Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Destination D - 75 years of Animation - Tinker Bell

The next panel was Tinker Bell - The Evolution of a Disney Character and was hosted by Mindy Johnson author of the upcoming Tinker Bell book (2013).  She explained that Tinker Bell orginally started in the play with a nickname picked after a brother's trait of clapping his feet.  It was decided that the character would be voiced by a bell, so stage hands would call: cue the tinker bell, and that name stuck.  There is a tradition that when the show is played the playbill names Jane Wren or Jenny Wren as the actress who plays Tinker Bell.  The Britsh Tax Board mailed letters to collect taxes from the actors, including Wren.
The play was very successful and it wasn't long before it was brought to film.  In 1924 Mary Pickford wanted to play Peter, but didn't get the role in the film version of Peter Pan.  So when Disney started the working on the ideas for Peter Pan, they looked back at a variety of different fairies in the Disney family including Fantasia and the Blue Fairy (modeled by Marge Champion).  If you have a very quick eye you can see Tinker Bell as a red head in the model shop scene of The Reluctant Dragon.
The next guest to join the session was an ink and paint girl Ginni Mack.  She was often called upon to pose in pictures of celebrities with famous people touring the studios including Bing Crosby (to help promote Ichabod).  When called upon to do a photo shoot with Walt, she was nervous and was told, just look at my ears and pretend I'm Clark Gable.  That lightened the mood.  Mack was one of the first they called to model for the pixie's face.  The most amazing part is they had pictures of her with Roy Williams but they only identified Ginni Mack as the woman this June.   She talked about how important it was for the artists to learn to float paint, no brush strokes could show.  They worked on 10 to 12 cells at a time.  The paint to add the shimmer to the wings was so specialized, it had to be kept refrigerated. Kathernie Beaumount also did some modeling for the pixie.
The next guest was Margaret Kerry - also known as the best legs in the world.  Then Peggy Holmes (in charge of the latest spin off movie) and Mae Whitman (voice of Tink in the newest movie).
Tinker Bell has a life well beyond Peter Pan and (in my humble opinion) all the crazy spin-offs.  She was introduced to the world in the 1951 Christmas Show (with the magic mirror hosting).  She opened Disneyland, the Wonderful World of Color, and the Wonderful World of Disney.  There were Tinker Bell souvenirs all over Disneyland, and in 1958 she flew into the Hollywood Bowl (a 70 year old woman no less!).  She did marking for NBC bread, American Dairy Association, and Peter Pan Peanut Butter.  She also appeared in the Black Cauldron and Roger Rabbit.  In 2008 she became a wax figure in Madame Tussauds and has a Hollywood star.
Sorry for the lack of pictures - none allowed this session.

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