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He…He’s ALIVE!

When we went to Minnesota this past Christmas, we thought it would be fun to go see Mary Poppins Returns.

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t seen the movie yet, and are planning to, you may not want to read this post.

On the other hand, if you haven’t seen the movie yet, and are planning to…well, let’s just say that the general rule of thumb for sequels not being so great was true for this one.

Moving right along…B and I had both seen the movie trailer while watching YouTube. We liked what we saw. The trailer did its job in deceiving persuading us that the movie would be really entertaining.

There isn’t a decent movie theater within two hours of where we live, and I thought watching a matinee would be a good excuse to get us out of the hotel room for a while. (It was late December, in Minnesota. Read: too cold to spend much time outside.)

So we went. We watched it. I spent half the time comparing it to the original, and it came up short every time.

Hey, cut me some slack. I’m almost forty-nine years old and watched Mary Poppins on T.V. every year for like a decade. So I’m a little bit biased.

And I’m a little bit off track. Moving right along…

Despite my disappointment in the movie, one of the last scenes in the movie caught my attention like a skunk with its tail raised.

No, wrong metaphor. It wasn’t a bad thing. Caught my attention like…hmm…let’s see…like a…nope, not that one; this blog is rated PG…caught my attention like…like a chocolate-cherry smoothie in a tall, sweating glass when it’s 100 degrees outside and I haven’t eaten for days.

Okay, that’s wrong, too. It wasn’t that superb of a surprise.

Let’s leave it at that the scene caught my attention. It was when the owner of the bank, Mr. Dawes, Jr., came out and declared that he was taking it back over from his unscrupulous nephew.

Time to back up. You may recall that in the original movie, Dick Van Dyke played the character Burt. You may also possibly know that Dick Van Dyke also played the elderly owner of the bank, Mr. Dawes, Sr.

So, I’m watching this old guy come out from some back room, and he looks – and sounds – exactly like the elderly owner of the bank from Mary Poppins. My eyes widen.

I turn to J and whisper, “If I didn’t know that Dick Van Dyke was dead, I’d swear that was him!”

I was thinking they had found a really good impersonator to play that role.

I scrutinized the guy, trying to convince myself that it wasn’t Dick Van Dyke.

Because Dick Van Dyke was dead, right?

The movie was over a few minutes later, and as J and Be stood and began to walk toward the theater exit, I made a last-second decision. I was going to watch the actor credits. Just to make sure.

Even though I knew he was dead.

The credits began to scroll, and I fixated on the screen like it was the last piece of chocolate left on earth. (Now, THAT’S a good metaphor!)

And then, there it was.

“Mr. Dawes, Jr.———–Dick Van Dyke”



It was a “knock me down with a feather” moment.

I practically ran out of the theater to catch up with J, and excitedly told him, “He’s not dead! It was Dick Van Dyke playing the old banker!” (And this time, he didn’t have to wear a ton of makeup to look old.)

J looked at me like, “Um, okay. Glad you’ll be able to go to sleep tonight.”

I just might be the drama queen of the family.

So, Van Dyke wasn’t – isn’t, as of this post – dead. Well, why should he be? Angela Lansbury was in the movie, too, and she’s about the same age.

Here’s my theory about why I thought he might be dead: I had it in my head that when Michael Jackson died, a bunch of other celebrities died within the same month. It was actually within the same six-month period, but Farrah Fawcett and Ed McMahon having died the same day as, or two days before, Michael, I got it stuck in my head that all these deaths occurred within a few weeks of each other.

And because I was raising a wild preschooler at the time, I couldn’t remember exactly who all they were.

And since good ol’ Dick was old, somehow I got it into my head that he had passed on.

When I told my mom of my discovery later that day, she looked at me funny and said, “Of course he’s still alive!”

She would know. She actually reads the newspaper.

Hmm. Maybe it’s time I start glancing over headlines online once in a while. Would definitely help with developing stories for my novels.

Then again, if I became a know-it-all, I wouldn’t have the fun of being surprised by things like people being alive who I thought were dead. 

Like Dick Van Dyke. He’s alive. And probably thrilled that I’ve cleared up those nasty rumors about his demise going around in my head.

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