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The Cheshire Cat
Cheshire tenniel
Illustration by John Tenniel
General Information
Species Cat
Gender Male
Eye color Yellow (1951)
Behind The Scenes
First appearance Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Portrayed by Sterling Holloway (1951)
Whoopi Goldberg (1999)
Stephen Fry ((2010) and (2016))
Telly Savalas (1985)
Alice: Why, you're a cat!
The Cheshire Cat: A Cheshire Cat.
~ The Cheshire Cat introducing himself, Alice in Wonderland (1951)

The Cheshire Cat is a fictional character from the novel, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

Description[]

Alice first encounters it at the Duchess's house in her kitchen, and then later outside on the branches of a tree, where it appears and disappears at will, engaging Alice in amusing but sometimes vexing conversation. The cat raises philosophical points that annoy or baffle Alice. It does, however, appear to cheer her up when it turns up suddenly at the Queen of Hearts' croquet field, and when sentenced to death baffles everyone by having made its head appear without its body, sparking a massive argument between the executioner and the King and Queen of Hearts about whether something that does not have a body can indeed be beheaded.

At one point, the cat disappears gradually until nothing is left but its grin, prompting Alice to remark that she has often seen a cat without a grin but never a grin without a cat.

History[]

Cheese moulds[]

According to Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, "The phrase has never been satisfactorily accounted for, but it has been said that cheese was formerly sold in Cheshire moulded like a cat that looked as though it was grinning".

Chiesa carving []

"Grinning like a Cheshire cat" was an old proverbial expression long before it was used by Lewis Carrol.One theory for the origin of this saying involves the Cheshire cheese molds, another says that Cheshire was a county palatine. Yet another from the village of Cheshire itself, where - it is said - that some of the painted inn signs "look more like grinning cats than growling lions" (Quoted from Notes and Queries, of which Carroll was a regular subscriber)

Further reading: Notes and Queries no. 55, 16 November 1850, and no. 130, 24 April 1852. Here, the origins of the saying are discussed and debated in great detail.

There are many reports that Carroll found inspiration for the name and expression of the Cheshire Cat in the 16th-century sandstone carving of a grinning cat, on the west face of St Wilfrid's Church tower in Grappenhall, a village adjacent to his birthplace in Daresbury, Warrington.

Other appearances[]

Film[]

Alice in Wonderland (1933)[]

Richard Arlen played the Cheshire Cat in the 1933 Paramount film version of "Alice in Wonderland."

Cheshire-cat-4

The Cheshire Cat as he appears in the 1951 movie.

Disney's Alice in Wonderland (1951)[]

He appears as a mysterious, mischievous pink and purple cat with a devious, mischievous personality. Alice encounters him in the woods and asks for directions back home so he directs her to the Mad Hatter and March Hare. After the confusing and useless visit Alice gets lost and encounters him again and the Cheshire Cat directs her to The Queen of Hearts for help, but before she goes he warns her of The Queen's evil ways. During the visit, the Cheshire Cat constantly humiliates the queen and she thinks it's Alice every time. While in court the Cheshire Cat repeats the insult Alice gives the Queen and it leads to the climactic chase. He was voiced by Sterling Holloway (who also previously played the role of the Frog in another film version of Alice in Wonderland) in the 1951 film and Jim Cummings in the House of Mouse TV series.

During the making of Alice in Wonderland, a song called I'm Odd which was suppose to be sung by the Cheshire Cat was scrapped then later rediscover years later and put on the Alice in Wonderland special edition DVD. An earlier treatment would have given him a more malevolent personality and appearance, with fish-eyes and sharp teeth. This version would have followed Alice throughout Wonderland.

Alice in Wonderland (1999)[]

(S)he appears as a gray cat who speaks to Alice in Wonderland, as well as a visitor at the garden party at which Alice is finally confident enough not only to sing in front of her audience but also to change from her rehearsed song "Cherry Ripe" to "Lobster Quadrille." The voice (and face) of the cat are both played by Whoopi Goldberg.

Abby in Wonderland (2008)[]

Cookie Monster was the Cheshire Cookie Cat in "Abby in Wonderland" from Sesame Street on PBS Kids.

Alice in Wonderland (2010)[]

'Alice in Wonderland' Trailer 5 0021

The Cheshire Cat Saves The Mad Hatter from execution.

