Mary Poppins and COVID-19

What does a fictional character from a 1964 film have to do with COVID-19?

Well, thanks to my wife, I learned what that connection is – the classic song A Spoonful of Sugar.

Earlier this week, Jeffrey Sherman, the son and nephew of the Sherman Brothers—the musical duo responsible for “Mary Poppins,” as well as many other Disney films, told the story of how “A Spoonful of Sugar” came about on Facebook:

Here’s part of his post:

When I was a kid, they rolled out a vaccine for polio. We were given it at school on a sugar cube. I went home and my dad, who was working on Mary Poppins, asked how my day was.

What I didn’t know was that Julie Andrews who was hired to play Mary had not really liked the song my dad and uncle had written -“Through the Eyes of Love” – and it was rejected. It was their favorite song for the movie.

Walt asked the Sherman Brothers to come up with a new song that would be in line with Mary’s //Julie’s philosophy.

Dad asked me how my day was and I told him about getting the polio vaccine at school.

I was known for rejecting the booster shots at my doctors’ office and running away.

He said, “ Didn’t it hurt?””

“I told him they put it on a sugar cube and you just ate it.

He stared at me, then went to the phone and called my uncle Dick.

They went back to the office and wrote -“A Spoonful of Sugar” (Helps the Medicine Go Down.”)

It’s my little corner of film music history I suppose. Inadvertently.”

I just don’t know why the song wasn’t called A Cubeful of Sugar

So perhaps the magic and power of Disney marketing could be used to get people to take the COVID-19 vaccine once it is available and deemed safe. Maybe a free download of Mary Poppins for everyone who gets vaccinated. Or a free month of Disney +…


64 thoughts on “Mary Poppins and COVID-19

  1. Ahh! Always liked Mary Poppins and that song! I remember hearing that about the polio vsccine. I have no problem taking spoonfuls of sugar! 🙂 You know what they say, girls are made of sugar and spice!

    Liked by 4 people

      1. 😀
        And happy birthday! I hope you have a wonderful day. I’m still trying to squeeze this beach house into the greeting card I bought you… 🙂 There may be a slight delay.


  2. These backstories are so fascinating. It makes sense, although I had never thought of it before.

    When I was still teaching, our school was utilized as a place where children could be vaccinated for the Swine Flu. Kids were bused over from other nearby schools. I remember when it was my class’s turn, and right when we got to the library (where the vaccinations were happening), a kid from another class came out screaming bloody murder. These little faces of my students looked up at me with sudden distrust. Horrible feeling!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I wish I worked some magic, but I really didn’t. I had just finished telling them that I had received the vaccination the day before and that it didn’t hurt much when the other child begged to differ. Perfect timing!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember that cube of sugar and used to love Mary Poppins…Thank you for the memories it certainly did sweeten the jab…a bit sneaky though…lol …as if us parents do anything like that…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I think it would be a great idea to bring in Disney’s marketing department when it is time to administer the vaccine. We need to help people become comfortable with receiving the vaccine if we have any hope of it accomplishing the herd immunity we are hoping for. We should call Amazon too. They can sell anything! Maybe we should sell it on Prime. I loved this story! From a conversation with his son, the pair go on to write one of the most recognizable songs there is. Great post Jim!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. i remember the sugar cube vaccine so well and thought it was brilliant! i love the story of the song, one never knows where and when inspiration will hitz1

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I actually knew this and lots of other interesting details about how the movie was finally made thanks to this “magazine” my daughter gifted me. Also I loved the movie Saving Mr. Banks.


  7. I actually knew this and lots of other interesting details about how the movie was finally made thanks to this LIFE “magazine” my daughter gifted me. Also I loved the movie Saving Mr. Banks.

    Liked by 1 person

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