Mary Poppins – Stay Tooned – tape 2346

This tape opens with some ice dancing from Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, at the end of their ice show Face The Music.

Torvill and Dean

There are trailers for Wildlife on One and The Vicar of Dibley.

Then we have Mary Poppins, one of Walt Disney’s greatest films. Did you know that Julie Andrews won the Best Actress oscar for her performance in this film? Some uncharitably suggest that this was a sympathy vote, because she had just been passed over for the role of Eliza Dolittle in the film of My Fair Lady, Passed over for Audrey Hepburn, who was no singer, for a role that Andrews originated on stage. But I think Andrews is underrated as an actress. There’s nobody else who could have come close to playing Mary Poppins.

God Bless Him, but the little boy in this film is one of the ugliest child actors on film.

Matthew Garber

When I was little, my father used to occasionally buy soundtrack albums for us. One of them was Mary Poppins, so the songs in this film are intimately familiar to me. And they are all wonderful. Memorable tunes, and some very witty lyrics. And the dance setpieces are excellent – the scene with the chimney sweeps across the roofs of London is superb, and it’s hard to believe Dick Van Dyke isn’t a trained dancer. And some of the matte paintings over London are lovely. I miss old-fashioned matte paintings.

Mary Poppins matte painting

What really makes the film special, though, is that the story is really about the father. Fathers tend to get a rough deal in stories generally, so to have a story where it’s the father who has to be redeemed is quite unusual. Star Wars Trilogy notwithstanding. As I’ve grown older, and had my own family, films dealing with fathers do tend to push all my buttons, so I have to confess that i usually get something in my eye when ‘Let’s Go Fly A Kite’ is playing.

Let's go Fly a Kite

It’s just lovely.

BBC Genome: BBC One London, 8 April 1996 14.35

Regular listeners to the Kermode and Mayo film programme on Radio Five Live will know that Mary Poppins is one of Mark Kermode’s favourite films, so it’s a slight coincidence that the first trailer after this film is for Simon Mayo’s Confessions.

Simon Mayo Confessions

There’s a trailer for some golf. Then, the start of Final Score. This runs for a couple of minutes, then recording switches and we get the end of the news, then Simon Mayo again.

Then we have Inside the Toy Box – Tony Robinson looks at the making of Toy Story. There’s a specially made title sequence that makes use of some real classic toys.

The programme looks back into the history of animated film, showing such wonders as the Disney multiplane camera rostrum, which allowed disney movies to achieve the illusion of different planes of depth by placing different background elements at different levels.

Multiplane camera

John Lasseter talks about how inspired he was by the work being done for TRON, and they show some of the test he did based on Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are. Here’s that test from a different programme.

Tony’s voiceover then says “John didn’t stay at Disney. He went off and started his own company.” which is slightly airbrushing the truth, which was that Disney sacked a lot of their animators in the 80s, Lasseter included. But since this is a puff piece for Disney, they don’t say that.

It’s interesting that they talk about Luxo Jr as the first film, skipping over The Adventures of Andre and Wally B which a pre-Pixar Lasseter made when they were still the Lucasfilm Computer Graphics project.

Rather charmingly, as well as looking at the making of the film, they talk about the ‘strange code’ on the poster that ‘tells you the film has a website.’ Yes, they’re talking about the URL. And there’s more. The Toy Story website uses a new technology called Java.

Oddly enough, right at the end, Tony Robinson sniffily declares that he preferred the animation to the story, but ‘The rest of the Stay Tooned team loved it.”

This was a very good documentary, of its type, although it was almost certainly repackaged from an American show.

BBC Genome: BBC One London, 8 April 1996 18.25

After this programme, recording continues with a trailer for Watchdog. There’s a trailer for a Gordon Burns hosted game show called Relatively Speaking.

There’s a few minutes of That’s Showbusiness, hosted by Mike Smith and featuring a young Phill Jupitus.

Young Phill Jupitus

Then recording switches, and there’s a kinetic trailer for Bugs.

Bugs is 20 years old this week. Scary.

There’s a trailer for the comedy (?) Over Here.

Then, a special Easter edition of The Vicar of Dibley. Geraldine finds it difficult to give up chocolate, and the mantle of the Easter Bunny is passed down.

BBC Genome: BBC One London, 8 April 1996 20.30

Following this, there’s a trailer for the Omnibus profile of Spike Milligan. And a trailer for Cardiac Arrest.

Then, there’s the start of the final part of Over Here – which must be a comedy because John Sullivan wrote it. The tape runs out after about twenty minutes.

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