Her voice was crisp, clear and resonated in the hallway of the Animation Building. Still a very young woman, Julie Andrews could easily be mistaken for royalty. That's simply the way she carried herself as she moved about the Walt Disney Studio back in the sixties.
Principal photography had already wrapped on Walt Disney's “Mary Poppins.” However, those of us in the animation department were still working diligently to complete the cartoon footage that would be composited with the live-action. The Animation Building was the main facility on the Disney Studio lot and Miss Andrews had to deal with business matters in our building. Even though I had already seen a good deal of her scenes in the film, I was struck by the sight of the talented actress in person. She had red hair, freckles and appeared so much younger than her screen persona. The actress, accompanied by a handful of business types stepped into the elevator on the building's first floor. With the motion picture beginning to wind down, I wondered if I would ever see the actress again.
Of course, I did see Julie Andrews in a number of motion pictures over the next few decades and the movies ranged from sweet to not so sweet. Being a dedicated fan I watched everything from “The Sound of Music” to “SOB,” an edgy Hollywood comedy directed by husband, Blake Edwards. However, the film that continued to define the talented actress was “Mary Poppins.”
I'm lucky to work in a magical business and a bit of magic happened last year when I was able to chat with my favorite actress in my hometown of Pasadena. The two of us were kids in our twenties when we made the classic motion picture for Walt Disney back in the sixties. We joked about the outdoor rehearsal facility the Disney carpenters built for the dance numbers and how the shooting schedule took the better part of a year. And, who could forget the delightful cast that included Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson and Glynis Johns. And, what a thrill to be on Stage A for the recording sessions. Naturally, the Sherman Brothers were in attendance as well. Finally, if you take a close look at the photograph below you'll see the young Julie Andrews with her boss, Walt Disney. She looks like a kid, doesn't she? Of course, we were all kids back then, weren't we?