Monday, January 2, 2012

Disney's "The Little Mermaid" Before Ariel (& Other Disney Takes On HCA Tales)

Isn't this just.. odd? I wonder if any of The Little Mermaid artists ever saw this?

Because Hans Christian Andersen has been in the news lately in a controversial LGBT festival intended to honor him, (click the links in the sentence if you want to read more) his tales have been on my mind more than usual.

I knew Walt Disney and some of his early artists/workers were familiar with lesser known fairy tales but I didn't realize Disney had contributed several sets of stamps themed with Hans Christian Andersen's stories, starring Mickey and the gang. (Apologies if the layout of images is weird. I cannot get Blogger to cooperate on making them stay put today.)

You can see the titles right on the stamp, in case there's any doubt as to their origin (some are a little difficult to figure out).

Interestingly, the sets don't seem to include all of the better known Andersen tales (eg Snow Queen, Little Ida's Flowers etc). There are others that seem rather, well ordinary and don't capture any of the tales magic (or use much of the trademark Disney/Mickey humor). Still, they are fun to look at when you know the tales.


I'm particularly pleased, though, to see The Marsh King's Daughter included among these. It's one of my favorites and has stuck with me since I was small, despite it's heavy religious tones in the second half. 

Here's Grenada stamp portrait set of Hans Christian Andersen, which isn't by Disney.

Grenada seem to hold the contract for producing Disney stamps (sorry - I have no research time at this writing to check this myself). I actually still have a Snow White stamp set from one of the theatrical releases when I was young. I like the different views of HCA here. You can see how a wealth of different stories are produced by one person when you view them like this.

There are quite a few that have been animated as shorts - either for Fantasia or as "training short films" for Disney artists. MOst are nothing like these but I think that's a good thing. These are really a good way for Disney fan-kids to learn more HCA tales - stories they may not read otherwise.

In the meantime, enjoy the HCA/Disney parodies. :)


  1. Really loved these! Thanks for posting!

  2. weird, I've been told that Blockhead Hans (Hams Clodhopper) had no known author or country of origin, I wonder why disney counted it as a HCA fairytale, but it's not bad. maybe I should read those I have not heard of, e.g. 'the marsh king's daughter', 'what the moon saw' and 'the shadow'. =)