In 1901, Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie first shared the adventures of Peter Pan in a section of his novel The Little White Bird. This mischievous flying boy who never aged piqued the interest of readers everywhere, later spurring the 1904 stage play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, and the subsequent novel, Peter and Wendy, published in 1911. Like countlessothers, Walt Disney was enchanted by thetale. He decided early on that he wantedto bring The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up to the big screen, but WWII, issuessecuring the film rights and disputes overwhat story should be told pushed productionback several decades. However, witha little faith, trust and pixie dust—as wellas the ceaseless work of talented animators,directors and voice talent—Peter Pan saw its silver-screen debut in 1953.
In the six decades since Peter and Tink first flew into movie theaters, the animated feature—Disney’s 14th—has cemented its status as one of the greats, captivating generations of critics and audiences with its charismatic characters, high-action hijinks and memorable melodies. Following its 1953 release, the film inspired Peter Pan’s Flight, the now-classic dark ride found at Disneyland, Magic Kingdom in Florida, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris, as well as merchandise, video games, a Disney on Ice production and more. In fact, the film’s lovable characters reach the far ends of The Walt Disney Company to this day—Tinker Bell steals the spotlight in the popular Disney Fairies franchise, Disney Junior’s hit series Jake and the Never Land Pirates brings a bit of the buccaneer life to the preschool set, and Peter and the Starcatcher, a play based on the 2006 novel of a similar name by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, hit the Broadway stage in April 2012, introducing show-going audiences to Peter Pan’s back story.
And now, beginning February 5—the 60-year anniversary of the film’s first release in theaters—a Peter Pan Diamond Edition Blu-ray Combo Pack will release for the first time, giving fans of the film the chance to revisit their favorite Lost Boys like never before. To prepare for Peter Pan’s Blu-ray debut, the Walt Disney Animation Studios restoration team spent innumerable hours restoring the film to its original glory. The end result is striking; Peter Pan’s crisp lines and colorful backdrops truly stun like never before. And not only does the Blu-ray release boast remarkable high-definition picture and sound, but all-new bonus features, like “Disney Intermission,” the documentary “Growing up with Nine Old Men,” “Disney View” and “Introduction by Diane Disney Miller,” take viewers inside the making of the unforgettable film.
In celebration of Peter Pan’s 60th anniversary and Diamond Edition release,
D23: The Official Disney Fan Club hosted a special screening of the film on January 11 at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, followed by an all-star panel including Kathryn Beaumont (voice of Wendy), Ted Thomas (son of famed Disney animator Frank Thomas) and Margaret Kerry (live-action reference model for Tinker Bell). D23 members showed up in droves to see the classic film on the big screen once more, as well as hear the legends reminisce about the animated classic.
With pirates, mermaids, fairies and more, there’s certainly something for everyone when Peter Pan hits stores for a limited time beginning today. Off to Never Land we go!