Saturday, October 01, 2016

Bette Davis was Walt Disney's first choice for Mary Poppins

Our Trivial Fact of the Day is taken from How To Be Like Walt: Capturing the Disney magic every day of your life by Pat Williams and Jim Denney:
Walt personally made all of the casting decision for Mary Poppins. His first choice for Mary was surprising - Bette Davis. One of the reigning queens of Moviedom, 
Ms. Davis was in her fifties at the time. In voice and appearance, she couldn't have been more different from the twenty-seven-year-old singer Walt ultimately chose. 
Yet P.L. Travers had given no hint of Mary's age in the books - most readers at the time assumed her to be a middle-aged woman. So the choice of Bette Davis seemed logical. 
But as the Sherman brothers developed the score of the film, there were several songs written for Mary Poppins to sing. Bette Davis was not a singer.
All very interesting. And particularly interesting to anyone who has seen the 1965 Hammer film The Nanny, in which Bette Davis played the title role - a very different character from Mary Poppins though they shared a profession..

"Time for your bath, Master Joey."


Walsie said...

For a strange P L Travers coupling see The National

Frank Little said...

Bette Davis had a decent singing voice. Look for her lament of the wartime American single woman "They're either too old or too young".