Monday, November 26, 2007


Lately Will has decided he really likes Mary Poppins, or as he asked at 6am this morning "i watch movie?" while high stepping on my bed in a two year old imitation of "step in time". Now he says "poppins movie". This was a favorite movie of mine as a child (along with the wizard of oz which he hasn't seen yet.) and it just delights me that he loves it as much as I do.

So in the spirit of this classic being rediscovered in my home a few fun facts about the movie. These were cut and pasted directly out of imdb, to give credit where it is due.

Many of the nannies in the large queue of applicants for the job at the start of the film were actually men in drag.

The film makers didn't inform Karen Dotrice(jane) or Matthew Garber (micheal) about some "surprises" that were going to show up in the movie. Karen's dumbfounded look when Mary Poppins takes out item after item from the carpet bag and her little scream when Mary Poppins gave them medicines of different colors were genuine. They also didn't tell the children who was acting as Mr. Dawes Sr., and were worried that the horrible old man was going to fall down and die at any moment.

The word "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" seems to pre-date the movie, but language experts have yet to pin down by how much, or what, exactly, it originally meant. An urban myth is growing that it had something to do with Irish (or Scottish) prostitutes. Its use in the movie may have been inspired by a nonsense word the Sherman Brothers learned at summer camp. They remembered having a word that the adults didn't know, and thought the Banks children should have one too.

Matthew Garber(micheal) was paid 10 cents for every time they filmed the tea party scene. He was afraid of heights, so somebody offered to pay him a "bonus" 10 cents for every take

Mary Poppins and Mrs. Banks never speak to each other in the film.

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 the fun. Although Walt Disney had offered him the part of Bert right out, he made him audition for the part of Mr. Dawes, Sr.

In the end credit cast list, the actor playing Mr. Dawes Sr. is initiallyshown as NACKVID KEYD, then the letters unscramble themselves to showthat this is a second role played by Dick Van Dyke.

For her interaction with the animatronic robin, Julie Andrews had yards of control wires hidden under her costume and running up her sleeve.

Julie Andrews was left hanging in mid-air during one particularly long camera setup. The stagehands unwittingly lowered her wire harness rather rapidly. "Is she down yet?" called a grip. "You bloody well better believe she is!" fumed Andrews

P.L. Travers so detested this film adaptation of her novel, she left the premiere in tears. Reportedly, she most objected to the altering of Mary Poppins' character from cold and intimidating in the novel to warm and cheery in the film. She also took issue with the film's perceived anti-feminist ending, in which Mrs. Banks gives up her campaigning for women's rights to stay at home as a housewife.

The scene where Mr. Dawes, Sr. (Dick Van Dyke) has trouble negotiating the step in the bank's meeting room was not 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. The test film not only convinced Disney to cast Dick Van Dyke as Mr. Dawes, Sr., but Walt specifically requested that crew members "build a six-inch riser on the board room set so Dick can do that stepping-down routine".

hope you enjoyed these as much as i did!

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