Most of us are introduced to women’s suffrage by Mary Poppins’ Winifred Banks, but how much of her rousing Sister Suffragette song do you actually remember?
We’re willing to bet that 98% of the population will have hummed along to the catchy Sister Suffragette from Disney’s Mary Poppins at some point in their lives.
So you may be surprised to learn, then, that the film’s writers never actually planned to include the powerhouse protest song at all: in fact, it only made it into the final script as the result of what’s known in the business as a monumental f**k-up.
According to the songwriters’ autobiography, Walt’s Time, actress Glynis Johns thought she was being offered the role of Mary Poppins when she had, in fact, been signed to play Mrs. Banks.
Perhaps even more embarrassing, though, was the fact that the misunderstanding only came to light when Johns and Disney sat down to talk about the role in his studio.
Thinking on his feet, Disney softened John’s disappointment of not getting the film’s title role by telling her about the “terrific new song” which the Sherman Brothers had written especially for her.
He then called up the songwriters to tell them that he was “just about to take Johns to lunch and how she was looking forward to hearing the new song following the meal”, all within earshot of the actress.
The Sherman Brothers quickly deciphered Disney’s coded hint and feverishly began researching women’s rights movements in 1910 England.
Somehow, in the time it took Disney and Johns to enjoy a (presumably frosty) working lunch, the Sherman Brothers managed to pen the incredible Sister Suffragette that we all know and love so well.
But how well do we really know it? It’s time to find out in our incredibly tricky quiz…
Stylist is celebrating the 100th anniversary of some women getting the vote. See more of our commemorative content here.
Image: Rex Features