Julie Andrews was a well known treasure on the Broadway stage by the time she made her first movie. "Mary Poppins" was a delightful, musical, magical romp around the city of London. Mary (Julie Andrews) is hired by a stodgy British banker (David Tomlinson) as his children's nanny. Little does the banker or his children realize that Mary Poppins is much more than your typical baby sitter. We are tipped off to her unusual talents when she flies into the scene using her umbrella.
What a way to be introduced to the American film audience! A year later, Julie gained movie immortality starring as Marie Von Trapp in "The Sound of Music." But at the time "Mary Poppins" was release she was a wonderful surprise to all who went to the movie. Besides Julie Andrews, the film exhibits the wonderful singing and dancing skills of Dick Van Dyke. Van Dyke was in the middle of the six year run on television in "The Dick Van Dyke Show." Van Dyke not only danced and sang with Julie Andrews, but he also performed with a group of animated characters. All of this was part of the magic of the movie.
The film also shows off the talents of some of England's most skilled character actors. Some of my favorites are Glynis Johns, Elsa Lancaster, Arthur Treacher and a couple of Americans as well: Ed Wynn and Jane Darwell. Ed Wynn's father-in-law, Frank Keenan, was a noted Shakespearean actor who was born in Dubuque. Iowa's stage and screen celebrities are honored in the halls of the Orpheum. The displays are free to the public and can be seen any time the theatre is open.
"Mary Poppins" is full of great, unforgettable songs: "A Spoonful of Sugar," "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," "Feed the Birds" and "Chim Chim Cher-Ee." All of these songs are ones that you will be humming as you leave the Orpheum this weekend. This movie is rated "G" and is one for the whole family.
The show times are 7 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 and 5 p.m. Sunday. Visit the theater for tours, or call the Orpheum Theater Center movie hotline at 641-844-5907 or visit www.orpheumcenter.com
Tom LaVille is a retired Marshalltown drama and literature teacher and is heavily involved in the Marshalltown Community Theatre. LaVille's Critic's Corner column appears Friday in the Times-Republican.