I’m not a songwriter and would never pretend to understand all that goes into being a successful one, but I would think that you would want to shy away from using big, long, complicated words. And yet, that’s exactly what the talented Sherman brothers did when they composed “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” for the movie, Mary Poppins, and it was a smash success.
I was reminded of that song when I read earlier this week that the older of the two, Robert, had died at age 86. (Richard, three years younger, is still around.) The sons of the legendary Tin Pan Alley songwriter Al Sherman, the brothers wrote for rock stars like Johnny Burnette in the early days, but they enjoyed a long career that was mostly centered around stage and screen musicals. Many of their best-remembered — and most acclaimed — musical scores were for Disney films like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Bedknobs And Broomsticks, and of course the memorable Mary Poppins.
The movie was impossible to resist, even for those who might have felt it was a little too sweet (like the song below). Talented and likeable leads like Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews — who won an Oscar for the role, her revenge for being passed over for My Fair Lady — combined with bright colors and ingenious set designs to create a film that is still entertaining. The music from Mary Poppins also stands as a testament to the talent of the Sherman brothers.