He appears as a gray, light blue striped, turquoise-eyed tabby cat residing in a misty and mysterious looking forest called Tulgey Wood. He only walks on the ground once, and that's when he looks back to Alice when he takes her to tea with the Hare and Hatter. His main transportation is floating in theis tail at his own face and then evaporates. After the battle and the Jabberwocky is slain, the Red Queen's knights turn against her, and she is captured, her crown suddenly lifts off her head, floats away, and goes to the White Queen's head, and the Cheshire Cat, who had been holding it and was invisible, appeared, and put the crown on her head, and then disappears. He is last seen grinning at Alice before she drinks the Jabberwocky blood. Here, his disappearing abilities are described as "evaporation". His name is given as Chessur (Chess for short), and he is voiced by Stephen Fry.

Printed-materials[]

Alice By Christina Henry[]

In this novel, Cheshire first appears when Alice meets him, sent by Bess, who was Hatcher's (Alice's friend) grandmother. Cheshire appears as a short man with golden brown hair curled into ringlets, with bright, curious green eyes. He lives in a cottage full of roses, and creates potions and foods that have magical abilites. Cheshire was known to not treat people particuly nicely when they weren't polite or didn't fit Cheshire's standards. (Spoiler alert from now on). In 'Looking Glass', the third book of the Alice Trilogy by Christina Henry, Hatcher needed help with his Seer powers and Cheshire was sent to come and guide him. Apparently, Hatcher's face was so honest that Cheshire could read it, so basically he could read Hatcher's mind. After Alice had made a deal with Cheshire, he had sent her through a deadly maze to test her and see if she was strong enough to unconciously help Cheshire take control of the whole of the Old City. Alice was sent to the Caterpilar's house which Cheshire then gave her and Hatcher a blue potion to make them smaller and fit into the house.

Miyuki-chan in Wonderland[]

In CLAMP's Miyuki-chan in Wonderland, the cat was portrayed by a catgirl that tried to seduce Miyuki, but she eventually escaped.

Card Captor Sakura[]

In the manga Card Captor Sakura, the Cheshire Cat was portrayed by Eriol Hiragizawa (who was in fact the responsible for taking Sakura into the book). His playful persona, which contrast's with Eriol's, confuses Sakura at first, but he claims that this was his real one.

The Looking Glass Wars[]

In Frank Beddor's The Looking Glass Wars, the Cat is an assassin working for Redd.

Heart no Kuni no Alice[]

In the manga "Heart no Kuni no Alice", or "Alice in Heartland", the character Boris is a human representation of the Cheshire cat.

Ouran High School Host Club[]

Cheshire cat appears in the manga Ouran High School Host Club as the twins Hikaru and Kaoru. Hikaru and Kaoru play the Cheshire Cat in an episode of Ouran High School Host Club.

Television[]

Alice in Wonderland or What's a Nice Kid Like You Doing in a Place Like This?[]

Sammy Davis, Jr. provided the voice of a "hip" animated Cheshire Cat in the 1966 Hanna Barbara TV special "Alice in Wonderland or What's a Nice Kid Like You Doing in a Place Like This?" Dressed in a beret, scarf and chin beard, Davis' Cheshire Cat also sings the title song.

Alice[]

In the TV miniseries Alice,  the Cat appears in a dream as a fusion with Alice's pet cat, Dinah

Pandora Hearts[]

In the anime Pandora Hearts, there is a Chain based on the Cheshire Cat, and it even shares the same name. Here the Cheshire Cat appears as a humanoid cat, however at one point it takes the form of a large shadow with a grin characteristic of the Cat of the novel. He is the Will of the Abyss and Alice's loyal chain protecting her lost memories, which she lost on purpose so she doesn't have to suffer from them.  At one point in the manga, he is seen as a black cat that Alice is very fond of until he was killed by another character.

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland[]

The Cheshire Cat briefly appeared as a giant cat which attempts to eat Alice.

Spring Unsprung - Cheshire Cat

Ever After High[]

In Ever After High, the Cheshire Cat is a woman human/cat hybrid whom is the mother of Kitty Cheshire. She is a cruel and dismissive mother who pressures Kitty into committing pranks and acts of anarchy to receive her validation.

