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From making her primetime debut on ABC's "Once Upon a Time" to Ms. Bell's brand-new hardcover history, teeny Tink is having a very big week

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From making her primetime debut on ABC's "Once Upon a Time" to Ms. Bell's brand-new hardcover history, teeny Tink is having a very big week

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For those of you who are keeping tabs on which classic Disney characters have been popping up on ABC's "Once Upon A Time," this Sunday's episode really is a must-see.

Why For? Well, since Emma & the crew from Storybrooke are wandering all over Neverland searching for Henry, who should they turn to for help in their effort to find Peter Pan's camp but Tinker Bell?


Rose Mciver plays Tinker Bell in Sunday night's episode of ABC's "Once Upon
a Time." Photo by Jack Rowand. Copyright American Broadcasting
Companies, Inc. All rights reserved

Mind you, this isn't the pixie that we know from the 1953 Disney animated feature . As "Once Upon a Time" executive producer Adam Horowitz explained in a recent interview:

"Tink has gone through an evolution in our story. She begins in one place and ends in another."

And if the promo pictures for this week's episode are to be believed, at some point, Tinker Bell gets kind of cozy with the Evil Queen herself, Regina.


Regina (Lana Parrilla) and Tinker Bell (Rose Mciver) go for
a stroll around Fairy Tale Land. Photo by Jack Rowand.
Copyright American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
All rights reserved

And I have to admit that I found it kind of interesting that Adam used the word "evolution" to help describe the way Tinker Bell will be portrayed in this Sunday night's episode of "Once Upon a Time," given that -- this past Tuesday -- Disney Reads released  "Tinker Bell: An Evolution " (Disney Editions, October 2013). Which is this handsome 192-page hardcover that attempts to cover every iteration of this impish icon.


Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Animation historian Mindy Johnson starts this story just where you'd expect she should.  At the 1904 premiere of J.M. Barrie's "Peter Pan" at London's Duke of York Theatre. It was this play that actually introduced Tinker Bell to the world (Though -- if Barrie had stuck with his original name for this character -- she'd have been called Tippytoe instead). Johnson then follows Tink's flight from the stage to the big screen. To be specific, the live-action silent film version of "Peter Pan" that Paramount Pictures produced in 1924. In which Virginia Browne Faire portrayed the pixie in several close-ups.


Virginia Brown Faire stands on an over-sized chunk of an cuckoo clock to given the
on-camera impression that she's an itty-bitty fairy.

Mindy then chronicles Walt Disney's struggle to produce an animated version of "Peter Pan." Though Walt secured the screen to J.M. Barrie's books & plays from the Great Ormond Street Hospital in 1939, it would be another 13 years before Disney's "Peter Pan" would finally arrive in theaters.

"And what was the hold-up?," you ask. To be honest, one of Walt's biggest problems with this particular production was coming up with just the right look for Tink. As Johnson explains, early early on, Disney artists thought that ... Well, since Ms. Bell was supposed to be a fairy, maybe she should look a little like the Blue Fairy did in "Pinocchio."


Disney concept artists' first pass on Tinker Bell, back when this character's design
was heavily influenced by the look of the Blue Fairy in "Pinocchio." Copyright
Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

And given that the word "Bell" was part of Tinker Bell's name, Disney artists also explored the idea of making bells part of this pixie's outfit.


Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

For the better part of a decade, the staff of Walt Disney Animation Studios tried to get a handle on this character. Finally Marc Davis (who took his inspiration from the live-action reference footage that the Studio had shot with Margaret Kerry) ...


Margaret Kerry worked with oversized props to given Disney artists an idea of the many
challenges a pixie would face daily in a human-sized world. Copyright Disney
Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

... arrived at a version at this character that would actually work within the creative constraints of an animated feature.


Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

But as Mindy points out, from the very moment that the animated version of Tinker Bell appeared in Disney's "Peter Pan," this character just couldn't be contained. The public loved Tink so much that she soon began appearing in all sorts of Disney-related projects & productions. From the opening of the Disneyland TV show ...


Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

... to flying over Disneyland itself to help kick off that theme park's nightly fireworks display.


72 year-old aerialist Tiny Kline -- dressed as Peter Pan's pixie
pal -- flies over Sleeping Beauty Castle in the early 1960s at
the start of Disneyland Park's "Fantasy in the
Skies" fireworks display.

Even today, Tinker Bell maintains a very high profile within the Mouse House. And the Disney Company is committed to making sure that she and her friends always look their best. Case in point: When Periwinkle (i.e., Tinker Bell's long-last sister) was introduced to the world through Disneytoon Studios' "Secret of the Wings ," Disney Parks and Resorts went all out to make sure that this in-park version of Periwinkle looked just like the one which appeared in this 2012 home premiere. They even went so far as to do a full-body scan of the cast member who'd first be portraying Periwinkle in the Parks (so that this young woman's pixie costume could be precisely tailored to fit her form) as well as commissioning a $10,000 wig (So that Periwinkle's unique hairdo from "Secret of the Wings" could then be replicated for the walk-around theme park version of this Disney Fairies character).


The walk-around theme park versions of Tinker Bell and her long-lost sister, Periwinkle.
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Which brings me to my only complaint about Mindy Johnson's "Tinker Bell: An Evolution." I just wish that this Disney Editions book had gone to press 6 months later, so that this author could have then covered the most recent parts of Tink's evolution. Which include "The Pirate Fairy," that 2014 Disneytoon Studios release where Ms. Bell & her friends not only gets to channel their inner Captain Hooks ...


Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

... they also get to meet and interact with a younger version of this Disney Villain (who will be voiced by "Thor" 's Tom Hiddleston).


Take a look at Captain Hook before he handed off one of his
hands to that hungry crocodile. Copyright Disney
Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

It also would have been nice if Mindy would have had the opportunity to fold in a brief mention of Rose Mciver's performance as Tinker Bell in this Sunday's presentation of "Once Upon a Time."

But beyond these two minor quibbles, I give "Tinker Bell: An Evolution" high marks. From all of the great artwork that Ms. Johnson was able to unearth out of the Walt Disney Animation Research library to her spritely prose, Mindy's book is a must-have for Disneyana enthusiasts. Especially if you happen to be a fan of Peter Pan's pixie pal.


Regina and Tink knock back a few drinks in this Sunday night's episode of ABC's "Once
Upon A Time." 
Photo by Jack Rowand. Copyright American Broadcasting Companies,
Inc. All rights reserved

So let's all raise a glass to "Tinker Bell: An Evolution." The latest book from Disney Reads which would make a fine addition to any Disney history buff's library.

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