Friday, September 6, 2019

Mary Poppins Premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theater

Last week marked the fifty-fifth anniversary of Walt Disney's Mary Poppins. The film premiered at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, on August 27, 1964. This is the souvenir program from that night:

The movie's premiere was covered in a one hour television special on Los Angeles' KTTV, Channel 11. While the entire broadcast no longer exists, some film footage did survive, along with some audio from a separate radio broadcast, which was taking place that same night. Here is a link to the footage and audio that does still exist:

And here's a publicity shot of the film's two stars, posing with Walt Disney out in front of the theater, on the night of the premiere.

Two years after the premiere of Mary Poppins, Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke were each invited back to the Chinese Theater, to place their hands and feet into the cement of the theater's forecourt.

Julie Andrews' ceremony was in March of 1966:

And Dick Van Dyke's ceremony was in June of 1966:

Happy fifty-fifth anniversary, to Walt Disney's Mary Poppins!


Major Pepperidge said...

Neat item! I've always found it interesting that "Mary Poppins" and "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" (and possibly "Swiss Family Robinson") were so different from the typical lower-budget feature films from Disney. Don't get me wrong, I love things like "The Absent-Minded Professor" and its ilk!

When Walt wanted to, he could really pull out all the stops and build amazing sets, or film on beautiful locations - and he often used big-name actors that he normally wouldn't pay for.

I didn't see "Mary Poppins" all the way through until I was an adult, and really enjoyed it. Julie Andrews is amazing in it, as is Dick Van Dyke. I wonder if we'll ever see big movie musicals achieve the popularity that they used to have?

Let's all go see the upcoming "Cats" movie and have horrible nightmares!

K. Martinez said...

Mary Poppins is very special too me. I remember as a child I was with my family at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland and we waited in the rain with umbrellas for well over an hour to see Mary Poppins upon it's premiere in Oakland.

Once inside the theater I was totally cast under the spell of Mary Poppins. This Walt Disney film like no other had quite an effect on me. Me and my sisters had the LP album and played that record over and over and over again singing to the songs and marching around the room with umbrellas.

My parents told me it was the first time I didn't talk through a movie as I sat there still and soundless while watching Mary Poppins. From my first trip to Disneyland in 1963 to seeing Mary Poppins a year later in 1964, I became a life-long fan of Walt and Company and it hasn't stopped since.

And I still watch Mary Poppins from time to time and enjoy it as much today as I did back in 1964.

Now onto the pics. What a treasure you have here of the Premiere souvenir program for Mary Poppins opening night. It looks in primo condition too. I've always loved the poster of Mary and Bert's heads over the rooftops of London/Step in Time scene.

Also love the pic of Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke leaving their hand prints at the Chinese Theater. Would you happen to know if their hand prints are still in the Chinese Theater Courtyard or have then been removed already?

Thanks, TokyoMagic! This post brings up a lot of wonderful childhood memories for me. It is still my favorite live-action Disney film of all time.

Major, Mary Poppins, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Swiss Family Robinson are my favorite live-action films from the Walt Disney era.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, you left out The Happiest Millionaire!!! Seriously though, I know what you mean about those films being different.

I have also wondered if the big movie musical genre will ever make a return. It seems like for now, it will just be an occasional occurrence like with La La Land, The Greatest Showman, and A Star Is Born.

I never saw Catson stage. I watched the trailer for the film and it didn't do a whole lot for me. If I do eventually see it, it will probably be just because of the fact that Jennifer Hudson is in it.

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, I didn't see Mary Poppins until it was re-released, nine years later in 1973. However, prior to that, my family did have several versions of the soundtrack that we listened to quite often. Those included the original cast soundtrack on AMPEX reel to reel tape, and an LP vinyl version which did not feature the original cast and had Marnie Nixon stepping in for Julie Andrews' vocals.

I was originally going to make this a Mary Poppins "Mega Post!" However, I have decided to do a separate post in the future, which will feature items related to the film, like the soundtracks, a comic book, and other memorabilia. I don't have the full-sized movie poster that you mentioned, but I do have a set of lobby cards from the film and one of them features the iconic "floating heads" of the two stars.

As for Julie and Dick's hand and footprints, I have a friend who visited the theater, just a couple weeks ago. I told him where to look for their "blocks" (JOHN WAYNE'S BLOCK IS LOOSE!) and he was able to locate Julie Andrews' and take a pic of it for me. He could not find Dick Van Dyke's, but that doesn't mean that it is no longer there. I have a feeling that it still is. I just need to go look for it myself!

Stefano said...

Thanks TokyoMagic!, this is a super (etc.) post. I also first saw "Mary Poppins" in its 1973 reissue, and it was instant love. Multiple revisits ensued, and soon the theatre staff at the Paradise, a big movie house in Westchester, California, began to chuckle when they saw me. I also played the record album into scratchy oblivion, and then read all the Poppins books that summer of '73.

P.L. Travers was disgruntled at the film adaptation of her stories, but though the novels are wonderfully dry and eccentric in tone, somehow the cheerier movie does not diminish Travers' creation.

