For more than 50 years, generations of Disney movie lovers have grown up with flying nannies and one ridiculously long word, but the making of Mary Poppins was far from practically perfect. Released in 1964, the movie made Julie Andrews a household name, gave Walt Disney his first Best Picture Oscar nomination, and advanced special effects to new levels. Number six on AFI's 25 Greatest Movie Musicals, Mary Poppins also inspired a 2018 sequel, Mary Poppins Returns, and the 2013 film Saving Mr. Banks, which chronicles Disney's attempts to buy the book rights.
Pamela Lyndon Travers, AKA P.L., wrote the first of the Mary Poppins books in 1934. She had a personal connection to her story, inspired by her experiences with her alcoholic father who died young, her mentally unstable mother, and the stories she told her siblings to keep up their spirits. Travers wrote Mary Poppins as a proper lady and the Banks parents as warm and loving. Given the personal connection, Travers did not hand over her work to Disney easily, as she feared what his famously sentimental touches might do.
Stories behind Mary Poppins show more conflict and problems than those that came from Travers, though. Creating advanced special effects in the 1960s took a lot of work and often made production difficult, as did the task of creating the timeless Mary Poppins songs. The movie may have become a beloved piece of film and Disney history, but what went on behind the scenes may make you appreciate Mary Poppins even more.