Title: Peter Pan (1960) Stage play
Directed by: Vincent J. Donehue
Written by: J.M. Barrie (original play) and Jerome Robbins (adaptation)
Starring: Mary Martin as Peter Pan
Cyril Ritchard as Captain Hook
Maureen Bailey as Wendy
Sondra Lee as Tiger Lily
Joey Trent as John
Kent Fletcher as Michael
Edmund Gaynes as Slightly
Pre-screening memories: My cousins introduced me to a lot of great movies. A few years older than my sister and me, they would come babysit and bring West Side Story, or Adventures in Babysitting. They took me to the movies to see The Witches (which terrified me and I resented them for it for a long time). And one special Sunday long ago, they introduced me to Mary Martin’s Peter Pan.
I remember immediately loving this version of the familiar tale. This was before I saw Hook – a very influential movie for my generation – and probably even before I saw the animated Disney film. All versions of Peter Pan, including the book, were fascinating to me. But this one held a special place in my heart.
Part of that might be the record we had with some of the songs on it. My parents were no lovers of music, so we owned a whole three records that my sister and I played to shreds. One was the Brigham Young University choir doing their renditions of musical hits. And both Tiger Lily songs were on there. I’m sure we coordinated dances…because we always coordinated dances. And even on this rewatching of the film, I remembered all the words. Ugga-wugga-wig-wam. Racist. So racist. So fun.
It’s great rewatching a film that you think has been almost completely wiped from memory, but then discovering that all of it is so familiar. Uncanny, really.
New memories:The movie definitely loses a little of its appeal. What seemed charmingly simple to a child, is a little threadbare as an adult. Also, I’m not sure I realized it was just a filmed production of a Broadway play when I was a kid. It’s definitely an entirely different movie to someone now familiar with different aspects of filmmaking.
That said, I still loved the movie for what it was. A 47-year-old woman playing a little boy is delightful, no matter what the decade.
Download the Peter Pan with Edmund Gaynes podcast here
or you can fly, you can fly, you can fly below to listen to it on the site:
Our featured guest: ‘Lost Boy’ Edmund Gaynes
As a theatre producer, Mr. Gaynes’ Off-Broadway productions include the current hit Danny and Sylvia: The Danny Kaye Musical, as well as the recent hit plays The Rise of Dorothy Hale, The Big Voice: God or Merman?, the long-running Picon Pie, Emily Mann’s Annulla, A Brush With Georgia O’Keeffe, Trolls, Panache, Chaim’s Love Song, Matty: An Evening with Christy Mathewson, Einstein: A Stage Portrait and Bein’ With Behan, which was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award. He produced the West Coast premieres of Marry Me a Little and Starting Here, Starting Now and was nominated for four Ovation Awards, Los Angeles’ highest theatre honors, for his productions of The Taffetas and Songs the Girls Sang.
Mr. Gaynes is currently producing the National Tour of Gilligan’s Island: The Musical, playing coast to coast prior to a Broadway opening in the fall. He will also later this season be presenting Liberace: The Man, The Music and The Memories on Broadway.
He currently operates four Off-Broadway theatres in New York City (St. Luke’s Theatre, the Actors Temple Theatre and the Theatres at 45 Bleecker Street complex), as well as the Whitmore-Lindley Theatre Center and Sherry Theatre in Los Angeles. In addition to the above New York producing credits, he has produced throughout the country, with over forty productions in Los Angeles alone.
He has also appeared as an actor in 13 Broadway and Off-Broadway shows including Greenwillow with Anthony Perkins, The Body Beautiful with Jack Warden, Promenade with Madeline Kahn, Edward Albee’s Bartleby and Best Foot Forward, in which he co-starred with Christopher Walken and Liza Minnelli and sang “Buckle Down, Winsocki” on the original cast album. Directors he has worked with include Elia Kazan, Stella Adler, Herb Ross, George Abbott, George Roy Hill, Bobby Lewis, Peter Hunt, George Schaeffer, Robert Moore, Alan Schneider, Joe Layton, Gene Saks, Martin Charnin and Jerome Robbins.
TV credits range from Mary Martin’s Peter Pan to Cheers, Kojak, a recurring role on The Patty Duke Show, The Sid Caesar Hour, Playhouse 90, The Ed Sullivan Show, among many others, as well as a two-year run as Paul Stewart on As the World Turns.
Other than that, not much (!!!). Kidding, of course. We want to thank Mr. Gaynes for taking the time from his many theatrical endeavors to join us.