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THE MYSTERIOUS MARY POPPINS INTERMISSION MUSIC

Discussion in 'Archive' started by Randy Thornton, Dec 10, 2004.

  1. Randy Thornton

    Randy Thornton Member

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    Boy, do I have some interesting info for you!

    ?THE MYSTERIOUS MARY POPPINS INTERMISSION MUSIC?

    We can finally put the issue to rest. Though, as I mentioned in previous posts, that I had intended to include the Intermission music, I soon found that I had no space on the disc. So I left that search to Les Perkins who would be doing the research for the DVD and he would have included the Intermission Music somewhere on the DVD. Les and I go way back, and it is I who supplied Les with all the original orchestra sessions for his work on the DVD. As you will read, though there was indeed and Intermission (in some venues) THERE WAS NO INTERMISSION or EXIT MUSIC. That?s right. It never existed! Below is an email copy of what Les wrote to The Home Theater Forum and then cc?d to me.
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    To: Randy Thornton
    From: Les Perkins
    December 3rd, 2004

    There are controversies going about the internet about whether Mary Poppins had extra music that we didn't use. I wrote a response to Home Theater Forum's discussion I thought you should have. Congratulations on the CD it's absolutely wonderful!

    Ok, we can put to rest the controversy of Overture / Intermission / Exit music. While this is not an official Disney Company response, I am the independent producer who did the research on Mary Poppins, as well as create some of the bonus features. It?s exciting to see the enthusiasm of the debate on this issue. It is with that same passion that I went digging for said pieces of music, expecting to find them. They do not exist and we found no documentation to suggest they ever did. Nor does co-composer Richard Sherman recall such elements, and his memory on this film is phenomenal.

    So here?s the detail, lest you doubt me, or simply enjoy these kinds of stories. In the course of physical inspection of hundreds of film cans, I was thrilled to discover reels from actual release prints marked with an intermission! I found both a stereo four-stripe mag. print and a mono optical. That print is what I put into the ?Musical Journey with Richard Sherman? featurette. There?s a bad fade out at the end of ?Stay Awake? but the tracks on both prints go silent: no music. Not willing to take that as the final word, I went to a separate department that stores all sound masters and found one version specifically marked intermission, so I ordered that original sound track from which release prints were made. Again, no intermission music. And the following reel just begins with a fade into Admiral Boom?s scene (?Glorious day, Mr. Binnacle??) so I couldn?t find any Entr?acte music either.

    As if that wasn?t enough, we also pulled virtually all the original orchestra session takes before they were edited. But I found nothing that could have been an Overture, Intermission, or Exit music, and I looked (listened). Irwin Kostal can even be heard identifying the alternate overture ending as being for the record album, but nothing else. (Ah ha! They were recorded at the same time.)

    We also checked the written correspondence in the production files. The only paperwork we found that discusses the possibility of an intermission was some correspondence in October 1964 regarding the Odeon Theater in England asking the Disney Studio if they might be able to add an intermission. So that allowed me to theorize that the intermission print might have been for England, which I had Mr. Sherman reference in the featurette. We found no reviews or other documentation to indicate an intermission anywhere else (although Radio City would have been a likely candidate). By the way, I saw Poppins in its first week at Graumann?s myself and I don?t recall an intermission. Juvenile film buff that I already was, I think a break would have made a memorable impression.

    Could there have been in some theaters? Yes, and here?s how. It was not uncommon in that era for exhibitors with a sense of showmanship to play record albums before and/or after the feature. And when Poppins played locally at a theater near me in 1966, that theater took it upon itself to arbitrarily cut the film at one point and put up their own intermission card in order to break up the long film, presumably to sell more popcorn (I remembered that one). But this was not Disney created. Yeah, there?s the remote possibility that somewhere Disney created a different version,, or used the special intermission print, but we sure can?t prove it.

    I hope this lengthy explanation satisfies everyone?s curiosity.

    Les Perkins
    ----------
    Now back to my writing. So, all this time, we were hoping to include something that actually never existed. I am as surprised as you. But there you have it.

    As for the special ending for the overture, I did locate and was going to include it, but it just didn?t work as well (listening-wise) as the way it appears now. That sustained French Horn into the ?One Man Band? just works so well for me, I decided to drop the Overtures Special Ending and leave it the way it appears in the film.

    Well, strange how such a legend can be created ? only to be exposed as a myth. Thought y?all might find this as interesting as I.

    Well, back to the Disneyland Set!

    Randy Thornton
     
  2. X-S Tech

    X-S Tech Active Member

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    Yeah while I always enjoy a new piece of Poppins music, I like the way the film version of the Overture plays better than the LP version. Too bad it didn't make it in as an extra somewhere but there's always 2014.
     
  3. FRAN?OIS

    FRAN?OIS Member

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    Thank you so much Randy for that FASCINATING bit of info!

    I guess we were all more or less right in our assumptions!

    On little detail I noticed on the artwork for the cd packaging: the title for the SUPERCALI.... music sheet ends with "DOCIUS" and not "DOCIOUS"!

    Another "personal" little tidbit; I wonder if Mr Les Perkins remembers me!
    We got to know each other thanks to our mutual passion for all things Julie Andrews -- he was then working for Mr David R. Smith of Disney Archives fame! -- and Les hosted me for two weeks on my second trip to L.A. (He was a big Judy Garland fan then, and still is I'm sure!)

    The year: 1974!

    Yep! 30 years ago!
     
  4. andymarshall

    andymarshall New Member

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    For what its worth- the above is exactly what I remember seeing in the UK; a fade out after Stay Awake and a rather abrupt cold start on Admiral Boom- during the Intermission (as during the pre-screening) the Cinema just put on the MP Soundtrack LP.

    Also, for students of the very arcane; we NEVER saw or heard the Buena Vista logo on any WD film- they were always preceded here by a rather glum feeling silent card reading "WALT DISNEY Film Distibutors" in yellow Times Type Font against sky blue. The cinema showing MP at the time tried to cheer it up by playing the first few chords of the Overture over this, then cutting to the movie soundtrack, making a rather strange double beginning to the Overture that still sticks in my mind.

    At the time of the Soundtrack release, there was a cheap replica version using British Artists available from, I think, EMI. Oddly, it appeared to contain, amongst the substitute numbers, the "singing animals" section, that was missing from the Soundtrack version of Jolly Holiday- which sounded as if it, alone on the disc, was actually lifted from the real soundtrack...I wish I still had this to pull out as a curiosity!

    AM
     
  5. Technirama70

    Technirama70 New Member

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    Randy -

    I know this OVERTURE, INTERMISSION, EXIT MUSIC for Mary Poppins has to be driving you crazy. On all the forums I visit people are equally divided that they saw it with or without the above mentioned.

    Me, having never seen MP with the O, I, or E - I don't feel like I am missing anything on the incredible soundtrack album/CD you put together. Had it been included, yes it would have been spectacular, but to me that would be adding icing to a cake that already has more than enough icing as is. I LOVE THE 40th CD!

    Unfortunately this will be one of those myth/legends that fans will b*tch about forever, and I am sorry that no matter what you do, you will probably always get the blame for not making a great thing even greater.

    But, I for one, am and will always be a fan or your work as long as you are at DISNEY and keep up the GREAT job you are doing.

    You have my dream job!
     

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