,  Red Buttons, Sammy Davis Jr.(Caterpillar), Shelley Winters, Telly Savalas (Cheshire Cat) , Roddy McDowell, Ringo Starr, Carol Channing and a dozen more.  This movie is worth watching just for the tap dance number between Natalie and Sammy Davis Jr. to "You Are Old, Father William"  watch em dance

Alice is a 1988 fantasy film written and directed by Jan Švankmajer. Its original Czech title is Něco z Alenky, which means "Something from Alice"    This is the STRANGEST Alice I have ever seen!  Watch a short clip of how Alice falls into the "rabbit hole"  creepy fall

That is all I am going to post on Alice, although there are several more, including the newest ones with  Mia Wasikowska    

Up next.....Dorothy Gale, from Kansas (Part 2)