I've also been told I have little tact, so if this offends you simply ride on.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

PJ Travers - no one's special someone

This past Tuesday I went to see "Saving Mr. Banks" at the West Shore Theater, a movie house which only plays films that have already been through your local Megaplex, and I enjoyed it.  True, there were times when it seems as though nostalgia was seated behind me, tapping me on the shoulder and whispering "here's your tissue," but then that was to be expected.  Way back, when I was just a wee toddler, I got to see "Mary Poppins" when it was first released.  The experience was completely overwhelming for me as a small child, and I was not alone.  Disney had been hoping for a successful film and ended up with a blockbuster, with the film grossing over 100 million domestically.  Back then that was a lot of money.

Sitting in the theater this past Tuesday I was feeling more then a little intrigued.  I knew the premise was the clash between Disney and P. L. Travers, but since I knew absolutely nothing about the author I was pretty much in the dark.  Knowing this came from Hollywood, I was fairly certain there were not going to be a lot of warts on display.  I enjoyed the juxtaposition of stories, the Travers as a child and Travers as an adult, and knew it was mainly designed to make the audience weepy.  It gave reason to her almost childish demands concerning the script.  But what the movie really did was pique my interest in the Mary Poppin's author, so when I got home I hit the computer.  Wow!  In the real world she was worse then she was in the movie, and not just about the filming of Mary Poppins.  Sadly, of all the articles I read, only one came to her defense, and that one failed to mention so very much.

The fact that when she was 40 she decided she wanted a child and decided to adopt sounds good at first.  But then I found out she was going to adopt identical twins but then changed her mind and only chose to adopt one leaving the other behind.  Unfortunately she chose to tell her adopted son that she was his natural mother, never telling him he had twin brother.  Making this even more unfortunate was having the twin brother show up 17 years later unannounced.  I can't even imagine what that scene must have been like.

Not so special after all
I think it's interesting she hated "Mary Poppins" and Disney so much she put it into her will that none of her work could ever be produced by them again.  This is truly surprising when you consider how well they treated her.  True, they made it a musical, and they included an animated sequence, something she abhorred.  But they gave her $100,000 up front, which back in 1961 was a lot of moola.  Oh, they also gave her 5% of the gross which was roughly 5.5 million.  That's right, she made almost $6 million on that movie deal.  That's not too shabby.  

Evidently her grandchildren have said that when she died at 96 'she died loving no one and with no  one loving her,' which is such a sad thing to say.  Perhaps her problem was she spent her life foisting herself off as being someone special without understanding it's the people who surround you who make you special. 

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