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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Prod. 2165 - Mary Poppins (I)

As a little surprise, before throwing myself at the more extensive job of posting the Jungle Book draft, I will, over the next week, post the draft to Mary Poppins - to wit the animated sequence that Mrs. Travers seems to have hated (see Saving Mr. Banks). The film itself had production number 2162, while this sequence by itself is 2165. It's a Jolly Holiday - in April. I am aware I haven't posted anything significant in quite a long time; to get back in some kind of rhythm, I will start slowly:

Directed by Ham Luske, assisted by Jim Swain. Layouts by MacLaren Stewart, Don Griffith and Joe Hale. Production secretary Ruth Wright. This 2nd draft dated 10/7/63.

These first pages are mainly Live Action on animation backgrounds; there is little effects animation (dust and falling blossom) by Dan MacManus.

The interesting bit here is the top of the first page: here we see explained the legend of the letters used in the BG column (!), stating the different types of shots, while it is noted that all scenes have animation backgrounds:
A - Live action on top of animation (on animation background);
X - Live action on animation background without actual animation;
C - Cartoon only: no live action, only animation as usual;
OL - Goes with A: an overlay of animation on top: "tough!"
B - Blob matte - a different method of combining the live action and animation. (Elucidation, anyone?)
As we can see, it seems the hardest to do was combining the live action with animation and putting a layer of animation on top. This made for a few more passes through the optical printer...

The first scene is one of those scenes, called A+OL, and thus has animation on top of live action on top of animation. Then two scenes are A: with live action over animation, and the rest are X, live action over the backgrounds. Pretty straight-forward, right?

As always, my "Standard Disclaimer" is in effect. You know - the one that says that drafts are go-to production documents aiming to show the persons responsible for the scenes to the next person handling the scene folders, as well as possibly for crediting purposes. As Frank Thomas put it, "It is the most important document that everyone uses to find out who is responsible for what, and when." Thus, it is not a historical document. At least, it wasn't originally. You can read more about this in a lot of earlier postings.

Now started editing our next feature film, "Albert," based on a Danish children's book of the same name that was first published in 1968. I will try to not be a stranger here, folks. For the longest time I spent all my free time - not a lot of that! - pouring over any and all information and images pertaining walt Disney's Hyperion Ave. studio, and I feel I could find my way in it pretty well now (except for a few areas that irritatingly still are "black boxes" to our research group, led by our fearless leader David Lesjak). You can see a bit of our work here and here: the "camera room" image on the first link, and the "what were Dave Hand and Johnny Cannon working on" images on the second were things that I figured out. Which was wonderful fun. The fact that I can date the camera room image to June 1930 just adds to the merriment...

I must say, I was very saddened to learn of the passing of Michael Sporn, earlier this year. He was a great supporter of this blog; I was an avid reader of his. And anyone who proclaims Multiplane Day is tops in my book!

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Blogger Steven Hartley says...

This is incredible! Thanks a lot Hans for posting this draft.

I love 'Mary Poppins' as an entire film, and not just the great animated segments. It's quite possibly my all-favourite Disney film, period, and it's quite high up as one of my all-time favourite films.

The music was not only great, but I just loved how there was a sense of ambiguity to the nanny, which was greatly portrayed by Julie Andrews. She was neither sweet or cruel to the children. My interpretation is that Poppins was what both the children and Mr. Banks wanted, especially when they advertised for a nanny.

I wish you luck on your continued Hyperion research.

Yes, I was also saddened to hear of Michael Sporn's death. I didn't know Mike very well at all, and I've only corresponded with him through comments occasionally, but I still admire his blog; as well as his contribution to the animation field.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at 3:02:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Story says...

Good to see you "back in the saddle" as it were.

Sunday, April 13, 2014 at 11:10:00 PM PDT  
Blogger spokeshave says...

The blob matte refers to covering areas of unwanted rigs. Known also as garbage mattes, used in the scenes of Bert and Mary Poppin's standing on the turtles. The blob mattes would removed the moving platforms they stood on. The area around their feet would've been rotoscoped and blob mattes painted from the tracings onto cels.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 8:36:00 AM PDT  

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