I didn't see "MP" again till a screening a few years back at LA's New Beverly Cinema, and didn't expect it would survive an adult reappraisal...and magically, it did. It is somewhat overlong at 2hours20 minutes, but it never wears out its welcome, and the best scenes are in the second half, when the show gets a bit darker. No doubt this was Walt Disney's last big cinematic hurrah, standing alongside the animated classics of the '30s and '40s.

Incidentally the New Bev continues to show Disney films in 35mm; last year they screened the roadshow version of "Happiest Millionaire", in 4 track magnetic sound, and 2 weeks ago I immensely enjoyed "In Search of the Castaways" there ; "That Darn Cat!" is playing at the end of this month.

K. Martinez said...

TokyoMagic!, Thanks for asking and checking on whether the Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke hand prints were still there. It's good to know.

And to think both Ricky and Lucy tried to get John Wayne to recreate his "loose block" and failed both times. Too funny!

TokyoMagic! said...

Stefano, thank you! I'm glad that you liked this post. I didn't realize that the New Beverly Cinema showed Disney movies! I'll have to check out their schedule. Did you ever go to the El Capitan Theater for the sing-a-long showing of Mary Poppins, some years back? I think Disney was hoping to cash in on the success of the Sound of Music sing-a-long version that was so successful. I'm not sure how popular that format was with Mary Poppins. I haven't heard anything more about it, but I think the Sound of Music sing-a-long is still shown annually at the Hollywood Bowl.

And speaking of the darker parts of the film. Have you seen this reinvented "trailer" for Mary Poppins, where someone put together all of those darker parts, and even some not so dark parts, and came up with what looks like a trailer for a horror film?

"Lou and Sue" said...

TokyoMagic!, great post!!

I remember seeing and loving Mary Poppins when it first came out, though I was only 4. I've watched it several more times over the years and appreciate it more and more, each time I see it.

I love your "John Wayne's block is loose!" comment - instantly knowing who/what you were referring to!

I didn't know "they" ever did a Mary Poppins sing-a-long. I've been to a couple Sound of Music sing-a-longs and had a great time, as the audiences were filled with some of the funniest people (reminding me of some of the wonderfully funny folks that visit your blog and the Major's, too).

You put a lot of work into your posts - it's very much appreciated and enjoyed!


P.S. TM! - How come our comments on your post show the time AND DATE, but not on the Major's? (Hey, Major what are you doing wrong?!)

TokyoMagic! said...

Sue, so now I know how serious of an "I Love Lucy" fan you are (and Ken Martinez, too!), since you both knew that line without any mention of the show or the actress! :-)

The only live "sing-a-long" I've been to, was the one for Grease at the Hollywood Bowl. That was a lot of fun. They gave everyone various props to hold up at different times throughout the movie (like a pompom for the pep rally scene and a scarf for when Cha Cha De Gregorio starts the drag race). Do they pass out props for the Sound of Music sing-a-long? I know they usually have a costume contest at both of those sing-a-longs. I think I remember the ad for the Mary Poppins one saying to "Dress up as your favorite character from the film!" I just never heard anything more about it, so I'm assuming it didn't catch on, like it did with the other films.

As for having a time AND date stamp on Blogger comments, I think it has something to do with the settings. I set all of that up when I first created my blog and I have never gone back to look at it again. I do like seeing a date, when going back and reading older comments.

Thank you so much commenting and for the nice compliment, too!

"Lou and Sue" said...


Yes, at the Sound of Music sing-a-longs, you got a bag of props. One that I remember using the most was the sprig of Edelweiss. Whenever you heard the song "Edelweiss," you had to hold up the sprig and sway it back and forth to the music. That song was in the background of A LOT of scenes - I never realized it until we had to listen for it.

Having the words to the songs on the screen made it easy to sing along, as I'm sure they did that for the Grease sing-a-long, too.

My group brought in water spray bottles & squirt guns . . . and whenever it was either raining or someone was getting wet in the movie, we sprayed the audience - a few rows ahead of us. No one figured it was us, as the people around us were in on the joke and kept quiet (or we'd spray them). No one got mad, everyone laughed.

A LOT of gals came to that sing-a-long wearing full bridal dresses and veils, with flowers. When Maria got married in the movie, ALL the audience members that were in bridal gowns walked the aisles of the show, during the movie scene. Sounds strange, but it was comical. (Of course, people dressed up as lots of other movie-related things, too.)

My favorite part (and this is what had my group laughing hysterically) was, throughout the movie, some audience members said comments (in between the movie actors comments) that actually changed the plot and turned it into a comedy. So very creative and unexpected!

It was a good, silly time, full of belly laughs . . . and we all need that every so often.


TokyoMagic! said...

Sue, that sounds like a lot of fun!!! I think I need to see that, the next time it comes to the Hollywood Bowl. First, I'll have to take down my bedroom curtains and then find someone who can make them into lederhosen for me! ;-)

"Lou and Sue" said...

TM! hahahahahahaha!!


"Lou and Sue" said...

No, I didn't change my name . . . I meant to type "Sue."