You may have already heard that Johnny Depp's surprise appearance to promote Alice in Wonderland at ComicCon has been the talk of the convention (video at the bottom of the story, if you haven't seen it). As a big fan of Burton/Depp collaborations, I have to say, I'm pretty amped to see the movie. But Depp is hardly the first to play the crazy chapeau creator - here are 10 other portrayals of the man who have donned the 10/6 Hat and asked "Why is a raven like a writing desk?"
2. Ed Wynn. Wynn voiced the Mad Hatter for the Disney version of Alice in Wonderland. You might recognize him from some of his other famous roles, though, including a couple of very memorable Twilight Zone episodes and as giggly Uncle Albert in Mary Poppins. The voice Wynn used for the Mad Hatter and other similar characters was called "The Perfect Fool" and has been much imitated ever since - ever notice that Wally Gator sounds suspiciously like the lispy, sputtering Hatter? That's because Daws Butler was doing an impression of Ed Wynn.
3. David Wayne. Wayne portrayed a disturbed genius named Jervis Tetch in the old Batman series (Tetch was in the comic books too, of course). His weapon of choice? His top hat, of course - when he took it off of his head, a set of hypnotic eyes appeared that would shoot a mind-controlling beam at the person staring into them.
5. Martin Short. In a 1999 made-for-T.V. movie, the SCTV alum took over the famous role. His head was digitally enhanced to appear about three times bigger than normal so his portrayal would match Tenniel's illustrations. The rest of the cast included Tina Majorino as Alice, Whoopi Goldberg as the Cheshire Cat (her head and voice, anyway "“ the rest was puppetry and CGI), Robbie Coltrane as Tweedledum, George Wendt as Tweedledee, Gene Wilder as the Mock Turtle and Miranda Richardson as the Queen of Hearts.
6. Anthony Newley. In another made-for-T.V. movie, this one from 1985, British singer and actor Anthony Newley stepped into the top hat. If you think the 1999 version was star-studded, check out this one:
"¢ Red Buttons as the White Rabbit "¢ Sherman Hemsley as the mouse "¢ Shelley Winters as the Dodo Bird "¢ Scott Baio as the Pig "¢ Sammy Davis, Jr., as the Caterpillar "¢ Imogene Coca as the Cook "¢ Telly Savalas as the Cheshire Cat "¢ Roddy McDowall as the March Hare "¢ Arte Johnson as the Dormouse "¢ Jayne Meadows as the Queen of Hearts "¢ Sid Caesar as the Gryphon "¢ Ringo Starr as the Mock Turtle "¢ Harvey Korman as the White King "¢ Carol Channing as the White Queen "¢ Merv Griffin as the conductor "¢ Ann Jillian as the Red Queen "¢ Pat Morita as the Horse "¢ John Stamos as the messenger "¢ Jonathan Winters as Humpty Dumpty
I think I just might have to add that one to the Netflix queue!
8. Edward Everett Horton's portrayal of the Hatter goes all the way back to 1933. His trademark was his quavering voice and fretful personality, so he was a natural choice for the character. The film was expected to be a smash hit at the box office "“ the lineup was full of stars and they released it just a year after what would have been Lewis Carroll's 100th birthday, but, sadly, it was a flop. Studio execs later decided that the reason the movie did so badly is because all of its top-tier celebrities were so obscured under tons of makeup and elaborate costumes. Although you may not know Horton's name, you've probably seen or heard him somewhere "“ he has been in everything from I Love Lucy to Rocky and Bullwinkle (he was the narrator for "Fractured Fairy Tales") to F Troop to Batman.
And, as promised, the video of Johnny's surprise visit to ComicCon: