Disney's Urban Legends ... Revealed
Fourth part of a multiple-part series
April 16, 2003

Several urban legends surround Disney's animated feature films and television shows. Perhaps you've heard some of them on the playground when you were a kid. Back then, any juicy rumor was spread like wildfire, true or not. And the Disney stuff was as good as it got. Tales of images of sex and foul language secretly hidden in wholesome Disney films—poisoning the minds of our youth—still persist to this day.

In the fourth installment of "Disney's Urban Legends ... Revealed," I'm taking on the film that's perhaps the object of the most notorious of all rumors. Are there really phallic images in The Little Mermaid? And who would draw a bunch of schlongs?

The first of the two stories has to do with a piece of promotional artwork drawn for The Little Mermaid that was used for the movie's theatrical posters as well as a slightly altered version for the original VHS cover art. One of the castle spires in the background bears a striking resemblance to a penis. Look for yourself.

How could this be an accident? What's the old saying? If it looks, walks and quacks like a duck ...

As the story goes, a disgruntled Disney employee found out that he was being fired upon completion of the project, so in one last act of rebellion, he drew the phallus into the cover art.

Compelling story, sure, but it's pure fabrication. Here's the straight facts: The artist who drew the cover art was commissioned for the job and he was not an actual Disney employee. In his rush to complete the cover art, the artist hastily drew the background detail in the wee hours of the morning. It wasn't until someone called him for questioning that the artist even noticed the phallic image.

Needless to say, in later editions of The Little Mermaid, such as on the laser disc cover, the offending spire was removed.

And that's the end of the dongs in Disney flicks ... or is it? Dun, dun, dun.

During the wedding scene—when Ursula takes the appearance of Vanessa—as the bride and groom are approaching the minister, he appears to have an erection. Egads!

That is, without a doubt, an erection, right? Well, not quite. The bulge in the crotch of his pants is actually his knee sticking out from under the tunic. In other frames, it's readily apparent, but in some? Not so much.

One woman actually tried to sue Disney over this "subliminal sex message," but the suit was quickly dropped because, hey, Disney is a huge corporation that woulda' stomped a mudhole in her and walked it dry. You might say she didn't have third leg to stand on.  Haha! I slay me.

Be sure to check back on Animated Buzz for the the final two installments to The Buzz Cut's Disney's urban legends series.

Chris Douvalas
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