Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Ian in Wonderland

AIW Alice

Here's a flashback to January 1992: a photo of me at the "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" statue of the Mad Tea Party, in Central Park, New York, USA. Why am I posting it (and the ones below) today?

Well, this is one of my holy grail photos, so it's a long story:

I was first in Central Park in January 1984 and managed to miss this amazing statue, having no idea to even look for it. Then, I happened to pick up the book "Apple of My Eye", by one of my favourite authors, Helene Hanff, in which she and her friend, (the aptly-named) Patsy, travelled around their native New York pretending to be tourists in their own city, so that Ms Hanff could write accurate and pithy captions for a book of photographs about New York. She happened to mention this statue, as sculpted by José de Creeft in 1959 (and based on Tenniel's Victorian era illustrations), plus several other literary landmarks I'd overlooked in Central Park, in one of her entries - and I was determined to check it out. Somehow.

My penpal Carolyn, who lived in the East Village of NYC in the 80s, promised to photograph the statue for me... then managed to leave her camera in the glove box of a friend's car. When she finally got the camera back, almost a year later, and had the film developed, it had become weather-affected and the image was not printable.

I finally got back to Central Park myself in 1992, and had these photos taken. That should have been the end of the story. But... then my now-housemate, Steve, managed to lose the prints and the negatives - and he's been searching for them ever since. It has been so long since the photos were taken, we'd both began to doubt ever having seen them. If I had had possession of these photos for even a day, I'd probably have had them enlarged and framed, which was always my initial intention. (As a teacher-librarian, they'll look great in my school library.)

Well, the pics finally turned up today, in our flurry of cleaning up in preparation for having the carpets steam cleaned. (In the interests of good planning, Jack threw up on the carpet today; what's the bet he does it again after the steam cleaners depart?)

Anyway, here's the long-awaited "Alice in Wonderland" statue photos, including closeups of the March Hare, the Mad Hatter and the Dormouse, and the Cheshire Cat! [Photos by Steven Simpson (c) 1992; book by Lewis Carroll, 1865.]

AIW march hareAIW hatter

AIW cheshirecat

Mmmm. I only just noticed: the Mad March Hare, host of the book's Tea Party, could be easily mistaken for the White Rabbit character here, as he's depicted with a large pocket watch.


De said...

Was that the same trip where you visited Bob Greenberger over at DC Comics?

Therin of Andor said...

You know what? It was possibly the same day!

I had the excuse of dropping off an envelope of our "Batman" club newsletters to Phyllis Hume's office one morning and, as I was thanking the receptionist at DC Comics, I suddenly found myself asking, "Would Bob Greenberger be available sometime this week for an interview please?"

She got Bob on the phone immediately and he said he was free that very afternoon. So I had plenty of time to kill around Central Park that day. Later on, Bob said that if I'd booked the interview ahead of time, he'd have been able to organise a few surprises, so I have no idea what I missed out on doing/seeing. the interview was fun enough.

Mind you, I did ride up in the elevator with a guy holding a huge portfolio with his name on the front: Andy Mangels, whose name I recognised from his various comics articles - and who has since gone on to write some excellent Star Trek comics and novels.

De said...

During my bout of unemployment last year, I was reading the full runs of DC's TOS and TNG comics when I ran across your name in more than a few of the letters pages. Bob mentioned his seeing you in one of those columns, which I thought was pretty cool.