It was a brisk January night on Hollywood Boulevard as D23 Members entered the El Capitan Theatre to catch a very special screening of Peter Pan. After picking up a caffeinated beverage and buttered popcorn, the houseguests settled into their padded seats and listened to Disney songs via the El Cap’s signature organ music.
There’s nothing like seeing a Disney film in this Hollywood movie palace, and the restored version of Walt Disney’s Peter Pan looked better than ever. It’s different than watching it at home in your living room. You seem to analyze scenes a little more closely as they are projected larger than life on the screen. With a packed house, the film’s comedy, adventure, and tender moments are magnified as everyone reacts, letting out laughs and warm sighs.
Moderated by film historian Leonard Maltin, the evening kicked off with a star-studded panel discussion. Kathryn Beaumont (voice of Wendy), Ted Thomas (son of legendary Disney animator Frank Thomas and director/writer of the acclaimed documentaries Frank and Ollie and Walt & El Grupo), and Margaret Kerry (live-action reference model for Tinker Bell) joined Leonard onstage. The luminaries reminisced about the making of Peter Pan and talked about how the film resonates with audiences today—and even more so now with Jake and the Never Land Pirates on Disney Junior.
To everyone who attended, thank you for helping us celebrate Peter Pan‘s 60th anniversary. It was definitely a night to add to your bank of “happy thoughts.”
By D23: The Official Disney Fan Club’s Billy Stanek