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Myths and Legends Pop Culture

The Sultry Starbucks Siren

Starbucks is the largest coffee chain in the world, and it’s synonymous for it’s addicting coffee and siren logo.

It’s not a coincidence that since Starbucks was founded in a port city, that it’s logo and name would be inspired by the sea.

Starbucks got it’s name from Starbuck, a character in Herman Melville Moby Dick. The company’s founders added the “s” at the end, so the name could be more conversational and easier to remember.

The medieval mermaid that inspired the original Starbucks Siren logo design

Starbucks sultry, bare breasted, two-tailed logo was risqué when it opened it’s doors in Seattle, Washington in 1971. It’s founder’s found a Nordic 15th century woodcut of a bare breasted, twin-tailed siren and they thought she was perfect! The mermaid exemplified the seductive and alluring nature of the sea.

It has also been speculated that Starbucks Siren could’ve also been inspired by a very famous medieval two-tailed mermaid…Melusine.

The medieval siren, holding up her twin-tails revealing her genitalia signifies the power of femininity and fertility.

As the years progressed, the Starbucks logo became less risqué and more refined. Overtime, the designers decided to cover the siren’s bare breasts with her long, luscious hair, another notable feature of a siren. Sirens were known to comb their luscious locks of hair to lure sailors to their untimely death.

 

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Hans Christian Andersen Myths and Legends

The Myth of Ondine

Undine illustration by Arthur Rackham. The illustration is featured in Baro Friedrich De La Motte Fouque romance novella “Undine” that was published in 1811.

The myth of Ondine or Undine has been around for centuries, as far back as the Ancient Greece. Unda is Latin for “wave” or “water”.

The story of Ondine has been adapted and changed throughout the centuries, yet, astonishingly, key elements of the story has remained the same.

The story is of a young water nymph named Ondine who is beautiful and has an enchanting singing voice. Ondine is immortal, but doesn’t have a soul. The only way for Ondine to obtain one, is to marry a human, which would  then shorten her life, but she would gain a human soul.

Ondine falls in love with a human, and becomes human to be with him. If Ondine’s husband was to be unfaithful to her, he will die. She soon marries him, and bears him a mixed-breed child. Her child is born with a soul and has many aquatic attributes.

Ondine finds her husband with another woman and he soon dies.

This legendary story, would later inspire French author Baron Friedrich De La Motte Fouque and his novella of  Undine that was published in 1811. Years later, his version of the story,  would inspire the Danish author Hans Christian Andersen and his story, Den Lille Havfrue or The Little Mermaid and was published in 1837.

It’s truly incredible, that these mermaid myths and legends, never die. They adapt and change with the times. They are immortal and live on forever in our hearts and our minds.

 

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Disney's The Little Mermaid Hans Christian Andersen Pop Culture

The Little Mermaid Statue in Copenhagen, Denmark

 

The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, Denmark by Edvard Erichsen

The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, Denmark, pays homage to the story that put Copenhagen on the map. All thanks to fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen.

The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, Denmark by Edvard Erichsen

The idea for the statue, began in 1909, when Carl Jacobsen attended a a ballet performance of  The Little Mermaid with prima ballerina, Ellen Prince in the title role. He was instantly inspired to sculpt a statue, using Ellen Prince as the model. So, he hired a little known sculptor, by the name Edvard Erichsen to do the job for him.

Ballerina, Ellen Price modeled the head of the statue, while Edvard Erichsen’s wife, modeled the nude body of the little mermaid.

The sculpture, Edvard Erichsen decided to depict the little mermaid with legs and a fish tail, overlooking the sea, as a way for the mermaid to recall that she was a mermaid from the sea.

The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, Denmark by Edvard Erichsen

The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen is the cities biggest tourist attraction and attracts more then a million visitors per year. The statue is a little over 4-feet high and weighs 386 pounds. It is Copenhagen’s smallest attraction, yet the most popular. It’s made of bronze and had resided along the Langelinie Pier since August 23, 1913.

Every year, on August 23rd in Copenhagen, the city holds a huge celebration in honor of the statue at Langelinie Pier. People dress up in mermaid costumes and swim near the statue.

Screenshot from Disney’s The Little Mermaid beside The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, Denmark

The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, also served as inspiration for Disney in the 1989 film of  The Little Mermaid.  In one of the final scenes of the film, after the final battle against Ursula, Ariel is sits on a rock, gazing the shore. This was the animators homage to the statue in Copenhagen and Hans Christian Andersen.

For over a century, this remarkable statue in Copenhagen has stood proudly on Langelinie Pier.

It is a must-see for any fan of The Little Mermaid!

Categories
Disney's The Little Mermaid Pop Culture

Disney Legend and Icon: Jodi Benson

Disney Legend Jodi Benson at Walt Disney Studio’s in Burbank, California

This particular article is dedicated to Disney Legend: Jodi Benson, whose changed and inspired the lives of many.

Jodi is best-known for providing the talking and singing voice of Ariel in Disney’s 1989 film, The Little Mermaid.

For many of us, growing up in the 90’s, Ariel was a part of our childhood’s and memories. We danced to the unforgettable soundtrack on a cassette tape, pretended to be mermaid’s in the pool, and begged our parent’s to take us to Disney Parks,  just to catch a glimpse of Ariel or if we were lucky enough, to meet her.

Ariel was one of our earliest role models, before many of us knew, what a role model was. We desired Ariel’s life, the same way, Ariel desired to explore the human world and to be on land.  Jodi’s influence has transcended for a lot of fans, beyond childhood. We see Jodi Benson as an icon, inspiration, friend, and mentor. She’s helped shape the lives of many, by being as vocal, strong, and determined as Ariel. We are forever blessed to have Jodi be a part of our world. There are many of us, who are eternally grateful to Jodi, in ways, that mere words cannot describe.

If it wasn’t for Jodi Benson voicing Ariel, this blog, wouldn’t exist. It’s because of Ariel, that I became interested in mermaid’s.  Ariel was and forever will be, my favorite Disney Princess and will continue to inspire me in all aspects of my life. For me, no trip to any Disney Park is complete without visiting Ariel. And there are many other fans, who would say the exact same thing.

So, how did Jodi land the iconic role of Ariel?

Howard Ashman and Jodi Benson
Howard Ashman and Jodi Benson

Short answer. Howard Ashman.

Back in 1986, Jodi Benson starred in the ill-fated musical Smile at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, that only ran for 48 performances and closed January 1987. The lyrics and book for Smile were written by Howard Ashman.

After the show closed, Howard offered an audition to Jodi and the other girl’s in Smile for another project he was working on with Alan Menken. That film was Disney’s The Little Mermaid. He gave Jodi a snippet of the script and a cassette recording of him singing Part of Your World.

A year later, Jodi would get a phone call that would change her life forever. She got the part of Ariel.

The Little Mermaid would be Disney’s first fairy tale film in 30 years. The film is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s, The Little Mermaid that was published in 1837. Many fans, would consider Disney’s version of The Little Mermaid as their introduction to the classic fairy tale and to mermaids.

As we grew up, so did Disney’s The Little Mermaid franchise. Jodi voiced Ariel in video games, TV Shows, sequels and prequels, and so much more. The franchise itself, would be nothing without her.

Thanks Jodi for being Part of Our World for 31 years! We love you!