Friday, October 11, 2013

A Review of ~ Tinker Bell: An Evolution Part 2 of 3

A Review of ~ Tinker Bell: An Evolution
By Mindy Johnson
Forward by John Lasseter
Act II of III

“I believe you’re going to like Tinker Bell . . . we fell in love with her . . .”
~ Walt Disney ~

“I believe if you love Tinker Bell you will enjoy this book!”
~ PrankingPixie ~

I am a huge Tinker Bell fan, as if you could not guess that by my blog and screen name. I’ve always been fascinated by her and identified with her feisty ways and feminine wiles. So when I heard about this book I knew I wanted it for my collection. This book was just released October 8th, 2013.

Reading experience: This is a quick “read” but is something you will enjoy looking at over and over again and taking your time with. The text is punctuated by beautiful pictures sharing the development and history of Tinker Bell. It is a book I see myself going back too again and again.

This book has so many interesting things to learn and see I’m going to break it up into 3 separate posts for ease of reading.

Again I must say thank you to Laura at Disney Publishing for sending me this book to review.

The book is set up as a 3 Act “Play”.
Act I shares Tink’s origin and travels from stage to cinema.
Act II shares how Walt Disney saw Tinker Bell and how she developed. In this “act” are the storyboards, some used some not and development sketches that lead to her final form. Also in Act II is Tink’s Film Debut.
Act III is about where Tink has gone before and where the Impish Icon is going from here.

I highly suggest this book for any Peter Pan, Tinker Bell or just Disney Fan out there. It is a great snapshot into JM Barrie, Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, Disney history and how a Disney character is developed.

That is it for the “No Spoilers” part of my review! Now for sharing what I found out! Read on if you wish or go get the book!! (Purchasing information, such as the ISBN # and links to the book on will be at the end of this post.

Act II’s review:

There was an American boy who just “Wouldn’t Grow Up.” Walt Disney grew up in Missouri listening to his grandmother told stories, stories that sparked his vivid imagination.
“After supper my grandmother would take down from the shelf the well-worn volumes of Grimm’s fairy tales and Hans Christian Anderson. We would gather around her, the two youngest children on her knees, and listen to the stories that we knew so well we could repeat them word for word. Next to Snow White, I cared most for Peter Pan. He did not come from our well-loved storybook, my introduction to him was even more exciting.”
~ Walt Disney ~

In 1913 Walt and his brother Roy decided to spend their entire savings to go to a production of Peter Pan. Walt remembered, “I took too many memories away from the theater with me. The most thrilling of all was the vision of Peter flying through the air.” Walt Disney later played Peter Pan in his school production further cementing his love for the fairytale.

“All of the characters Peter Pan on some way touched with magic . . .
they exist only in the land of fable and can be brought to life
in pictures only through the art of animation.”
~ Walt Disney ~

Walt Disney wanted Peter Pan to be his second full-length animated feature film. Disney started development of the story while still negotiating with the Great Ormond Street Hospital (to which Barrie had bequeathed his playwrights). It would be nearly 20 years before Walt’s vision of Peter Pan would be released.

Walt realize the significance of producing Peter Pan. The story had captured the hearts of young and old as a celebrated stage play stage play for nearly 50 years. “It was a long time before we began production,” recalled Disney. “In the first place, I was unwilling to start until I could do full justice to the well-loved story.”

Between developing new techniques in animation to create the quality necessary, financial difficulties and World War II, Peter Pan was greatly delayed.

“Nothing of importance ever happens to us after we reached the age of 12.”
JM Barrie

In 1935 storyboard artist, Dorothy Ann Blank said this, “A full cast is ready and waiting. Tinker Bell is a surefire sensation, for the animation medium can now, at last, do justice to her training, winged form and fanciful costumes.”

Tinker Bell, with her pixie dust, fierce loyalty and feisty attitude is a major catalyst for much of the action that Walt wanted to explore in his animated version of Peter Pan. She is integral to the dynamics between Peter and Wendy; her fretful behavior stirs up commotion, and then in the purest form of redemption, it’s Tinker Bell who ultimately saves the day.

“We hear now the tinkling bells chimed that is the voice of the fairy Tinker Bell. (Perhaps she could only speak in the bell voice . . .) Using bells actually as the fairy language might be possible, and would be very imaginative.”
~ Suggested treatment for Peter Pan ~ May 12, 1939 ~

Studio artist, David Hall interpreted Tinker Bell’s demeanor and explained that as the character she would become.
“Tinker Bell is a children’s fairy in that she’s beautiful and fairyish; [and] an adult’s fairy in that she is nasty underneath her beauty. For our purpose, it seems that Tink should be a children’s fairy, with a touch of poutiness and jealousy handled merely to make her human, interesting, and believable, and to add interest and humor to the story. All in all, a good fairy – – but not a syrupy one.”
~ David Hall ~

“Fairies have to be one thing or another, because being so small . . .
they unfortunately have room for only one feeling at a time.”
~ JM Barrie, Peter Pan ~

“It was a girl named Tinker Bell, exquisitely gowned in a skeleton leaf, cut low and square, through which her figure could be seen to the best advantage.”
~ JM Barrie, Peter Pan ~

Just as her features went through many iterations, so did her clothing. Looking at the pictures in the book you can see the influence of current fashion trends of the day. You also find some very fanciful flower and nature inspired attire.

At one point there was a thought to give Tinker Bell a pet. One thought was a Caterpillar that looks like a Pomeranian dog. It would chew up Tinker Bell’s leaf designed furniture and crawl up on her lap. It would never leave her little home.

