Walt Disney's Peter Pan (1953)
Publication of Peter and Wendy
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.”
~ J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Following the success of Peter Pan, eccentric J. M. Barrie set up a celebrity cricket team featuring G. K. Chesterton, Arthur Conan Doyle, Jerome K. Jerome, A. A. Milne, and H. G. Wells. Allegedly, he preferred to order Brussels sprouts for lunch every day, purely for the reason that he enjoyed saying the words. Another anecdote concerns his advice to an actor on a particular role in one of his plays: "Try to look as if you had a younger brother in Shropshire."
Sir J. M. Barrie of Thrums
Today marks the date of the debut of the play Peter and Wendy in by Scottish novelist and playwright, James Matthew Barrie (1860 – 1937), which became the well-loved children's novel about Peter Pan!
The fictional village of Thrums, which is modeled on Barrie's home town of Kirriemuir, appears in his first novels: Auld Licht Idylls (1888), A Window in Thrums (1890), and The Little Minister (1891).
Best remembered for his Peter Pan, a supernatural fantasy about a boy who refused to grow up, Barrie, the son of a weaver, Barrie studied at the University of Edinburgh. He took up journalism, worked for a Nottingham newspaper, and contributed to various London journals before moving to London in 1885.
There he met the Llewelyn-Davies boys who inspired him in writing about a baby boy who has magical adventures in Kensington Gardens (included in The Little White Bird), then to write Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up, a "fairy play" about this ageless boy and an ordinary girl named Wendy who have adventures in the fantasy setting of Neverland.
Barrie unofficially adopted the Davies boys following the tragic deaths of both their parents. Before his death, he gave the rights to the Peter Pan works to Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, which continues to benefit from them.
To learn more about the famous Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens (commissioned by Barrie and erected in 1912), click Margaret Tarrant's (1888-1959) illustration of it, titled "Peter's Friends."