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Arts & Culture

Fact-checking Saving Mr. Banks with Disney historian Jim Korkis

Live Active Cultures

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Film: Disney didn’t initially invite Travers to the film’s Hollywood premiere, but she came anyway.
Fact: “Walt did not invite her to the premiere, figuring it would be more convenient for her to simply attend the one in England. In addition, knowing how strong-willed she was, he probably felt that it would avoid any controversy. Both her lawyer and her publisher had requested that she be invited to the American premiere, but their requests were ignored. Her publisher eventually paid for her flight and her three-day stay at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Travers sent a telegram to Walt that she was coming and a formal invitation was almost immediately sent, although Walt spent very little time with her either before, during or after, and sent her a letter expressing his regrets.”

Further facts:
“Walt did carry pieces of paper with his autograph on it to hand out [at Disneyland].”
“A nice bit of attention to detail was that the mouse-head balloons at the time were indeed two-colored, but the machine that made them is long gone. Disney went to the king of balloons, Treb Heining, who created the famous balloon archways and the current Mickey Mouse glass-house balloons, to re-create them, and he had to hand-dye 750 for the film. Heining started selling balloons at Disneyland when he was 16 years old, in 1969.”
“At the time, the King Arthur carousel was at the front of Fantasyland; in the 1980s rehab, it was physically moved further back to open up the courtyard area [as seen in the film].”
“Travers thought in the ‘Jolly Holiday’ sequence that there would be chalk-drawing backgrounds with live actors performing in front of them. There is some question about what she actually understood about the filmmaking process and she may have made some wrong assumptions. … She did dislike Disney cartoons because of what she felt was false sentimentality and had written about them that way decades before Mary Poppins.”

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