Another thing that was tinkered with was a pixie-dust pouch for Tinker Bell. Should she carry in a dainty purse? Even a wand for Tinker Bell was considered for her to spread her magic. Eventually the team decided should be part of who she is – the ever-present glow.

Much time and effort was dedicated to the special effect making Tinker Bell glow. This special effect is not an easy one. Incorrectly done you could wash out Tinker Bell or diminish the fact of her glow. A correct balance had to be struck.

Many storyboarded segments reflected different adventures for Tinker Bell. Many were rejected, such as Tink having a pet because they took away from the focus of the story. Post WWII Walt had 3 teams working on various versions of the Peter Pan movie. There are several of the used and unused Storyboards in the book.

“Tink wasn’t all bad . . . but on the other hand, sometimes she wasn’t all good.”
~ JM Barrie, Peter Pan ~

One thing that JM Barrie was asked to add to his play by parents concerned that their children would attempt to fly like Peter Pan was the following comment. . .
“. . . for no one can fly unless the fairy dust has been blown on him . . .”
~ JM Barrie, Peter Pan ~
Walt Disney decided to keep that idea in his version of Peter Pan!

One sequence that did not make it into the original Peter Pan movie was a segment about a Fairy Circle where the fairies are dancing to Peter Pan’s music.

The book shares that Walt Disney tried to start the show at Never Land’s Mermaid Lagoon. It involved Tinker Bell being taunted by the mermaids and getting jealous. Walt rightly decided to stick to JM Barrie’s start in the Darling’s Nursery. But the storyboard for the sequence is in the book.

Jealousy is Tink’s greatest vulnerability. To counterbalance the jealousy her heroism was shown both in freeing the Lost Boys from Captain Hook and saving Peter from the bomb Hook sent in the guise of a gift from Wendy.

“Do you believe in fairies? Say quick that you believe. If you believe, clap your hands.”
~ JM Barrie ~

In every stage version of Peter Pan when Tink is dying Peter calls out to the audience to clap to save her life. The clapping is a way to affirm you believe in fairies and therefor save her. Audiences around the world have clapped loudly and some people even cried when Tink is dying and the only way to save her is to clap.

Walt chose to go a different way with his version of Peter Pan. He chose to have Peter affirm his affection, belief and need for Tinker Bell. This decision was made because film audiences might not clap or the audience might be small and the call to clap awkward.

In 1949 there was a series of special storyboard showings for a wide range of private audiences to test the acceptance for Peter pan. The reactions were mixed. By 1950 the final screenplay was done and Tinker Bell was about to take flight.

There were many design changes on the way to the screen for Tinker Bell. Marc Davis was chosen as lead animator for Tinker Bell. She became one of his favorite characters to design and animate.
“We knew we wanted her to be a pixie. We wanted her to be cute and to be sexy, because that was a part of her character. She was a woman and she was jealous of Wendy and this relationship with Peter Pan. This [approach to Thinker Bell] had been designed in our Story Department. I got it and developed my version of it.”
~ Marc Davis ~

There were several “live models” for Tinker Bell.

Ginni Mack worked in the Ink and Paint Department at the Disney Studio. She was often called upon to pose for publicity photographs for the department. One day she had an unusual request: “I was told she was a pixie. That is all they said. Marc Davis was there, and this was for the model sheet. They set up lights and told me what they wanted me to do and sketched it. They didn’t have me put on a costume or anything special, but it was for the basic heads and a few poses.” Ginni Mack remembers becoming Tinker Bell’s face model.

Because Tinker Bell was a pure pantomime character they needed to catch the physical movement that went with each ‘attitude’. Dancer/Actress Margret Kerry was chosen as a physical model. Being a dancer she was use to using her body to tell a story with movement. Using oversized props they took film footage and stills of Margret as Tink in different situations. Marc Davis used this to help him convey the movements and body language of Tink’s emotions.

“Actually, she was kind of a fun little thing to do. She was something else.”
~ Marc Davis ~

Marc Davis kept a close eye on all aspects of Tinker Bells development through production. He wanted her to be just right. He ensured that her expressions, posture and movement conveyed the full range of emotions.

“Marc was proud of what he did with Tinker Bell. I don’t think there was any other animator at that time that could have done the pantomime as well as he did – none of them wanted to do it; it was such a challenge. Marc always loved to be challenged – he didn’t take well to doing the same thing over and over.”
~ Alice Davis ~

February 5th, 1953 Disney’s Peter Pan debuted. Tinker Bell was an instant hit! At the premier was Herbert Brenon, director of the 1924 live action version movie of Peter Pan. This is what he said to The New York Times, “Absolutely magnificent! Cartoon is the ideal medium for portraying the role! Above all, it is Tinker Bell, the new darling in Walt’s gallery of cartoon celebrities. She will live in my memory as the finest animated creature I have ever seen Disney project!”

Here is a link to the other posts about this book:

Links and information on the book:
Tinker Bell An Evolution on

Barns & Noble

ISBN #: 978-1-4231-7201-7

My Christmas book, “An Angel Remembers 25 Voices of Christmas” is available!!
This is a collection of 26 short Christmas stories that together bring the amazing events of Christ’s birth alive. It is my hope that this will help encourage families to spend 10-15 minutes a day together during the busy holiday season remembering the true reason for the season.
You can find it for ALL eReader formats and PDF at:

For your Nook the link is:

It is also available at the iTunes book store and many other ebook seller sites.
The only big site not carrying my book is Amazon.
You can download a Kindle version from

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