Disney's beloved "Peter Pan" hits Blu-ray for the first time on its 60th anniversary. The studio is issuing three different editions of the 1953 classic, all of which come with the feature "Tinker Bell: A Fairy's Tale" and never-before-seen deleted scenes, deleted songs and an alternate ending.
All three versions also come with the "Nine Old Men" documentary, a behind-the-scenes look at the nine artists and animators who contributed to many of Walt Disney's most famous films, as well as their children.
The movie is directed by Ted Thomas, the son of "Peter Pan" lead animator Frank Thomas.
"At the heart of Peter Pan was this idea of family, much more so really than growing up or not growing up," Ted Thomas tells USA Today. "That led to, 'What was it like growing up as a Disney brat?'" The answer to that question was "a charmed life," where Walt Disney was often dropping in.
"He was a very good boss for my dad," Thomas tells the paper. "He was a very good boss for anybody who was on his wavelength, and he was a pretty hard boss to be around for anybody who wasn't. You look at the Nine Old Men, they were all incredibly talented but they also had the ability to be on Walt's wavelength more often than not."
Eventually, Disney became more interested in projects like his theme park and left the animators to work on their own. Frank Thomas wasn't given very strong direction on what kind of personality to give "Peter Pan" villain Captain Hook, his son says. He was inspired by the voice work of Hans Conreid. Ted says the fact that his father chose to make Hook a bit of a dandy, "makes Captain Hook a fascinating character. He's this chameleon who thinks he's a very grand fellow but actually has a pretty callow heart. He's not as big or as bad as he'd like to think he is."
Thomas says he's surprised to find that today's generation often doesn't realize that "Walt Disney" was a real person. "That's one of the reasons why I feel it's still worthwhile to tell these stories," Thomas tells USA Today. "The climate that they worked together in and their output, it's still unique. It's pretty remarkable that you keep watching anything 50 or 60 or, in the case of 'Snow White,' 70 years after it was made."
He has one grand niece, 12, who's a big Tinkerball fan, "She can appreciate the artistry and is a little bit awestruck that she's got a relative who was involved in the making of it."
Frank Thomas discussed working on Hook in the 1995 documentary "Frank & Ollie," about him and fellow animator Ollie Johnston. They wrote several books together, including "Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life." Thomas died in 2004 at the age of 82.