Penguins have no elbows!

When my sister was very young, my parents took her to see “Mary Poppins”. The film had first come out many years earlier, but the Walt Disney Company had recently rereleased it, and my parents jumped at the opportunity to introduce her to this classic children’s movie the way it should be seen — on the big screen.

Unfortunately the screening was a little late in the evening for my sister, and within a few minutes she had fallen fast asleep.

Not wanting to wake her, my parents watched the film by themselves, all the way up to the scene where our heroes have jumped through a painting into a cartoon world, where they proceed to happily cavort with assorted animated characters.

At this point my sister suddenly awoke. For a few moments she stared at the sight of Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews dancing up a storm with a gaggle of animated penguins. Then she solemnly (and rather loudly) pronounced “Penguins have no elbows!”, whereupon she promptly fell back asleep, a state in which she blissfully remained for the duration of the film.

My sister says she has no recollection of having issued this solemn declaration. Yet down through the intervening years the story of this moment has continued to be told and retold, achieving a kind of immortality within our little extended family.

Even today, if you mention Mary Poppins to any of my little nieces and nephews, they are as likely as not to exclaim, with cheerful enthusiasm, “Penguins have no elbows!”

4 thoughts on “Penguins have no elbows!”

  1. I hope that your sister has seen Mary Poppins since then and been able to enjoy it despite the fact that Penguins don’t have elbows. Suspension of disbelief and all that… 😉

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