This month we’re doing a series called the A-Z blogging challenge where we dive into Fairytale Retellings and provide prompts for writers. Writers are the people making the books, television shows, and movies of tomorrow. For more information on the challenge check out my earlier post here.
The author, Barrie, described Tinker Bell as a fairy who mended pots and kettles, an actual tinker of the fairy folk. Her speech consists of the sounds of a tinkling bell, which is understandable only to those familiar with the language of the fairies. So if you don’t speak fairy you’re out.
The only non-fairy characters known to understand what Tinker Bell is saying completely are Peter Pan and Captain Hook, though the Lost Boys understand her to a degree.
In the first version of the play, she is called Tippy-toe but became Tinker Bell in the later drafts and final version.
Though often ill-tempered, spoiled, jealous, vindictive and inquisitive, she is also helpful and kind to Peter. The extremes in her personality are explained in the story by the fact that a fairy’s size prevents her from holding more than one feeling at a time. An interesting character trait if there ever was one.
So when she’s angry she has no counterbalancing compassion. At the end of the novel, when Peter flies back to find an older Wendy, it is mentioned that Tinker Bell died in the year after Wendy and her brothers left Neverland, and Peter no longer remembers her. (Ouch! Am I the only one who wants to cry about that?)
There is a myth that the original animated version of Tinker Bell was modelled after Marilyn Monroe. However, Disney animator Marc Davis’s reference was actress Margaret Kerry. He illustrated Tinker Bell as a young, attractive, blonde blue-eyed white female, with an exaggerated hourglass figure. She is clad in a short bright green dress with a rigid trim, and green slippers with white puffs. She is trailed by small amounts of pixie dust when she moves, and the dust can help humans fly if they think happy thoughts.
The Fast Facts
First things first, her name is often misspelled as “Tinkerbell”.
Walt Disney began working on and developing the character in 1939 when he obtained the rights to J.M. Barrie’s 1904 play.
From 1994-1999, Tinker Bell appears on the Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection intro logos, sprinkling pixie dust on the bare version of the logo to the completed version of the logo.
Interestingly enough, two versions of the scene are alternatively used: one with Tinker Bell in hand-drawn animation, the other with Tinker Bell in CGI. The Hand-Drawn Version is used with the CGI films, and the CGI version is used with the hand-drawn film, as a kind of easter egg.
For the 2009 direct-to-DVD video film Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure, Tinker Bell was given her first new outfit in over 50 years, which reflects the autumn setting of the movie.
According to Klay Hill, the director of the movie, the tomboyish look of the outfit still reveals the curves she has had since her first appearance in 1953. Her outfit is consisting of a hat, cape, long sleeve top, leggings, and boots with her familiar pom-poms.
The green hat she has along with the rest of her outfit, has a red feather, possibly alluding to Peter Pan.
In 2010, Tinker Bell was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She is one of the few Disney characters to receive a star. A star! There are seventeen others including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Donald Duck.
Speaking of Mickey and Minnie, they along with Jiminy Cricket and Tinker Bell are also considered Disney mascots.
Despite being one of Disney’s most iconic performing characters, Tinker Bell has never sung in a film, nor has she had a song that can be easily attributed to her sung by another character or off-screen.
In the book Disney Trivia from the Vault – Secrets Revealed and Questions Answered by Dave Smith, Dave mentioned that Tinker Bell is sometimes mistaken to be modeled after Marilyn Monroe, since Peter Pan was released in the same year when Marilyn Monroe was at the peak of her popularity, in 1953.
Tinker Bell’s arrival day and the starting date are November 19, as evidenced by the Nintendo DS game. It appears that time passes differently in Pixie Hollow that it does on the Mainland. You can clearly see that the winter fairies are just returning home from the Mainland in groups a few hours after Tinker Bell’s arrival.
In Secret of the Wings, there is a scene in which Tink and Periwinkle, her sister, list things they have in common by making tally marks on an ice wall. If one were to count all the markings, it would show that the two sisters have 120 things in common with each other.
Tinker Bell was born approximately 6 seconds before Periwinkle. It is easy to tell which is which by their voices, observing their necks and Tinker Bell’s position: Tinker Bell, in the first movie and in the scene where Tinker Bell and Periwinkle watch how they came to, does not wear a collar. Periwinkle is shown to be wearing a collar.
It is quite strange that Tinker Bell is making a pact with Hook, the man who has failed to kill Zarina one of his own friends in his youth. It’s possible she doesn’t recognize or remember Hook from his youth, most likely because she never actually interacted with Hook in the Pirate Fairy film.
Tink has been featured on more Peter Pan merchandise than any other character in the movie.
Because The Legend of the NeverBeast was the last film in the Tinker Bell series, it remains unknown how Tinker Bell came to meet Peter Pan. (I know, there’s a missing story here.)
Wendy Darling was the child that owned the music box Tinker Bell fixed and eventually returned to in the first Tinker Bell film. This means she unknowingly met both major characters before her adventures with them and Peter Pan began.
In the original novel, it is thought that Tink dies shortly after the conclusion of the novel, as in the year later epilogue when Wendy asks Peter about Tinker Bell for him to respond that he completely forgot she existed.
She, however, is revived in its sequel, Peter Pan in Scarlet, due to the wish of a silly blue fairy called Fireflyer who wants to meet her after hearing about her from Wendy. They go on to get married, have adventures, and sell dreams to pirates.
Tinker Bell served as the inspiration for the character of Joy, one of the five characters as the emotions of Riley Andersen from the 2015 Disney/Pixar movie Inside Out.
Tinker Bell’s movements and facial expressions in the movie Peter Pan were based on Margaret Kerry, an actress brought in by the company. In the original movie, Margaret Kerry, Tinker Bell’s live-action reference model, also voiced the redheaded mermaid.
In earlier versions of Ralph Breaks the Internet, Tinker Bell originally had a larger role in the film, where Ralph, Vanellope, and Yesss all visited Oh My Disney, but the fairy throws pixie dust on Ralph, causing him to insult her by calling her “Stinker Smell.” This has however deleted as she only appears in a small cameo role in the final cut of the film.
Got a good story or hook for a fairy story? Already written one? Place the link in the comments and share it with the rest of us.
For more blogs participating in A to Z 2020 click the link here.
ABOUT T.S. VALMOND:
T.S. Valmond is the science fiction and young adult fantasy author of The Bolaji Kingdoms Series and The Verity Chronicles. As an award-winning poet, world traveler, and sign language interpreter she uses her experiences to fuel her stories. She’s a regular contributor to the website and founder of the Riders & Flyers group.