Questioning Everything Disney Little To Much



Fan Art Tuesday

10 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘The Little Mermaid’

10 things you probably didn't know about The Little Mermaid

Think you know everything there is to know about The Little Mermaid? 

You might have seen it a hundred times over but how well do you really know the Disney classic The Little Mermaid?

Did you know the ending was inspired by Die Hard, for example? Or that it very nearly never went to production? Or how about that Sebastian was supposed to be an English crab?

No? You’d better scrub up on your Little Mermaid knowledge then…

1. Sebastian was never supposed to be Jamaican

Instead our favourite animated crab was meant to be English – that’s until lyricist Howard Ashman suggested he would be Caribbean instead. Just think, we’d never have known the Oscar-winning track Under The Sea!

2. Ursula was almost played by Bea Arthur before Pat Caroll got the job and smashed it

Apparently her agent turned it down. Awkward.

Ursula - The Little Mermaid

3. Speaking of Ursula… she was modelled on drag queen Divine


Devine also starred in the original ‘Hairspray’ starring as Tracy Turnblad’s Mother Edna
4. Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck all feature in The Little Mermaid…under water

Yes, we know, you probably already knew this because of this piece of awesomeness

10 things you probably didn't know about The Little Mermaid
Can you spot Mickey?

5. Ursula might be a hybrid between a human and an octopus but she’s only got six legs, so she’s two tentacles short

Why? It’s cheaper to animate six legs instead of eight…

ursula legs

6. The Little Mermaid almost never existed

Kay Nielsen had been working on an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid in the late 30s and early 40s with Disney but the idea was shelved.

the little mermaid

7. And this wasn’t to be the only time it would be rejected

It was rejected again when it was pitched to Disney because they were working on Splash 2 with Daryl Hannah and they were afraid of working on more than one mermaid project. When film producer Jeffrey Katzenberg eventually persuaded them, he agreed to give Ariel red hair to really distinguish between her and Daryl Hannah’s mermaid.

(Bonus fact: They used Neilson’s artwork as inspiration for the modern classic!)

8. Part Of Your World nearly never made it to the final cut

Apparently it was ‘too boring and slowed down the movie’ – so said film producer Jeffrey Katzenberg. Luckily, it made the cut after a second-test screening and we now have the classic we all love.

9. Ursula is actually King Triton’s sister

It might not have been openly referred to in the film, but it was in a deleted scene…

king triton ursula

10. Die Hard inspired the show-stopping ending

Yep, you read that correctly. Die Hard was a huge movie at the time The Little Mermaid was created and Katzenberg felt the original ending wasn’t big enough, instructing illustrators to make it ‘more Die Hard’. So they did…



Disney Confession #75



Fan Art Tuesday

Happy Valentines Day 2017!!!

Here some Lovely Little Valentines Cards, for you to give to your special Princess, or your wonderful Prince Charming!

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Maz Kanata is Hidden in Every Star Wars Movie?!

Judge Claude Frollo: The Righteous Demon of Paris

An examination of Judge Claude Frollo, the Villain of Disney’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1996)


Let me begin by saying that I think The Disney Studios’ The Hunchback of Notre Dame is criminally underrated. It came out on the heels of The Lion King and Pocahontas which, as noteworthy as they were, were quite content with leavening their stories with a comic-relief duo and (in Pocahontas) a villain that seemed more misguided than really foul. 

Unless my memory is fuzzy, Hunchback is the only Disney cartoon that introduces its major villain in the movie’s first scene — with an opening song. (I remember seeing the movie upon first release thinking, “They’re really not screwing around this time.”)


That villain is Judge Claude Frollo (memorably and chillingly voiced by Tony Jay), Paris’ minister of justice in 1482. Let’s make a short list of his frolics, shall we?


  • Frollo ambushes a group of gypsies who try to illegally sneak into Paris. When a female gypsy escapes with a mysterious-looking satchel, Frollo chases her down on horseback and kills her, only to find that the satchel contains her deformed baby. Frollo holds the satchel over an open well and vows to send the baby “back to Hell, where it belongs.”

The baby is saved at the last minute by a voice of conscience, the cathedral’s archdeacon, who guilt-trips Frollo into raising the baby as his own child. Frollo cruelly names the baby “Quasimodo” (meaning “half-formed”) and shutters him in Notre Dame’s bell tower. (Again, this is all in the opening number. We haven’t even gotten to the main story yet.)