Alice's Wonderland Bakery[]

Video Games[]

Dragon's Lair II: Time Warp (1991)[]

In the Laserdisc game Dragon's Lair II, The Cheshire Cat appears only as a head, reciting the Jabberwocky poem while trying to devour the hero "Dirk the Daring".

85ebbfc2-e64d-4d91-847e-d6712fe07558

Cheshire Cat, as he appears in American McGee's Alice.

American McGee's Alice[]

The Cheshire Cat appears in American McGee's Alice as Alice's guide, and his appearance is mangy and emaciated, with dark markings similar to tribal tattoos, in keeping with the dark tone of the game. He is voiced by Roger L. Jackson. The cat is Alice's primary ally, providing her with hints and advice and eventually an inspirational monologue before she faces off against the Red Queen, only to be murdered by the Queen. In the game's epilogue cut-scene, the cat is shown to be resurrected by Alice killing the Queen.

Doctors notes on Alice from her stay in the asylum imply the Cheshire Cat to be connected to Alice's real-world cat Dinah, who sat atop Alice and attempted to prevent employees of the asylum from taking her away before running off and watching them from the shadows.

Kingdom Hearts (2002)[]

The 1951 version of the cat appears in Kingdom Hearts series aiding the character with clues. The cat makes a brief appearance in, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, and Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. He is voiced by Jim Cummings. He appears as an aide in all three games, though he is not a direct ally.

Alice in the Country of the Heart (2007)[]

In the otome game "Heart no Kuni no Alice, he appears as Boris Airay, a human form of the Cheshire Cat and one of the characters who falls in love with Alice.

LittleBigPlanet 2[]

In the sequel of "Little Big Planet", a downloadable costume based on the 2010 Cheshire Cat is available to buy.

Farmville[]

As part of a limited edition set of decor and animals, Farmville (a Facebook application) has released the caterpillar, seen in the Alice in Wonderland (2010) movie, along with the Cheshire cat, Chessur.

Alice in Wonderland (video game; 2010)[]

In Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland game, he has a special ability, Invisibility. He can disappear anytime he wants and he can also make things disappear, such as walls and pillars.

Alice's Tea Cup Madness (2010)[]

Cheshire Cat also appears as a cranky, impatient customer in the computer game Alice's Tea Cup Madness.

DeadbyDaylightCheshireCat

Alice: Madness Returns (2011)[]

The Cheshire Cat returns as Alice's primary companion in this game while also providing her with riddles to solve as part of a mini-game.

Dead by Daylight[]

in Dead by Daylight, the character Nea Karlsson has an Outfit that References The Cheshire Cat named "Cheshire Life".

Theme-Parks[]

Alice in Wonderland[]

The Cheshire Cat reprises its role from the 1951 film in this attraction, and appears as a floating head in a spiral of smoke in its climax. Outside of the ride, the cat is visible sitting in the rock work of its building.

The Mad Hatter[]

The cat's head sometimes appears within a mirror of this shop, watching guests.

Memorable quotes[]

1951 film[]

"That depends on where you want to get to!"

"Then, it really really doesn't matter, which way, you go!"

"Oh, by the way, if you really like to know, he went, that way."

"Can you stand on your head?"

"Oh, you can't help that. Most everyone's mad here. [maniacal laughter] You may have noticed... that I'm not all there, myself."

2010 film[]

"What do you call yourself?"

"The Alice?"

"I never get involved in politics. You'd best be on your way."

"All this talk of blood and slaying has put me off my tea."

"What happened that day was not my fault."

"I do love that hat."

"Goodbye, sweet hat."

"You do have very poor evaporating skills. I should be the one."

Gallery[]

Alice in Wonderland (1951)[]

Alice in Wonderland (1999)[]

Alice in Wonderland (2010)[]

References



Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Characters

Alice The Mad Hatter The White Rabbit The Queen of Hearts The King of Hearts The Caterpillar The March Hare The Knave of Hearts The Cheshire Cat The Dormouse The Lory The Eaglet The Duck The Dodo Bill the Lizard Mary Ann Dinah Alice's Sister The Duchess The Cook The Executioner Father William Frog Footman Fish Footman The Pig Baby The Gryphon The Mock Turtle Tortoise The Playing Cards The Puppy

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