Produced by Walt Disney, the iconic musical fantasy movie Mary Poppins was released in theaters on August 27, 1964. The beloved story is based on a children’s book series by P.L. Travers, and Robert Stevenson was the director who brought the classic tale to life. Julie Andrews starred in the film, portraying the memorable nanny Mary Poppins alongside Dick Van Dyke, as Burt, the chimney sweep.
The film did a brilliant job combining animation and live-action, and even earned a whopping 13 Oscar nominations, and won five of them. The critically acclaimed movie inspired a stage musical, and the sequel Mary Poppins Returned was released in 2018, 54 years after the original movie came out. In 2013, the movie was chosen for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.
Mary Poppins was a huge achievement for Walt Disney and was the only one of his movies that earned a Best Picture Oscar nomination during his lifetime. Here are more facts you didn’t know about the classic film.
The Iconic Nanny Role
Julie Andrews is Mary Poppins, and it’s difficult to imagine anyone else playing the iconic nanny, but the actress almost refused to take the part. She originated the role of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady on Broadway and was hoping to portray the character in the movie version, which was filming at the same time as Mary Poppins.
However, the producers for My Fair Lady felt like Andrews wasn’t a big enough star, so they passed her up. The role of Eliza went to another remarkable Hollywood Golden Age star Audrey Hepburn. Thankfully, everything worked out the way it was supposed to. Hepburn did a wonderful job in My Fair Lady, and Julie Andrews took the role of a lifetime.
My Coach Was Irish!
Dick Van Dyke is remembered for his role in the classic musical movie, but he wasn’t winning awards for his accent. In fact, his failed attempt at a Cockney accent has gone down in history as one of the worst accents in film. In the actor’s defense, his vocal coach was Irish, and his accent was just as bad.
Nevertheless, the movie continued to hold a special place in Dick Van Dyke’s heart. For his 90th birthday, a flash mob surprised him in Los Angeles performing a medley of Mary Poppins numbers. He couldn’t just sit there and watch for long. As soon as they stopped dancing, the actor joined the group for a singalong. How fun!