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Brothers Honored For 'Chitty Chitty,' Other Ditties

Mr. RICHARD SHERMAN (Songwriter): So he said, OK. And he made this magical car. It made a funny sound. Chukka chukka boo boo. Chukka chukka boo.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

That is composer Richard Sherman describing the inspiration for a movie musical about a car. The car with the funny sound is "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." And Richard and his brother Robert were honored yesterday at the White House for that theme song and all the other songs they've written for family-friendly movies. The Shermans were awarded the National Medal of Arts for a body of work that includes songs for "Mary Poppins," "The Jungle Book," "The Aristocats" and "The Tigger movie." The Shermans obligingly sang a chord from perhaps their most famous tune for our reporter.

(Soundbite of song "It's a Small World (After All)")

Mr. RICHARD SHERMAN & Mr. ROBERT SHERMAN: (Singing) It's a small world after all. It's a small world after all.

Mr. RICHARD SHERMAN: I figure people either want to kill us or kiss us for that song.

MONTAGNE: And perhaps in spite of that song, Richard Sherman was one of the honorees yesterday for the National Medals of Arts and Humanities at the White House.

(Soundbite of song "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang")

Mr. DICK VAN DYKE & Ms. SALLY ANN HOWES & Ms. HEATHER RIPLEY & Mr. ADRIAN HALL: (Singing) Chitty Bang Bang Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Oh you pretty Chitty Bang Bang, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. We love you, And our pretty Chitty Bang Bang. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang loves us too. High low anywhere we go, On Chitty Chitty we depend... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.