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Original Production Animation Cel Setup featuring Ariel from "The Little Mermaid," 1989


Original Production Animation Cel Setup featuring Ariel from "The Little Mermaid," 1989
Original Production Animation Cel Setup featuring Ariel from "The Little Mermaid," 1989

Original hand painted production animation cels of Ariel, Barrel, and Special Effects from "The Little Mermaid," 1989, Walt Disney Studios; Set on a lithographic background; With Walt Disney Certificate; Disney seal upper right; Production numbers in ink lower right; Size - Ariel, Barrel, & Special Effects: 4 1/4 x 8 3/4", Image 9 1/2 x 13"; Unframed.


"Don't worry, Ariel. We're gonna make it!" - Flounder

"The Little Mermaid," is an American animated musical fantasy film and the 28th film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. It was produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures to theaters on November 17, 1989. The film was based on the Danish fairy tale of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen, which tells the story of a beautiful mermaid princess who dreams of becoming human. The film was written, directed, and produced by Ron Clements and John Musker; with music by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. The voice cast includes: Jodi Benson, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Pat Carroll, Samuel E. Wright, Jason Marin, Kenneth Mars, Buddy Hackett, and René Auberjonois.


There was more money and resources dedicated by the Walt Disney Studios to "The Little Mermaid" than any other Disney animated film in decades. Aside from its main animation facility in Glendale, California; Disney opened a satellite feature animation facility in Lake Buena Vista, Florida that was within the Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park at Walt Disney World. Their first projects were to produce an entire Roger Rabbit cartoon short, "Roller Coaster Rabbit," and to contribute ink and paint support to "The Little Mermaid." Another first for Disney films of recent years, was the filming of live actors and actresses for motion reference material for the animators. Broadway actress Jodi Benson (who was predominantly a stage actress when she was cast) was chosen to play Ariel, and Sherri Lynn Stoner, a former member of Los Angeles' Groundlings improvisation comedy group, acted out Ariel's key scenes.


The Little Mermaid's supervising animators included Glen Keane and Mark Henn on Ariel, Duncan Marjoribanks on Sebastian, Andreas Deja on King Triton, and Ruben Aquino on Ursula. Originally, Keane had been asked to work on Ursula, as he had established a reputation for drawing large powerful figures, such as the bear in "The Fox and the Hound," 1981 and Professor Ratigan in "The Great Mouse Detective," 1986. Keane however, was assigned as one of the two lead artists on the petite Ariel and oversaw the "Part of Your World" musical number. He jokingly stated that his wife looks exactly like Ariel "without the fins." The character's body type and personality were based upon that of Alyssa Milano, who was starring on TV's "Who's the Boss?". The effect of Ariel's hair underwater was based on footage of Sally Ride when she was in space; and scenes of Sherri Lynn Stoner in a swimming pool were used in animating Ariel's swimming. A challenge in animating Ariel were the colors required to show her in various changing environments, both under the sea and on land. By the end of the film, the animators required a total of 32-color models; not including costume changes. The sea-green color of her fin was a hue specially mixed by the Disney paint lab, and the color was named "Ariel" after the character.


"The Little Mermaid," 1989 was the final Walt Disney full length feature film that used hand painted animation cels. This is an outstanding original production animation cel setup from the end of the film when Ariel has discovered the Vanessa, whom Eric is about to marry onboard a ship, is actually Ursula in disguise. Ariel, hanging onto a floating barrel, and Flounder are racing to the ship hoping to arrive before the ceremony is concluded. This multiple cel setup is from a very exciting part of the film and would be an absolutely spectacular addition to any animation art collection!


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