Based on the play by J. M. Barrie, 1953’s Peter Pan was anything but a child’s story. The play was always on Walt Disney’s short list of properties to be developed into a film, with development beginning as early as the mid 1930’s. But the rights and circumstances proved elusive, and it was not until 1947 that the studio was seriously able to start production in earnest.
Peter Pan featured Kathryn Beaumont- who had just starred as Alice in Disney’s previous feature film- as Wendy. Disney regular Bobby Driscoll, who had previously appeared in Song Of The South and So Dear To My Heart was brought in as Peter’s voice and close-up model; this would be Driscoll’s last work at the studio. Sadly, he would die penniless and addicted to drugs in the back alleys of New York fifteen years later. He was buried as John Doe in Potter’s Field, and it would be two years before he is identified by his fingerprints from the morgue.
One famous fallacy regarding Peter Pan is that Marilyn Monroe was the life model for Tinker Bell. As nice as it would be if that were true, it just isn’t. Just look at Tink- she has a rather squat body- not Marilyn’s hourglass. Actually it was Margaret Kerry who is the physical basis for Tinker Bell. She posed for reference film shots on a sound stage; the footage was later used by supervising Tinker Bell animator Marc Davis. Interestingly, Kerry also provided the voice of the redheaded mermaid in the film.
Another voice fact worth noting is that both George Darling and Captain Hook were voiced by the same man: Hans Conried.
When originally released, the film was a commercial success, earning $7 million against its budget of $4 million. It was the highest-grossing film of 1953.
- Traditional Animation
- Walt Disney Studios
- Distributed by: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
- Cartoon Characters: Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, Wendy, John, Michael, George Darling, Mary Darling, Nana, Captain J. Hook, Mr. Smee, Pirates (Turk, Black Murphy, Mullins, Starkey, Skylights, Bill Jukes), The Lost Boys (Foxy, Rabbit, Raccoon, Twins, Chubby, Skunk), Tiger Lily, Indian Chief, Crocodile.
- Voice Actors: Bobby Driscoll, Kathryn Beaumont, Hans Conried, Bill Thompson, Heather Angel, Paul Collins, Tommy Luske, Candy Candido, June Foray; Full Voice Cast ...
- Directed By Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson.
- Produced By Walt Disney.
- Animated By Hal Ambro, Bob Carlson, Eric Cleworth, Hugh Fraser, Jerry Hathcock, Bill Justice, Hal King, Don Lusk, Fred Moore, Cliff Nordberg, Ken O’Brien, Art Stevens, Harvey Toombs, Clair Weeks; more Animators ...
- Written By Ted Sears, Erdman Penner, Bill Peet, Winston Hibler, Joe Rinaldi, Milt Banta, Ralph Wright, William Cottrell, Sir James M. Barrie; more Writers ...
- Music: Oliver Wallace, Sammy Fain, Sammy Cahn, Frank Churchill, Erdman Penner; more Musicians ...
- Editor: Donald Halliday.
- Originally Released on February 05, 1953.
- Originally Released Theatrically.
- Running Time: 76 minutes.