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Second Star to the Right

Second Star to the Right: Peter Pan in the Popular Imagination

Allison B. Kavey
Lester D. Friedman
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 292
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  • Book Info
    Second Star to the Right
    Book Description:

    The engaging essays in Second Star to the Right approach Peter Pan from literary, dramatic, film, television, and sociological perspectives and, in the process, analyze his emergence and preservation in the cultural imagination.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-4622-3
    Subjects: Film Studies, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Peter Pan Chronology
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Introduction: From Peanut Butter Jars to the Silver Screen
    (pp. 1-12)
    Allison B. Kavey

    When I was seven years old, my figure skating club chose to stagePeter Panon ice for its annual show. Because I was by far the smallest girl who could do a camel spin, I was chosen to skate the part of Tinker Bell. My mother spent three weeks of all-nighters sewing my fairy costume, a tiny green dress with a satin petal skirt. In it, on the day of the show, I felt downright puckish—mischievous, small, pretty, and awfully proud to be skating with stars like Kitty and Peter Carruthers whom I had only seen on TV....

  6. Chapter 1 Tinker Bell, the Fairy of Electricity
    (pp. 13-49)
    Murray Pomerance

    For more than a hundred years now, onstage and onscreen, we have gazed wonderingly at, and often through our credulous applause revivified, Tinker Bell, sometimes embodied by nothing more than a well-choreographed flicker and sometimes made manifest through the performance of a human actor. She was once to be called something else. Andrew Birkin unearths notes of J. M. Barrie’s from October 14, 1903, under the rubric “Fairy,” mentioning “Fairy Tippytoe—3 inches high.”¹ If Tinker Bell, as she came to be called, was not the first fairy to be invoked on the London stage, she was in many ways...

  7. Chapter 2 “To die will be an awfully big adventure”: Peter Pan in World War I
    (pp. 50-74)
    Linda Robertson

    On May 7, 1915, a first-class passenger stood on a deck of a sinking ship. He held hands with two other men and one woman. Both he and one of his male companions had given away their lifebelts to women. As the first of two powerful green waves overwhelmed the four people clinging to each other, the man who holds our immediate attention said, “Why fear death? It is the greatest adventure in life.” The first wave subsided and the four drenched passengers continued to cling together. As the second wave crested to overtake them, the man was heard to...

  8. Chapter 3 “I do believe in fairies, I do, I do”: The History and Epistemology of Peter Pan
    (pp. 75-104)
    Allison B. Kavey

    James M. Barrie’sPeter Panhas provided the landscape for children’s imaginations for over a century, and it was first presented in literary form inPeter in Kensington Gardens. This short book provides crucial background information about the boy who chooses an eternity of childhood and independence rather than consenting to accept the privileges and obligations attached to growing up and living a middle-class life in early twentieth-century England. The concept of a world that exists alongside the everyday one has deep roots in British culture, in which fairies, elves, and changelings were regularly believed to share fields and woods...

  9. Chapter 4 “Shadow of [a] girl”: An Examination of Peter Pan in Performance
    (pp. 105-131)
    Patrick B. Tuite

    SincePeter Panopened, the play has enjoyed a long and prosperous life, and as Anthony Lane notes, “it gives freakishly little sign of growing old.”¹ However, the longevity and apparent stability of J. M. Barrie’s narrative, especially in its musical form, masks how different productions have altered the style and content of the original script. Barrie revised the play on more than one occasion, adding scenes to meet the technical demands of the early productions and modifying dialogue with the input of important cast members. In addition to the changes that the author made, other artists have adapted the...

  10. Chapter 5 Peter Pan and the Possibilities of Child Literature
    (pp. 132-150)
    Martha Stoddard Holmes

    The introduction to Donna R. White and C. Anita Tarr’s groundbreaking anthologyPeter Pan In and Out of Timecloses with a wish thatPeter Panwill “always … be read.”¹ They do not say by whom, and it is an issue that bears discussion. In the first half of the twentieth century, J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan fictions were used as readers in British state schools; appear on a nurse’s list of books for “entertaining convalescent children”; and were listed as recreational reading choices of children grades 4–6 in the “Z-section” (lowest 20 percent in terms of intelligence...

  11. Chapter 6 Disney’s Peter Pan: Gender, Fantasy, and Industrial Production
    (pp. 151-187)
    Susan Ohmer

    What we think of as the narrative of “Peter Pan”—the exploits of Peter, Wendy, and her brothers in Neverland, among Captain Hook, the pirates, Tinker Bell, and the Lost Boys—is composed of a collection of texts whose construction spanned thirty years. J. M. Barrie’s drive to represent the evanescent fantasies of childhood, along with his modernist awareness of the process of representation, led him to explore the medium of film. In 1920 he wrote a scenario developed from both the play and the novel intended to show “that the film can do things forPeter Panwhich the...

  12. Chapter 7 Hooked on Pan: Barrie’s Immortal Pirate in Fiction and Film
    (pp. 188-218)
    Lester D. Friedman

    All heroes, except one, need a villain—and that one exception is Peter Pan. J. M. Barrie’s original concept of a youth who would never grow up first appeared in an adult novel,The Little White Bird(1902), in which a London gentleman tells a young child stories about an ageless boy who inhabits Kensington Gardens at night. Following the spectacular success ofPeter Panon the London stage two years later, Barrie excerpted the chapters dealing specifically with his fanciful creation and reprinted them asPeter Pan in Kensington Gardens(1906), a slim volume with pictures by the famous...

  13. Chapter 8 “Gay, Innocent, and Heartless”: Peter Pan and the Queering of Popular Culture
    (pp. 219-242)
    David P. D. Munns

    “All children, except one, grow up.” This great opening line presentsPeter Pan’s central themes of adulthood, mortality, and developing sexuality. Growing up connotes progress, but by not growing up J. M. Barrie’s central character, Peter Pan, complicates the conventional idea of a successful adulthood as a desirable outcome. Peter Pan fundamentally critiques the appeal of chronological and psychological maturation toward adulthood, since they are the very things Peter clearly lacks. Chronicling the performers and performances of Peter Pan over the last century, Bruce Hanson noted an observation by Sondra Lee, who played Tiger Lily to Mary Martin’s Peter Pan:...

  14. Chapter 9 Peter and Me (or How I Learned to Fly): Network Television Broadcasts of Peter Pan
    (pp. 243-264)
    Teresa Jones

    Despite the spelling errors, the little girl who wrote this letter was voicing the opinions and the hopes of the millions of viewers who saw the original televised performance ofPeter Panon NBC in March 1955. When Mary Martin accepted the invitation to develop J. M. Barrie’s play into a musical, she said that she wanted Peter to fly farther than he had ever flown before.² When she agreed to two televised performances in the 1950s and then a videotaped performance in 1960 (at age forty-seven), Peter flew into the realm of mass popular culture. Consider that the audience...

  15. List of Contributors
    (pp. 265-268)
  16. Index
    (pp. 269-278)