A new documentary on the Sherman Brothers, the Disney songwriting duo who penned the famous songs for the movie Mary Poppins, explores the brothers’ strained relationship. The Boys: The Sherman Brothers’ Story was filmed by the sons of Richard and Bob Sherman. While the two brothers barely spoke to each other socially, their working relationship was so great that they were able to write material like “It’s a Small World After All,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” and “Chim Chim Cher-ee” with little argument.
“In seeing this picture, I discovered that life is not a simple equation,” Richard Sherman tells the San Francisco Gate. “There are many vicissitudes, many wrinkles along the way. Every family has their problems. I think Bob and I were heroic in our efforts to keep it out of the press and ears of others. We kept it to ourselves and we kept working. Once we closed that door and started writing, we had a great time. There was no agony there.”
The film also depicts their struggles with P.L. Travers, the author of the Mary Poppins books, who passionately hated all of the classic songs they wrote for the the film.
“Ms. Travers, God bless her, was so negative about every single damn thing we came up with,” says Richard Sherman. “She was like the lady from Mars. The Wicked Witch of the West. We knew this was going to be our magnum opus, our big chance. We knew it in our bones. This would make us.”