Disney Odyssey #14 – The Second Star to the right…

Ladies and gentlemen, we’re sorry that Disney Odyssey kept you waiting so long for the next installment… This next film is very near and dear to both me and the Fella, and we wanted to give it proper time and due fanfare. We were also really busy getting married, so… more on that later! For now, though, we wanted to do something really special for this film…

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The Film: Peter Pan (1953)

The Facts:

  • The film is based on and inspired by J.M. Barrie’s 1904 stage play and 1911 novel Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up aka Peter and Wendy.
  • Walt intended for Peter Pan to be the second film following Snow White  but he had difficulty acquiring the rights. He finally reached an agreement with the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, the charity which J.M. Barrie gifted the rights to Peter Pan in 1929.
  • The entrance of the United States into WWII pushed many of Disney’s works in progress back even further, including Peter Pan, Song of the South, Bongo, Mickey and the Beanstalk, and Alice in Wonderland. 
  • Walt and the writers went through several iterations of the script, several of which were much closer to the source material. Ultimately Walt wanted to start the film with Peter coming to retrieve his shadow, as he felt Peter’s origin story was a separate tale altogether. They also adjusted the script so that Wendy isn’t actually kidnapped, but rather she comes to Neverland willingly.
  • Likewise, Walt didn’t want Tinker Bell to completely betray Peter, so he had the pirates capture her rather than have her fly to Hook and reveal Peter’s location in a jealous rage.
  • Popular rumor states that Tinker Bell’s design was based on Marilyn Monroe. This is false – she was designed after her model, actress Margaret Kerry, who also voiced the redheaded mermaid in the film.
  • This is the final film in which all of Disney’s Nine Old Men were a part of the production team.
  • A sequel was released in theatres in 2002, called Return to Never Land. The sequel takes place during the London Blitz, and has grown up Wendy’s daughter Jane going to Never Land with Peter instead.
  • Three voice actors from Alice in Wonderland appear in Peter Pan as well: Bill Thompson (White Rabbit & Mr. Smee), Heather Angel (Alice’s Sister & Mrs. Darling) and Kathryn Beaumont (Alice & Wendy).

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