Yet while making Mary Poppins was a collaborative affair to some degree, one person had more sway than others. Yes, P.L. Travers, the author of the original Mary Poppins books, provided plenty of input when it came to the direction of the production. And among her demands were that there be no romance between Poppins and Bert – although the movie can still be read in that way.
Meanwhile, on the set, Van Dyke apparently entertained one of the young actors with whom he worked. “Dick Van Dyke became a father figure to me,” Karen Dotrice, who starred as Jane in the original movie, told The Guardian in 2013. “He was like a big baby. He would [mess] about on the sidelines, then, as soon as the camera started rolling, put on a straight face.”