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Epicurean Escape into Neverland with Kathryn Beaumont

Growing up as a child, “Peter Pan” was one of my favorite movies. There were many times when I would imagine that Peter was sitting inside of my window sill while I was asleep. I would pretend that I was many of the characters in the film as a child during imaginary play, and especially Wendy. I loved to pretend that I was Wendy and my stuffed animals were the lost boys.

When the alarm went off one morning last week, I woke-up to pouring rain. There is one thing that people who live in the Los Angeles area never want to do on a rainy day and that would be to drive. This was not any ordinary day, but that day that I would drive to the city to have lunch with that character that I grew-up knowing and loving – Kathryn Beaumont or otherwise known as Wendy from the Disney film “Peter Pan.”

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I was so eager to arrive at the luncheon that I left almost four hours early to ensure that no matter the obstacle might be, I would arrive on time. When I arrived at the hotel, I took the time to reflect on my favorite parts that Kathryn Beaumont played in the film. One of my favorite scenes were when she was falling from the sky and Peter Pan swooped her up and saved her.

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The luncheon was held at the world renowned Gordon Ramsay restaurant inside of The London Hotel in Los Angeles. The restaurant paid attention to every last pain-staking detail all the way down to the shooting star of ice cream and caramel on our dessert plate. It was an epicurean escape into Neverland while we discovered the unique and intense flavors of the food making a memorable luncheon for all of us to enjoy.

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Santa Monica Farmer’s Market Salad

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Cavatelli Pasta

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Apple Tart Tatin

When Kathryn Beaumont walked into the room, there was a remarkable twinkle that sparkled in her eye. She was beautiful, graceful and did not look a year over twenty. After enjoying some warm tea on a cold afternoon, we sat down at a quaint table for lunch while talking about the film.

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Kathryn Beaumont was not only the voice of Wendy in “Peter Pan,” but was also the voice of Alice in “Alice in Wonderland.” Kathryn Beaumont was just about five years old, and she could remember being in a studio doing a scene at a dinner table, and then the next thing she remembered MGM wanted to bring her to America. Kathyrn Beaumont acted in a couple of short films before testing and awarded the contract as Alice in “Alice in Wonderland” followed by “Peter Pan.”

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We began the afternoon by talking about the differences of working on the two films. When filming “Alice in Wonderland,” she was the main character, so she was always working on the film. Since most of the characters in the film were imaginary, she had to portray many of the characters during the filming. She giggled when saying, “It was a lot of fun.” When she was working on “Peter Pan,” there were scenes with the family, the lost boys and of course Peter Pan so it was a totally different dynamic of working with people.

Like many Disney legends, Kathyrn Beaumont had the opportunity to work directly with Walt Disney. She shared with us how surprised she was that the head of the studio was so accessible. It was incredible for her getting to know him and he would be around all the time. He would even order lunch in the cafeteria line amongst all the people and then eat lunch in an available spot. One thing that she remembered fondly was that everyone was working towards the project with a team effort.

During the filming of “Peter Pan,” they did the audio before the live action. During the filming of “Peter Pan,” two of the men working on the audio could not decide which sequence to use. It surprised her that they just picked up the phone and called Walt. Within five minutes, he came down and said, “I don’t know what you two are worried about the first sequence was just fine.” The first sequence was what ended up going into the film.

We went on to talk about Kathryn Beaumont’s time as a teacher in the LAUSD. She would spend time teaching her students about the process of animation, inspiring a whole generation of children to love film and the arts. After that, we spent the rest of the luncheon enjoying eachother’s company. Kathryn Beaumont is such a lovely woman that is so easy to talk too. She shared a strong interest in not only wanting to talk about her experience on the film, but also wanting to get to know all of us at the luncheon. While eating my lunch, it touched my heart to hear her take such a deep interest in my friend Caryn’s personal life.

Kathryn Beaumont is much like the role she played as Wendy in “Peter Pan.” She is a role model, a motherly figure and an overall compassionate person. She may have had to grow-up, but in her heart she is forever young.

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Peter Pan Diamond Edition is available today on Blu-ray and DVD.

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