37¢ Little Mermaid
The Art of Disney
Issue Date: June 30, 2005
City: Anaheim, CA
Printed By: Banknote Corporation of America for Sennett Security Products
Printing Method: Lithographed
Perforations: Serpentine Die Cut 10.5 x 10.75
The author of “The Little Mermaid,” Hans Christian Andersen (1805-75), was born into a poor Danish family. He received little early education and had to go to work before he was twelve. At 14, he moved to Copenhagen to pursue a career in theater. Fortunately, a generous director of the Royal Theatre gave Anderson the means to complete his education.
A writer of novels and plays, Andersen was best known for stories like “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Princess and the Pea” from his Fairy Tales and Stories (1835-72). The third volume of these tales, published in 1837, contained the story “The Little Mermaid.”
Walt Disney had gotten the idea for an animated film based on “The Little Mermaid” back in the 1930s, but it was not until 1989 that the feature was produced.
Both the Andersen and Disney tales deal with the longing of a beautiful young mermaid named Ariel. In Andersen’s story, Ariel longs to be human so she will have an immortal soul. She sacrifices her life for her beloved’s happiness and becomes a “daughter of the air.” In Disney’s version, Ariel longs to be human so the prince will love and marry her. The romantic film ends with an evil witch vanquished and the little mermaid getting her wish.