The classic James Barrie tale about the boy who refused to grow up, retold only last month in LA by a gymnast who refuses to grow old, is making its way to Blu-ray this week. That would be Walt Disney’s 1953 animated version of “Peter Pan,” digitally restored in celebration of its 60th anniversary release.
The Diamond Edition Blu-ray Combo Pack includes deleted scenes, a deleted song and other features, most notably “Growing up with Nine Old Men,” a splendid documentary short by Ted Thomas (son of Disney animator Frank Thomas). “Peter,” appropriately, was one of three Disney films that boasted all nine of Walt’s legendary Nine Old Men as Directing Animators. Kid actor Bobby Driscoll (“Song of the South”) voices Peter Pan, and the inimitable Hans Conried is heard as Captain Hook/Mr. Darling.
“Peter” also screens at Hollywood’s El Capitan Theatre through Feb. 7, then departs to make way for Disney's new “Oz The Great and Powerful.” Perhaps not so coincidentally, “Wicked” wings its way back to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts Feb. 20. Meanwhile, “The Origins of Oz” offers a glimpse behind the curtain at the celebrated L. Frank Baum story (aired recently on the Smithsonian Channel, it’s being released by Inception Media on DVD this month).
And speaking of “The Wizard of Oz,” the actor who played the title role in the beloved 1939 MGM film version, Frank Morgan, has a chapter all to himself in Manny Pacheco’s “Son of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History” (available in paperback from redroom.com).
Though the author neglects to mention the role of the Wizard was originally slated for W. C. Fields, he’s a writer who consistently thinks out of the box—an approach likely to have you saying to yourself, “I didn’t know that,” as you read this collection of pieces on such actors as Jack Carson, Andy Devine, Margaret Dumont and S. Z. Sakall (the head waiter in “Casablanca”). Did you know the Dashiell Hammett characters played by Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre in “The Maltese Falcon” lent their nicknames, Fat Man and Little Boy, to the atomic bombs dropped on Japan at the end of World War II? I didn’t.
More from Jordan:
Academy Award Losers, 1912-1939: Great Performances in the Oscar Hall of Shame, Vol. 1 http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ARTJGOA
‘War Horse’ at Segerstrom Center, behind scenes on ‘Black Stallion’ http://www.examiner.com/article/war-horse-at-segerstrom-center-behind-scenes-on-black-stallion
Ionesco’s ‘Chairs’ at STAGES, Off-Center Festival at Segerstrom http://www.examiner.com/article/ionesco-s-chairs-at-stages-off-center-festival-at-segerstrom
Guirgis’ ‘MoFo’ in Costa Mesa, Genet’s ‘Balcony’ in Fullerton http://www.examiner.com/article/guirgis-mofo-costa-mesa-genet-s-balcony-fullerton
Italian and British gems on DVD, Broadway spoofs & Oscar losers http://www.examiner.com/article/italian-and-british-gems-on-dvd-broadway-spoofs-oscar-losers
Disney ‘Cinderella’ on Blu-ray http://www.examiner.com/article/mariinsky-swan-lake-oc-disney-cinderella-on-blu-ray-2
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