Kathryn Beaumont was around eleven when she was cast to record the voice of Alice for Walt Disney Studios’ animated film Alice In Wonderland (1951). But in addition to recording the vocal portion of the script, she also played Alice on film in a special process called Live Action Reference that was used solely for the benefit of the Disney animators.
To help guide them as they hand drew each scene, the animators would use footage of real actors performing the same scene to get the characters’ actions, movements and expressions just right. The images below, which were posted on Imgur yesterday, are stills from several of Kathryn’s Live Action Reference shots as Alice.
You can also watch the Live Action Reference footage from Alice’s (or Kathryn’s) scene with the talking doorknob here (as shown in lead image). This footage was only rediscovered a few years ago in the Disney vaults.
PS – If you’ve ever heard a similarity between Alice from Alice in Wonderland (1951) and Wendy from Peter Pan (1953), there’s good reason. Both classic Disney film characters were voiced by Kathryn Beaumont.