I was watching one of my favey shows, Mary Poppins and I thought what would Walt Disney think about Disney buying the Star Wars franchise?
While making Mary Poppins, two of Walt’s song composers wrote the best song in the movie, Feed The Birds
This is what one of the composers said about the song:
“… [w]e seized on one incident, in Chapter 7 of ‘Mary Poppins Comes Back’, the second book — the bird woman. And we realized that was the metaphor for why Mary came, to teach the children — and Mr. Banks — the value of charity. So we wrote the song and took it up to Walt’s office and played it and sang it for him. He leaned back in his chair, looking out the window, and he said: ‘That’s it, isn’t it? That’s what this is all about. This is the metaphor for the whole film.’ And that was the turning point in our lives … We were full-time staff, so we had an office at the studio, and every so often Walt would call us up to his office on a Friday afternoon. We knew what he wanted. When we got there, he would say, ‘I just wanted to know what you boys were up to these days.’ Then he would turn around in his chair and stare out the window, like the first time we played it for him, and he would say, ‘Play it.’ And we would … And you could just see Walt thinking, ‘That’s what it’s all about, everything we do at Disney.'”
That’s what it’s all about, everything we do at Disney.
So what does that mean? There are lines in the song that brings most folks to tears:
Come feed the little birds, show them you care
And you’ll be glad if you do.
Their young ones are hungry,
Their nests are so bare;
All it takes is tuppence from you.”
While overhead, her birds fill the skies.
All around the cathedral the saints and apostles
Look down as she sells her wares.
Although you can’t see it, you know they are smiling
Each time someone shows that he cares.
Though her words are simple and few,
Listen, listen, she’s calling to you:
“Feed the birds, tuppence are there,
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence are there.”
So what is Walt saying? Magic and caring is all that is needed in a world that enjoys slicing off babies’ heads as the babies’ mamas look on. This world is full of horror even in Walt’s day and he knew if he could bring magic to the big screens, it could help folks get lost for a little while.
So what does Mary Poppins have to do with Star Wars? They have one thing in common: Magic. No, not the slight of hand magic but the child- like magic that’s seen in Herbie the Love Bug, Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and all of Walt’s wonderful creation. Magic that maybe animals do talk, that a bear does hang out with a tiger and some folks do live happily ever after.
When I was in my 20’s, I watched a Winnie the Poo show, one of my very favorite shows when I was a kid. Much to my horror, the magic I felt as a child was gone and all I saw was a cartoon. I felt as if I had lost something very important and I grieved over it. I wasn’t excited over Christopher Robin’s bedroom, (in fact, the adult in me thought, how cluttered) as I was when I was a kid and had longed for that same room. The thrill of Disney’s Robin Hood was gone, even the Disney smell was gone from the shows. (Yes, Disney had a certain scent to all the movies that has now disappeared.) The magic had fled and I grieved for it. I try to find it whenever I watch Disney and I see a shadow of it, but it’s still never the same as when i was a child.
So once again, we stand at Walt’s front door and peek into a window as we hope for more magic. And I know Walt would have been in the middle of the New Star Wars franchise and directed everyone into magical places. He would have said to his directors, ‘We need to Feed More Birds.’ We might have seen Snow White twirling with a broom in the background as the Sith Lords marched by or seen Bert the Chimney Sweep kneel on the Tatooine ground as he chalk drew a picture for Jane and Michael Banks so they can jump into it and have an amazing adventure. He would have left a glass slipper on the stair well in a Jedi castle. All of Walt’s magic.
It’s sad that the haters of Disney see only cartoons and silly shows and ignore the magic in Disney and soon the magic in Star Wars. They moan and groan over Disney buying Star Wars and claim the ‘magic’ is gone. No, I don’t think the magic will ever be gone. Hopefully, Walt passed that magic to the new Disney owners and we’ll still see something that makes us long to Feed more Birds.