, Newburyport, MA


February 13, 2014

Popping in on Poppins

'A Spoonful of Sugar' celebrates Disney movie


Another scene features the home of Admiral Boom, one of the Banks family’s neighbors on Cherry Tree Lane.

“Admiral Boom believes he is on a ship, and he keeps time for the neighborhood by setting off a cannon,” Bowers said.

There are several points in the movie where family members and their servants have to stop what they’re doing and grab fragile objects to keep them from being knocked to the floor by the cannon’s blast.

The exhibit re-creates the admiral’s ship-shaped house with a platform children can climb onto using a rope ladder and where they can play with a cannon.

The third scene in the exhibit re-creates the sidewalk where Bert made his chalk drawings.

“We’ve created a mural, because Bert is doing his chalk drawings in front of Regent’s Park, and the mural makes it look like you’re in front of a park,” Bowers said. “Kids can make their own drawings on the street, and they can tear it off and take it home.”

The movie was based on a series of novels by P.L. Travers, the first of which was set in the 1930s and published in 1934, but Walt Disney set his film in 1910.

“I haven’t found any explanation as to why Walt Disney decided to change the time period,” Bowers said. “There is a theory that he wanted to give American audiences a reason why a family would need a nanny, if the mother doesn’t have a job outside the home.”

Setting the film in 1910 allowed him to make Mrs. Banks part of the suffragette movement, which was fighting for women’s voting rights at that time — and which would have kept her from spending more time with her children.

Disney approached Travers many times about using the Mary Poppins character in a film, but she resisted him for years. That struggle is depicted in the recent movie “Saving Mr. Banks,” starring Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks.

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