Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Doll-A-Day 2019 #16: Mary Poppins Week: Bert

  We continue Mary Poppins Week with a really great doll.

He's this Bert doll.

The doll is an amazing recreation of Dick Van Dyke,who played Bert in the original 1964 movie.

A Lobby card for "Mary Poppins" showing Dick Van Dyke as Bert and Julie Andrews as Mary.
In that film Dick appeared not only as Bert,but also as the oldest Mr. Dawes.

The Cockney accent used by Dick Van Dyke as Bert is widely regarded as one of the absolute worst accents ever used in a movie. In his defense, Van Dyke claimed his accent coach was Irish, and couldn't do the accent either! He also says no one told him how awful his Cockney accent was at the time.

In the new movie, "Mary Poppins Returns",Dick appears again. This time he plays the youngest Mr Dawes from the original film,(Played by Arthur Malet in that film.), who is now the oldest Mr. Dawes.

Dick Van Dyke recently turned 93,and amazed everyone with his dancing in "Mary Poppins Returns".

This doll was produced in 2007,along with a Mary Poppins doll made to look like star Julie Andrews,and recreations of the Banks children who were made with no attempt at resemblance to the movie actors. You can see those dolls in yesterday's post. In spite of being made in Dick Van Dyke's likeness,the doll is only labelled as 'Bert'.

The boxes displayed the dolls on cardboard carousel horses,to recreate part of the Jolly Holiday sequence from the movie.

Bert is jointed at the neck,but can only turn his head,not tilt it at all.

He has jointed shoulders,and his arms can move out to the sides,as well as up and down.

They could move a lot better, but his long sleeved shirt and his jacket hinder them a bit.

He also has jointed elbows,knees, and hips that can twist, and move from side to side,enabling him to be placed in dance positions.

It's the body that was used on some jointed Ken dolls,including 40th Anniversary Ken,and dolls like Legolas from Lord of the Rings,and Frank Sinatra. (You can see my post on that doll HERE.)

  He has his striped jacket,white shirt,blue bow tie,white trousers,blue socks,white shoes,gloves,straw hat,and cane.

There are some nicely scaled tiny buttons on his jacket.

Bert's shirt has one tiny button too,as do the cuffs of the jacket.

The shirt button is the size of the ones on the cuffs of the jacket,but there is only one. Unfortunately, there is nothing holding Bert's shirt closed except his bow tie. There are no snaps or Velcro,or closures of any kind.

 The shirt has an elastic strap at the bottom that goes across the doll's crotch,to hold the shirt tucked in. His jacket is sewn closed, and it's probably best to keep it that way, since the jacket has only one snap to keep it closed otherwise.

His bow tie is not connected to his shirt,like with a lot of Ken outfits. It's actually a separate piece of clothing. The blue tie is on a piece of circular elastic.

The pants even have little side pockets! Bert can even put his hands in his pockets.

The pockets aren't sewn up though. They are just holes that go all the way into the pants,with no bottoms in them.
The straw boater is nice,but the band is stitched on,and it's placed way too high.

It should be down where the brim starts. This doll's band is trying to creep off the top of the hat.  It's stitched on though, with the stitches that keep the hat on his head. So,unless you want the hat detached,you can't fix the band. The edges tend to droop too.

 Dick Van Dyke was born in West Plains,Missouri in 1925,but,like his character on the Dick Van Dyke Show,grew up in Danville,Illinois. His career started in radio in the 1940's. He also performed for a while in the late 40's as part of a comedy pantomime team called 'Eric and Van,the Merry Mutes'. In the early 50's the Merry Mutes had a TV show in Atlanta,Georgia.
  In 1959 Van Dyke made his Broadway debut. In 1960-61 he starred on Broadway in "Bye Bye Birdie", winning a Tony for Best Featured Actor in 1961. In 1961 Dick moved to TV, starring in "The Dick Van Dyke Show" from 1961 to 1966. During the run of the show Dick won three Emmy awards for his role of Rob Petrie,a character created by Carl Reiner,which Reiner originally meant to play himself. (After the pilot episode,starring Reiner, was not well received,the show was revamped and Dick was given the lead role.)
  While starring in The Dick Van Dyke Show, Dick made several movies,including the film version of "Bye Bye Birdie" in 1963,"Mary Poppins" in 1964,and one of my favourites, a goofy comedy called "The Art of Love", in 1965.
  After The Dick Van Dyke show ended in 1966, Dick starred in 1968's classic "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang",and showed his dramatic talents in the comedy-drama "The Comic" in 1969. In "The Comic" Dick played a silent movie comedian dealing with depression and alcoholism. The role was written especially for Dick by Carl Reiner.

