Beloved by generations, Mary Poppins is famous for the title character’s magical carpetbag that could hold just about anything. Like Dorothy Gale’s (Judy Garland) red slippers in The Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins’ (Julie Andrews) bag and other props have become synonymous with Mary Poppins. The “Feed the Birds” snow globe is one of them. It was almost lost forever before being rescued by a janitor.
Mary Poppins showed the snow globe to the Banks children
When Mary Poppins arrived at the Banks household she dazzled the young children. Not just with her cheery attitude and her captivating songs but with the contents of her carpetbag.
The nanny showed the kids a snow globe complete with a tiny version of London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral. She sang of an old woman, played by Oscar-winning actor Jane Darwell. Singing the Sherman Brothers song, “Feed the Birds,” Andrews’ character described a woman sitting on the steps of the church selling bags of breadcrumbs to passersby.
Mary encouraged the children to feed the birds while their father, George Banks (David Tomlinson), did just the opposite. “Feed the Birds” stood out from the movie’s other songs, such as “A Spoonful of Sugar” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” for being slower and more melancholy.
A janitor pulled the ‘Mary Poppins’ snow globe out of the trash
According to D23, the official Disney fan club, the “Feed the Birds” snowglobe now resides in the Walt Disney Archives. But it went through a lot before it got there.
Dave Smith, the founder of the Walt Disney Archives, said back when he first started gathering items for the Archives he sifted through boxes and boxes of stuff.
“Shortly after I founded the Archives in 1970, I started searching through attics, closets, basements, and storerooms to find any items or files that I felt had historical value and should be in the Archives,” Smith said. “The basement of the Animation Building held a treasure trove, with hundreds of boxes and file cabinets stashed down there and forgotten.”
“Everywhere things could be stored, they were. There were even huge air-conditioning ducts in which boxes had been placed when there was no space for shelving,” he added.
Smith stumbled upon the Mary Poppins snow globe while speaking with head janitor Roy Geysor. He noticed something on a shelf above Geysor’s desk that turned out to be the original snow globe.
“Looking closer, I realized that it was the actual snow globe containing a model of St. Paul’s cathedral in London which had been used as a prop in Mary Poppins,” he recalled. “I asked Roy if he knew what it was, and he said no, that he had just found it in the trash one day and thought it looked cute.”
The snow globe was a little worse for wear. Gone was the base and the water, leaving only the birds.
‘Mary Poppins Returns’ makes a nod to the original snow globe
The iconic character came back to the big screen in 2018’s Mary Poppins Returns. Emily Blunt took on the role of Poppins as she returned to help the now grown-up Banks children with their own kids.
Featured in the film is a nod to the snow globe. Deemed too fragile, the original prop from the 1964 film stayed at the Archives. Disney recreated it and that’s what Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) discovered in old boxes.
Watch Mary Poppins and Mary Poppins Returns on Disney+.