(The following is a guest post from Mike Mashon, head of the Moving Image Section in the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division.)
The Library of Congress’s collection of television programs is broad and deep, consistently revealing some rather unexpected finds. A recent case in point: in the course of selecting two-inch Quadruplex tapes for preservation by the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Preservation video lab, I recently came across a title inventoried as, simply, “P.L. Travers.” Now, I like the Disney version of “Mary Poppins” just fine, but all I really knew about P.L. Travers was that she thought so little of the adaptation that she refused all entreaties for further film treatments of Poppins stories. Suitably intrigued, I asked for it to be preserved.
A few days later, I downloaded the digital file from our archive server and was quite surprised to see an opening slate with the words “Library of Congress” on it. It turns out that the program was one in a series of late-Sixties joint productions between the Library and public television station WETA in Washington, D.C., each featuring well known authors and poets like John Updike, Rod Serling and James Dickey discussing their work. With the kind and generous permission of WETA, we will share more of these shows in future blog posts.
The program with P.L. Travers is quite different from the others in that she takes questions from a group of children – who prove to be adept interviewers – even if one gets the sense that some of their inquiries might have been provided to them beforehand. Everyone studiously avoids any mention of the film – released two years before this November 1966 recording – but it remains a fascinating and rare television appearance by Mary Poppins’ creator. If you know anything about this production (especially if you are one of the children!), we’d love to hear from you.
And in a welcome instance of serendipity, between the time of the tape’s preservation and this online presentation, “Mary Poppins” was named to the 2013 National Film Registry by Librarian of Congress James Billington. While one hesitates to hazard what P.L. Travers would think of the coincidence, it does seem practically perfect in every way.
Every year, the Library of Congress announces the addition of 25 films to the National Film Registry, and every year, media outlets far and wide run stories on the initiative. According to a Google search on the story, more than 230 news articles highlighted the selections for 2013. “To me, this honor goes on the same […]
Quick: what do the movies “Mary Poppins” and “Pulp Fiction” have in common? Well, yes, they’re both motion pictures. But now, both are listed on the Library of Congress National Film Registry, a collection of films – 25 are added each year – deemed worthy of preservation due to their cultural, historic or aesthetic significance. […]
Picture this: The battle of good versus evil set against the backdrop of early 19th century America, where the coming together of two young lovers is threatened by the mistaken belief of an inheritable disease that would afflict their future children. Charlatans who promise quack cures in place of scientific medicine are pitted against the […]
“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” – Thomas Edison In August 1795, John Fitch not only demonstrated the first successful steamboat but was also granted a United States patent for his invention. A century later, on Aug. 12, 1877, Thomas Alva Edison is believed to have completed the model for […]
You know the old saying, “they don’t make them like they used to” – which is perhaps why I’ve always been a fan of classic movies. I’m more prone to get excited about one of them on the television than brand-new ones at the movie theater. The passing of a beloved actress, who I grew […]
It’s the year 1933. There’s a 13-year-old kid in the front row at the movie palace. He’s watching “King Kong,” completely transfixed. And there, in the flickering light of the screen, in the roar of the soundtrack, a famous career is born – as a youngster named Ray, already obsessed with dinosaurs, tells himself “Wow. […]
(The following is a guest post from Mike Mashon, head of the Moving Image Section in the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division.) One of the great joys of working with the Library of Congress film and video collections is learning more about our holdings from the astonishing variety of researchers the Moving Image […]
The other day at roller derby practice, the subject of women and baseball came up. Okay, to be fair, my teammates may have just been quoting lines from the movie “A League of Their Own,” which was recently inducted into the Library of Congress National Film Registry. But, nonetheless, with baseball season upon us, it’s […]
The following is an article written by Christel Schmidt of the Library’s Publishing Office, who has edited a book on Mary Pickford, for the March-April 2013 issue of the Library of Congress Magazine. It has been 100 years since Mary Pickford was first dubbed the Queen of the Movies. At the time, the phrase simply […]