"Peter Pan"

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Disney's animated version of Peter Pan (1953) never really interested me, but I watched this video of the Broadway version more times than I can count.  Looking back, I realize that my willing suspension of disbelief combined with my utter naivete led me to believe some pretty strange things:

1.  If a girl wears a very short belted outfit, tights, and cute boots, everyone will assume she's a boy.  While this may have been true in the 1960s, today, thousands of sorority members across the nation have adopted this as their daily uniform.  Mary Martin would more likely be mistaken for a Chi Omega than a puckish lad.

2.  Just think happy thoughts and you can fly.  Tried it.  Doesn't work.

3.  A large dog is an excellent substitute for a human child care provider.  I do see the advantages of this: you only have to pay the help in cans of Alpo, and they're less likely to seek better employment elsewhere.  However, a problem does seem to be made apparent when Nana is tethered to her doghouse and your children are abducted by an enigmatic eternal manchild.

4.  You can detach your own shadow and sew it back on.  When I was inside the house watching the movie, I would realize that I had no shadow and begin to worry, but once I was outside, it would be there again.  Shadows are like muddy boots or stray dogs; you pretty much have to leave them at the front door.

5.  Soap does not make a good adhesive.  This one's actually true.

6.  Not believing in fairies will kill them.  Well, this idea will scar a child for life.  Every kid should probably buy into a kind of Pascal's Gambit re: fairies, and believe in them just in case.

7.  Clapping will bring someone back to life.  If you're ever with someone on his deathbed, and he expires, you probably don't want to start clapping.  Witnesses might get the wrong idea.

8.  You can shoot a woman in the heart with a bow and arrow and she will agree to be your "mother."  This is probably not a good idea in general.

9.  You can abduct women out of their bedroom windows to force them to do your "spring cleaning."  See above.

10.  "Indians" are blondes who say things like "Ugg-a-wugg."  Ugh indeed.  This one's actually pretty ugly.  Talk to your children about how lyrics like "ugga-wugga-wigwam" and "ugga-wugga-meatball" (???) are pretty strange choices coming out of the mouth of a very Nordic-looking "Indian."

Lesson learned:
Take note, Spider-Man musical--this is how you do non-injurious Broadway stuntwork.

Peter Pan. Dir. Vincent J. Donehue.  Perf. Mary Martin, Cyril Ritchard, Sondra Lee.  NBC, 1960.
Buy Peter Pan [VHS]
(Watch the Indians' dance on YouTube here)

1 comment:

  1. If you want to, you can never grow up. Wat too many people seem to believe this. The result is some very childish adults.