7 Surprising Facts You Never Knew About Disney's Peter Pan
Voicing Two Iconic Characters
Kathryn Beaumont was just 10-years-old when she signed on to voice Alice in Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland. She impressed the head of Disney so much that he cast her to voice Wendy Darling in his next animated feature, Peter Pan.
Right Age — Right Accent!
Beaumont tells PEOPLE of the experience, "I was [working] there for quite a while, and then I was about 14, and as a result they were thinking ‘Yes! The age is perfect, and you know, she is British! Why don’t we just continue?’ So I had the opportunity of playing Wendy in Peter Pan."
Walt Disney Was Unlike Most Bosses
Of working with Disney himself, Beaumont says the experience was unlike any other, particularly as the businessman made himself available to everyone. "You never saw the heads of the studio [back then]. But here we went, and there was Walt. We had the cafeteria, and all of a sudden you’d see him walk in with a couple of friends or he’d be by himself, go down the line, look around to see if there was anybody available at a table that he knew, and walk over to sit with them to have his lunch. He was there, available, and part of the team."
Tinkerbell's Tricky Look
It took Disney animators more than a decade to find the right look for Tinkerbell. "At one point Tinkerbell was going to be a redhead, and then a brunette," Beaumont says. "Marc Davis, one of the men with Disney animation, he was the 'ladies man' who drew a lot of the wonderful beautiful women characters which were challenging. So Marc designed her to be a little girl from the waist up and a woman from the waist down."
A Model for Tinkerbell
Beaumont herself served as a model for Tinkerbell, as well as other actresses. "They really weren’t sure how they wanted to portray the character," Beaumont says. "They looked at it from this angle and that angle and really weren’t sure what to do, so they tried several different things and I was one of them."
In the end, animators found their Tinkerbell in one of the artists working on the film. "Her name was Ginni Mack," says Beaumont. "She was a cute little blonde who would wear her hair in a cute little bun, and she had cute little bangs."
From Neverland to School Rooms
Despite appearing in two Disney films, Beaumont decided to quit acting soon after the release of Peter Pan. She pursued teaching and would often delight her students in stories of her days working on Disney films. Beaumont says students frequently asked her if she played Wendy. "[A boy is] standing there looking at me and he says 'Um, well, were you Wendy in Peter Pan?' And of course when I said yes. He couldn’t handle it any longer, and he just said 'Oh!' and shot out the door."
65 Years of Magic
The fantastic world of the Walt Disney Signature Collection edition of Peter Pan is now available on Blu-ray and Digital HD.