Thursday, October 18, 2012

The True Story of the Little Mermaid

As I swam lazily through the sapphire water, I reflected back on my life. I’d achieved many things: long swims across open ocean, dalliances with beautiful turtlesses, and a small home on an exotic beach. But those feats are but sand on the sea bottom compared to my greatest success, writing The Little Mermaid for Disney.

A lot of people think Ron Clements and John Musker wrote the story, and that’s sort of true. You see, I’m John Musker. At least, that’s my penname. I actually gave the original tale to Mr. Andersen, but that’s another story.

Ronnie and I were having some beers, discussing some pitches for Disney when Andersen came up. I don’t remember how. I suggested he do The Little Mermaid, to which he responded the ending was too sad.

“No problem,” I told him. “I can rewrite it, drop in a few contemporary characters, maybe some musical numbers, and there we go.”

“The studio won’t take it without a name on it,” he told me.

“So put your name on it too. I’m a turtle. What would I do with the money anyways?”

We worked out a few more details and before long, it was approved and underway. The project ran into a few snags here and there, but ultimately the addition of Sebastian and the Caribbean music, at the suggestion of Howard Ashman, really tied the whole thing together. 

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