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  1. #16

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    Re: 'The Little Mermaid' 20th Anniversary reunion event 5/21

    That's great! I have that Mulan poster... would have been niced to get that signed.


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  2. #17

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    Re: 'The Little Mermaid' 20th Anniversary reunion event 5/21

    It is so strikingly graphic, bold, and beautiful, easily one of the best and most unique ever created. When Mark Henn saw this he just started beaming. He told me it was his favorite poster.

  3. #18

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    Re: 'The Little Mermaid' 20th Anniversary reunion event 5/21

    Notes on last night's event at Woodbury University (such a lovely little campus):

    There was an early collection of animation fans, many students and confusion on the event's starting time as the organizers were running late, as were some the panel attendees. Due to their work on 'The Princess and the Frog' they were literally "sneaking out" to be able to celebrate this 19 1/2 year anniversary. Co-directors John Musker and Ron Clements had even managed to grab a bite at El Torito before racing over.

    WDAS animator Ruben Aquino was the first to arrive. He was the directing animator on Ursula, still his favorite character. Tina Price (one of the earliest CGI CAPS artists), Directing animators Mark Henn (Ariel) and Andreas Deja (King Triton) soon followed, as did Musker and Clements. Duncan Marjoribanks (on his first Disney film fresh from Steven Spielberg's 'Amazing Stories' segment 'Family Dog' with a personal endorsement from Brad Bird!) directing animator on Sebastian.

    Many of the film's original crew were also on hand including Art Director Mike Peraza, who brought along the original model of Prince Eric's ship (it was promptly damaged by one of the panelists while moving around on the small stage! There was a collective gasp throughout the audience of 250) and Script Supervisror Nancy Parent. Parent, a close friend of the film's late composer & co-producer Howard Ashman, was invited onstage to share some of her personal memories of him and the film. She movingly closed with mentioning that this past Sunday was Howard's birthday. I don't know if anyone in the theatre didn't tear up.

    The event was moderated by Tom Sito, also an animator on the film who kicked off the evening by asking Ron Clements to explain how 'The Little Mermaid' actually came to be a Walt Disney Picture. He explained that Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg created a "Gong Show" scenario for all of the current main figures in Feature animation. They were to come up their 5 best ideas for a new project, they'd pitch them and then wait to see if it was "Gonged" or not. He said he'd gone to a book store to thumb through children's fairytale books and came upon 'The Little Mermaid'. he wrote up a 2-page treatment for it included it in his top five. He pitched it in the big meeting and it was gonged! Clements was devasted.

    Fortunately soon afterwards he received a call from Katzenberg telling him that he'd changed his mind and for him and his 'The Great Mouse Detective' co-director John Musker to pursue his concept.

    Side note: another pitch idea in Clements' top five was a concept of 'Treasure Island' in space, this was the original seed for 'Treasure Planet' which was released in 2002. Musker hilariously "surrended" last night taking "full responsibility" for the film. He then of course told the audience that they and everyone on the panel that had worked on the film were very proud of it.

    More later on everyone from Jim Carrey and Roseanne Barr auditioning for character voice parts!
    Last edited by ALIASd; 05-22-2009 at 10:41 AM.

  4. #19

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    Re: 'The Little Mermaid' 20th Anniversary reunion event 5/21

    Disney Legend Floyd Norman was on hand for the event also, here is his take on the night from his blog, Mr. Fun:
    mr.fun#

  5. #20

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    Re: 'The Little Mermaid' 20th Anniversary reunion event 5/21

    Thanks for the highlights! That really did sound like an AMAZING event. I knew taking a thursday night class was gonna screw me over!


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  6. #21

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    Re: 'The Little Mermaid' 20th Anniversary reunion event 5/21

    Thanks it was a true treat to not only hear these stories and meet these artists but to see them recognize and welcome familiar faces in the audience and overhear many, many of the ensuing conversations. Big fun!
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

  7. #22

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    Re: 'The Little Mermaid' 20th Anniversary reunion event 5/21

    More from last night:

    Musker and Clements told us that Jim Carrey had auditioned for the part of Eric, Roseanne Barr auditioned for the parts of Carlotta the chambermaid and took a pass at Ursula (a part that was written with the late Bea Arthur in mind). It came down to Charlotte Rea (of 'The Facts of Life' fame) in Los Angeles and Broadway's Elaine Stritch in New York, when neither one was right for the sea witch Pat Carroll landed the role.

    Random notes:

    The directors had not even met in person many of the performers that were eventually hired for the film, if they liked their tape they were in.

    Jodi Benson came to them via Howard Ashman's musical, 'Smile' where she had performed the song, 'Disneyland.'

    The late Buddy Hackett wrote and pitched his own song to the co-directors hoping to have his character Scuttle's sensitive side shown on screen with a ballad. It did not happen, but Musker's impression of Hackett performing it was one for the ages. As was his retelling of some of Hackett's antics during the recording sessions for the film, a couple at the expense of his partner and Scuttle animator Rick Farmiloe.

    Mark Dindal, a visual effects artist on the film responsible for many of the impressive visuals, went on to direct 'Chicken Little'.

    The first test screening was held at the old AMC Burbank theatres in May of 1989, it was such a success with the adults in attendence the entire marketing campaign had to be restructured. The studio had apparently forewarned the filmmakers not expect this film to make as much money as 'Oliver & Co.' had (about $48 million, big numbers for an animated film at that time) plus it was a "girl movie" so they wouldn't get their hopes up!

    Tyco had created the Ariel doll as a blonde with some red highlights because they didn't believe a red-headed doll would sell. It was a failure because kids wanted the doll to look like the character in the film so they had to be completely redone.

    The film's Cast & Crew premiere was held on November 9, 1989 at 6 PM at the Mann Village Theatre in Westwood with the Wrap Party following at The Beverly Hills Hotel. Black Tie Optional.

    All of the animators agreed that it was really the first film that they had worked on that their peers went out of their way to see and speak to them about it. Not only was it the last actual hand-drawn and paint on cels film produced at the studio but it was the one that changed the animation industry from within itself. Also seeing little girls coming to the door on Halloween dressed as Ariel really drove the mass pop culture awareness and love for the film home to the directors.

    There was really so much more, far too much more.
    Last edited by ALIASd; 05-23-2009 at 12:23 PM.

  8. #23

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    Re: 'The Little Mermaid' 20th Anniversary reunion event 5/21

    Shoot, I remember being a boy and wondering why I liked a movie about mermaids so much.

    I remember though.. I forget which VHS it was (maybe it was bambi) that had a preview for The Little Mermaid and it was so poorly done, aimed at girls, I thought it was going to be the stupidest thing. Well... I was wrong. But so were the people who put that trailer together.


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