For the second chapter of our legendary tea time series, we would like to introduce you to Mary Poppins. As well as being “practically perfect in every single way,” the British nanny is also partial to a rather peculiar five o’clock tea. After a few sips, the giggling guests float to the ceiling! A moment of pure hilarity that never fails to raise a smile.
Floating five o’clock tea
“A lump of sugar?”, “Jane, a drop of milk for you and your brother.” Mary Poppins manages to restore a little calm to this chaotic but oh-so English tea time. Her Uncle Albert, unable to stop himself laughing, floats right up to the ceiling. And there he stays, filled with laughing gas, lighter than air itself! His good humor is so contagious that his guests, Michael, Jane, and Bert, quickly fly up to meet him! While leisurely levitating, the four of them guffaw heartily while telling jokes. They would still like a cup of tea, but the table remains firmly pinned to the floor. Fortunately for them, Mary Poppins is on hand, and the table glides up to meet them! Tea time is saved, and the guests are cheerier than ever!
A joyful metaphor
This scene from Mary Poppins offers the happiest of messages: laughter is all you need to forget any worries, big or small, that literally weigh on your heart. And when all these troubles have floated away, you may well take to the air with them! You should therefore avoid thinking about the end of a wonderful moment spent enjoying a cup of tea. Don’t say we didn’t tell you!
Behind the scenes
You may not know it, but Matthew Garber (who plays Michael Banks) was afraid of heights. A most inconvenient phobia when you consider the actors were hanging by cables during the tea time scene. By way of encouragement, the directors gave him ten cents for every take. According to Julie Andrews (Mary Poppins), he must have amassed a small fortune by the end! However, no one can deny the young boy was talented, as he appears on screen with a convincing, happy smile.
There are of course other stories of extravagant tea times. Ed Wynn, who plays Uncle Albert in the movie, also lent his voice and mannerisms to the Mad Hatter in the Alice in Wonderland cartoon some ten years earlier. It seems a truly English tea time is far better with a little pinch of whimsy.