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Thursday Treasures

August 28, 2014

50 Fabulous Years Of Fidelity Fiduciary Bank

By Justin J. Smith

Perhaps you've heard, perhaps not, that this week, Walt Disney's Mary Poppins celebrated its 50th Anniversary (the infamous premiere was held on August 26th, 1964). A lot about Mary Poppins has already been said/discussed/celebrated: Mini-reunions of the crew were held, Poppins has since been released in Blu-Ray in stunning Hi-Def, even an entire historical drama on how the movie got made was released in the form of Saving Mr. Banks. This week though, the only thing Disney really did to acknowledge the anniversary was have a D23 screening of the movie on the Studio Lot where they gave out a complementary pin. So I thought in honor of the movie, I would talk a little bit about easily the best part of the movie.

Fidelity Feduciary Bank

It was 2005 when I rewatched Mary Poppins. In the year prior, Disney released it with a big 40th anniversary DVD and a big celebration around it. Still fresh on many people's minds, and being in my rewatching Disney movies phase, I decided to give Mary Poppins a rematch. My impression? It was pretty much exactly as I remember it from my youth. "Spoonful of Sugar," "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," and "I Love To Laugh" were exactly as I remembered them knowing the lyrics pretty well too (Sherman Brothers songs never leave you), a lot of the moments, shots and story were pretty much the same as well, but one scene that out and out shocked me, because I had zero recollection of it was the "Fidelity Fiduciary Bank" scene. The moment in the movie where Mr. Banks takes his children, Jane and Michael, to his work, the bank (appropriately enough) and plans to set them up with an account. They meet Mr. Banks' boss and Mr. Dawes Jr. and his father, Mr. Dawes Sr. as well as his fellow colleagues (Tomes, Mousely, Grubb) where they sing to Jane and Michael the importance of compound interest.

Watching that scene for the first time with a clear memory and attention span was nothing short of extraordinary. At first it was the ultimate case of "I can't believe what I'm watching actually exists" a reaction usually reserved for watching a Salvador Dal painting or a David Lynch film. But relistening to the song again, and again, and again and again and again and again I truly realized what a work of genius it was. The lyrics were mature and educational (the most so of any Disney song), the instrumentations were out of this world and the performances were nothing short of hilarious and incredible (yes, like everybody else, it took the credits and IMDB confirmation to truly confirm that Mr. Dawes Sr. was played by none other than the film's co-star, Dick Van Dyke!) and the moment where Mr. Dawes Sr. hits his cane on the ground and the other bankers start "dancing" is nothing short of cinematic!

Fidelity Fiduciary Bank is easily the best part of the movie to the point where when I think of "Mary Poppins" the first thing that comes to mind isn't chalk-paint, tea-parties on the ceiling or dancing chimney sweeps, but of dancing bankers urging Jane and Michael to wisely invest their tuppence. If I had my way I'd even put a Fidelity Fiduciary Bank attraction in Disneyland (why not replace "It's A Small World" with "Fidelity Fiduciary Bank" during tax season?).

Over the past couple years I got to have cool experiences with those involved with Mary Poppins. In 2013 at the D23 Expo I got to see Richard Sherman play in concert (a night I considered a slight disappointment if just for the fact he didn't play "Fidelity Fiduciary Bank") I also got to write a letter to Dick Van Dyke explaining my love for this song to which he kindly responded with an autograph. As great as those experiences were, I wanted more. I wanted to actually have a face to face conversation with someone involved from the movie about the song. Well�I'm happy to tell you with enough patience and perseverance you can get whatever you want! Earlier this month, I got to meet Disney Legend Karen Dotrice, who played Jane in Mary Poppins.

Jane Banks

Ok, she might not have written or sang the song, but she was there live as an eyewitness witnessing that extraordinary moment being filmed all around her! Perhaps the only person alive today who can claim that, I jumped at the chance to ask her about Fidelity Fiduciary Bank.

Sure enough, I got to meet her, ask for an autograph and I told her my favorite song from Mary Poppins was "Fidelity Fiduciary Bank", which she laughed and agreed it was hilarious, and I asked her what was it like to actually film that scene to which she responded, "Scary." It apparently was a traumatizing experience for her, especially filming the scene after the bank in the alleyways. She also pointed out how she had no idea beneath all of that makeup, Mr. Dawes Sr. was really Dick Van Dyke. As we took this photo she did thank me for "my originality. Apparently in all 50 years since the film was released, nobody ever asked her that question before. Quite a humbling experience I'll remember forever.

Karen Dotrice


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