LOS ANGELES – Complete with dancing penguins and chim-chim chimney sweeps, this premiere was practically perfect in every way. Many of the surviving stars of "Mary Poppins (search)" reunited at Hollywood Boulevard's El Capitan Theatre to mark the beloved Walt Disney movie musical's 40th anniversary.
Talk about deja vu: On Aug. 27, 1964, the film's headliners, Julie Andrews (search) and Dick Van Dyke (search), could be found almost directly across the street, at the legendary Grauman's Chinese Theatre, attending the film's world premiere.
Tuesday night's "re-premiere," as distributor Disney dubbed it, both celebrated the film's anniversary and promoted its upcoming re-release on DVD.
Van Dyke said the big difference between the two events was ... the Los Angeles traffic.
"It took us forever to get here," the actor complained. In fact, traffic was so heavy, the always professional and punctual Andrews was also tardy — her late arrival holding up the start of the movie for nearly an hour.
That's the reason it was merely practically perfect, to paraphrase Ms. Poppins herself. "It took us two hours to get here from Santa Monica," Andrews explained apologetically, noting that that trip is usually 45 minutes, tops.
Once everyone was finally in place, however, the event went without a hitch. It provided a trip back in time for both of "Poppins" leads, who compared the film's original premiere to this new one.
"(This time) I'm aware of what's going on," said Van Dyke, 78, dashing in a classic black tux. "I was so dazed and nervous and excited the last time, I don't remember anything."
Andrews, 69, said her most vivid memory of the '64 premiere was "Walt and his smiling face. I've got some wonderful photographs of that night, with all of us looking a lot younger."
Perhaps, but Andrews proved that one still can be sexy when pushing 70, braving the cold in a tailored black skirt and formfitting plum sequined jacket.
Costar Glynis Johns, who played Mrs. Banks, made her way down the red carpet in a wheelchair.
"It's all very weird," observed the 81-year-old actress, 81. "It doesn't feel like 40 years, it feels like four."