   Dick appeared in more movies, but returned to TV in 1971 in "The New Dick Van Dyke Show". The show ran for three seasons. Dick also starred in a dramatic role as an alcoholic in the TV movie, "The Morning After",earning an Emmy nomination. In 1976 Dick starred in the short,but Emmy nominated, sketch comedy series,"Van Dyke and Company",and was briefly a regular on the final season of "The Carol Burnett Show" in 1977. He returned to his own series in 1993 with "Diagnosis:Murder". The series,which ran until 2001,originated from an episode of the series "Jake and the Fatman" and  several TV movies,in which Dick played Doctor Mark Sloan.
  These days Dick appears with an a capella group, Dick Van Dyke and the Vantastix. He also enjoys working with computer animation. In 2017 he released his first solo album since 1963.

    Tomorrow we'll see the last Mary Poppins doll this week.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Doll-A-Day 2019 # 15: Mary Poppins Week: Jane and Michael Banks

  We continue our series on Mary Poppins dolls this week with the youngest characters from the original Mary Poppins movie,Jane and Michael Banks.

The boxed dolls are mine, and the loose dolls are Emma's. This means that we get to see them both ways.

Jane and Michael were sold in 2007,in the same series with the amazing Dick Van Dyke 'Bert' doll,and the Julie Andrews sculpt Mary Poppins.

Although the Bert and Mary dolls were sculpted to look like stars Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews, Jane and Michael did not get new sculpts of the actors who played the characters in the film.

And unlike 'Bert' and 'Mary',who are labelled on the box just that way,even though the dolls were sculpted in the likenesses of real people,'Jane' and 'Michael' are labelled as 'Jane and Michael Stacie doll and Todd Doll',and described on the back of the box as 'Stacie Doll and Todd Doll celebrate a favorite classic film,dressed in recreations of ensembles worn in the iconic carousel scene'.

In spite of the box saying they are 'Stacie' and 'Todd', Todd actually had a his own head sculpt.


Jane and Michael were both made from the Stacie sculpt.


  Stacie is Barbie's sister. She's still being made, but is now taller and uses a different head sculpt. Jane and Michael use the Stacie sculpt that was used from 1992 to about 2008.

  They have the same articulation as Stacie too. They are jointed at the shoulders,hips,and neck. Their heads can tilt sideways and up and down a bit.

Their arms can move out to the sides as well as up and down.

Their legs,however,can only move back and forth. They do have click bend knees though.

All the dolls in the series were depictions of the characters from the part of the movie where they jump into one of 'Bert's' chalk drawings and end up in an animated world,where they race on carousel horses. The dolls were all packaged riding cartoon carousel horses.

It would have been great if they had come on three dimensional horses, but alas,these are only thin cardboard.
It looks a little different from the side!
Jane and Michael are about 8" tall.

Their costumes are fairy movie accurate.

  As we saw yesterday, these dolls weren't the first depictions of Jane and Michael in doll form. In the 1960's Horsman produced dolls of Jane and Michael.


In the original "Mary Poppins" movie 'Jane' was played by Karen Dotrice.


Karen was born into an acting family. Her father was Roy Dotrice,a well known actor whose last appearance was in 'Game of Thrones'.


Her mother was Kay Dotrice,an actress known for her stage work,as well as TV and movies. Even Karen's siblings are actors. Her sister Michele Dotrice is a busy working actor today,and her sister Yvette was active mainly in the 70's and 80's.
  Karen herself appeared in three Disney films. The year before 'Mary Poppins' she appeared in The Three Lives of Thomesina. In 1967 she appeared in The Gnome-Mobile. She also appeared on "Upstairs Downstairs". Since 1982 she has only appeared on a few episodes of "Young Blades",and in a cameo role in the new movie, "Mary Poppins Returns".

Karen with Lin Manuel Miranda on the set of "Mary Poppins Returns".
  The character of Jane Banks is played by Emily Mortimer in the new film. 
  Michael Banks was played by Mathew Garber. Michael only made three movies,all of them for Disney,and all three with Karen Dotrice, and two of them as her brother.


Sadly,Matthew died from pancreatitis at the age of 21 after reportedly catching hepatitis in India,which spread to his pancreas. 

   Come back tomorrow for another 'Mary Poppins' doll.