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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Original Production Animation Drawing of Peter Pan from "Peter Pan," 1953


Original production animation drawing of Peter Pan in pink, blue, yellow, purple, and graphite pencils from "Peter Pan," 1953, Walt Disney Studios; Numbered 14 in pencil lower right; Size - Peter Pan with Present: 8 1/4 x 4 3/4", Sheet 12 1/2 x 15 1/2"; Unframed.

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The author J. M. Barrie first used Peter Pan as a character in a section of the adult novel "The Little White Bird" in 1902. He returned to that character with his stage play entitled "Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up," which premiered in London on December 27, 1904. The play ran until 1913, and it was later adapted by Walt Disney for the animated feature film entitled, "Peter Pan," in 1953.

The main character of Peter Pan was animated by Milt Kahl and Eric Larson. Kahl did the majority of the animation sequences with Larson working mainly on the flying to London sequence, as well as some animation work on both Wendy Darling and Captain Hook.


Close up of the original production animation drawing of Peter Pan.

Milt Kahl was not very excited about his assignment for Peter Pan. He had to animate both Peter Pan and Wendy Darling; two characters that had to be handled like real human beings and therefore would be a great challenge. “Peter was interesting in that you had to make him fly but after that was over he became a chore,” said Kahl. "Peter Pan's" supervising animator, Ron Clements, remembered that for years Milt Kahl resented the fact that animator Frank Thomas was assigned the character of Captain Hook instead of him. It is interesting to note that Peter Pan is one of the most interesting male protagonists of the early Walt Disney films because he is very heroic, opinionated, and has a zeal for life. Kahl’s animation of him totally embraces those characteristics as well as his great grace, expert timing, all combined with a very appealing artistic design.

Bobby Driscoll was the first actor Walt Disney ever put under contract, and was cast to play the lead character in the 1946 film "Song of the South." The film would introduce live action into an extensive animation based film. The film was very successful and turned Driscoll, and his co-star Luana Patten, into overnight child stars! The pair were even discussed for a special Academy Award as the best child actors of the year.


Close up of the production number.

Driscoll went on to appear in a large number of specials and to star in some of The Walt Disney Company's most popular live-action pictures of that period, such as "So Dear to My Heart" in 1948, and in the role of Jim Hawkins in "Treasure Island" in 1950. This last role earned him a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1953, he served as animation model and provided the voice for the title role in "Peter Pan," Driscoll's last major success. Driscoll was cast opposite Disney's "Little British Lady" Kathryn Beaumont, who was in the role of Wendy Darling. Driscoll was the model for all the close up Peter Pan scenes and the dancer and choreographer Roland Dupree was the model for the character's motion sequences. All the live action model scenes were played out on an almost empty sound stage with only the most essential props, and filmed for use by the animators.

This wonderful drawing is from the scene in the film when Peter Pan receives a wrapped present with a gift tag that reads, "To Peter with love from Wendy - Do not open till 6 o'clock." The gift is actually from Captain Hook and is a ticking time bomb set to explode at exactly 6 o'clock. Just as the bomb is getting ready to explode, Tinkerbell grabs it from Peter's hands and flies away. This is a rare drawing of Peter Pan, he is eyes and mouth open and his image is centered on the sheet. The wrapped gift part of the drawing is also a color call out for the Disney Paint and Ink Department, indicating the paint colors for both the wrapping paper, and the ribbon and bow.