Thanks to Judy Valente for her delightful interview of me on WGLT about Mary Poppins as both a delightful film and a popular children's book as well as a small, but interesting connection of ISU to P. L. Travers. Judy is such a great interviewer.
Disney's Mary Poppins film was released 50 years ago this week. As we learned in the recent Disney film Saving Mr. Banks, P. L. Travers, the author of the Mary Poppins series, was never happy with the adaptation. Pamela Travers was opinionated, but thoughtful, and certainly had a wide range of interests including Zen Buddhism and mytical Sufism.
In the WGLT interview, Judy asks why Mary Poppins, the film, has such a long-standing appeal with both adults and children. I think that it is partly because Travers understood that children whose lives are in even a small amount of dissarray fantasize about order and everything working out. But it is also because Walt Disney understood the humor and charm of the story and could add the studio's magic to make it wonderful entertainment. Finally, the film causes adults to not only reflect back on their childhood but to consider how they are as parents; are they fulfilling their own hopes and dreams for their family? The film is more complicated than we perhaps realized when we saw it as children, but that, in turn, makes seeing it again just as fulfilling.
Thanks, again, to Judy Valente for the opportunity to thoughtfully reflect on the delightful film as it turns 50.