Chattin’ with Pete Menefee #MaryPoppins #DisneyFrozenEvent

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Disclosure: Disney provided me with an expense paid trip to Hollywood for the Disney Frozen Event in exchange for my review of the events of the trip. No other compensation is given. The opinions and experiences in my posts are 100% mine.

petemenefee

Chattin’ with Pete Menefee #MaryPoppins #DisneyFrozenEvent

As part of my #DisneyFrozenEvent Experience I was able to spend some time Chattin’ with Pete Menefee about his career and what’s been happening over the last 50 years.  Yes the last 50 years, well you may be a little confused now, so let me bring you up to speed, you see Pete looks a little different now vs the way you may remember him.  Last time you may have seen him he was working as a Chimney Sweep, covered in soot and jumping in and out of chimney’s singing “Step In Time”  in Disney’s Live Action Classic Mary Poppins.  Ahhhh now I got your attention (smile) and I am sure you are picturing the scene.

chimchimchere

(Photo Credit: Disney)

Well let me fill you in on why we spent time chattin’ with Pete along with all the great information he shared with us.  You see Disney will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Mary Poppins will be releasing Mary Poppins: 50th Anniversary Edition DVD/BluRay on December 10th.  As well as their upcoming film Saving Mr Banks featuring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson.  Saving Mr Banks is a real life account of how Walt Disney was able to convince Author P L Travers to allow him to bring her story Mary Poppins to the big screen.  Totally cool right?  Well we had the opportunity to join in on the magic by learning more about Mary Poppins, Saving Mr Banks, plus we heard all about what was happening 50 years ago on the set of Mary Poppins.

Now I’m sure its hard to believe that it’s been 50 years since Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews served a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down or since they Chim Chim Chere’d up to the chimney’s and across the rooftops, however Mary Poppins is a timeless Disney Classic and will forever be on of Disney’s greatest movies.  I am nowhere near 50, however Mary Poppins is my favorite Live Action Disney Movies.  There are no other Live Action Disney Movies that even compare (in my opinion) to the joy that Mary Poppins brings.  I jokingly stated when I got the invite to the #DisneyFrozenEvent that this trip was tailored with me in mind. petemenefee

Knowing that Mary Poppins is an all time favorite of mine, it’s clear to see that I got a kick out of interviewing an actual cast member.  I mean like how often do you get a chance to meet someone from one of your favorite movies that was filmed before you were even born….in my 12 year old voice “Like Never”..lol.  So it was interesting to learn all about Pete and his career.  Our number one question was about how his career began and what he was doing before getting the role of Chimney Sweep in Mary Poppins. We wanted to know that too, here’s what Pete shared:

I turned 21 the same year we shot Mary Poppins so I’m not gonna lie to anybody. I’m 71 now. I started working as a dancer professionally when I was fourteen and I was in Wes Side by the time I was 17. Doing the movie of Bye Bye Birdie by the time I was 18. It was my first film here in Hollywood. I played Harvey Johnson in the movie and, uh, Poppins was two years after we shot Birdie. I, I had worked in television. I did a lot of beach party movies. I did five movies with Elvis.

We asked Pete what he was up to now and what he had been doing over the last few years, he replied:

I’m retired now for a year but I’ve designed for 44 years and one of the things that is still running is Jubilee in Vegas which is a Cabaret show and these are two of the showgirls from the first act finale, Jubilee.  The last thing I did was redesign Titanic for these folks two years ago on a 30 second anniversary of the show which was really thrilling.  I’ve been involved with the show since we began it. I began drawing the show in 1979 and I’ve been involved.  A lot of the shows that I’ve done, I’ve done for a very, very long time.  I did a series of TV specials called Circus of the Stars for 18 years. I did Miss Universe for 19 years, traveled all over the world.

Pete has been a busy man, in fact all the drawings that he is holding in the pictures above were all drawn by him at some point in his career.  Not only has been designing, he’s done some acting and choreography.  We wanted to know more about his role in Mary Poppins so we asked about the choreography for the Step In Time Scene in Mary Poppins.  Knowing that the same technology wasn’t available 50 years ago we wondered if there were any special “tricks” that helped create the illusion of the scene.  We were surprised by the information that we learned.

Some of the stuff that’s done, I know people think are drawn or, or messed with, you know, what is called, CTG?  When they do stuff after?  But guys did really — three guys really did do flip flops between two buildings and it’s painted in perspective but it still is.  It means that you’re throwing yourself over and catching yourself on your hands three times with a 15 foot drop below you and it’s grim. It is grim.  And the section jumping into the chimney puffs, uh, was done with a technical person underneath each of our chimneys and the chimney was solid with a cutout and you would do the section and jump split and do, do the section again and jump split and the third time you jump split and then you tuck in and pull your knees up and the guy would trip the chimney and you’d fall into it and you’d fall and hit a mattress on the door front roll and I used to have nightmares about it.

He went on to say how some of the choreography was difficult and that he literally was scared to death of some of the stunts they did, believe it or not they recorded all the difficult sequences in one day.  They were completely relieved to be done with the “tough stuff” only to come to he set the next day and……

We came in the second day and Didi said I want everybody before we get into makeup to sit down.  she said there’s a scratch on all of the stuff from yesterday.  We have to do it all over again and, you know, you’d gone home that first day and gone oh, man I never have to jump in another chimney for the rest of my life again.  And all of a sudden we were just sitting there going Jesus and she said I’ll leave it up to you guys.

 

marypoppinsmovie

Don’t wait until next week to grab your copy of Mary Poppins, be sure to Pre-Order your copy of Mary Poppins: 50th Anniversary today!  Also don’t forget to check out Saving Mr Banks  (12/13/13 limited & 12/20/13 wide).  

 

MARY POPPINS (12/10 on 50th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD)

https://www.facebook.com/waltdisneymarypoppins

https://twitter.com/DisneyPictures (#MaryPoppins)

http://movies.disney.com/mary-poppins

SAVING MR. BANKS (12/13/13 limited & 12/20/13 wide)

https://www.facebook.com/SavingMrBanks

https://twitter.com/disneypictures (#SavingMrBanks)

https://www.pinterest.com/disneystudios/saving-mr-banks/

www.disney.com/savingmrbanks

http://www.wdsmediafile.com/disney/savingmrbanks/

Disclosure: Disney provided me with an expense paid trip to Hollywood for the Disney Frozen Event in exchange for my review of the events of the trip. No other compensation is given. The opinions and experiences in my posts are 100% mine.


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