the year: 1964
the genre: musical
the cast: Julie Andrews (Mary Poppins); Dick Van Dyke (Bert / Mr. Dawes Senior); David Tomlinson (Mr. Banks); Glynis Johns (Mrs. Banks); Hermione Baddeley (Ellen)
the plot: A disconnected and bored upper crust Edwardian English family has their world turned upside down by a nonsensical nanny.
count: the names Bert and the penguins mention in "Jolly Holiday": "Mavis and Sybil [have ways that are winning,] Prudence and Gwendolyn [set your heart spinning,] Phoebe[delightful,] Maude [is disarming,] Janis, Felicia, Lydia [charming,] Cynthia [dashing,] Vivian ['s sweet,] Stephanie [smashing,] Priscilla [a treat,] Veronica, Millicent, Agnes, Jane [convivial company time and again,] Doris, Phyllis, Glynis [of sorts, I'll agree are three jolly good sports. But, cream of the crop, tip of the top, it's Mary Poppins and there we stop.]"
don't miss: Dick Van Dyke as Mr. Dawes Senior. Dick Van Dyke had his heart set on playing Mr. Dawes, Sr., and said they didn't have to pay him, he just really wanted to do it for fun. Although Walt Disney had offered him the part of Bert right out, he made him audition for the part of Mr. Dawes, Sr. - The scene where Mr. Dawes, Sr. has trouble negotiating the step in the bank's meeting room wasn't originally in the script. While viewing a make-up test for Dick Van Dyke in the projection room, Walt Disney saw Van Dyke entertaining crew members on the test film between between takes with some comic routines, among them the "stepping down" routine of an old man trying to step off a curb without hurting himself. Walt specifically requested that crew members "build a six-inch riser on the board room set so Dick can do that stepping-down routine".
check out: Karen Dotrice's (Jane's) dumbfounded look when Mary Poppins takes item after item out of the carpet bag and her little scream when Mary Poppins gives them medicines of different colors - they are genuine. The film makers didn't inform the children about some "surprises" that were going to show up in the movie. They also didn't tell them who was acting as Mr. Dawes Sr., and the children worried that the horrible old man was going to fall down and die at any moment.
listen for: "I told you she was tricky."
also listen for: "View halloo!"
did you know: Walt Disney attempted to purchase the film rights from P.L. Travers as early as 1938, but couldn't get her to agree to it until 1961. Travers didn't believe a film version would do justice to her creation, and she was a stickler about details in the script, driving many of the Disney writers to distraction about Poppins minutiae. After seeing the final film, she devised a list of changes she wanted. Her requests went unheeded after Walt himself pointed out that although she had SCRIPT approval, she didn't have FINAL DRAFT approval. Among the things that she disliked was the Sherman Bros. score. She wanted the only music in the movie to be period pieces such as "Ta Ra Ra Boom De Ay" or "Greensleeves".
A little sing-a-long - all together now:
did you also know: "Feed the Birds" was Walt Disney's favorite song. They said that anytime he visited the Sherman brothers during the rest of his life, all he would have to do was say, "Play it," and they knew he wanted to hear "Feed the Birds".