Friday, 27 June 2008



to my friend


Kathryn has the distinction of being the only voice-artist to speak and sing for two of Walt Disney's animated heroines.

She was Alice in the 1950 film adaptation of Alice in Wonderland and Wendy in Disney's 1953 movie version of Peter Pan.

I first met Kathryn, some years ago when I was making a BBC radio series entitled Disney's Women and - I'm very happy to say - we became excellent friends.

Anyway, to those films that were to ensure Kathryn of immortality...

Like all much-loved movies with which we have grown up and know practically by heart, it can come as something of a surprise to find that they might easily have been very different to the way we know them now.

Many films go through a process of refinement during the filmmaking process, but this is never more true than in the case of animation, where a film can be in production for years - sometimes even decades.

Take Alice: at various times from 1932 onwards, Disney was toying with making a feature length film of Lewis Carroll's book and for a while was thinking of having a live-action Alice in an animated Wonderland.

Among those considered, over the years, for the role of Carroll's dream child were the already mature Mary Pickford and Ginger Rogers and young Luana Patten who had recently appeared in Disney's Fun and Fancy Free and Song of the South.

As it turned out, it ended up as a fully animated film, and with the twelve-year-old British-born Kathryn providing the voice for Alice alongside such celebrated vaudevillians as Ed Wynn, Jerry Colonna and Richard Hayden.

What is less well known is that Alice was originally to have featured a song that is now totally associated with a later Disney film based on J M Barrie's play Peter Pan...

I'll let Kathy explain...

I rather like the original plan but then we'd never have had that haunting song about the magical conceit that the Second Star to the Right is the way to Neverland...

You can read more about Kathryn on this well-illustrated fan-site.



Phil said...

Hi Brian,

a friend and colleague of mine, Steve Arnott, is working on an animated film project with a working title of PETER PAN IN KENSINGTON GARDENS. It thought this might be of interest to you!

There is a Facebook page for the project (only accessible if you have a Facebook account: and also a Twitter feed (viewable by anyone here: ).

If you'd like to know more about it, I'll get you some more information.

- Phil

Brian Sibley said...

Many thanks, Phil, I look forward to checking it out. I am very fond of Barrie's original PPIKG...