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R.I.P. Virginia Davis: Before There Was Mickey, There Was Alice

Posted by Hoob on August 18th, 2009
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YBMW is sad to report that one of the most iconic figures in early animation passed away on Saturday at the age of 90. Virginia Davis was just four years old when she met a struggling animator by the name of Walt Disney. Before he ever came up with a little mouse named Mickey, Walt hired Davis to play a little girl named Alice for a series of shorts that mixed live action and animation.

The silent films were technically groundbreaking for their day. Other studios has been putting animated characters on filmed backgrounds, but Walt and Ubbe Iwwerks was going for a far more integrated mix of live action and cartoon characters.

After her years working as Alice, Virginia did everything from sing and dance, to work as an inker for Disney animation and then later on as an interior designer, magazine editor and real estate agent. Despite the fact that so many people would not recognize her by name now, there’s a good chance that Mickey Mouse would have never become a reality if this cute little girl didn’t light up the screen first.

Now, take a few minutes to enjoy some of the great films that Virgina made as Alice back in the 1920’s. Keep in mind, these are silent films. The music you hear along with them will most certainly not be original.


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