From that time to this, sir, there has not been a run on this bank. Until today! A run so caused by the disgraceful conduct of your son! Do you deny it?
~ Mr. Dawes Sr. to George Banks
Mr. Dawes Sr. is the main antagonist of the 1964 Disney film Mary Poppins and the posthumous overarching antagonist of its 2018 sequel Mary Poppins Returns.
He was the former director of Fiduciary Fidelity Bank who served as George Banks's former boss until his death. He had apparently been in charge of the bank for a good many years, as he was able to recall when George's father worked for the bank. By the time of the film, however, he had become quite elderly; he was known to lose his balance easily, even when walking with a cane, and he wheezed often. However, he still seemed to have his wits about him, as he was still able to successfully run the bank.
He was portrayed by the legendary Dick Van Dyke, who also played Bert in the same film, Cecil Fredericks in Night of the Museum and Mr. Dawes Jr. in Mary Poppins Returns.
Mr. Dawes Sr. first appears when George is taking his children Jane and Michael on a tour of his bank. He quietly explains to them about Mr. Dawes Sr. and his prestigious reputation. After hearing from George that his children wish to open an account with their tuppence, Mr. Dawes Sr. appears delighted by saying that he started around the same age. Michael rejects this idea, saying that he simply wanted to feed the birds. Mr. Dawes Sr. scoffs at the notion, however, and begins trying to convince the children of the wonders of finance. Michael starts to consider the offer, but when he starts to slowly open his hand, Mr. Dawes Sr. takes the tuppence without even asking. This enrages Michael to yell at Mr. Dawes Sr. for doing so before retrieving his money back and running off with Jane, unintentionally causing a run on the bank as the other customers misinterprete Michael's rage that the bank is cheating him off of his money.
Later that night, Mr. Dawes Sr. summons George back to the bank to discuss about the incident. To that end, Mr. Dawes Sr. gets his son Mr. Dawes Jr. to compare the incident with that of the Boston Tea Party and that there hasn't been a run on the bank back then. As such, Mr. Dawes Sr. fires George for indirectly causing the bank run due to his failure to control Michael's behavior, despite the fact that he provoked Michael by trying to steal the tuppence in the first place. Mr. Dawes Sr. then asks if George has anything to say before he leaves, but gets confused when George suddenly begins laughing after looking at Michael's tuppence. In a sudden good mood, George says "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" before telling Mr. Dawes Sr. a joke which Michael had told him earlier. He then leaves after giving Michael's tuppence to Mr. Dawes Sr., singing "A Spoonful of Sugar" that the children's current nanny Mary Poppins had previously sang to them. While Mr. Dawes Jr. comments that George must have gone mad, Mr. Dawes Sr. ponders upon the joke, but he suddenly gets it and begins laughing. Much to the surprise of Mr. Dawes Jr. and the other bank officers, Mr. Dawes Sr. floats up into the air, laughing happily.
The next morning, George takes his family kite flying as part of his new resolution to be a better family man. At the park, George meets Mr. Dawes Jr., who is too flying his kite with the other bank officers. Mr. Dawes Jr. compliments George on his joke, stating that Mr. Dawes Sr. had literally died laughing after understanding it. Upon hearing this, a horrified George expresses his condolences, but Mr. Dawes Jr. assures that there is nothing to be sorry about, saying that his father had never been happier in his life. Mr. Dawes Jr. also stated that Mr. Dawes Sr. has left George a partnership in the bank following his death as an apology for his actions, which made George very happy.
Mary Poppins Returns
It was told that before his death, Mr. Dawes Sr. allowed George to invest Michael's tuppence that grew into a considerable sum that could be used for mere emergencies in case the Banks family would face financial hardships, proving that Mr. Dawes Sr.' statement about investment was correct. This was shown when Mr. Dawes Jr. informed a grown Michael about the successful investment that would save the Banks house from foreclosure; Mr. Dawes Jr. even fired his nephew William Weatherall Wilkins for his corrupt practices of driving many people (including the Banks family) out of their homes.
In the closing credits, Dick Van Dyke was credited as Navckid Keyd, an anagram of his name, for Mr. Dawes Sr.
Although Mr. Dawes Sr. is the main antagonist of the film, he never shared a scene with Mary Poppins and has very little screen time.