While writing another short play, “Daughterland“, I wanted a whole new spin on Disney’s Tinker Bell. So more research. This is what I found: James Barrie’s first draft of his famous story (1924) of the magical boy who never grew up originally christened the world’s most famous female fairy as “Tippy-Toe.” By the time the play was first performed, the little pixie had been renamed “Tinker Bell” and has remained so ever since.
Probably most readers know that a tinker was an itinerant tradesman who mended pots and pans. He rang his distinctively high pitched “tinker’s bell” to announce he was in the neighborhood
Barrie pictured the fairy with fiery red hair because she was so small she could only have one emotion at a time, and the red hair seemed to reflect her most common emotions. From Barrie’s unpublished screenplay, here is the description of the first appearance of Tinker Bell:
“The fairy, Tinker Bell. Swallows perched on the outside of the window. The fairy music comes up. The fairy, Tink, flies on and alights on the window sill. She should be about five inches in height and, if the effect can be got, this should be one of the quaintest pictures of the film, the appearance of a real fairy. She is a vain little thing, and arranges her clothes to her satisfaction. She also keeps shoving the birds about so as to get the best place for herself. Finally, she shoves all the swallows off the sill.”
When the animated feature was first released, the Disney publicity department insisted that this would be the first time that Tinker Bell would be visible as more than just the little spot of light flitting around the scenery. In actuality, a silent movie version of Peter Pan released by Paramount in 1924 had a live actress appear briefly in some close-ups as Tinker Bell. Courtesy of Wade Sampson My research changed the way I thought of Tinker Bell, the Disney version. In doing so, my ‘Tippy’ (yes, I went with her orginal name) is quite different. But the play is really about a father and daughter trying to find new ground in their relationship after divorce.