The Sherman Brothers
“It sounds egocentric to say this, but I think we [and Walt] were kindred spirits,” said Richard Sherman, who with his brother, Robert, began tackling the songs for Mary Poppins around July 1961. “I think we felt the same way about life. He was a super genius. But he still felt about people and about life the way Bob and I feel about them. And we felt the answers were simple. I think we had the same spiritual wavelength, and I can’t explain it more than that."
Their work on Mary Poppins began when Walt gave the brothers the P.L. Travers book to read. As older brother Robert recalled, “We spent a couple of weeks thinking about ideas for it. And so Dick and I chose six chapters in the book, and after two weeks we came in with our ideas. And we said to Walt, ‘There are six chapters that might work.’ And he smiled and he leaned back and he got his copy. And we showed him our copy with the chapters circled, and he had the same six chapters. It was just amazing. It was a wonderful feeling.”
Walt particularly loved the sentiment in the song “Feed the Birds.” As Richard Sherman recalled, “Usually, after the hectic week, Walt would ask us how we were doing, and we’d tell him what we were working on. Then he’d ask us to play it, and I’d sit down and play, and he’d look out the north window and get wistful. “Then he’d turn around and say, ‘That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Well, have a good weekend, boys.’ I love that memory.”