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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Part Four in our Series - 30 Facts About Mary Poppins You Might Not Know!

Wow, has it really been an entire month since we had out last session for these interesting Mary Poppins facts?  Quite a bit has gone on in my life since then.  I almost lost my Mom, and trying to get her well, and healthy again has been draining.  So, we are back with some fun Poppins facts, that I hope you enjoy!

1).   Casting suggestions for Bert included Cary Grant, Laurence Olivier, Richard Burton, David Niven, Peter Finch, Peter O'Toole and Rex Harrison.

2.)   Tommy Steele was also considered to play Bert.  He later starred in another Disney musical, "The Happiest Millionaire."

3.)   Dick Van Dyke had proved an accomplished song-and-dance man in the Broadway and film versions of "Bye Bye Birdie."

4.)   Even though Dick Can Dyke was American. Walt felt he was perfect for the part, and would strengthen the appeal of the film.

5.)   Originally, Bert was to pantomime a D'Artagnan-type sword fight.  In rehearsals, it changed to the tightrope walk to better showcase his talents.

6.)   Walt chose veteran Robert Stevenson to direct the film.

7.)   British Robert Stevenson had previously directed Disney's "Old Yeller," "The Absent Minded Professor." and "In Search of the Castaways," just to name a few.

8.)   In 1962, Co-producer Bill Walsh joined the Sherman Brothers and Don DaGradi in the story development.

9.)   Bill Walsh is credited with much of the witty dialogue and gags used in the final script.

10.)  The scene with Mary Poppins, Bert and the children jumping into the chalk paining was the first scene shot when the principal photography began on May 6th, 1963.

11.)  The "Jolly Holiday" sequence comes from a chapter in the book called "A Day Out."

12.)  In the book, Mary Poppins spends her day off with Bert in the pavement picture without the children.

13.)  The filmmakers decided to keep things light by adding the children in the adventure to all enjoy "Jolly 'oliday."

14.)  P. L. Travers suggested Mary Poppins' warning, "Don't fall and smudge the drawing."

15.)  In the original short story, and even in the book there was a hint of romance between Bert and Mary.

16.)  The studio played this up in an early draft with a song  (deleted) for them, "through the Eyes of Love."

17.)  Author P.L. Travers insisted there should not even be a hint of romance, and they should even remain apart while dancing.

18.)  Originally, just the backgrounds were going to be drawn, to simulate Bert's chalk paintings.

19.)  All the characters they would beet were going to be played by live actors.

20.)  During an early story meeting, Walt reviewed the combination live-action with animation for his 1946 "Song of the South."  In a later meeting, Walt said, "I think we can do some interesting things with Dick and Julie and animation."

21.)  In both Travers' original short story and the book chapter. Bert appeared with a striped jacket.  Mary was in silk.

22.)  Karen Dotrice had not yet seen her "Jolly Holiday" costume before filming and was completely charmed by the dress.

23.)  Bill Lee sings for the Ram.  As a member of the "Mellomen" Lee sings as a dog in "Lady and the Tramp."

24.)  Mary Virginia ("Ginni") Tyler voices the animated lambs.

25.)  Paul Frees (The Haunted Mansion's  "Ghost Host") sings for the horse.

26.)  Choreographer Marc Breaux sings for the cow.

27.)  Hollywood singing dubber Marni Nixon voices the singing geese.  Marni Nixon became well known as the singing voice for Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady."

28.)  Bass-singer/voice-actor Thurl Ravenscroft, a veteran of many Disney projects, sings for the pig.

29.)  The Parasol and cane dance was specially choreographed by Marc Breaux and DeeDee Wood.  It was accomplished by two crew men holding long poles like fly casters and long wires attaching the parasol and cane.

30.)  After filming one day, Dick Van Dyke joked, "I could have danced all afternoon, but Julie could have danced all night," referring to her song in the Broadway show "My Fair Lady."

Thanks once again for joining us for our monthly list of fun Mary Poppins facts!  We should be going on with this through the summer.  There are just so many!!  Come back again at the end of May for another month long list of fun facts! 

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