'Mary Poppins' Turns 50 (... in a Most Delightful Way!)

The beloved musical 'Mary Poppins' makes its Hollywood debut on this day in 1964.
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The beloved musical 'Mary Poppins' makes its Hollywood debut on this day in 1964.
Mary Poppins

Dick Van Dyke (as Bert) and Julie Andrews (as Mary Poppins). (Photo: Walt Disney Pictures/Photofest)

Disney's live-action and animation masterpiece Mary Poppins made its debut on August 27, 1964. But behind the whimsical, celebratory storyline, the road to getting the film off the ground was a bumpy one. In fact it almost didn't happen. Walt Disney had pursued Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers for years trying to obtain film rights to her stories. She finally relented, but their relationship was so contentious that when the premiere was scheduled, Travers had to request a ticket. Disney obliged. Although the film brought Disney great success and Travers wealth, she never lost her feeling of disdain for the adaptation of her work. Their prickly relationship was the subject of 2013's film Saving Mr. Banks.

Mary Poppins

'Mary Poppins' (Walt Disney Pictures/Photofest)

Although the reluctant author was never quite pleased, there is no doubt the film—even 50 years later—was the proverbial feather in Disney's cap. Julie Andrews made her film debut and won an Academy Award for her role as the magical nanny; she co-starred opposite of Dick Van Dyke who played Bert, her friend and partner in shenanigans. 

The soundtrack, including songs like "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" and "Chim Chim Cher-ee,” was composed by the songwriting brothers, Robert and Richard Sherman. Incidentally, they also penned the Disney staple “It's a Small World (After All).” 

Makes you just want to eat a spoonful of sugar, doesn't it?