Sunday, October 15, 2017

Mermaids and More, July 1966

It's time for another exciting Sunday post, full of torpor and ennui! 

This first picture is pretty terrible, but HEY! There are beautiful mermaids in the lagoon, so that bumps this up by 46.5% on the Flarp scale (named after Antoine Robespierre Flarp, 1888-1952). The merm on the rock is either very lazy or she is stranded. Maybe you should dive in an rescue her! The other merm doesn't give a hoot either way, which is just how they are. 

If they ever brought mermaids back (don't hold your breath - no pun intended), they would probably have to have mermen as well.

This next one rates much lower on the Flarp scale, lacking mermaids, rockets, steam trains, Swiss mountains, and such. It does have a little circus train, but we can only see about half of it. Professor Flarp would be crying right now.


Nanook said...


"Mermen". (And you just know there would be-!) Maybe it's just as well the original Subs have go on to greater voyages.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

If they gave the mermaids some mermen, together they could have some Merbabies, but I guess that would just be "Silly." I remember a very famous "merman" that went by the name of "Ethel."

That second shot shows Cinderella's pumpkin coach on the bridge leading up to the castle. It's that little orange dot.

Chuck said...

If they don't get that merm back into the water soon, she'll spoil, which will make it impossible to sell her carcass to Chicken of the Sea to be served over in Fantasyland. All she'll be good for is mermalade.

Of interest to fans of later Disney films is the fact that the sub passing the mermaids is the Triton. The low angle of this photo, however, means it's not an Ariel shot.

Boy, that second photo has a whole lotta nothin' - even Casey, Jr., is rushing to get under cover. It's a record of what your eye sees but your brain doesn't pay any attention to as it moves from one center of interest to another.

Looking closer, there are a couple of moderately interesting details, though. As TM! has noted, there's Cindy's pumpkin, and in the top right you can see the spires along the iasw facade and one of the light poles that illuminated the facade at night and during eclipses. You can also see that one tree that grew for a while before it was cut down.

TM!, well played, my friend - well played.

K. Martinez said...

Major, Unfortunately, both these pics are low on the Flarp scale. No telephone poles!

TokyoMagic! Of special note, the Silly Symphony "Merbabies" was actually produced by an outside studio for Disney. I think it was due to all of Walt's artists working on Snow White at the time and the studio needed to produce a another short for release. Major, might be better able to explain it.

Ethel Merman! ha, ha! You're on a roll, TM!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I realize I am biased, but I like pretty mermaids in my submarine lagoons. I don’t need any mermen.

TokyoMagic!, I have always kind of wondered about Ethel Merman. Why did people like her? She was a brassy dame who could belt out show tunes (with a vibrato turned up to 17), but I always imagine that she was just like her “Mad Mad Mad Mad…” character! Maybe she was actually a nice person. As for Cinderella’s pumpkin coach, did you say (in a previous comment) that it was not always there?

Chuck, “mermalade”… GOOD NIGHT! Oh wait, it’s only 10:15 in the morning. I would think that all Ariel shots would be low angle. That tree that was cut down was “Walt’s Smoking Tree”.

K. Martinez, Professor Flarp did have a fondness for telephone and telegraph poles, it is well known. “Merbabies”… the mother of a friend of mine went to a garage sale in Tujunga and saw a pile of watercolor paintings. She bought two for her daughter (my friend) for something like $1 apiece. Turns out they were original backgrounds from Silly Symphonies. When she was broke, she sold one (turned out to be from Merbabies) to Van Eaton Galleries for $500, and he then auctioned it off for $5000.

K. Martinez said...

Major, Watch Ethel Merman in Henry King's "Alexander's Ragtime Band" from 1938. She as young and her voice pretty incredible. Alice Faye who's also in it and is another great singer from the era. The film also has Tyrone Power and Dom Ameche, all when they were young and some great Irving Berlin tunes. I recommend it. That is, if you have an appreciation for Irving Berlin.

TokyoMagic! said...

Chuck, right back at ya! I was going to make a merman/King Triton reference, but couldn't think of one. And there it was in the photo, right before our very eyes. Good catch!

