“The second to the right and straight on till morning. That is the way to Neverland.”
You’ve taken this journey before; a memory of childhood that has been held close, looked after and kept safe. You know the path by heart. For it is a tale of adventure ingrained into our spirits even still to this day. Over the years, you’ve seen many a variation on the definitive model, be it on the page or theatrical stage. You’ve watched each motion picture adaptation, contemplated each revival. You may have even favored one or two. Yet, few can compare with the unequaled, musically enhanced retelling of the timeless J.M. Barrie classic. Oh, yeah. I said it.
This particular interpretation of Peter Pan – beloved by so many of my generation (and starring the one and only, Mary Martin) – has always been and will continue to be my favorite. Like so many others, the 1960 televised stage-play had been recorded by my parents on VHS when it was re-released in the 80’s. It’s such a part of me now, that if I were ever to watch it without the episode previews for Alf and old Campbell’s soup ads with Jimmy Stewart, I don’t think it would have the same affect.
Be it the mixture of memorable lines from the original J.M. Barrie play and added unforgettable melodies, to the flamboyant charm of Captain Hook (Cyril Ritchard) or forgotten innocence we once knew, what is it specifically that makes this musical rendition of Peter Pan so noteworthy can be hard to pinpoint. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’ve watched it ever since I was a child, the show itself, or what. There isn’t just one scene or song that make it exceptional, but the entirety of it.
With the invention of the internet, it has been easier to access this rare, long-adored but never forgotten classic of my childhood. Peter Pan is something utterly unique. It stays with you, prompting you to pass down your memories and keep them alive.
From the first time you see Mary Martin flying across your screen – as you sit there in your PJ’s, with your best teddy bear in tow – there is doubt about it, you’re hooked. Subsequently, years after your first viewing, that same enraptured feeling comes upon you. No matter how much time passes, you’ll always remember, you’ll always keep a special place tucked away for the one-of-a-kind composition.
Have you seen this version of Peter Pan? Are you a long-time fan? Which song is your favorite? Do you have a favorite scene or line? What are some of your other favorite, beloved classics? Tell me in the comments!