5 Surprising Things You Didn't Know About Peter Pan

On December 27, 1904, the play Peter Pan, by James Barrie, opened at the Duke of York’s Theater in London. Here are 5 facts that will surprise even the most dedicated fans of Peter Pan...

ADVERTISEMENT

“Peter Pan” Started Out As A Play James Barrie originally wrote Peter Pan as a play and adapted into the 1911 novel Peter and Wendy. The play received great reviews. The Guardian newspaper declared, “Even those who least relish it must admit that no such play was ever seen before on any stage. It is absolutely original — the product of a unique imagination.” The play was so popular,  it was re-staged and presented every year for the next ten years.

The Fairy Dust Was Added For Children's Safety Didn't you ever wish you could fly? It turns out that after discovering that Peter and his Lost Boys could fly, there were a number of incidents where children injured themselves after trying to "take off" from their beds at home. To prevent such injuries, Barrie introduced fairy dust into the play, as a necessary factor for flying. Once children believed they couldn’t fly without the addition of the magic fairy dust, they stopped taking flying leaps from their beds in an attempt to go airborne.

ADVERTISEMENT

Peter Pan Wasn’t Always Dressed In Green Peter Pan wasn’t dressed in all green until Disney presented him that way in the 1953 animated movie. During the stage productions, the boy who could fly wore tans, auburn, and browns, along with cobwebs. The character was named for one of the Davies boys, whose name was Peter, and for Pan, the Greek god of wild things and nature. In addition, it has been suggested that the character was based on Barrie’s own brother, who died in his teens following a skating accident.

A Famous Line From The Play Was Removed During World War I In the productions of Peter Pan staged during World War I, the line “To die will be an awfully big adventure” was removed. The line  is attributed to the original producer of “Peter Pan,” Charles Frohman. But for Frohman, that line from the play stayed with him.  It is reported that those were his last words just before he died onboard the RMS Lusitania, when it sank after being struck by a torpedo fired by a German U-boat in 1915. 

JM Barrie Gave Away The Rights To Peter Pan J. M. Barrie had been a supporter of the Great Ormond Street Hospital for a long time and had lived behind the hospital when he first moved to London. In 1929, Barrie gave the rights to Peter Pan to the hospital, and to this day, it still receives royalties every time the play is staged. Barrie requested that the amount raised from Peter Pan should never be revealed, and the hospital has honored his wishes.