Thursday, September 22, 2016

Original Production Animation Cels of Ursula, Flotsam, and Jetsam from "The Little Mermaid," 1989

Original hand painted production animation cels of 1) Ursula 2) Flotsam & Jetsam; Both on a lithographic background from "The Little Mermaid," 1989, Walt Disney Studios; Production numbers in ink lower right of both cels; Size - Ursula: 6 1/2 x 5 1/2", Flotsam & Jetsam: 5 3/4 x 4 1/2", Image 9 1/2 x 12 1/2"; Unframed.

To purchase these cels or to visit the Art Gallery, CLICK HERE

"Flotsam, Jetsam, now I've got her, boys. The boss is on a roll." - Ursula 

"The Little Mermaid," 1989 was the final Disney film using hand painted animation cels. Disney Studios, specifically Ron Clements and John Musker, adapted the Hans Christian Anderson story to give the villain a much bigger role. The first choice to voice the character was Beatrice Arthur who turned down the part. It was eventually accepted by veteran stage actress Elaine Stritch; however she clashed with the music stylist. The voice was finally given to Pat Caroll who described the role as, "part Shakespearean actress, with all the flair, flamboyance and theatricality, and part used-car salesman with a touch of con artist." Although I would have loved to have heard Arthur and Stritch sing "Pour Unfortunate Souls," Ursula is the absolute embodiment of Caroll and I think she was the best choice!

Close up of the faces of Ursula, Flotsam, and Jetsam.

The animation of the character was initially offered to Glen Keane, however after hearing Jodi Benson sing "Part of Your World" he wanted to animate Ariel instead and so Ursula ended up going to Disney animator, Ruben Aquino. Aquino credits Ursula as his favorite character in which he has ever worked and said, "When animating Ursula, I was inspired mainly by the voice and by the story sketches, but of course, I also worked very closely with the directors (John Musker and Ron Clements) to realize their vision. Given a great voice, the scenes almost animate themselves, and that definitely was the case with Pat Carroll's amazing vocal performance. I also did a lot of research on octopus locomotion to make sure Ursula's movements were convincing."

Original production animation cels of Ursula, Flotsam, and Jetsam without the background.

Flotsam and Jetsam are a pair of slender green moray eels. Their eyes are odd and notable as one is yellow for one and the other opposite is white for the other. The eels are named after the phrase flotsam and jetsam which means "useless or disregarded objects". Flotsam and Jetsam speak in unison, they finish each other's sentences, and are constantly entwining their bodies. They can also merge their white eyes to form a single crystal ball; which creates a portal through which Ursula can view the outside world while still within her cave. Both eels were both voiced by Paddi Edwards, who also was the voice of Lucy the goose in "One Hundred and One Dalmatians: The Series" and Atropos the Fate in "Hercules."

This is an outstanding two cel setup from Ursula's famous song "Poor Unfortunate Souls," one of the true highlights of the entire film!  It features Ursula leaning over and speaking to Flotsam and Jetsam; who are full figure, eyes and mouths open. The lyrics that she is singing from this cel setup are below:

Ursula: "Flotsam, Jetsam, now I've got her, boys. The boss is on a roll."
To view the scene which these cels were used to create, click on the short video below: