Disclosure: I attended a press event in LA.
While I was in LA on the #DisneyFrozenEvent we also watched Saving Mr. Banks and talked with one of the Chimney Sweeps, Pete Menefee longtime Disney collaborator, from The original Mary Poppins. He had no idea that there was a story behind Mary Poppins that went so deeply while he was on set. All they knew was they had to do all these complicated dance moves and yes they did have to jump and land in chimney’s that had a trampoline at the bottom of them. I mean, I was SUPER impressed with all that he described when he was regaling us with his dance moves.
Pete also really impressed me with his complete professionalism during the interview. He knew how to handle unexpected questions and made us laugh. He also showed us many of his sketches for different projects he worked on.
How did you train to be a dancer?
You know, it’s wild. I was a navy brat and I was born in San Diego and raised in Hawaii so I used to go to the movies and my favorite movies were Walt Disney movies and I would come home and I’d draw all the characters and I’d make little theatre and I’d play everything up and that was what I did for fun. When we moved back from Hawaii, we lived down the street from a young lady who took tap and she invited me to her recital and. These are kids singing and dancing and I wanted to do it. I really did.
Was the MARY POPPINS chimney work the most physically demanding of your jobs?
It was hard and you did it hard, you did it full out. You were not only dancing but you were tumbling. The only blessing on this was it was a movie and we just did it in setups that you don’t have to do the whole thing. Everything that you have in your body had to be saved for that number.
About Mary Poppins 50th Anniversary Blu-ray
“Released from the Disney Vault in celebration of its 50th Anniversary, this beloved classic shines like never before on Blu-ray with an all-new digital restoration. Winner of five Academy Awards(R), including Best Actress (Julie Andrews), Best Song (“Chim Chim Cher-ee”) and Best Visual Effects, Mary Poppins is a movie experience your family will enjoy over and over again. “