Monday, March 1, 2021

The origin of Mary Poppins' A Spoonful of Sugar song

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In early December of 2020, responding to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Jeffrey Sherman — son of the late Robert Sherman — took to Facebook to relay his thoughts on the incoming vaccine rollout and the public health crisis as a whole (via Inside The Magic). As a part of his post, he also recalled a personal connection of his to Mary Poppins, specifically detailing his influence on his father's composition of “A Spoonful of Sugar.”

“When I was a kid, they rolled out a vaccine for polio. We were given it at school on a sugar cube,” Sherman writes, going on to mention that his father asked him how the vaccination went. His response, as it happens, changed the course of film history. “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.”

After that enlightening anecdote, Jeffrey Sherman implored readers to put their faith into healthcare professionals and “When the vaccine for Covid comes out, get it.” He continued, writing “We are all codependent on each other in this pandemic. Trust science and doctors and epidemiologists.” He concluded by encouraging mask-wearing and spreading kindness — the proverbial spoonful of sugar — during these unprecedented times.

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