Total Pageviews

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Part Six in our Series - 31 Facts About Mary Poppins You Might Not Know!

Wow!  Amazing!  We have been doing this series for six months now, and we are no where close to being done!  Looks like at least another couple months.  So, sit back, relax and enjoy these great Mary Poppins facts from the last 31 days. 

1.) The costumes by Tony Walton for the Uncle Albert scene were designed  to allow extra room for the steel and leather harnesses underneath.

2.) Teeter-Totter seats and boards were used to achieve the illusion of bobbing along near the ceiling.

3.) Bert and Uncle Albert tell traditional British music hall-style jokes.

4.) In May of 1962, Julie Andrews visited the Studio with her husband, set and costume designer Tony Walton.  She liked the storyboards, and contributed her own ideas about how the characters should be portrayed.  The filmmakers agreed with many of her suggestions, and the Sherman Brothers even rewrote songs to suite her interpretations.

5.) Mary Poppins turned out to be a family affair for Julie Andrews when Walt chose Tony Walton as the films costumer designer and overall design consultant.

6.) In 1963 Director Robert Wise and Screenwriter Ernest Lehman came to the Disney Studio to watch rough footage of Mary Poppins.  Based on her performance, they immediately signed Julie Andrews to star in The Sound of Music.

7.) Julie Andrews finished three films before Mary Poppins was even released (also the Americanization of Emily).

8.) When filming started, Mrs. Banks' first name was Cynthia.  P. L. Travers suggested the more British sounding "Winifred."

9.) Inspired by P.L. Travers, Mary Poppins used reverse psychology in the scene with Mr. Banks, making it seem like it was his idea to take the children to work with him. 

10.) Each scene was carefully written to convey firmness to convince Mr. Banks to do something he would never do.

11.) P. L. Travers insisted that Mary Poppins was to always be referred to by her full name and never simply called "Mary."

12.) "Sacked" is a British term for being let go, or fired from a job.

13.)  In 1965, with the film's huge profits, Walt created MAPO, which helped build attractions for the Disney theme park.  The name is formed from MAry POppins.

14.) "Feed the Birds" was one of the earliest songs written for Mary Poppins.  It isn't actually about feeding birds, but more about giving in general.

15.) "Feed the Birds" moves from Mary Poppins quoting the Bird Woman ("Feed the Birds. Tuppence a bag.") to Mary Poppins conveying the meaning of that simple gesture: an act of kindness takes a mere tuppence.  

16.) The orchestration grows from the sweet sound of the musette to the great swelling sound of the entire orchestra adding a gigantic pipe organ and choir.  

17.) Actress Jane Darwell came out of retirement to portray the Bird Woman.  She was 84 years old.
 Walt Disney cast her, remembering her Oscar-winning performance as Ma Joad in "The Grapes of Wrath."
She had appeared in more than 200 films including "Gone with the Wind."  Frail and in a wheelchair, Jane Darwell was given full star treatment.  Walt had her brought to the studio in a limousine.  Though Walt didn't usually watch shooting, he came to the set and watched the filming of this scene.

18.)The Bird Woman was Darwell's last motion picture role.  The Bird Woman scene was the last sequence filmed for the movie on September 6, 1963.

19.) Producer and co-writer Bill Walsh voices the Bird Woman's two lines to compensate for Jane Darwell's weak voice.  

20.) The set used for the bank consisted of the marble floor and only partial walls.  Matte paintings were added to create the upper ceilings.

21.) Character actor and voice artist Arthur Malet plays Mr. Dawes, Jr.  It was his first Disney film, but not his last.  He appeared with Dick Van Dyke in Lt. Robin Crusoe, U. S. N., and with David Tomlinson in "Bedknobs and Broomsticks." 

22.) Dick Van Dyke very much wanted to play the part of Mr. Dawes, Sr.  Walt asked the actor to do a makeup test, and make  donation to Walt's favorite educational project.  Van Dyke got to play the befuddled old bank president - and the California Institute of the Arts got $4,000.00.

23.)Van Dyke recorded his verses of "Fidelity, Fiduciary Bank" in one take.  When it was played back to them, the orchestra members fell on the floor laughing.

24.) The orchestra applauded the performers after every take.  A very rare thing in the movie business.

25.) Orchestra members even applauded Irwin Kostal's orchestrations.

26.) Disney nearly lost out on Mary Poppins altogether when movie producer Samuel Goldwyn optioned for the rights to the film in 1950.  A year later, Producer Goldwyn's rights lapsed.  Walt reopened discussions.

27.)Author P. L. Travers agreed to an early television adaptation of Mary Poppins on the Anthology Series, "Studio One."  Mary Wicks who years later voiced the gargoyle "Laverne" in the "Hunchback of Notre Dame." played Mary Poppins.

28.) The "run on the bank" scene was the largest shoot on the film with a total of 114 extras and eight bit players joining the cast.

29.) Betty Lou Gerson plays the "Old Crone" who frightens the children after they run away from the bank.  She narrated the opening of Disney's "Cinderella" and voiced Cruella deVil in the animated "101 Dalmatians."

30.) Karen Dotrice remembers Dick Van Dyke had a habit of doing pitfalls and other silly things to crack the kids up.  Van Dyke also made jokes right before dramatic or frightening scenes.

31.) In the scene that followed their running away, Julie Andrews' stand-in, Larri Thomas portrays the "beautiful lady" who blows a kiss at Bert.  The entire crew lobbied for her to appear in the film, and called her "Beautiful Lady" from then on.

 I can see why they chose her for Julie Andrews' stand-in!  She looks a great deal like her. 

I hope you enjoyed this segment of the Mary Poppins fun facts!  stop by again at the end of August for more Poppins information.  See ya then Pal!

No comments:

Post a Comment