The day after Christmas, the Palace Theatre, a once-and-again-classic Albany movie theater from the 1930s with a fascinating past, was showing the 1964 movie Mary Poppins at 3 p.m., preceded by activities for children. We pretty much missed the activities, such as posing with a young woman dressed as Ms. Poppins, because I was still moving slowly from whatever bug was paining me.
My wife decided that we should go up to the balcony, which I thought was an intriguing idea; it’s been a very long time since I’ve seen a film from there. At some point, Ms. Poppins took the stage and announced the winners of a couple of drawings. Then there was a 10-minute drive-in movie theater intermission countdown that looked EXACTLY like this, only the full 600 minutes long. Then we got a short, Pecos Pest, a Tom and Jerry cartoon about the mouse’s guitar-playing Uncle Pecos terrorizing the feline.
Then our feature began. This was DEFINITELY a film, as opposed to some digital version. For one thing, there were three or four pops/skips, a couple of which unfortunately appeared during songs early on. For another, the second reel was much more orange-tinted than the prior or subsequent part of the film. Rather than annoyed, I found it oddly charming.
Speaking of odd, this was the first I had actually seen the movie. Oh, I’d viewed various segments over time. And I had read book adaptations to the Daughter. But I was unaware of the subplot involving women’s suffrage that Mrs. Banks (Glynis Johns, who I remember from a short-lived CBS fall 1963 sitcom called Glynis) was involved with. The guy with the cannon on a neighboring roof? New to me. But I must have seen the end of the film on TV, for I clearly recall the anagrammed name of the old banker changing to the actor who actually played him.
Julie Andrews was wonderful in this, of course, though Mary Poppins is sterner than I would have suspected. The songs by the Sherman brothers were infectious, especially, for the Daughter, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. The first song A British Bank, though, reminded me greatly of the With a Little Bit of Luck from My Fair Lady by Lerner and Loewe from about a decade earlier.
But the highlight for me was the dancing of the chimney sweeps to Step In Time; incredible! Indeed, my admiration for Dick van Dyke, already quite high, increased greatly.
One last bit: the tickets cost $5 each for The Wife and me, $3 for the Daughter, purchased at the box office. But, had we bought them online, it would have cost $23 more!
A good time.