Total Pageviews

Sunday, August 31, 2014

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

Glad to see you here again!  Are you ready for another 31 Mary Poppins Facts?  Well then, "Spit Spot"....get comfortable, and start reading!

1.)  Larri Thomas (the Beautiful Lady) wears the same hat worn by Jane Wyman as Aunt Polly in "Pollyanna" (1960).

2.)  The Sherman Brothers were delighted to discover crew members singing "Chim Chim Cheree" around the set.

3.)  Note that Mrs. Banks displays her devotion to "the cause" only when Mr. Banks is not around.

4.)  "I 'aven't done me brasses yet" refers to the polishing of the brass ware, a standard duty for a housemaid of the time.

5.)  A little practical joke caused Disney Van Dyke to re-record part of "Chim Chim Cheree."  He came in from filming the Mr. Dawes, Sr. scene.  He walked stiffly, like Mr. Dawes-but sand and clicked his heels in the air like Bert.  The musicians cracked up.

6.)  Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber were required to spend four hours each day with a tutor to keep up with their schooling.  

7.)  the London rooftop set occupied an entire stage.  The designers used photos of real London rooftops as inspiration.

8.)  The pointed gables, spires, chimneys and smoking pots are exact replicas of those seen in a birds-eye view of the city.
9.)  Each chimney was rigged to pour forth smoke on cue.  It took a barrage of large fans to clear the smoke between takes.   

10.)  Peter Ellensshaw painted 78 glass or "matte: paintings, helping to create the world of Mary Poppins.

11.)  Matte paintings complete the sets by filling in the part of a scene that cannot be built.

12.)  From the clouds on which we first see Mary Poppins sitting, to the vistas of the London skyline, with towering cathedrals, massive bank buildings and brilliantly atmospheric skies,  This vision of turn-of-the-century London is the brilliant work of matte painter Peter Ellenshaw.

13.)  the "smoke staircase" was covered with sponge to create the bouncy illusion of walking on smoke.

14.)  Julie Andrews and possibly Dick Van Dyke were filmed yodeling on the rooftops, but the yodels were left on the cutting room floor.

15.)  For the night scene after the smoke staircase climb, Ellenshaw used two matte paintings on glass with little holes in the paining for the "star light" to shine through.  

16.)  the dancers rehearsed "Step in Time" on a plywood rooftop set built outdoors on the Disney back lot.  

17.)  It was 95 degrees in the shade.  After 6 weeks, they went inside the air-conditioned sound stage for filming.  

18.)  Designer Tony Walton gave prim and proper Mary Poppins a spicy side by adding dashes of bright color to her linings and petticoats.

19.)  Author P.L. Travers preferred Mary Poppins skirts to cling "demurely around her ankles," of their own accord, of course.  

20.)  The "Step-in-Time" sequence took an entire week filming on the rooftop set.  This set was later re-used for a scene in the Disney TV series, "Gallagher." 

21.)  A lazy susan-like device helped Julie Andrews spin, along with a special harness to lift her into the air.

22.)  Choreographer Mark Breaux pulled open the trap doors for the dancers carefully timed drops into the chimneys.

23.)  Choreagrapher DeeDee Woods  and Marc Breaux staged all of the "Step-in-Time" dances.

24.)  Wood and Breaux were proteges of master choreographer Michael Kidd.  They had previously done choreography for TV specials for Jack Benny, Bing Crosby and Judy Garland.

25.)  Walt Disney took particular interest in this scene and came to watch dance rehearsals daily at 2pm after lunch.

26.)  Disney told the choreographers to let their imaginations go wild and use as much "wire work" as they could use in the "Step-inTime" scene.

27.)  Mary Poppins was nominated for an astonishing 13 Academy Awards.  It was the only Walt Disney film nominated for Best Picture, Best Screenplay or Best Performance up to that point. 

28.)  Mary Poppins won five Academy Awards: Best Actress, Best Song ("Chim Chim Cheree") , Best Score, Best Editing and Best Special Visual Effects.  The Academy honored the film with a sixth award.  it was a special technical award presented to Ub Iwerks and his team for the process of combining live action and animation.

29.)  Golden Globe nominations had gone to Dick Van Dyke, the score, the film plus a win for Julie Andrews.  

30.)  When the film was finished, remarkably every crew member asked for a copy of the soundtrack.

31.)  Sales for the cast album went Gold in just 13 weeks.  It was #1 for more than 16 weeks, and a best seller for more than a year.  

Join us again at the end of September for our last round of Mary Poppins fun facts! 


  1. Love these facts. Very interesting. Thank ypu

    1. You are welcome! I can't believe we only have one month to go after this! I will miss it! Gonna have to pick a new movie to research! Thanks again for reading!