Through the years, even in Barrie’s own life time, Peter Pan’s name has been used to aid various enterprises ranging from J.M. Barrie’s generous gift to the Great Ormond Street Hospital through Peter Pan Records and Peter Pan Phonographs (that have nothing to do with the character or play except the use of the name as for the companies), to Peter Pan Bras. There were Peter Pan books based on the stage play long before Barrie finally novelized it (and a much better read indeed) and other Pan related books including the delightful 1909 Pauline Chase book, Peter Pan’s Post Bag, a collection of letters written to the actress over the years. A few days ago, while searching for something in my files, I stumbled across another publication by Pauline Chase, albeit, much smaller in
volume but much more ephemeral: Peter Pan in the Real Never Never Land, a 1913 booklet promoting the Fresh Air Fund in England. Perhaps Chase only lent her name for this project but the illustrations are certainly by the name represented on the cover, Elsa Hahn, who was perhaps best known for her attractive drawings for the Daily Chronicle and the Strand magazine. There are no identifiable drawings of Peter in the booklet but the cover, with its depiction of a small boy watching a star falling nearby, is probably meant to be the boy who would not grow old. Inside, are lovely illustrations of forloned boys and girls in the city and others, much more content, exploring the natural beauty of a countryside. The text opens with Peter discovering from Tinker Bell how small English children are growing up too soon due to the poor living
conditions in the city with its cement buildings, dust, and asphalt. By the end, Peter is flying to all the nurseries, men’s clubs, and city offices in the land to teach adults about F.A.F., the Fresh Air Fund. The booklet, perhaps quite rare and long forgotten, is a reminder of how Barrie used his most famous character to benefit others. Ironically, Peter’s name been used for the most ludicrous products imaginable, including ladies hats and some very sexy lingerie. Over the years I have collected unusual products benefitting rather bizarrely from the familiarity of Peter’s name. This Christmas, Dale gave me a few pieces of Peter Pan ephemera that illustrate this point succinctly, prompting me to inquire among my friends here what other unusual
products or endorsements have misused Peter’s good name. Therefore, I am requesting illustrations and a blurb or two about the advertisements or even products that you might own with Peter Pan’s name. Thus, the first in what I hope will be a continuing series; “What Were They Thinking?”
What Were They Thinking? # 1.
Peter Pan Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge
U.S. 41- One block North of Bearss Ave. Exit off I-75- 15212 Nebraska Ave.
Tampa’s Finest Steaks & Sea Foods- Serving breakfast, Lunch & Dinner- Dancing, Nightly in the Cocktail Lounge- Private Rooms for Parties, Banquet. Hours: 7 a.m. til 3 a.m.
C. “Gus” Yanez Phones- 935-9953
Nick B. Sprit 935-5165
Is it me or does it look like one of those 1960s elementary schools? Whatever, one can certainly understand why they would have had private rooms-plenty of ’em- in this tacky looking restaurant whose photo was taken, presumably, in the early ’60s, at the height of its popularity. Notice the yellow parking areas. Don’t be afraid to rent out this joint for your next function, folks; tour buses welcome!
If you have something fun (and/or pathetic like the above) to share please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org along with an attached illustration in the jpeg format I will post in on this blog.