about Tinker Bell

Bryn suggested this month’s topic topic topic because Tinker Bell in specific and fairies in general are very interesting to her, and Sarah (aka Jedi Tink, for fairy’s sake) agreed! So come fly by us this month as we talk Tink and fangirl about fairies!

Question 1: What are the different versions of Tinker Bell and how have they affected us (if at all)?

  • Original Tink from Peter Pan novel (1911)
    • Bryn loves this book and highly recommends it because it is so well written and heartbreaking in many ways, especially for anyone who has loved a child who grew up. Also this:
      • Tinkerbell is WRETCHED!
      • Calls Peter a “silly ass” at least 3 times
    • Sarah highly recommends the Jim Dale-narrated audiobook because it was like an old friend stopped by and read her the book
    • Bonus: Sandy Duncan as Peter Pan in the stage play
  • Tink from Peter Pan Disney film (1953)
    • Interesting thing about Sarah’s love of Tink: It’s not based on the Disney animated film version of Peter Pan! She liked it, but was never one of her favorite Disney films. And a recent re-watch had her shocked and appalled at how Tink actually tries to straight-up murder Wendy!
    • Bryn argues that Tinker Bell in this movie is a little bit of a villain, but also is treated badly by Hook, who manipulates her because of her feelings for Peter, turns her more against Wendy and traps her. Tink redeems herself by saving Peter from Hook’s bomb, and then Peter turns around and saves Tink with his “You mean more to me than anything in this whole world” line.
  • Tinker Bell as Disneyland Park icon (1954)
    • Thanks to Margaret Kerry (the animators’ reference model for Tink in Disney’s Peter Pan movie), we learned that when Walt Disney was trying to get Disneyland park off the ground, he was advised not to use Mickey Mouse as the park’s icon, in case the venture was a failure. So he decided to use Tink (and Jiminy Cricket). Tink ended up being the main icon. She debuted in 1954 on Walt’s “Disneyland” TV series to introduce the TV series’ four realms. . 
    • Gina Rock is flying Tink at Disneyland from 1983-2005. You can hear her interview on Skywalking Through Neverland ep 191. Incidentally, a search for her name on google, and our interview with her is the first video that pops up, with key moments and timestamps shown. Super cool, Google. Also, this is why you put podcasts on YouTube, even if it is just audio only.
    • The sound of Tinkerbell’s bell ringing is evocative for Bryn as the cue to “turn the page” sound in 1970s and 1980s Disney read-along storybook albums.
    • In 2001, Sarah made a trip into the Beast’s Library in the Animation building at Disney California Adventure, where the “which character are you” quiz served up her answer as Tinker Bell. She considered it for a bit and embraced this fortunate message from the electronic Disney oracle, cementing Tink as Sarah’s favorite Disney character.
  • Tink in Hook (1991), directed by Steven Spielberg, Robin Williams as Peter, Julia Roberts as Tink
    • Sarah and Bryn agree that this movie has the WORST Tinker Bell portrayal ever. Miscast, terrible costume, terrible wig, scenes are shot strangely. It’s just bad bad bad. 
    • But the movie itself is wonderful, pulling from the original book and adapting it in lovely ways to this retelling.
  • Tinker Bell films (7 released from 2008-2014 by DisneyToon Studios)
    • Tink is voiced by Mae Whitman, and it is a portrayal worthy of the legacy of our favorite feisty fairy.
    • Sarah and Bryn both love these films and felt they could have been released in theaters.
    • Sarah and Richard were able to speak with Margaret Kerry about the movies and  Margaret even reviewed the films for an episode of Skywalking Through Neverland.
    • Playing fairy: Due to the popularity of the films with little girls, Sarah got to play Tink, and her frost fairy sister, Periwinkle, a lot at kid’s parties during that time. They were also popular cosplays at conventions.
    • NOTE:Sarah will never watch Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast again. Way to end on a downer, Disney! 
    • Tink from these films is Bryn’s favorite Tink and her favorite of the films is Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue. (Honorable mention to The Pirate Fairy because it’s also really good and has the super bonus of featuring Tom Hiddleston as a young James Hook).
    • Original songs from the films are very good, too.

Question 2: What do we want to learn about fairies/Tink?

  • Origin stories: The faeries appear in folklore from all over the world as metaphysical beings, who, given the right conditions, are able to interact with the physical world. 
  • One theory is that the fairies were originally worshiped as gods, but with the coming of Christianity, they lived on, in a dwindled state of power, in folk belief. 
  • Fairy Classifications
    • Fairies are not just small and winged. They are mischievous, bad, and also leprechauns, ogres, gnomes can be classified with fairies. So there are 4 different classifications for fairies throughout time.
      • Tricksters (mischevious, pull pranks, sometimes more sinister),
      • Elementals (not as popular) – Paracelsus, classed gnomes and sylphs as elementals, meaning magical entities who personify a particular force of nature, and exert powers over these forces. Folklore accounts have described fairies as “spirits of the air” 
        • Makes Sarah think of Fantasia and Tinker Bell films
      • Changelings (theft of human baby and substitute it with a fairy one, fairies abducting humans)
      • Ethereal Spirits (most common now – small, angelic with magical abilities and wings), 
        • The Victorians changed the meaning of fairies into what we think of today. making fairies mostly benign, smaller and winged. 
        • This is Tink
  • Fairies around the world
    • “Fairy” is a European word. Let’s explore some of the supernatural beings and spirits around the world
    • Asia
      • Foxes are very popular in many Asian folk tales
      • Japan: Kitsune: Fox fairies that can morph into human form
        • Udon dish named for the fox, who in many stories is said to love aburaage (a deep-fried tofu pouch) for which the dish is named
      • China: huli jing, shape shifters, take human form, nine-tailed fox is most famous
    • The Americas
      • Mayan: alux, nature spirits who scare humans
      • South/Southeastern Mexico: Chaneque, elf who is small like a toddler but has the wrinkled face of an old person
    • Africa
      • Senegal: Yumboes, earliest reference from early 1800s from an Irish, but the provenance is a little sketchy
    • Hawai’i  
      • Menehune, who are mythical dwarf people who live deep in the forests and valleys of Hawai’i
      • Favorite foods are fish and bananas
      • Excellent craftspeople who work during the night

Question 3: What are you excited about regarding fairies/Tink?


More fairy stuff!

  • Great for kids: In the Realm of the Never Fairies was published by Disney Press with text by Monique Peterson and illustrated by the Disney Storybook Artists. It seems to have served as a bit of a bible/blueprint for the Tinker Bell movies and is delightful.
  • Not for kids: A hilarious and possibly disturbing collaboration between Monty Python’s Terry Jones and illustrator Brian Froud, Lady Cottingon’s Pressed Fairy book

More Tinkerbell movie stuff!

Easter eggs Bryn noticed after recording this episode:

  • The Pirate Fairy
    • A TTME Tea episode throwback! James Hook serves Zarina “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot,” a la Captain Picard in Star Trek!
  • Tinkerbell and the Legend of the Neverbeast
    • Star Wars reference! Animal fairy Fawn tells Tink to “fly casual” when they are transporting a hidden baby hawk through the fairy village. We love a good Han Solo quote!

About Totally Tell Me Everything

Two friends, one fun topic, three burning questions = lots of fun conversation! Each month we pick a topic and ask each other three questions about it – we learn about the subject, our past and each other. So come sit by us and we’ll totally tell you everything!

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