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Original Production Cel Setup of Ursula Hand Signed by Rubin Aquino from "The Little Mermaid," 1989


Original Production Two Cel Setup of Ursula Hand Signed by Rubin Aquino from "The Little Mermaid," 1989

Original hand painted matching production animation cels of Ursula and her Tentacles numbered W99 and T99 set on a lithographic background from "The Little Mermaid," 1989, Walt Disney Studios; Disney seal upper right; Signed in ink Rubin Aquino upper left; Walt Disney Certificate of Authenticity verso; Size - Ursula 6 3/4 x 11", Image 9 x 12", Frame 19 x 21 1/2"; Framed with a purple wood frame, two acid free linen mats, purple wood fillet, and plexiglass.


"She (Ariel) may be the key to Triton's undoing" - 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." Caroll also served as the live action model of the character.


"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!


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."


This is a matched two cel setup of Ursula's body, and a cel of her tentacles. This is perhaps the greatest portrait cel setup of Ursula in the entire film! The image of her is perfect and it is hand signed by her animator Rubin Aquino in black ink upper left. The cels appear at the end of Ursula's first appearance in the film, when she realizes that Ariel (King Triton's daughter) may be able to be manipulated and she says, "She (Ariel) may be the key to Triton's undoing." A stand out piece for any animation art collection!


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