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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Part Two in our Series - 28 Facts About Mary Poppins You Might Not Know!

Here is Part 2  Mary Poppins facts you just might not know!

1.)  Author P.L. Travers wanted Mrs. Banks to be scatterbrained, and felt Glynis Johns could capture her exactly.
2.) "Mrs. Pankhurst" was a leader in the British Suffragette movement.  Suffragettes were women who demanded-and won-the right to vote.
3.) The Sherman Brothers developed Mrs. Banks' involvement in the suffragette cause to explain why she was sometimes neglected her children.

4.)  Walt Disney would walk around the sets after they had been built.  He would get ideas on how to use props.
5.)  It was Walt's idea to have the vase fall off the shelf and have Mrs. Brill catch it on her toe.  He also came up with the gag of having the piano roll across the room, and the characters nonchalantly patting the wall so the pictures fell back in to place.
6.)  British Actor David Tomlinson plays Mr. Banks.  Walt Disney had seen him in a play in London a few years earlier, and invited him to dinner.  David Tomlinson thought he might get to play the father in the Disney film "Bon Voyage," a part given to Fred MacMurray.
7.)  Actors considered for the mart of Mr. Banks included Christopher Plummer. Fred Astaire, Peter Finch, Danny Kaye, John Mills (Haley's father),George Sanders, James Mason, Albert Finney, Richard Harris, Ray Milland and Terry Thomas.

8.)  Producers showed Walt Disney the film "Up the Creek," featuring David Tomlinson.  Bill Walsh's "discovery" of Tomlinson had actually been "discovered" by Walt two years earlier.
9.)  after Mary Poppins, Tomlinson starred in Disney's The Love Bug, and Bed Knobs and Broomsticks.
10.)  David Tomlinson had never sung professionally before.  He as worried about not being good enough.  Music Director Irwin Kostal knew Tomlinson's untrained baritone voice would be just right.
11.)  Walt Disney always liked each character to be identified by a musical theme and his composers used this approach as far back as Pinocchio.  Each characters theme is based on a song by The Sherman Brothers.
12.)  Beloved British character actor Arthur Treacher plays the Constable.  Arthur took time from his role as King Pellinove in the National Touring Company of Camelot.  Children knew Arthur Treacher from his roles in Shirley Temple films.
13.)  In the first Mary Poppins book, there were four children in the Banks family: Jane, Michael, and a pair of twins, John and Barbara.  Baby Annabel joins the family in the second book.

14.)  After Mary Poppins, Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber starred in Disney's The Gnome-Mobile.
15.)  Casting Mary Poppins was a challenge.  P.L. Travers nanny was not a conventional beauty.
16.)  Mary Poppins is described in the books as thin, with large feet and hands, and small rather peering blue eyes.  Walt had been thinking of well known stars like Bette Davis or Mary Martin to play the role.
17.)  One night, the Sherman Brothers, Don DaGradi and Bill Walsh were all impressed by a young British actress appearing on television's The Ed Sullivan Show.  Julie Andrews sang songs from her starring role in the Broadway musical, Camelot.
18.)  Walt Disney saw Camelot in New York a few weeks later, and thought Julie Andrews was perfect for Mary Poppins.  He liked her voice, her sense of humor, and her whistle.
19.)  The filmmakers wanted a Broadway sound for the Mary Poppins orchestrations.
20.)  The Sherman Brothers were impressed by the scoring of the Broadway musical, Fiorello.  Walt liked the work of the musical director on the Garry Moore Variety Show. The musician of both shows turned out to be Irwin Kostal.  Mr. Kostal supervised, arranged and conducted the Mary Poppins score.  He used a 75-piece orchestra and had the Disney recording stage reworked for stereo.
21.)  Karen Dotrice comes from a well-known British acting family.  Her father, Roy Dotrice is an award-winning stage, screen, and television actor.  He narrated the 1990 featurette, "The Prince and the Pauper."
22.)  P.L. Travers wrote to Walt Disney suggesting Karen Dotrice as Jane-not knowing that Walt had already cast her.
23.)  Katie Nanna, who left at the beginning of the book, smelt of barley water, which the children did not like.

24.)  Author P.L. Travers didn't think any father should destroy something his children had created. (meaning she didn't like the idea of Mr. Banks tearing up the advertisement that the children wrote for the nanny position.)
25.)  The "magic" in the scene with Janes advertisement floating "up" the chimney, was done by filming the paper dropping out of an upside down chimney.
26.)  Many of the "nannies" who came to the Banks' house to be interviewed for the nanny position were stunt men!  Walt had originally suggested that the studio animate the nannies as they were blown away.  Second unit Director Art Vitarelli suggested "flying" the actors on wires.  Each Nanny was suspended by two tires attached by a very tight leather and canvas harness.  The trees and plants were individually wired so they could move more realistically in the wind.
27.)  Julie Andrews noticed in the books illustrations that Mary Poppins would fly or stand with her feet out sideways.  She tried to create that posture whenever she could.
28.)  Mary Poppins' white gloves appear dark in the close-up, due to the shadows from overhead lighting.

Join us again at the beginning of April when we reveal 31 Poppins facts for March!!

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