10 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘Mary Poppins’

This is a week chock-full of anniversaries, so here’s another: 49 years ago, the film version of Mary Poppins premiered to much fanfare at L.A.’s Grauman theatre. Much-anticipated at the time, it garnered rapturous critical reception, but in recent years people have complained it was an overly sugary version of the original P.L. Travers book. Here are 10 unexpected anecdotes arising from the production that you probably haven’t heard before.

1. Walt Disney pursued the rights for 15 years before Travers would agree to give them to him. He was aware of the book because it was a favorite of his daughter, Diane. But Travers, who was a woman of a somewhat acidic temper, was skeptical about the sentimentality of Disney’s world view, and held out through many invitations and lunches. Finally he made her an offer she could not refuse, in light of her lack of income. She got a $100,000 advance on 5% of the gross producer’s revenue.