Tinker Bell - Disney's Top Fairy And Her Impacts On The Studio

When it comes to the face of Disney Company, I bet that most of us think immediately of Mickey Mouse. But do you know that Disney has another face as important as Mickey? That is Tinker Bell, a sassy yet likable fairy, who is the character that has become synonymous with the Disney name.
Tinker Bell is a fictional character from J. M. Barrie's 1904 play "Peter Pan" and the novelization "Peter and Wendy" published in 1911. She starred in several film and television adaptations of the "Peter Pan" stories, including the animated Walt Disney film "Peter Pan" (1953). In this film, she is well-known for being envious of any girl who becomes close to Peter Pan. She is also known for her Pixie Dust, which can make you fly when sprinkled on. Since then, the lovely and spunky fairy has captivated millions of kids over several generations and greatly affected Disney's evolution. From appearing on Walt Disney Presents to being featured in shows at Disneyland, let’s look at Tinker Bell’s history with the company.

#1 Tinker Bell in J. M. Barrie's "Peter Pan" 1904

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In 1902, James Matthew Barrie published "The Little White Bird," a story about a baby named Peter who was with the fairies and birds in Kensington Gardens. Although Tinker Bell was not mentioned directly in this book, there were mentions of fairies multiple times.
Tinker Bell made her first appearance "official" in the 1904 play, opening at the Duke of York’s Theatre. In the program for the play, she was portrayed as “Miss Jane Wren” despite the fact that Jane Wren never existed. It was a made-up name for the show in order to keep the mystery and wonder of this little fairy. After that, Tinker Bell had her first visual appearance in a Paramount Pictures film in 1924, in which Virginia Browne Faire played Tinker Bell.
In 1911, Tinker Bell appeared in Chapter 3 of Barrie's book, "Peter and Wendy". This book was more closely based on the play than his first Peter story. Her name is also discussed in this book: “she is called Tinker Bell because she mends the pots and kettles.”

#2 Tinker Bell in Disney's "Peter Pan" 1953

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After "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" in the 1930s, Walt pondered making "Peter Pan". But unfortunately, Disney wasn't able to get the rights to the story until 1939. In 1940, they remade "Peter Pan," creating a storyboard and molding the characters into the roles they needed for the Disney film. Several scenes from the play and novels were cut, including Tinker Bell nearly dying from Captain Hook's poison and her snitching to Hook about Peter's location when she gets angry with him.

Source: Lamag

Tinker Bell didn't have any spoken lines in the movie, but she did have a reference model, like Peter and Wendy. Margaret Kerry, a dancer, and actress who has appeared in films and comedy was Tinker Bell's reference model. The sessions would be recorded and then reproduced by animators to perfect the character's emotions.

#3 Tinker Bell becomes a mascot

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After the release of Peter Pan and before the grand opening of Disneyland, Walt and his team worked on a television series called Walt Disney's Disneyland, aka Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. This is the first time we see Tinker Bell in the intro, after a fireworks display, and taps her pixie dust onto Walt's name. And she finally shrunk down to a beam of light that directed you through the outside of the castle.

Source: Rotten Tomatoes

In 1973, Disney celebrated their 50th anniversary, we see Tinker Bell in the Disney film intro. She swooped over the line "Happy 50 Years" and tapping her fairy dust onto it. But after that, Disney went back to using a blue backdrop with a white castle logo. Today, many people think that the beam that shot across the top of the castle represents Tink.

#4 Tinker Bell in the Disney Parks

Source: Discoveringthemagickingdom

Tinker Bell was first seen at Disneyland Park in California in the fireworks night show in 1961. She was performed by Tiny Kline, a 71-year-old retired circus aerialist. She played that role for nearly 3 years before retiring in 1964 due to ill health. And Gina Rock took her place and flew as Tink for the next 21 years.

Source: Lostcot

#7 Tinker Bell in many animated movies

Source: screenrant

In October of 2008, Disney produced a new Tinker Bell film. This film tells the story of Tinker Bell's beginnings and introduces us to a few of her fairy pals. Tinker Bell is helped by Rosetta, Iridessa, Silvermist, and Fawn to become anything other than a Tinker. It was warmly welcomed, becoming a nationwide craze among youngsters and spawning the Disney Fairies franchise. After the film's premiere, Disneyland replaced Ariel's Grotto with Pixie Hollow, a meet-and-greet area for Tinker Bell and her pals.
After that, Disney released 6 sequels to the original including: "Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure" (2009), "Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue" (2010), "Pixie Hollow Games" (2011), "Secret of the Wings" (2012), "The Pirate Fairy" (2014) and "Legend of the NeverBeast" (2015).

Source: Collider

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