25 January 2016

Johnnie Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet

Never you mind the Christmas window dressing, the true subject of today’s article lies in the poster sitting behind the hats which features, well, a pair of hats. This window belongs to Adrian & Edith’s Head to Toe, the perfect place to don your Mickey Ears, on Hollywood Boulevard inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Let’s dig deeper into why this poster is the perfect one-size-fits-all fit for a shop specializing in hats.

The headline here is the feature of Johnnie Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet. The story was featured in the April 1946 release, Make Mine Music, as the ninth of ten sections in the anthology. Although Casey at the Bat or Peter and the Wolf may be more easily recognized, the story of Johnny and Alice is beautiful for its simplicity. It was so well received as a part of the animated package film that Johnnie Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet would go on to be released as an independent short in May of 1954 and would be features as a Disneyland Little Long Playing Record in 1970.

The story tells the tale of two hats, a blue sunhat with exquisite trim named Alice and a grey and brown fedora named Johnnie. The pair meet in the shop window of a Bonton department store. The pair fall in love, but are separated when Alice is purchased. Johnnie is also purchased shortly thereafter, and spends a majority of his time looking down alleys and in windows for any hat he can find that may be Alice. Mishaps ensue that include a shootout and torrential rains, where Johnnie finally loses all hope that he will ever see his beloved Alice again. He is eventually picked up by an ice deliveryman, who cuts holes into Johnnie so that he can sit on the head of one of his horses for shade. Low and behold, perched atop the other horse’s head is none other than his long lost love, Alice.

It’s worth note that the poster lists the pair as Johnny Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet, which is the common spelling of the two lead characters. However, the short’s title card presents Fedora’s first name as Johnnie. That’s the rationale for how we present him here.

The entire tale is narrated, as noted on the poster, by The Andrew Sisters. The story is completely heart wrenching, much in the way we feel for the characters in The Blue Umbrella or Lava, like the latter the song makes the story that much more tangible. The Andrews Sisters were utilized several times by Disney, and can even be found elsewhere inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Two of their songs, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree, can both be heard along the Sunset Boulevard thoroughfare.

Whether you are a fan of The Andrews Sisters, classic Disney animation, or just a sucker for a sappy anthropomorphic love stories, Johnnie Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet is well worth taking the seven and a half minutes to give it a chance. Either way, you now know the tale behind the hats that watch over Adrian and Edith’s!

No comments: