by Liz Driscoll
I decided to go into D23 Expo with a mindset of watching and listening. No writing, taking pictures, or posting during presentations. While this quickly changed, Poppins was the first presentation I attended and kept to my plan, so few pictures were taken.
Chief Archive Emeritus Dave Smith took the audience on a journey through Poppins history. We started with some clips from the 1964 movie. Next, Julie Andrews’ video message from the premiere, which she was unable to attend, was shown.
Dave Smith shared the history of acquiring the rights to the P.L. Travers books. These books were brought to Walt’s attention by his daughter Diane. While Walt wanted to work with the P.L. Travers stories, it was Roy who first contacted her. P.L. Travers did not like the idea of an animated Poppins, and Roy suggested they consider the live action/animation combination already being used for “Song of the South”. To get the rights to the stories, Walt gave P.L. Travers approval of the script. (The audience sighed… ohhh). Mrs. Travers was strong-willed during story meetings held in 1961. She would tell the writers what was “right and proper” in England.
While the audience applauded at the mention of the Sherman Brothers being chosen to do the music, it was a treat to hear a song that never made it into the movie… “The Chimpanzoo”.
Dave Smith shared pictures from the rehearsals and filming. In the picture you can see other sets in the background during rehearsal. Filming would be done using sodium screens so that background could be added later. The actor who played Michael Banks was afraid of heights… who knew? He earned a dime every time he had to do work up high. Also, did you know Uncle Albert had two homes? Yep, one was built on its side so wires weren’t needed to get the desired effect. One more ‘secret’… many of the prospective nannies in the opening scene were… men!
We were also lucky to see some film footage. Seeing the raw footage without the backgrounds and special effects gives you new appreciation for the process of the live action/animated films. The audience also chuckled when the audio playback didn’t quite sync up to the actors facial movements!
Many photos were shared from the wrap party and a video clip from premiere night. These are photos that most people had not seen before.
Mrs. Travers had not seen the finished film until the premiere. The audience laughed when she told Walt the animation scenes would have to go and his response was, “Pamela, the ship has sailed”.
Dave Smith also shared the many promotional items associated with the film. From spoons to cookbooks, paper dolls to bedding, you could get your Poppins fix!
Our presentation concluded with Dave Smith sharing the trailer for “Saving Mr. Banks”.
Disney fans love presentations like these! We can see behind the scenes of our favorite movies and love and appreciate them all over again!
Liz Driscoll went to Walt Disney World for the first time when she was five years old, though her Disney passion began seven years ago. She has visited Walt Disney World about twelve times in the past seven years. In the non-Disney world, she is a teacher who enjoys bringing a little bit of pixie dust in the classroom each day