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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

January 28, 2010 at 11:12 AM

Dick Van Dyke returns to “Mary Poppins”

OK, this isn’t entirely a movie story, but it charmed me and I wanted to share it. Last week in Los Angeles, Dick Van Dyke made a surprise cameo appearance in the touring production of “Mary Poppins,” playing the role of the elderly bank president Mr. Dawes (a role he played, in addition to Bert the chimney sweep, in the beloved Disney movie). If you click on the link, you can view a photo gallery of the now 84-year-old Van Dyke laughing, dancing and generally having a ball in rehearsals and performance.
I have a special fondness for the movie of “Mary Poppins,” which I’m told is the first movie I was ever taken to see, and which reportedly (according to my mother) inspired me to unfurl an imaginary umbrella and step off a railing, fully expecting to fly. (Luckily, she grabbed me.) Apparently movies have been getting under my skin for quite a while. A few years ago, I went to a sing-along version of “Mary Poppins” at the Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival — the first time I’d seen the movie on the big screen since I was a kid — and had a blast. It’s a movie just bursting with joy, from Julie Andrews’ Oscar-winning performance as the practically perfect nanny to Van Dyke’s boisterous, infectious glee as a dancing Jack-of-all-trades. (And yes, his Cockney accent is awful, but it doesn’t matter in the slightest.) Watch him in “Step in Time,” and just try not to grin. I’m thrilled to hear he’s still dancing. What a kick it must have been to be in that L.A. audience last week.

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