Saturday, June 20, 2015

Matched Pair of Original Production Drawings of Captain Hook and Mr. Smee from "Peter Pan," 1953

Original matching production drawings of Captain Hook (graphite, red, and purple pencils on peg hole paper, numbered 41 with production numbers lower left) and Mr. Smee (graphite and red pencil on peg hole paper, numbered 241 with production numbers lower left) from "Peter Pan," 1953; Size - Captain Hook: 6 1/5 x 5 1/4",  Smee: 4 1/4 x 2 3/4"; Both Sheets 12 1/2 x 15 1/2"; Unframed.

Captain Hook was animated by legendary Frank Thomas and voiced by Hans Conried.  Conried was also the voice of George Darling, which is consistent with the roles of "Peter Pan" for the stage.  I remember seeing Conried acting on "I Love Lucy" where he played an English tutor as well as playing the character Wrongway Feldman on "Gilligan's Island."  His voice was so distinctive and so memorable that he was perfect for the role of Captain Hook; as he had a wonderful way of conveying both the rough gruff pirate role as well and the sly calculating villain.

Photograph showing the entire Captain Hook animation sheet with left production numbers.

Frank Thomas's first sketches of Captain Hook were much more menacing than the final product.  Walt Disney felt the character was going to be too frightening for children and so Thomas toned down his drawings.  The result is a wonderful villain and I would say that he is my favorite male villain in the Disney film world.

Photograph showing the entire Mr. Smee animation sheet with left production numbers.

Mr. Smee was animated by Ollie Johnston and voiced by Bill Thompson.  Smee was a wonderful pirate henchman sidekick for Captain Hook and the remarkable friendship that existed between Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, which is well documented; may account for why the villainous pair seemed to work so well together.  Of course the voice talent of Bill Thompson was also a fantastic addition.  Thompson was well known already at MGM for his voice of Droopy and of Droopy's nemesis Spike.  At Walt Disney studios he would have a long career as the voice of the White Rabbit and the Dodo in Alice in Wonderland, of course Mr. Smee (and some of the other pirates) in Peter Pan and King Hubert in Sleeping Beauty.  Bill Thompson's largest showcase for his voice skills was in Lady and the Tramp (1955), where he performed five different dialect parts, as Jock the Scottish Terrier, Bull the Cockney bulldog, Dachsie the German dachshund, Joe the Italian cook, and the Irish policeman in the zoo.

This drawing pair is quite extraordinary, as this is a key matched set of drawings of both Captain Hook and Mr. Smee.  Captain Hook has a fantastic expression; both eyes and his mouth are open, as well as his eye brows raised as he looks at and speaks to Mr. Smee.  As Smee helps Captain Hook get his overcoat on, the following dialog occurs:

Captain Hook: "We've got him this time, Mr Smee."
Mr. Smee: "That we have, Captain."

To view the scene which these drawings were used to create, click on the short video below: