Tooth Fairy

“The Tooth Fairy,” also known as Derek Thompson, is a hard-charging hockey player whose nickname comes from his habit of separating opposing players from their bicuspids. When Derek discourages a youngster’s dreams, he’s sentenced to one week’s hard labor as a real tooth fairy, complete with the requisite tutu, wings and magic wand. At first, Derek “can’t handle the tooth” – bumbling and stumbling as he tries to furtively wing his way through strangers’ homes-doing what tooth fairies do. But as Derek slowly adapts to his new position, he begins to rediscover his own forgotten dreams.

Production Status:     Released
Genres:     Comedy and Kids/Family
Running Time:     1 hr. 42 min.
Release Date:     January 22nd, 2010 (wide)
MPAA Rating:     PG for mild language, some rude humor and sports action.
20th Century Fox Distribution
Production Co.:
Blumhouse Productions, Mayhem Pictures
20th Century Fox
U.S. Box Office:     $26,106,278
Filming Locations:
Vancouver, Canada
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Produced in:     United States

The legend of the Tooth Fairy is about a fairy that gives a child money or gifts in exchange for a baby tooth that has fallen out. Children typically place the tooth under their pillow at night. The fairy is said to take the tooth from under the pillow and replace it with money once they have fallen asleep.


In early Europe, it was a tradition to bury baby teeth that fell out.[1] This combination of ancient international traditions has evolved into one that is distinct to Anglo-Saxon and Latin American cultures among others. The tradition is still very much alive and well in Ireland and Great Britain, where it is common for young children to believe in the Tooth Fairy. When a child’s 6th tooth falls out it is customary for the tooth fairy to slip a gift or money under the child’s pillow, but to leave the tooth as a reward for the child growing strong.

Tooth tradition is present in several western cultures under different names. For example, in Spanish-speaking countries, this character is called Ratoncito Pérez, a little mouse with a common surname, or just “ratón de los dientes” (tooth mouse). The “Ratoncito Pérez” character was created around 1894 by the priest Luis Coloma (1851–1915), later a member of the Real Academia Española. The Crown asked Coloma to write a tale for the eight-year old Alfonso XIII, as one of his teeth had fallen out. A Ratón Pérez appeared in the tale of the Vain Little Mouse. The Ratoncito Pérez was used by Colgate marketing in Venezuela[2] and Spain[citation needed].

In Italy, the Tooth Fairy (Fatina) is also often replaced by a small mouse (topino). In France, this character is called La Petite Souris (“The Little Mouse”). From parts of Lowland Scotland comes a tradition similar to the fairy mouse: a white fairy rat who purchases the teeth with coins.

In some Asian countries, such as India, Korea and Vietnam, when a child loses a tooth the usual custom is that he or she should throw it onto the roof if it came from the lower jaw, or into the space beneath the floor if it came from the upper jaw. While doing this, the child shouts a request for the tooth to be replaced with the tooth of a mouse. This tradition is based on the fact that the teeth of mice go on growing for their whole life, a characteristic of all rodents. In Japan, a different variation calls for lost upper teeth to be thrown straight down to the ground and lower teeth straight up into the air; the idea is that incoming teeth will grow in straight.[citation needed]

In parts of India, young children offer their discarded baby tooth to the sun, sometimes wrapped in a tiny rag of cotton turf[clarification needed].

The Tooth Fairy is less common in African cultures[citation needed].

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.[3] 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, the 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.

A somewhat similar practice is found in Guatemala, where worry dolls are told a worry by children and placed under their pillow. During the night the doll is believed to worry so that the child can sleep, and sometimes to actually address or resolve the worry. As with the tooth fairy, parents may remove the doll at night to reinforce the child’s belief in the myth.


A darker text is Graham Joyce’s award-winning, The Tooth Fairy, in which the title tooth fairy is shown to both torment and sexually excite the main character

In the Terry Pratchett book, Hogfather, the Tooth Fairy has a complex operation, involving a group of human “Tooth Fairies” who collect the teeth, delivery men, guards and a castle that resembles a child’s painting. The money given in payment for the teeth is generated through property rentals in the “real” world. The Tooth Fairy itself was the very first bogeyman, who became a children’s myth as adults stopped believing in the power of the dark. Despite his origins, however, the Tooth Fairy/Bogeyman actually is revealed to be a protector of children; by harvesting their teeth, the Tooth Fairy/Bogeyman guards children from old and dark mind-control magic employed through the use of discarded body parts such as teeth.

In the Augusten Burroughs’ book “Possible Side Effects” Burroughs discusses his childhood fear of the tooth fairy.

What-the-Dickens: The Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy by Gregory Maguire, focuses on creatures known as skibbereen, which are a type of tooth fairy.

In the Thomas Harris book Red Dragon and the subsequent movies Manhunter (1986) and Red Dragon (2002) a serial killer known by the police and FBI as the Tooth Fairy preys on families at full moon.


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