An entire generation of baby boomers grew up with this stagy but magical production, which originated on Broadway but was broadcast several times on TV. They may not know Mary Martin or Cyril Ritchard--two staples of the c... more »ommercial theater in their time--for any other reason, but they'll always be able to name them as Peter Pan and Captain Hook. The story of the boy who wouldn't grow up includes a classic score with songs that can bring a tear of nostalgia to the eye of the middle-aged--like "I Won't Grow Up," "I've Gotta Crow," and "Neverland." The flying, the goofy comedy--it's all there in this video version of the classic TV broadcast. It's hard to know what sophisticated modern youngsters would make of it, but their parents will gladly sit and watch with them. --Marshall Fine« less
albertatamazon | East Point, Georgia USA | 01/22/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This edition of the famous Mary Martin "Peter Pan" is not the very first 1955 telecast. That telecast is preserved on kinescope, not videotape, and most likely exists only in black and white, as kinescopes were unable to reproduce color.
Instead, this is the 1960 production of that same musical, here preserved in color, and those who are expecting a "different" production need not worry. Most of the original Broadway cast is still here--the exceptions are the children, who naturally have been cast to replace the 1955 kids who of course had outgrown their roles. Wendy and Jane in this production are played by Maureen Bailey, who, although having an attractive singing voice, is a shrill actress who quickly gets on one's nerves (unlike Kathleen Nolan, who went on to have a successful career on television after "Peter Pan"). Liza the maid is played not by Mary Martin's daughter Heller Halliday, but by Jacqueline Mayro.
But practically everything else is the same as the 1955 production, and those who think that they have grown up watching that 1955 production are mistaken; it is this 1960 production which has been rerun over and over on television and issued on video. Yes, the sets look cheesy in comparison to what we would see today, and you can see the wires when the actors fly, but you will most likely never see a better, more heartfelt production of "Peter Pan" than this version. It is the only one which truly captures the spirit, humor and poignancy of the story, unlike the chintzy, superficial Cathy Rigby production. Mary Martin as Peter, Cyril Ritchard as Mr. Darling and Captain Hook, and Joe E. Marks as Smee have never been bettered by any other actors playing these roles."
Peter Pan in Living Color .. in Brooklyn!
albertatamazon | 11/13/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD is copied from the 1960 NBC-TV version of the Mary Martin Broadway musical. It was done on live TV [videotape was still experimental] each year from 1955 on. There's a black-and-white kinescope version of the 1955 telecast "broadcast in compatible color and black-and-white" in the NBC news archives. The 1955 telecast is considered to be the first adaptation of a Broadway musical to be broadcast live, and in color.In 1960, the folks at NBC decided to put the classic to videotape, and assembled the cast at NBC's studios in Brooklyn .. the only NBC studio outside of Burbank that had sufficient ceiling height so stagehands could do the intricate wire technique that Martin and her fellow actors used to fly through the sets.Think about this "Peter Pan" as a period piece; a slice of television's past that is fortunately well-preserved. With its grand, over-saturated RCA color ... the Broadway staging ... with choreography by the famed Jerome Robbins ... and its mono soundtrack. Not to mention the non-politically-correct Indians .. and a superb Cyril Ritchard Captain Hook.Color TV was only about 7 years old as a mass medium when this production was captured on tape. Color videotape was only 3 years old. The original tape was 2" in width, and the original tape container weighed close to 15 pounds! The cameras weighed upwards of 300 pounds, and were connected by cables as big as a large man's wrist. There were no zoom lenses. You can see some of the camera shakes in many of the dolly and tracking shots.The tape was shown yearly around Christmas time by NBC throughout the 1960s and '70s. Then some problems ensued between the charity in Britain that holds the rights to the J.M. Barrie original, and NBC. In the late 1980's the late NBC executive Brandon Tartikoff was able to clear up the rights problems, get the tape transferred and restored to modern standards. Could use a further cleaning-up using the newest restoration technology.Enjoy, have a good, safe laugh ... and just remember you're looking at history!"
F!25 | Anaheim, CA | 11/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Mary Martin version of Peter Pan will always be my link to the past when it comes to musical theatre. I grew up watching these characters, dancing along to the Indian dance, and memorizing nearly every line. Mary Martin's portreyal of Peter lacks the aura the author wrote into his first stage play "Peter Pan" (later adapted by him into the book "Peter and Wendy"), which was a reckless, and forever young child. However, Martin's acting prowess soon helps us ignore that fact. It should be noted that though it was taped live for NBC, there is no audience present. There are also several differences from the recently broadcast A&E version. Martin's version contains the hillarious "Mysterious Lady" sequence, while Cathy Rigby's production treats the rescue of Tiger Lily as it happened on Marooner's Rock (as written in the book). These two versions (assuming you have seen them both) are different enough to not be compared directly. Each of them have their own pros and cons,and both are very enjoyable. This DVD is a must own for all who, like I did, grew up watching Mary Martin fly around the stage in the colorful world of NBC's timeless broadcast of "Peter Pan.""
By FAR the best version!
Gregory Nyman | 05/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For baby boomers and their young children, THIS is the version you want. If you loved this, don't waste your money on the latest 2004 dark version which is comprised of non-stop action, violence, and special effects without any qualitative plot (what there is, is a sad perversion of the story) nor enough attention to casting. Of course, most of the X generation seems to love it-what a sad commentary! In comparison, this (Mary Martin) version is wholesome and won't give your kids nightmares!"
Simply the Best!!!
Gregory Nyman | Winchendon, MA United States | 02/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was about five years old when I first saw this on television. (Dating myself, of course - circa 1954) It hasn't lost its charm at all, and Mary Martin is the Peter Pan of all time. Not because I am biased, but when you first see her, as I did when I was a child, you forget about gender. She is magical, and musical, and mystical, and she embodies the character of J.M. Barrie's "Pan" to the hilt. Then there are the songs - "I'm Flying," "Never Land," "I Won't Grow Up," and others, and it's incredibly enchanting.Cyril Ritchard is marvelous as Captain Hook, as well, and he embodies the role as well. You know that he's gone wrong, and the semi-comic, don't take me to seriously mischief he brings to the role is neat. He sings on "Tarantella," and "Captain Hook," and when the Crocodile makes its appearance, you are at first saddened, but glad that he has gone away.All in all, this is superb family entertainment, and it is highly recommended. 10 stars would be more like it!!!"