Tony- and Golden Globe-winning legend Carol Channing has passed away at age 97. She had a storied career, originating the titular role in Hello, Dolly on Broadway (for which she won a Tony) and playing Muzzy in Thoroughly Modern Millie (for which she won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Oscar). She was also known for her unique voice, her most quotable line (“Raspberries!”), eating only seeds for dessert, marrying her middle school boyfriend 65 years after they left junior high, and dressing as a pirate in Skidoo, a film that can only be described as what happens when a bunch of famous people take acid and make a movie.
But for a generation of children, her role as the White Queen in the 1985 Irwin Allen mini-series Alice in Wonderland (yes, the same Irwin Allen who made The Poseidon Adventure) DESTROYED US. In the best way possible. Back when you couldn’t watch whatever you wanted whenever you wanted, this mini-series was an EVENT. Everyone anticipated the fun and frivolity of the cartoon but played by real-life '80s superstars (Donna Mills as a flower! Telly Savalas as the Chesire Cat!). In reality: light on the fun, heavy on the terrifying and batshit loonball.
In the below scene, Channing enters like a crazy person, sings a nonsensical song about jam, dances like she’s on drugs, pricks her finger, starts screaming, and turns into a sheep. It was completely terrifying, and instantly enthralling. This bizarre woman, with her strange voice, spastic movements, and remarkable ability to make a white top hat work, made a whole new generation fall in love with her while simultaneously scaring the ever-living crap out of them.
Thank you, Carol Channing. We hope, at last, you can have jam today.