Little Nemo and the Umbrella Tree

With an adaptation like Little Nemo in Slumberland, it’s nice to see the source material that inspired bits of the animation. Regardless of the amount of time and effort and all the mishaps that went into getting the movie project started, the end result shows that the people behind it were either fans of the original coimc, or took the time to read through the original comic, or at least flipped through the original comic for anything that stood out.

In one scene of the animation, Nemo, Camille, and a servant, Bonbon, are traveling through the skies. A light rain begins, leading to butterflies flying them to a covering where they can keep dry.

There is a 1906 strip which begins with the princess showing Nemo the butterflies. They are in a garden where it rains for five minutes every day, so the princess takes Nemo to an umbrella tree, a tree with a top like a closed umbrella which opens when it rains.

I like the animated take on the umbrella tree, as Winsor McCay’s looks more like a concrete pole, whereas the animated counterpart is clearly a tree.

Winsor McCay’s style is clearly suited for climbing up leaf-by-leaf. This is impossible in the animated counterpart, but considering the butterflies are trained to transport people around, that isn’t an issue.

What really caught my eye was this pavilion in the water:

In the next comic, Nemo and the princess reach the ocean of pure rose water. From the beach, they walk atop the water to this pavilion. There, the princess uses a horn (much like the one Bonbon used in the animation to call the butterflies) to call the mermaids, so Nemo can meet with them.

From now on, whenever I watch “Little Nemo in Slumberland”, and that pavilion shows for a few seconds, I’ll recall that that’s where the mermaids can be seen. And I’ll know that that’s rose-scented water.

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