PICTURES DOWN BELOW
Last night and this morning I had the oppurtunity to talk to Margaret Kerry, the live-action reference for Marc Davis in animating Tinker Bell in Peter Pan.
She is, plainly-speaking, awesome.
Last night, she spoke for about half an hour on her experiences working with Disney and in showbusiness, and I also had the oppurtunity to talk to her in a one-to-one conversation. If I hadn't have had the chance to speak to her personally, most of this post wouldn't exist because what she spoke about to the audience was no where near as interesting
Later on, when many people had left, I had the oppurtunity to talk to Margaret before she went back to her hotel. As you would expect, what she told me was slightly different from her pre-rehearsed spiel, and it was extremely interesting.
- Margaret is 77 years old and goes to the gym weekly
- She has had a sneak preview of the refurbished Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland. Later on when we had a personal conversation, I asked her if she could divulge any particular information but she had signed a confidentiality disclaimer.
- Margaret loves Disney's California Adventure. She said she could not get her head around the fact that many Disney geeks dislike the place, as she really enjoys going there. She said the excuses that some people make, such as "Mr. Disney wouldn't have done that, or this" (she actually said that example) are ridiculous and it shouldn't be compared to Disneyland.
- When she was auditioning for the part of Tinker Bell, she was alone in a tiny room with Marc Davis and could not perform her rehearsed spiel as the room was so small.
- The studio workshop designed a very crude flying machine for Margaret, but Mr. Disney stepped in at the last minute and saved Margaret from the humilation - his excuse was "Tinker Bell does not fly - she darts."
- Mr. Disney was a very charming and 'dapper' (another word from Margaret's mouth) man.
- She told a lovely story about her good friend Alice Davis - when Alice was creating the costumes for the AAs on Pirates of the Caribbean, she recommened making two sets of costumes in case of an accident, but WED said it was not needed. A few weeks later, a fire destroyed many of the AAs. WED desperately contacted Alice, begging her to drop everything and get working on new costumes straight away - but she had already made a second set.
- A few years ago, Margaret went to the cinema with her husband to see Peter Pan for the first time since 1953. Her husband said, "Margaret, I would know those hips anywhere."
- She said that when she was approached by Buena Vista to record material for the Peter Pan 45th anniversary DVD, she asked why she was asked out of the rest of the cast - her response was "Everyone else is dead."
- She still visits the Walt Disney Studios on a monthly basis.
I really appreciated her talking to me - I'm only 15 but not once did she patronise me, or look down on me. We had an adult conversation about all areas of the Walt Disney Company and she spoke to me like she was my peer - although I may disagree with some of her views, I have a great amount of respect for her and she is far more than the inspiration for Tinker Bell - she is a true Disney Legend. When we were walking back to her hotel, she stopped and picked up a piece of a litter and put it in the bin - this is a 77 year old lady, in an English town, at nearly midnight, picking up litter. I was gobsmacked.
- She criticised Alice Davis explicitly. She said that she could not understand Alice's childish behaviour as of recent times - apparently, Alice is annoyed with Disney for not giving her enough recognition for her work at Imagineering, and that not many of the newer generations of Imagineers know who Alice is. Margaret is annoyed because Alice sits at home and expects all the recognition to come to her. She said she had heard of the rumour that Alice had been involved with the recent Pirates refurbs, and it saddened her to know that it was not true as Alice is so passionate and talented.
- She is one of Michael Eisner's staunchest defenders. She says that although she understands why people can dislike him so much, she says that Disney fans and employees should be eternally grateful because without him, Disney would not be what it is today - which I must admit is very true. She stated that as of a result of Eisner joining the company, the company's profits rose 1200% and he completely turned the studio around.
- I did not want to offend her, but I felt if I did not ask questions that I wanted answers to, I would regret it later after she had left so I asked my questions in the most polite way I could. I asked what she thought of the Tinker Bell Movie being the latest in a long string of cheap sequels made by Disney. I said that I personally think they are just to make quick money - Margaret said that they are soley to entertain and keep the masses happy. I said why can't they be up to the standard of Disney classics, and she said basically it is far too expensive. Make your own assumptions.
- Margaret is on the board of directors who organise the Annie Awards.
- Margaret is a very big fan of John Lasseter, and also of Bob Iger of who she is yet to have met with.
- She is very good friends with Marilyn someone, who is head of a division at Walt Disney Imagineering.
- She lives half a mile from WDI HQ, and half an hour from Disneyland.
- She said the last time she met Marc Davis was at Club 33 shortly before he died, and he said to her "Margaret, you are still and always will be Tinker Bell."
- She recommends Over the Hedge and Cars as the movies of the year.
I have so many photos on my phone, and I'm currently searching for my CD ROM with the software to upload them onto the computer. I hope you enjoyed - I know I did. She is one awesome lady.