You’re probably a big fan of Mary Poppins movie already if you’re from the baby boomers club. Being one of the most successful musicals of that generation, this movie was a complete treat to watch. With beautifully composed songs, incredible screenplay and captivating performances from the cast, Mary Poppins is a movie almost everyone loves. But no matter how much you loved the movie, I bet there are some interesting behind-the-scenes facts that you never heard of. And today, I’ll share some with you!
Scroll down to find the 15 things you didn’t know about Mary Poppins…
1. It took over twenty years to obtain the movie rights.
Although Disney repeatedly contacted the original author of the story, P.L. Travers, they were met with no response. However, Disney’s continuous efforts finally paid off after twenty years of trying!
2. Walt Disney had other actors in mind for the lead roles.
Walt had his eyes set on casting Angela Lansbury and Carey Grant for the lead roles. But in the end, Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke landed the parts.
3. The lead actress Julie Andrews almost turned down the role.
Julie had her heart set on the lead role in the film adaptation of ‘My Fair Lady’. She thought she would get the role because she had already performed the same on Broadway. But fate as it turned out offered Audrey Hepburn the chance; and finally Andrews said yes.
4. The author HATED the film.
The author was reluctant to give the movie rights to Disney. When she gave in after twenty years, you’d think she has changed her mind. But nope… she totally hated the film!
5. The song “A Spoonful Of Sugar” was inspired by the polio vaccine!
Walt Disney instructed his people to write a song that would make Julie Andrews accept the role. One fateful day, one of the songwriters’ children came to tell him about the polio shot they had just received. The polio shots were so easy to take because the doctor put the medicine on a sugar cube and let the children take it with a spoon. And from there the song “A Spoonful Of Sugar” came to be.
6. Some of the nannies lined up in the beginning of the film are actually men.
Okay, you never would’ve guessed that, right? Don’t worry, I’m not sure which ones either.
7. Disney was sued over “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”.
Everyone knew that Disney songwriters The Sherman Brothers wrote the song. But later, songwriters Barney Young and Gloria Parker claimed they wrote a similar song years before. However, they were unsuccessful in court due to lack of evidence.
8. Dick Van Dyke doesn’t think he deserved to be cast in the film.
The lead actor – Dick Van Dyke believes it’s his greatest role ever, but feels that he didn’t deserve to be cast in the film. He still thinks there were several other actors who could have done it better.
9. The kid who played Michael Banks got paid extra to shoot the rooftop scenes.
Actor Matthew Garber who played Michael Banks was so scared of heights that the producers had to offer him an extra ten cents for every take they had to film on the rooftops!
10. The kid who played Michael Banks died at just 21 years old.
Matthew Garber stopped acting and completely vanished from the main stream as he got into his teens. The next time the media heard of him is when he was just 21, as he died from a bad case of hepatitis. The disease had spread throughout his body without him knowing it and took him away in an early age.
11. Composing all the songs took over two years!
Being a musical there was unprecedented emphasis put on the songs of Mary Poppins. It took two years to prepare and compose all the songs. Some rumors insist that it actually took closer to three years!
12. Walt Disney considered it to be one of his crowning achievements.
Walt Disney is renowned for so many of his works. But he himself considers Mary Poppins as one of his crowning achievements. He attended the premiere of Mary Poppins while the last time he did that was was 30 years earlier during the premiere of Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs.
13. Dick Van Dyke never had any dance training before being cast in the film.
With a role relying so much on exuberant dancing skills, one would be surprised to know that Dick Van Dyke never had any dance training! In fact most of his moves were completely spontaneous!
14. Dick badly wanted to play the role of villainous bank owner Mr. Dawes.
Disney didn’t want him to take the part as he was already cast as Bert. But Dick was adamant about pursuing the role and after lots of begging, Disney decided to let Dick have the part on one condition – he had to make a large donation to the Cal Arts foundation.
15. The author of the original story wasn’t invited to the film premiere.
The relation between the book author Traverse and Walt Disney had become so tense that the filmmaker didn’t feel comfortable inviting her to the film’s premiere. In fact, she had to approach the studio and ask for permission to attend! But she didn’t like the movie afterwards, so that’s that…
Well, did you enjoy these 15 facts about Mary Poppins? If so, feel free to SHARE with your friends and family. And if you have any specific memory you’d like to share regarding the movie, feel free to do so in the comments section!
Until then… Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!