I can”t tell you how many times I watched The Little Mermaid as a kid. My poor mom was so kind to rewind the VHS for me over and over again and let me bask in the bright colors, fun songs, and adorable story. It was every three-year-old”s dream come true!
But for as many times as I continued to watch the classic Disney film while growing up, I had no clue about any of these facts hiding under the sea. I feel about as silly as Scuttle explaining a thingamajig.
1. The color is intentionally muted and overcast in the opening scene on Eric”s ship. The directors wanted to save the bright colors for the sea.
2. The blue-green hue of Ariel”s tail was specifically mixed for the movie by the Disney paint lab. They named it “Ariel,” of course.
3. Keen eyes can spot Kermit, Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and Donald Duck in the background of the opening scene during King Triton”s entrance.
4. Ursula”s character barely appears in the original Hans Christian Anderson story. In fact, the sea witch doesn”t even have a name.
5. Animators for the film studied the Monstro scenes from Pinocchio (released over 40 years prior) while working on the scenes for the shipwreck and Ursula rising from the sea.
6. During development, Ursula was drawn as a spinefish or a scorpion fish with lots of spikes and spines. This is much different from the eight-legged lady that made it to the film.
7. Jeffrey Katzenberg, the Studio Chairman of Disney at the time, reportedly wanted to cut the “Part of Your World” segment from the film after his first screening. He is now embarrassed to admit the story is true.
8. Though it”s not mentioned in the film, the shark Flounder has a run-in with is named Glut. There were plans to have Glut return later in the film, but that was scrapped when the story was simplified.
9. Flounder transforms into Scuttle for a few frames while discussing him with Ariel.
10. The voice actresses for Ariel and Ursula (Jodi Benson and Pat Carroll) both admit they took elements of their delivery from the way lyricist Howard Ashman performed the songs.
11. The crew debated Ariel”s hair color during production, ultimately going with the now-iconic red locks. The end result complimented the green of her tail and distinguished her from the blonde mermaid (Daryl Hannah) who had made waves in the live action film, Splash.
12. Several of Ariel”s sisters are named after specific people: Atina was inspired by a musical Alan Menken previously wrote called Atina: Evil Queen of the Galaxy, Alana was Howard Ashmans lyrical nod to Alan Menken, and Andrina was the name of one of the directors aerobics instructors.
13. This was Menken”s first time writing for Disney and he was a bit nervous. He was convinced he was terrible and would be fired.
14. Several of the sailor”s on Eric”s ship are caricatures of staff members. This guy dancing on the platform is Razoul Azadani, a man who still occasionally works with Ron Clements and John Musker.
15. A New Jersey State Trooper was moved to tears while watching the film. He was then motivated to repair his estranged relationship with his daughter. He wrote a letter to writer/director Ron Clements thanking him.
(via Oh My Disney.)
This delightful film can still make us smile after all this time. They just don”t make “em like this anymore.