‘Jeopardy!’ Drops Crazy Fact About 1964 Classic Film ‘Mary Poppins’

by John Jamison

If you follow “Jeopardy!” on Instagram, you’re likely to learn something. It may be random. It may be useful. But it’s most likely going to be interesting. For instance, did you know that the creator of “Mary Poppins” was appalled by the classic American film based on her work?

That’s right. Pamela Lyndon Travers, the writer of the original “Mary Poppins” book series, hated the movie beloved by so many. According to the Washington Post, Travers said “When I left the theater, I was crying.” 

As the story goes, Walt Disney heard his daughter laughing one night. He asked her what she was reading and she held up “Mary Poppins.” Disney spent the next 10 years trying to acquire the rights to make a film out of the book. Pamela Travers finally agreed. But only if she had the final say on the script.

She completely lost control of the story. Disney turned her work into a full-on musical and had such a clear vision for the movie that there was nothing she could do.

Her dislike for the movie is almost hard to believe considering how it was received. “Mary Poppins” won five Academy Awards and is considered by some to be one of Disney’s greatest achievements. This was all well and good for the studio, but Travers felt that the movie was a misrepresentation of her original writing.

‘Jeopardy!’ Clue Says Travers Approved Another Adaptation

It comes as no surprise then, that more than 30 years passed before she approved another adaptation. According to “Jeopardy!” she okayed a stage play to be produced by British theater owner Cameron Mackintosh in 1996.

There was one very specific condition for the play, however. Travers demanded that “no Americans” be involved in the production.

The “Jeopardy!” post also points out that Travers didn’t have to suffer through an American sequel of the classic movie during her lifetime. If she was still around, however, she would have been subject to the 2018 movie “Mary Poppins Returns.”

No one can say for certain how Pamela Lyndon Travers may have felt about the modern sequel. But if the original is any indication, she probably wouldn’t have approved.