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Songs, Music, Films, Laughter and Tears

AuthorHouse UK Moose Chapters From My LifeAuthorHouseUK reviews acknowledges the release of the autobiography, Moose Chapters From My Life, by legendary film music composer, Robert B. Sherman, who along with his brother Richard, wrote more motion-picture musical song scores than any other songwriting team in film history;  The AristocatsChitty Chitty Bang BangThe Jungle BookCharlotte’s Web and Mary Poppins to name but a few. Many were for another Hollywood legend, Walt Disney, for whom Mary Poppins was one very, very notable film.

Saving Mr. Banks; the inside story behind the making of Mary Poppins

Tom HanksSpeaking of Mary Poppins; Saving Mr. Banks, a recent film release on both sides of the Atlantic, stars Tom Hanks as Disney and Emma Thompson as P.L.Travers, the author of the Mary Poppins books. The film traces the complex and oft feisty relationship between Disney and Travers with the Sherman Brothers heavily featured as both the film score writers and sometime peacemakers between the two protagonists.

The 1964 world première of Mary Poppins was held at Grauman’s Emma ThompsonChinese Theatre in the heart of Hollywood, and it was the kind of spectacle for which the Disney organisation had become famous. Crowds of excited fans were greeted by the inimitable Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Snow White and the Dwarfs et al, as well as by a pearly band, chimney-sweep dancers, valets dressed as London bobbies, and a bevy of pretty Disneyland hostesses, whose kilts and black velvet riding helmets suggested a general Englishness.

Disney dazzles

Julie AndrewsHollywood luminaries arrived in chauffeured cars, the ladies in Dick Van Dykegowns and mink stoles (Angie Dickinson, Maureen O’Hara, Suzanne Pleshette), the men wearing DJs (Edward G. Robinson, Cesar Romero, Buddy Ebsen). The arrival of the film’s stars brought only low-key excitement: for Julie Andrews, who played Mary Poppins, this was her first movie, and Dick Van Dyke—the chimney sweep Bert—became famous only after the film’s release. Then Walt DisneyDisney himself arrived, stepping out of his stretch limo with a gallant hand to help his wife out. Disney was by then immensely famous, having his own TV show every Sunday night. He had carefully stage managed his arrival: when his car pulled up, his Disney characters mobbed it, followed by hosts of balloons being released.

An author weeps

P.L. TraversInside the packed twelve-hundred-seat theatre, the audience responded to the film with great enthusiasm: they gave it a five-minute standing ovation. Amongst this celebrating crowd, it would have been easy to miss the older middle aged woman sitting there, weeping. Anyone who recognised her as P. L. Travers, the author of the Mary Poppins books, could have been pardoned for assuming that her tears were the product either of artistic delight or of financial ecstasy (she had five per cent of the gross and the film made her rich). However neither was the case; the film, she believed, had destroyed her work. Later she would turn the individually catastrophic première into an amusing story over dinner, with Walt Disney as the butt of her jokes. However she had a feeling that this film that she hated was going to change her life forever; and so it proved.

AuthorHouse Moose Chapters From My Life by Robert B. Sherman, an insider’s view

AuthorHouse UK is proud to be the publisher of this fine memoir, Moose,  by one of the few in the world, who was a insider to the magic and reality of Disney and Hollywood in their pomp and who can truly say he was there; Robert B. Sherman.

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