"Mary Poppins" began its "regular engagement" at the ChineseTheater 50 years ago today. When The Times reviewed it (earlier in August of 1964), Philip K. Scheuer wrote:
"Mary Poppins" is the complete fantasy. It will amaze and delight more people than you can count, and I imagine quite a lot of them won’t be kids, either. I must admit that it entertained me most of the time, but I must add that I am something of a square: It also discombobulated me.
Scheuer goes on to explain that the fantastical elements — the fact that in the film “reality is nearly nonexistent” — weren’t to his liking.
But soon we become conscious that the feats the dancers are performing are plainly beyond human ability to accomplish. And “Oh!” we say. “Trick stuff.” In direct ratio then, our admiration for the skill of the dancers as dancers (despite its having been considerable) is dissipated in a more routine respect for what the special-effects men can do.
That seems to rather miss the point of a movie that pairs Dick Van Dyke with dancing penguins. But Scheuer has a lovely turn when he addresses the stars, Van Dyke and Julie Andrews.
It is the first movie role for Miss Andrews of the stage’s “My Fair Lady” and “Camelot,” and she plays it coyly and captivatingly. Her singing voice, of course, is liquid sweetness. And she swings a wicked soft shoe. Paired happily with her (no romance, you know, but the two seem to share a winking secret) is Dick Van Dyke as Bert, who shows up in various guises — a street musician, a chalk-pavement artist, a sport, a chimney sweep and a surprise character — without any explanation. What they have in common are Dick Van Dyke and a cockney accent.
That singing voice of “liquid sweetness” helped Andrews win the Oscar for best actress at the 37th Academy Awards — Andrews is seen above with Audrey Hepburn, who starred in 1964’s best picture, “My Fair Lady.”
Original published caption, April 6, 1965: TWO ‘FAIR LADIES’ — Audrey Hepburn, the film’s “My Fair Lady,” congratulates Julie Andrews, right, star of the stage version, on winning the best actress for her performance in film “Mary Poppins.” Credit: Los Angeles Times
Karen Dotrice, who played young Jane Banks, spoke to Times reporter Susan King last year about the experience, and fondly recalled the man she still refers to as “Uncle Walt” (Walt Disney, of course).
"The joy that you see on the screen is the joy we felt," Dotrice said of working on "Mary Poppins."
New data is shedding light on the difference in well-being between LGBT and non-LGBT Americans, and it’s highlighting a crucial, yet overlooked fact about the community: LGBT people, but LGBT women in particular, are less likely to have a primary care doctor or to be able to afford health care in the first place.
These insights are courtesy of new Gallup polling numbers that examined the physical and financial well-being of LGBT people, as well as their access to health insurance and doctors. Gallup’s data revealed that on average, LGBT people are far more likely that their straight counterparts to be uninsured, while LGBT women in particular are more likely than non-LGBT women, non-LGBT men and even LGBT men to lack a personal doctor, by a 13-point margin.
The International Center of Photography, in a joint effort with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, now offers digital access to its Roman Vishniac archive. Take a look at some of his work, which documents Eastern European Jewish life between 1935 and 1938.
Speech Pathologist Kathe Perez has been working with trans clients for years. She recalls one patient’s insightful remark: “It’s that when I talk, it really isn’t a reflection of my soul – it isn’t a reflection of who I am.”
Perez has now developed Eva, the first phone app designed to help transgender users change the pitch and tone of their voice to reflect their identity.
Eva (Exceptional Voice App) is an entire suite of voice training mobile app products for both trans men and women. The app guides users through various lessons and breathing exercises.
The app’s website states it will take at least 6 to 12 months to effectively alter one’s voice. This video clip features an example “before and after” segment, having a user sample her “original” and “altered” voice:
As one user of the app put it: “Voice can be a real liability. There are definitely large parts of this country, even this state, where it’s dangerous to be trans. It can be a matter of life or death.”
At just $4.99, this app is a far more affordable option for users than visiting a vocal coach or speech pathologist. What a great resource!