Thursday, January 27, 2011

Can You Quote Him on That??

There’s a quote that’s plastered all over the internet...

Never say good-bye because saying good-bye means going away and going away means forgetting.

This quote is attributed to one of three sources:
Peter Pan, the character.
Peter Pan, the story.
Sir J.M. Barrie, the author.

As far as I can tell, the quote does not belong to nor come from any of them.

It’s rather peculiar. “Everyone” thinks it to be Barrie (or his work.) And yet... as said, it is just not.

I had thought it came from Spielberg’s movie sequel (as a line of Tink’s) and that everyone has been erroneously mixing it up with the original. So, with a sigh, I let it go.

Well, the other day my #1 Fan Anon came across it and asked me about it. I gave my idea on it. But Anon felt sure that it is not in Spielberg’s film. Anon also didn’t think it came from Barrie’s book or play. I did some poking around (thank goodness for the “find” feature in text documents!) and that’s correct. It’s not in the book. Truthfully, I didn’t check the play since I do not have an ‘electronic copy’ of it. But I also felt pretty sure it’s not in it, as did Anon. Plus, I hadn’t been at home so I did not have it readily available.

Someone I once knew who has seen the Disney version too many times assured me it's not to be found there either.

So I posed the query to Andrea Jones, another Barriephile and author of the Hook & Jill Saga.  She hadn’t actually run across the quote yet. She didn’t have any knowledge of it being a la Barrie. She commented that it's like someone trying to sound like Barrie and that it smacked of something Julia Roberts would be made to say. She suggested some possible sources, such as the ‘other’ Pan books in existence, but no real stock had been put in them as an answer. (So it remains possible that it’s from one of them, but then, that would obviously not be Barrie himself, so it doesn’t stand to reason that people would attribute it to him. To Peter Pan, however...maybe.)

Left with no other option short of reading all those other books, I decided I would have to consult the world premier Barriephile - none other than the great Andrew Birkin. Once again, Mr. Birkin had been kind enough to respond. Yet he, too, is stumped by this quote!  He doesn’t have any idea where it would have come from...as he also knows it’s not in the book nor the play. He went on to say that as far as he knows it is not a quotation from ANY of Barrie’s works. He gave an interesting thought on it, though: Who would be saying that line to whom?

So what’s the deal? How did this quote arise? If four (including Anon) “Barrie fiends” cannot muster up the place of origin, then how on earth (or in the Neverland) did it ever get so erroneously and wildly popular?



Actually, there is one lead. From Anon, who presented this as a semblance of this quotation. It’s a series of lines from the Spielberg film.

...one of the Lost Boys (I think it was Thud Butt) said in that movie: "Don't leave us, Peter, and don't say goodbye." Then Too Small says "What's goodbye?" And Ace says "It's going away, that's what it is. Forgetting about us all over again."

It’s definitely related to it, that’s for sure. And it’s likely where it does come from... but it only adds another layer to the mystery. Why, when and how has this amalgamation of lines from Spielberg’s movie been wrapped up into a single “wrongful” quote?

And so... I am here to tell you that this “Never Say Goodbye” quote is NOT from J.M. Barrie. Unless someone out there can prove me, Andrea, Andrew and Anon incorrect!

One more notch in the long list of generally accepted errors regarding the story of Peter Pan.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Have you tried contacting Maria Tatar? (Author of The Annotated Peter Pan) Perhaps she knows something about this quote :)

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Tiara Jader said...

i was wondering where this quote came from as well. I've read Barrie's Peter and Wendy as well as Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens and i haven't read that line at all. I've also seen Spielberg's Hook and Hogan's Peter Pan countless times and they never said it. Even Disney's Peter Pan and Return to Neverland don't have those lines. Up until now i've been searching for this quote's origin.

Peter Von Brown said...

Glad I could help! Also nice to see that someone curious enough to seek out the truth. May you always have a bit of magic when you need it!

If you're into comics and/or werewolves, be sure to check out my current endeavor - a webcomic about the town of werewolves! http://wolverton.thecomicseries.com/

Peter Von Brown said...

I have not tried contacting Maria Tatar. It already seems likely that the quote is just a garbled mistake based on the lines from the Spielberg movie.