May 27, 2024


The Gods Made Home

Make Room For Tinkerbell

In 1911, J.M. Barrie created a book titled Peter and Wendy that was based on a play he wrote in 1904. Tinkerbell, Peter’s helper, was and is one of the interesting characters coming from the book and play. Tinkerbell appeared in the official sequel that was commissioned by Great Ormone St Hospital which was known as “Peter Pan in Scarlet” and then in a book series called “Peter and the Starcatchers” by Ridley Pearson and Dave Barry. She was also in many film and TV adaptations of the story and truly rose to fame in the 1953 animated film “Peter Pan” by Walt Disney. She has since become one of their official mascots.

Tinkerbell was in fact just a minor character when J.M. Barrie created his original play. He described her in his book as little more than a common fairy. Once Walt Disney produced his legendary animated adaption, she rose to fame and has since become a very popular Disney character. Since the initial Peter Pan film was made, Tinkerbell has moved on to do 3 more motion pictures of her own. (Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue is anticipated to be out September 21, 2010)

In the original story by J.M. Barrie, Tinkerbell’s name came about since her job was to patch up cauldrons and pots. That all changed after she learned how to utilize her fairy dust to her benefit. Tinkerbell is correctly spelled as one word or Tinker Bell as two. But, in the film, Captain Hook is heard to address her as Miss Bell. That provides the feeling that she has a first and last name.

When the play first came out the playbill listed Tinkerbell as being played by Jane Wren even though Tinkerbell was just a beam of light. The hoax went over so well that it fooled the HM Inspector of Taxes who proceeded to send Miss Wren a tax claim. This further helped market the magic that surrounded Tinkerbell.

Tinkerbell was always played as a revengeful, sassy, precocious character during those times but in point of fact she was just ahead of her time. In that time period female characters were usually submissive, undemonstrative and would never just do as they pleased like Tinkerbell did. When her character was being created there was a considerable amount of concern on exactly how Tinkerbell should be portrayed. It was felt that “being independent was not a very good model for little girl’s”. It was then decided that the character would be kind of a half-girl, half-woman so she would be perceived as a female character in transition who would be emotional and consequently more acceptable.

Every night at Disneyland, Tinkerbell still flies across the skies above. When Disneyland decided to do this in 1961, they hired a very diminutive lady named Tiny Kline. She was four feet ten inches tall and weighed only ninety-eight pounds. She was sixty-one years old at the time and a past aerialist from the circus. When she got to the end, the only way to stop her was by running into a mattress. In authentic Tinkerbell fashion, Tiny was very volatile and in 1964 at the age of 74 years old, she retired due to ill health.