Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Personal cinematic history.

The first movie I loved was Mary Poppins.

(The second movie I loved was The Sound of Music. I think we can see a theme here, a Julie Andrews related theme. O! Julie Andrews! what a wonderful set of pipes you had! What a range! And such impeccable diction!)

What Mary Poppins was about, firstly, was the children, the poor neglected children, who just wanted a nanny who did not
my first cinematic fixation.

  • smell of barley water
and who would
  • love them as a son or daughter,
and a few other sundry qualifications such as
  • no warts,
  • rosy cheeks,
  • witty
  • very sweet
  • fairly pretty.
And also, and for good measure,
  • play games, all sorts
  • sing songs
  • bring sweets
  • never cross
  • nor cruel
  • never feed them castor oil or gruel 
(Jane and Michael Banks had mad flow and rhyming skillz.)

It goes without saying, of course, that they wanted no
  • scolding nor dominating.
I loved this song so much that I rehearsed it so I could sing it at parties. Even though I was never actually invited to sing it at a party. My performance may not have been as delightful as I imagined.

I could have watched that movie all day, every day, for a protracted period in the 1st to 2nd grade era of my life. I have no actual memory of seeing it in a theater, although I'm sure that I did. I do remember, however, watching it with avid attention on The Wonderful World of Disney.  I am pretty sure that I also had Mary Poppins paper dolls, although I might be making that up, since I also remember with great vividness a cloisonn√© ring, white with a tiny pink rose, that I apparently had when I was, like, five, but my best friend stole it from me. Or maybe I dreamed it. 

I am, however, pretty sure that I listened to the music from the movie every Saturday of my young life, because, starting fairly early each Saturday morning, my father always played a reel-to-reel tape with all sorts of music for our enjoyment while we did our chores. I believe it was Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, The Singing Nun, and Camelot.  Why The Singing Nun? "Dominique," that's why. 

I also liked to let my voice and spirits soar with the Bird Woman of St. Paul's. Who didn't? If you ever go to St. Paul's, which I highly recommend--definitely go up to the Whispering Gallery--I defy you not to hear this song in some ancient chamber of your mind, where the old movies are playing on a continuous loop, and you are still trying to appeal to the perfect nanny to come to you, bringing sweets and carrying a carpet bag with all manner of mysteries inside.


  1. What a happy post. Thank you. I think I've told you this before, but my Brit of choice was Hayley Mills. I spoke in a fake English accent throughout all of second grade, which is why no one wanted to play hopscotch with me. Who wants someone shouting "YOU STEPPED ON THE LINE" in a fake British accent at them?

    Also, I had a Mary Poppins doll. And she was awesome.

  2. When at Disneyland--more accessible, to me, than St.Paul's--the must-have photo op is me with Mary Poppins, fighting the urge to be cheeky. Anyway. Can't tell you how your post, and the prospect of the roll out of a cinematic HT autobio cheers me.

  3. Me fighting the cheekiness, that is. MP, as always, is too damn practically perfect for shenanigans.

  4. I do hope there will be a sequel in this series! I too loved this movie, but met it first from a read-along 45rpm with accompanying illustrated booklet which I played on my little orange & white portable record player over and over and over.

  5. I used to pretend I could jump into chalk paintings. Also, I used to make my mother act out scenes from "The Sound of Music" with me. Yup, that Julie Andrews is one powerful nanny/nun/songstress!

  6. I loved this. Remember when I had a Mary Poppins party, just for fun? It was the best.



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