The 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney Studios’ MARY POPPINS was honored with a Red Carpet Event held at the TCL Chinese Theatre, in Hollywood, California, Saturday, November 9, 2013.
The early afternoon event began with the arrival of stars, young and old. I had the opportunity to interview several of the attendees. Among them was the very animated and excited Adam Irigoyen (Disney’s “Shake it Up”) who shared his excitement at the opportunity to see MARY POPPINS on the big screen. Rowan Blanchard talked about her upcoming “Girl Meets World“, scheduled to air on the Disney Channel in 2014. She said there is a probability that most if not all of the cast of “Boy Meets World” will appear in her show.
The young actors also included Albert Tsai (“Trophy Wife”), Austin North and Piper Curda (Disney’s “I didn’t do it”), Landry Bender (Disney’s “Crash and Bernstein”), Dyland Riley Snyder (“Disney XD’s “Kickin It”), Jacob Bertrand (Rise of the Guardians), Paris Berele and Jake Short (“Mighty Med”) most of who had never seen MARY POPPINS.
Also attending the screening and just as excited were Victoria Summer (Saving Mr. Banks), Breann Johnson (Red Wing, the Appearing), Charles Fleischer (Roger Rabbit), Kathryn Beaumont (voice of Peter Pan’s Wendy and Alice in Alice in Wonderland). I asked Ms. Beaumont if she had a favorite (Wendy vs Alice) and with a knowing smile said, both were special. Sondra Currie (The Hangover Trilogy) and Hal Sparks (Disney XDs “Lab Rats”) who praised the talents of Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews, stating how the actors used to be able to sing, dance, act and even play multiple roles in movies.
Karen Dotrice (Jane Banks in MARY POPPINS) and Dick Van Dyke (Bert and the Senior Banker, Mr. Dawes) graced the Red Carpet. Mr. Van Dyke sang a few bars of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and mentioned that although he could still remember the steps he would not be dancing.
One of the highlights of my Red Carpet experience was meeting and talking to FLOYD NORMAN. Mr. Norman was the first African American animator at the Walt Disney Studios. Mr. Norman was part of the animation team for The Jungle book, Sleeping Beauty, The Sword and the Stone among many others. At Pixar Animation, he worked on Toy Story 2 and Monsters, Inc. Floyd Norman stated that Walt Disney did not care about the color of people’s skin, just their talent. He also talked about the fact that he did not think about barriers, he “applied for a job and was hired”. When asked his thoughts about SAVING MR. BANKS, he smiled and said he “was there when that whole story happened”.
Talking to Richard Sherman was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. He talked about how MARY POPPINS was very near and dear to him. “We wanted them (audience) to love it (movie)”. He shared how exciting it was to be back. He continued saying how he never would have thought, at the premiere years ago, attending as a young man, nervous and wanting the audience to love the movie, that he would once again be back at the same theater to celebrate the 50TH anniversary.
The Red Carpet event was followed by the screening of the digitally restored MARY POPPINS, of the one of Walt Disney’s greatest film achievements.
MARY POPPINS will be available in Blu-ray Combo Pack & HD Digital – December 10, 2013 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the movie release.
Bonus features will include popular music from the film including “Spoon Full of Sugar, ” Step in Time”, Supercalifragilisiticexpialidocious,” and “Chim Chim Cher-ee” and clips from meetings between Richard Sherman, and Jason Schwartzman (who portrays Mr. Sherman in SAVING MR. BANKS). The Sherman brothers, Robert and Richard wrote all the classic songs from MARY POPPINS.