There is probably no one in the world that does know the name of Walt Disney and the rich legacy he and his studio have left to the world. For millions of people, he has left cherished memories of classic cartoons, animated features, theme parks and of course, some of the most unforgettable songs in history. From the earliest beginnings to his untimely passing, Walt always hired the most talented and resourceful people, for he insisted on only the best quality product, and would settle for no less. The music and songs are synonymous with his cinematic masterpieces. Even the theme parks and attractions host the world’s most memorable tunes.
What is considered Walt’s greatest triumph is the film “Mary Poppins” This whimsical tale of a magical nanny caring for several children in Edwardian London and their magical adventures, taken from a series of books by author P.L.Travers has sired the most brilliant and memorable songs to date. And the film has garnered the most awards, both won and nominated for any one Disney movie.
Which final brings me to the crux of this article. The Disneyana “World Chapter” branch of the international Disneyana Fan club held its annual Christmas party and has again, given its members another piece of Disney history to remember. Thanks to our amazing events team, this year’s celebration of the holidays was themed around the 50th anniversary of this extraordinary film, and it’s theme was “A Jolly Holiday Event”, a moniker taken from a sequence in the film where Burt, who is a screever, draws chalk scenes on the sidewalk, and Mary Poppins uses her magic to transport the group into the scene and have some marvelous adventures. But the highlight of this evening was the sons of the “Boys”, Richard and Robert Sherman, the Ürber talented pair who gave us some of Disney’s most memorable songs. Jeff and Greg, cousins and the sons of the Sherman Brothers were on hand to talk about their experiences growing up with their famous fathers. In addition to these personal memories, a film with both dads, (Robert Sherman passed away in London on March 5th, 2012) recanted stories about the film and memories of working with Walt.
This unforgettable event was further enhanced by singer Juliana Hansen who regaled the group with her magnificent voice, with some of the films most beloved songs, Walt Disney’s favorite in particular, “Feed the Birds” The personal memories of Jeff and Greg about their dads and the film was the highlight of the evening. Not many Disney fans can meet and listen to in person the sons of the Sherman Brothers, but our Chapter has always been blessed with a planning committee second to none. One of the most interesting stories told was that of Greg Sherman, son of Richard who told of how the song “A Spoonful of Sugar” came about. One day after coming home from school, he was telling his father about receiving the polio vaccine in a cube of sugar. His dad just looked up and stared, and that was the impetus needed to compose that song.
But our evening was much more. Our club is a non-profit organization which is composed of Disney enthusiasts dedicated to preserving and sharing the rich legacy of Walt Disney. We are also supporting the Walt Disney Pavilion at the Florida Hospital for Children. We donate all monies generated by our silent and live auctions of Disney memorabilia donated by members and anyone wanting to make a difference and this goes directly to the Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Program at the Hospital.
And again attending our holiday party was Disney artist Paul Madden, whom in addition to being commissioned for cherished one-of-a-kind artwork, has again donated several pieces of art for our auction. A quick rundown of the event is this…An introduction by President Adria Smith, and following several silent auction bids. After, a sumptuous dinner buffet by the Contemporary hotel’s chefs…Salad, Penne Pasta, Turkey Breast, Braised Beef pot roast and more. Another live auction with some amazing Disney themed donations followed and a film of Richard Sherman talking about the film. Sons Greg and Jeff followed with their memories of their experiences growing up during that magical time.
Then singer Juliana Hansen came on stage. She has a beautiful voice and her renditions of some of the film’s classic songs brought back many a memory. We were then treated to a film of Richard Sherman again talking about the making of the movie and working with stars Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews. It was fascinating to hear these personal stories, because none of this is in print. There was also a clip about some of the problems making the film and its author, P.L. Travers.
Our chapter has had many memorable Disney events and outings. But I personally would have to say this one was the topper! Being a member of the Disneyana Fan club should be on all Disney enthusiasts list, for it embodies all of what Disney and Walt is all about. Already a tentative 2015 schedule is out and it looks like another magical year.
If you want to be a part of the Disney magic and become a member of our chapter (World Chapter) contact the club for full information at… “World Chapter of the Disneyana Fan Club” PO box 470116, Celebration, Florida, 34747-0116. Remember, “The way to get started is quit talking and begin doing!”