Pages of the Walt Disney songbook credited to sibling composers Richard and Robert Sherman include the scores for The Parent Trap and Jungle Book. Told that his greatest Disney song work — the highlight of arguably Disney's greatest film — is Mary Poppins, Richard Sherman graciously concurs.
As Disney's staff songwriters, the Sherman Brothers created the score, songs and helped with story ideas on director Robert Stevenson's 1964 adaptation of P.L. Travers' series of Mary Poppins books.
Speaking via phone from Los Angeles to promote the Mary Poppins 40th anniversary DVD release, Sherman describes how he captured the children's magical adventures with Mary Poppins via the film's best-known song, "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious."
"The song came about as a word to describe the children's experience when they enter the chalk drawing. It was a way to give the children a souvenir, something to tell their parents about, since they can't show them anything tangible.
"You know, little boys make up silly words at camp. They like something that sounds obnoxious and atrocious, smart and precocious. This super-sized word has all of that."