Tag Archives: Neverland

Peter Pan “You Can Fly!” (1953)

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One of my favorite moments in Peter Pan is when Peter teaches the Darling children how to fly and they set off for Neverland. As a little kid, I loved the idea of just being able to launch into the air and fly like a bird (imagine my disappointment when all the happy thoughts in the world couldn’t get me off the ground). “You Can Fly” serves as a transition from the ordinary world of London to the extraordinary world of Neverland. This song is different from other Disney songs in that, apart from some half-sung verses at the very beginning, Peter and the Darling children don’t sing at all. Instead their journey to Neverland is narrated by a chorus.

Each of the children has a slightly different style of flying. Wendy is the most graceful, John uses his umbrella to turn corners, and Michael (being the youngest) has an almost clambering style (think of how little kids kick in a swimming pool). Naturally none of them are as good as Peter, who can do all kinds of tricks while he flies.

Think of a wonderful thought,
Any merry little thought,
Think of Christmas, think of snow, think of sleigh bells,
Off you go, like reindeer in the sky!
You can fly, you can fly, you can fly!!!

Think of the happiest things,
It’s the same as having wings,
Take a path that moonbeams make,
If the moon is still awake,
You’ll see him wink his eye (ohh…)
You can fly, you can fly, you can fly!!!

I absolutely love the moment when Michael stops and notices Nana trying to fly after her charges. It gets even funnier when he grabs Tinker Bell and sprinkles some fairy dust on the confused canine, sending her soaring into the air bottom first. The only reason Nana can’t follow is because she’s tied by her leash, so she can only float awkwardly in the air as the children fly away. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if Nana had been able to fly with them (probably she would have kept trying to take the children home).

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Off you go with a Hi and Ho
With the stars beyond the blue
There’s a Never Land waiting for you
Where all your happy dreams come true
Every dream that you dream will come true

When there’s a smile in your heart
There’s no better time to start
Think of all the joy you’ll find
When you leave the world behind
And bid your fears good-bye
You can fly, you can fly, you can fly, you can fly, you can fly!

Tinker Bell, being the jealous type, is not thrilled that Wendy is coming along. She’s already trying to sabotage the trip by messing up her reflection in the water but it quickly comes back to haunt the fairy as she’s nearly snapped up by several hungry fish. This won’t stop Tinker Bell though, as she’ll try again once they reach Neverland.

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When there’s a smile in your heart
There’s no better time to start
Think of all the joy you’ll find
When you leave the world behind
And bid your fears good-bye
You can fly, you can fly, you can fly, you can fly, you can fly!
You can fly, you can fly, you can fly!

The song fades away with Peter and the children well on their way to Neverland, “second star to the right and straight on till morning.” I can’t overstate how much I love listening to this song, it’s a perfect Disney tune. It’s full of joy, innocence, and a rising sense of adventure as they fly onward to Neverland.

What do you think about “You Can Fly!”? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Peter Pan “Following the Leader” (1953)

Peter Pan “What Made the Red Man red?” (1953)

Peter Pan “The Elegant Captain Hook” (1953)

My Thoughts on: Peter Pan (1953)

Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

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My Thoughts on: Peter Pan (1953)

Prior to getting a copy of Peter Pan for Christmas this year, it had been a number of years since I’d seen the film, so it was nice to sit down and revisit one of my favorite Disney films. Very loosely based on J.M. Barrie’s novel, Peter Pan follows the Darling children: Wendy (Kathryn Beaumont), John (Paul Collins), and Michael (Tommy Luske) as they fly off to Neverland with Peter Pan (Bobby Driscoll) and Tinkerbell for a series of adventures.

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Upon arriving at Neverland Peter has to deal with his long-time nemesis Captain Hook (Hans Conried), who is bound and determined to get revenge on Peter for cutting off his hand some years ago and feeding it to the Crocodile, who has been following him ever since in anticipation of getting the rest of him someday. The scenes with the Crocodile are probably my favorite apart from the flying sequences. You’re never quite sure when or where the Crocodile is going to show up, and Hook’s reactions are priceless each time he hears the “tick tock” of the clock inside the Crocodile’s belly.

Speaking of Captain Hook, he’s one of my favorite Disney villains. Hook was created at a time when Disney took a more comedic approach to their villains, so despite his many, MANY threats (including shooting a pirate in the middle of his cadenza), you never really get the impression that Hook is a major threat, because Peter will always find a way to get the upper hand. Also, I have to add that Mr. Smee is also one of my favorite characters: he’s so nice and polite that one wonders how he ended up on a pirate ship. Throughout the story, Smee tries again and again to get Hook to give up his pursuit of Peter Pan and go back to sea, and finally at the end he gives up and heads off in his own boat.

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The film does contain a number of what are now considered troubling sequences with Indians (the film employs practically every stereotype associated with Native Americans). As a child these scenes didn’t bother me because I didn’t know any better, and even now I don’t let it bother me too much only because I remind myself that the film was made in 1953 when things were very different culturally. Years afterward the animators admitted that if they could do it all over again they would animate the tribe differently.

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I feel very badly for Wendy throughout this film: she’s so eager to head off to Neverland but her adventure is hardly what she expects. First of all, she gets shot down (literally) by the Lost Boys; then the mermaids (whom she expressly wanted to see) try to drown her while Peter laughs; and worst of all, Peter ditches Wendy to celebrate with Tiger Lily. It’s no wonder Wendy decides to head for home not long afterward. I do like the reveal at the end that George Darling (the father) vaguely remembers going on his own adventure with Peter Pan and the flying pirate ship. It’s a twist that breaks the trope of parents reassuring the child that whatever happened was “just a dream.” Because in this case both parents take notice of the flying ship, which means Wendy was telling the truth!

One last thought: I love the scene at the end when Tinkerbell covers the pirate ship with pixie dust and it flies into the sky.

What do you think about Disney’s Peter Pan? Was it a favorite when you were growing up? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Animated Film Reviews

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Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

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