Ken, that's odd. I did not know about Merbabies being produced by another studio. Was that studio listed anywhere in the credits? I guess I need to break open my copy and see, huh? ;-)

Major, I don't know too much about Ethel Merman or what the attraction was. I've only seen her as a guest panelist on episodes of Match Game and as Lieutenant Hurwitz in the movie, Airplane!. "War is hell!" As for Cinderella's pumpkin coach in Storybook Land...yes, there was a photo that you posted maybe a few months back, that did not have the coach parked on the bridge. However, I don't remember what year that photo was from.

Chuck said...

Major & TM!, that comment about Cindy's coach (I always call her "Cindy;" she always calls me "Tex," although I have no idea why) was in this post from July 23rd referencing a 1961 photo.

The Disney Dudebro said...

Fun Fact: While there were no mermaids at the Disney World submarine ride, the lake were the attraction formerly was would serve as the location of Ariel's Grotto, and would later be filled over and replaced by the Little Mermaid ride, whose queue has a hidden reference to the former attraction's submarines. :D

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, I just watched the trailer for “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” on Ethel is definitely younger and prettier! It’s funny though, when she sings “We’re Having a Heat Wave”, she sounds just like I always imagine! I love old movies though (some people can’t stand ‘em), so I would probably enjoy this one.

TokyoMagic!, “Match Game”, hoo boy. I’m sure she was “peak Ethel” on that show. I had forgotten that she was in “Airplane!”. I knew that “Merbabies” was actually done by Harmon/Ising, they did a great job - I’m not sure I would have been able to tell that it wasn’t a Disney production from that period. Meanwhile, I’m trying to nail down when that pumpkin coach appeared!

Chuck, thanks for the link. So we know that the coach wasn’t there in 1961, and I found one of my photos that shows it fairly clearly circa 1963, so we are definitely narrowing it down.

The Disney Dudebro, I did not know that the Little Mermaid ride was built on the site of the old 20K ride. But I have seen photos of the little Nautilus sub “carved” into the rocks!

Nanook said...


At a younger age, I always thought performers like Ethel Merman and Al Jolson seemed pretty dated and awfully unique - but not necessarily in a good way. Time and maturity seemed to point me in a different direction and I easily "get" why they were considered such great talents in their day.

Clearly Ms. Merman could really 'belt-out' the notes, but she had a great presence both in films and on stage. Yes, she was certainly 'brash' for Hollywood's more genteel notions of womanly glamour, which probably explains her disappointing film career that never came close to matching her onstage triumphs.

And the same can be said for Mr. Jolson. He, especially, had such presence when you see him perform. It's no wonder why he had such a great reputation as a singer and performer.

Who knows what [either one] of them was like off-stage. I suspect your assumption may be closer to the truth in regards to Ms. Merman. But no matter - we are supposed to enjoy (or hate) performers based on how well they carry-out their 'craft', not for their personal lives - although these days, it seems impossible to separate the two. Pity.

Sunday Night said...

Welcome to GDB after dark! GDB has a special magic when the sun goes down and the sparkly lights come on in the trees.

I'm not really surprised there are some classic film fans in our group here. I love old films as well. TCM is pretty much the only channel I watch anymore. They just did a nice evening of George Pal films the other night - including Puppetoons!

The Disney Dudebro said...

Major Pepperidge:
Eh, actually, I could be wrong about that. I think the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is built on the old location. But the hidden sub in the rock is still accurate.

Melissa said...

Well, I always seem to come in late to my favorite conversations. Maybe that's just a sign that conversations go better without me chiming in my two cents and an old button. Anyway, I would have loved the addition of mermen! If there had been more female imagineers, we probably would have seen them added to the mix. The costume and undergarments would be a construction challenge if they wanted the same sort of smooth-tailed silhouette that the female merfolk have.

Ethel Merman voice was a holdover from the days before theater performers were miked and amplified like they are now. She could hold a high C for eight bars without stopping to breathe.

It's not one of the best circus train pictures, but it's still absolutely charming. It's like driving past the hilly Patchwork Farms of New York and Pennsylvania, but done in pastel colors and pretty textures instead of plain old everyday ones.

Anonymous said...

Major, these are fun pics. I like them, and the comments are priceless.

Thanks everyone.