Mary Poppins is the central character in a series of children's books written by P. L. Travers and illustrated by Mary Shepard, which were subsequently adapted for film and for the stage.
A blast of wind, a house rattling bang, and Mary Poppins arrives at Number Seventeen Cherry-Tree Lane. Quicker than she can close her umbrella, she takes charge of the Banks children-Jane, Michael, and the twins-and changes their life forever. Unlike other nannies, Mary Poppins makes the most ordinary events extraordinary. She slides UP banisters, pulls all manner of wonders out of her empty carpetbag, and banishes fear or sadness with a no-nonsense "Spit-spot." Who else can lead the children on one magical adventure to another and still gently tuck them in at the end of the day? No one other than the beloved nanny Mary Poppins!-A quote by Odyssey Classics
Mary Poppins Books by P.L Travers
The first book, Mary Poppins, published in 1934, introduced the mysterious anti-heroine, a vain, acerbic magical English nanny blown by a windstorm to Number Seventeen Cherry-Tree Lane, London and into the Banks' household to care for the Banks' children; Jane (the eldest), Michael, and twin babies John and Barbara. Encounters with chimney sweeps, pavement artists, shopkeepers, and various adventures follow until Mary Poppins abruptly leaves. Her sudden return in Mary Poppins Comes Back heralds more of the same, as does Mary Poppins Opens the Door. The other books in the sequence, P.L. Travers explains in her introduction to Mary Poppins in the Park, describe incidents which happened during any of these three visits, for 'Mary could not forever arrive and depart.'
Some of the themes in the novels may have been influenced by the author's relationship with G. I. Gurdjieff, the Greek Armenian mystic and "teacher of dancing", whom she met in 1938.
Mary Poppins was made into a film by Walt Disney Productions in 1964 based on the series of children's books. According to the 40th anniversary DVD release of the film in 2004, Walt Disney first attempted to purchase the film rights to Mary Poppins from P.L. Travers as early as 1931 but was rebuffed because Travers did not believe a film version of her books would do justice to her creation. He finally succeeded in 1961, although Travers demanded and got script approval rights.
The relationship between Travers and Disney is detailed in Mary Poppins She Wrote, a biography of Travers, by Valerie Lawson, published by Aurum Press in the United Kingdom. The biography is the basis for two documentaries on Travers, The Real Mary Poppins and The Shadow of Mary Poppins.
The process of planning the film and composing the songs took about two years. Songs in the film are by the Sherman Brothers. Mary Poppins is played by Julie Andrews. Disney cast Dick Van Dyke in the key supporting role of Bert. The Banks children were played by Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber. Mr and Mrs Banks were played by David Tomlinson and Glynis Johns respectively. The film is rated G by the MPAA.
In December 2004, Mary Poppins: The Musical opened at the Prince Edward Theatre, London, after previewing in Bristol. It received critical acclaim and was nominated for nine 2005 Olivier Awards. It won two awards, Best Actress in a Musical, for Laura Michelle Kelly, and Best Theatre Choreography, for Matthew Bourne and Stephen Mear.
The musical has original music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, book by Julian Fellowes, and a few new songs and additional music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe.
The musical opened on Broadway on October 16, 2006.
Mrs. Banks is the wife of George Banks and mother of Jane and Michael. She is more fully developed in the film than in the books, appearing as a valiant and fervent suffragette and feminist. She also appears in the stage musical.
George Banks is Mary Poppins' employer. He works at the Bank in the City of London, and lives at 17 Cherry Tree Lane with his wife and their children. He is a very cross man who hates the women's suffrage movement but later on in the movie his attitude changes.
The Banks' children
Jane, Michael, John and Barbara. The last two are baby twins, who only appear in the books. Annabel is a younger child, born in a later book, who also does not make a movie appearance.
He is Herbert Alfred for Sundays only. Normally, he is Bert. He loves to draw pictures on the sidewalk with chalk, but when it rains and washes his pictures away, he is known as the 'Matchman'. Bert knows about Mary Poppins' wonderful child discipling ways.
Terry Pratchett parodied Mary Poppins in his book "Hogfather," using the character Susan Sto Helit to show a dark side to the traditional Mary Poppins character.
The Simpsons parodied Mary Poppins under the name "Shary Bobbins" in the episode "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala (Annoyed Grunt) cious".