Friday, December 27, 2013

Saving Mr. Tiny: A Story of "Summer Magic"

It is never my intention to use this blog as a platform from which to boast.  There are, however, precious few moments in my life that are truly worthy of proud celebration and 2013 shouldn't come to a close before I acknowledge one of the best days of my life.

The combination of an amazing Christmas present and a recent screening of the film Saving Mr. Banks reminded me that I have been remiss in expressing my gratitude for an opportunity that, even months later, I still have a hard time believing to be real.  In the summer of this year we were invited to the 85th birthday party of none other than Richard Sherman!

Did I mention that it was a surprise party?

Held at the incredible home of our friends, the party included Disneyland's Main Street
silhouette cutter, Mary Poppins tribute art, a sing-along with the birthday boy, and
a custom "Golden Record" cake of one of Mr. Sherman's classic songs.

For those who might be unfamiliar with that name, Richard Sherman is half of one of the most dynamic, prolific, and influential songwriting duos in history - The Sherman Brothers.  If you're still not sure of the name, think "You're Sixteen, " "Let's Get Together," practically every song ever sung by Annette Funicello, The Jungle Book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Winnie the Pooh, and of course, Mary Poppins.

The Sherman Brothers were not only instrumental in the scoring of Mary Poppins,
they played a huge role in securing the film rites and making sure the film was made.
My favorite scene in Saving Mr. Banks is when "The Boys" win over the tyrannical
Mrs. Travers with the cleverness of their lyrics and the unadulterated joy of their music.

I have it straight from the source that Mr. Sherman
approved of Jason Schwartzman's stellar performance.

Attending the party would have been honor enough, but Tiny & Mary were also asked to perform!  Can you imagine the thrill and the terror of singing a great songwriter's work for the composer himself?  Putting fears aside (well mostly, I might have choked up a bit as I explained how much his music meant in our lives), we performed what has become Tiny & Mary's theme song, "On the Front Porch" (written by the Shermans for Walt Disney's Summer Magic).  We also sang the "Doll On a Music Box/Truly Scrumptious" duet from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  As it turns out, the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang duet is Richard Sherman's favorite piece from the Sherman catalog and "On the Front Porch," his brother Robert's favorite.

Elizabeth & Richard Sherman listening to Tiny & Mary
sing - MAGICAL!!!  Unbelievably gracious, Mr. Sherman
thanked us for our performance and didn't even quibble
over the fact that we were singing "On the Front Porch" on
the back porch.  He even remembered us when we had the
opportunity to sing for him again at another party.
(photo by our talented pal, Jimmy Mulligan - thanks Jimmy!)

Someone recently told me that my life looks like one epic adventure after another.  When I am cleaning bathrooms, changing diapers, driving my dad around in his transport van, scouring the oven, and feeling like I haven't a friend in the world, the concept of "adventure" seems a complete mystery to me.  Like everyone else, my life is filled with the daily mundanities that make for terribly-weak blog fodder - until these precious adventures and gifts are bestowed upon me.

Speaking of gifts, the "amazing Christmas present" that I alluded to earlier was a vintage
film poster from Walt Diney's Summer Magic.  We agreed not to exchange gifts this year but
my brother and his wife decided not only to give gifts but to make those gifts incredibly
thoughtful and generous!

I am so appreciative of the musical genius of The Sherman Brothers; nearly every happy, childhood memory I have is underscored by the charm of their brilliant compositions.  I am incredibly grateful for wonderful friends and family members that save Mr. Tiny by gifting me with their love and generosity.  Singing for Mr. Sherman is definitely a gift that keeps on giving.  When, on a cold winter day, I am chilled by the depths of my own ingratitude, I remind myself of that blissful hour and the warm memory of interacting with a man who continues to delight people the world over by sharing his talent and allowing others to do the same - talk about your "Summer Magic!"


Mr. Tiny


  1. Love this, and so so happy for you!

  2. Just brilliant. So happy for you that you got to be involved in what looks like an unforgettable party. Well done!

    1. Thanks Nicole! It was definitely an opportunity that I will never forget.

  3. How absolutely wonderful! What and honor for you, fabulous! Simply fabulous!

    1. Thanks Mick! It was an unbelievable honor; I only hope he could tell how much we appreciated it.

  4. how wonderful! it brought a tear to my eye to think of you guys singing that duet from chitty chitty bang bang to the song writer. i love love LOVE that duet and I'm nothing if not a super fan who can recognize those amazing once in a lifetime moments!
    my favorite parts of saving mr. banks were those writing room moments and i wanted them to be longer!

    1. I agree with rae! I loved the movie and the Sherman brothers were my favorite part. When they got Emma Thompsons foot tapping during let's go fly a kite, I couldn't stop smiling. I think that's incredible that you had this crazily serendipitous opportunity!

    2. Thanks Rae! I am with you; I wanted a lot more of The Sherman Brothers in the movie! Was it wrong that I wanted to stand up in the theater every time the characters came on screen and shout, "I know him, the real him. I know him!"

    3. Thanks Kimmie! That was definitely my favorite scene!

  5. I am a recent follower but love to hear about your stories like this. That is so incredible you went to Richard Shermans birthday party! Definitely wish I had been around during Disney's golden years. Keep up the nostalgia and travels!

    1. Thanks Gail! It really was a magical day. It was so great just to sit and listen to all of his wonderful stories.