James Bond and Mary Poppins might seem strange bedfellows, but when the creative talents behind each joined forces, the results were nothing short of magical. Released in 1968, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang delighted children of all ages with a fanciful tale about a flying car. It remains a beloved film by many to this day.
Taking a detour from his usual 007 adventures, author Ian Fleming penned Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car in 1964. Four years later, Roald Dahl, author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory wrote a screenplay and James Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli set out to create a film loosely based on Fleming’s book. Dick Van Dyke, who charmed audiences in Mary Poppins, was cast in the starring role and the famed songwriting team, the Sherman Brothers, were hired to write the musical score.
Van Dyke plays an inventor named Caractacus Potts, the eccentric and loving father of two precocious tykes, Jeremy and Jemima. When he purchases an old and decrepit motorcar, he lovingly restores and transforms the auto into a thing of beauty. What better way to celebrate than with a family outing, so he takes his kids, and the daughter of a candymaker, named Truly Scrumptious out to the countryside for a picnic. And during this gathering, he concocts a fanciful tale about the car’s magical ability to fly.
In his story, the evil Baron Bombart ruler of a land where children have been made illegal, decides to kidnap the inventor of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and his invention. Unfortunately, he makes a grave error and kidnaps Pott’s father (and his car) instead. It is up to Potts and his picnic guests to save Dad from the sinister Baron.
Although Chitty Chitty Bang Bang didn’t quite reach the successful heights of its predecessor, Mary Poppins, it still managed to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Song and, in time, has become a beloved children’s classic in its own right, filled with plenty of music, fun and adventure to entertain children of all ages.
If you are a fan of this fanciful film, we welcome your thoughts and recollections in our comments section, as we tip our hats to the melting pot of talent that made this memorable movie possible.