'A Spoonful of Sugar' - one of Disney's greatest scenes makes cleaning fun

'A Spoonful of Sugar' - one of Disney's greatest scenes makes cleaning fun

'A Spoonful of Sugar' - one of Disney's greatest scenes makes work fun

As we continue our exploration of some of the most famous cleaning scenes in popular culture, this week on the Aurora blog we take a look at one of the best-loved movies in the Disney back catalogue: 'Mary Poppins', particularly the 'A Spoonful of Sugar' sequence.

In one of the many memorable moments in this 1964 classic, Julie Andrews' titular nanny shows the Banks children how something as seemingly dull as cleaning your room can be turned into something (quite literally) magical.

'The job's a game'

Looking for a way to teach the somewhat mischievous Jane and Michael Banks that tidying up their nursery doesn't have to be a torturous chore, Mary says: "In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and, snap, the job's a game!"

So begins one of the most irresistibly catchy musical numbers in a film that is absolutely chock-full of them.

As the music begins, Mary sings: "And every task you undertake becomes a piece of cake, a lark, a spree, it's very clear to see...that...a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down."

The mysterious new nanny begins to make her way around the nursery, beckoning a robin onto her hand for a brief duet before casting spells on various objects around the disordered room. Crumpled clothes are magically folded and whizz back into their drawers, messy beds appear to make themselves and toys jump back onto shelves.

Having started with looks of mildly unimpressed confusion on their faces, the children soon fall under Mary's spell and get in on the act, snapping their fingers (or attempting to, in Michael's case) to transport everything back to its original place.

Of course, things start to get out of hand and Mary has to put a stop to all the magical excitement so she can take the children out.

Michael's telling response: "I don't want an outing, I want to tidy up the nursery again."

An unprecedented success

'A Spoonful of Sugar' is one of the songs that helped make 'Mary Poppins' one of the biggest successes Walt Disney Studios has ever experienced. It joins musical numbers like 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious', 'Step in Time' and 'Let's Go Fly a Kite' on arguably one of the most popular soundtracks ever created for a movie.

Even today, more than 50 years on from the film's original release, these songs remain very much a part of our cultural consciousness.

'Mary Poppins' was a huge critical and commercial success at the time, receiving 13 nominations at the Academy Awards and winning five, including Best Actress for Andrews and Best Original Music Score.

Amidst all the fun of this particular scene, there is a useful message: what seems like hard work doesn't have to feel difficult if you go about it in the right way.

Here at Aurora, we like to think that, while we might not be able to whip your office or workplace into shape with magic, we can certainly get the job done with speed, efficiency and a 'can-do' attitude, just like Mary.


Posted by Julie Tucker