  • Twenty years later, we see grown Quasimodo (Timothy Hulce), longing to join the annual Festival of Fools that the gypsies hold in the town square. But Frollo discourages Quasimodo, telling him outright that he is “deformed” and “ugly” and that Quasimodo should be “grateful” that it is Frollo alone who can accept Quasimodo’s deformity. No Father’s Day card for this guy!


  • Quasimodo lets his curiosity gets the better of him, exits the bell tower for the first time in his life, and joins the Festival. At first, he is celebrated as the “King of Fools,” but then some bullies throw vegetables at Quasimodo, shred his clothes, and tie him up in front of the crowd. Frollo, who has witnessed the whole spectacle, ignores Quasimodo’s pleas for help, preferring to see Quasimodo humiliated for disobeying him. Quasimodo is released by Esmeralda (Demi Moore), a beautiful gypsy, who both exasperates and excites Frollo before she makes a crafty exit.


  • There follows perhaps the most eye-popping song ever to appear in a Disney movie, as Frollo admits his lust for Esmeralda but blames said lust on the woman herself and her magical ways. At one point, Frollo looks at the raging fire in his room’s fireplace and imagines seeing Esmeralda, teasing him with an erotic dance. (I’ve always said that if this movie is G-rated, it’s a pretty hard G.)


  • Frollo goes on a citywide search for Esmeralda, aided by his right-hand man, Captain Phoebus (Kevin Kline). When Frollo orders Phoebus to burn down an innocent gypsy’s home, and Phoebus refuses, Frollo knocks him to the ground and nearly murders him. He is saved by Esmeralda, who takes wounded Phoebus to the bell tower and asks Quasimodo to look after Phoebus until he recovers.


  • Later, Quasimodo and a recovered Phoebus search the city for Esmeralda, eventually uncovering the gypsies’ hide-out, to which they have unknowingly led Judge Frollo. Frollo captures all of the gypsies, chains up Quasimodo in the bell tower, and orders Esmeralda burned at the stake in public (but not before offering her a final chance at freedom by, er, dousing Frollo’s lust, to which offer she spits in Frollo’s face).

Having already offered too many “spoilers” about the movie, I draw the line at disclosing the movie’s ending so that I can leave you with something fresh when you watch it. Suffice to say, the story doesn’t end prettily for someone.


My point is that, IMHO, Judge Claude Frollo is the most purely, unmitigatingly evil of all Disney villains. Prior to Frollo, there have been nasties in Disney movies, to be sure, but each still had some tiny redeeming feature, or a reason behind their actions. (Even The Lion King’s Scar had a small rationale for his evil deeds. Who isn’t jealous of one’s sibling at some point?) Frollo is given no such reason for his villainy, other than that he has unchecked power in Paris and only wants more of it.

There’s a reason that — other than the light-comic-relief gargoyles who are initially Quasimodo’s only friends — this movie doesn’t take a “We’re only kidding” approach that most other Disney movies offer. And that reason can be found in the movie’s credits.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame was directed by Gary Wise and Kirk Trousdale, whose previous Disney outing was 1991’s Beauty and the Beast — the first animated feature ever to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. That Oscar nom pretty much gave Wise and Trousdale carte blanche to do whatever they wanted for their next movie — despite the fact that Victor Hugo purists (not to mention Hugo’s own descendants) went apoplectic at the thought of a literary classic being homogenized by the company that gave us Mickey Mouse.

For my money, Wise and Trousdale provided a worthy and outstanding adaptation. And the proof is in a Disney villain in which one can find no redeeming feature whatsoever. Hunchback’s original release was accompanied by the inevitable merchandising onslaught, with play figures and games based on the movie. Funny, though — I don’t recall ever seeing a Judge Frollo doll on any shelves at The Disney Store at that time.

Of course, I COULD be wrong...

Of course, I COULD be wrong…


Disney Confession #74



Fan Art Tuesday

Mickey Mouse Movies

Steamboat Willie – First Mickey cartoon with synchronized sound.

The Band Concert – First official color Mickey Mouse cartoon. First Color Appearance of Donald & Goofy. Remake of Barnyard Concert.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (1940, segment of Fantasia)

Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983) – First screen appearance of Mickey since 1953; Mickey’s eyebrows are removed.

The Prince and the Pauper (1990)

The Spirit of Mickey (1998)

Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas (1999)

Disney’s House of Mouse (2001–2003) A show showing short animated cartoons of Disney’s favorite characters

Mickey’s Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse (2001) – House of Mouse video release.

Mickey’s House of Villains (2002) – House of Mouse video release.

Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers (2004)

Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas (2004) – First Mickey film done in CGI animation.