Thursday, January 01, 2009
Rosemary Wells, a former professor at the Northwestern University Dental School, found evidence that supports the origin of different tooth fairies in the United States around 1900. Folklorist Tad Tuleja suggests postwar affluence, a child-directed family culture, and media turned the myth into a custom. The Tooth Fairy, a three-act playlet for children by Esther Watkins Arnold, was published in 1927. On May 28, 1938, MGM released The Little Rascals short entitled, The Awful Tooth, in which the gang agreed to pull their teeth out to make money from the tooth fairy. A reference in American literature appears in the 1949 book, "The Tooth Fairy" by Lee Rothgow. Dr. Wells created a Tooth Fairy Museum in 1993 in her Deerfield, Illinois museum. In a March 1961 Peanuts strip, new character Frieda asks if the prices are set by the American Dental Society. The Tooth Fairy has appeared in several children's books, an adult book, and films, and the eponymous radio series.