The Making of Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins

Read the new book Walt Disney and Live Action by John G. West and learn about the real story behind the making of Mary Poppins.

Mary Poppins (1964) is one of Walt Disney’s most beloved live-action films and one of the great Hollywood musicals of the 1950s and 60s. Based on the children’s books by P.L. Travers, the film version of Mary Poppins was nominated for 13 Academy Awards and won five, including Best Actress (Julie Andrews), Best Original Song (“Chim Chim Cher-ee”), and Best Original Score (by the Sherman brothers). A wonderful fictionalized account of how Walt Disney came to make Mary Poppins was presented in the film Saving Mr. Banks starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson.

But the real story is just as fascinating, and now you can read about it in Walt Disney and Live Action by Disney historian John G. West. Based on research at the Disney Studio Archives as well original interviews with many of those who worked on Mary Poppins, Walt Disney and Live Action takes you behind-the-scenes to explore how Mary Poppins and many other Disney live-action films were made.

Learn about the film musical that almost convinced Walt Disney not to make Mary Poppins, as well as the never-completed musicals that he commissioned its success. Discover how the film’s special effects sequences were staged, and how the film’s Art Director made sets built to 1/4 scale look real. Learn about the stories behind the movie’s songs, the deleted sequences, and the actress who really wanted to play Mary Poppins but who was convinced to accept a different part instead (resulting in a whole new production number early in the film). Experience the lavish film premiere that launched the film, and explore the deeper meaning of Mary Poppins as a commentary on the breakdown of the modern American family. Plus, learn about the meaning and making of many other Walt Disney live-action features, including 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Treasure Island, Pollyanna, The Parent Trap, The Absent-Minded Professor, Swiss Family Robinson, and many, many more. You will also get to see more than 80 behind-the-scenes photographs, many published for the first time. For Mary Poppins, you will get to see many photos taken on the set during the film’s grand production number “Step in Time.” For a preview, see the gallery below.