Disney Mermaid Princess_1932 Picture

Topless mermaids from Walt Disney? Sure, if you were around in the early 20th century. so, it wasn't a big issue; cartoons were frivolous and a complete novelty, not be taken seriously or to court.

"King Neptune" was a Silly Symphony cartoon from 1932. The refined animation and character design of "Snow White" would not be realized for years. The mermaids have cupid's bow lips and notched elipses for eyes. The bevy of young, giggling, human-sized mermaids swims out of the clamshell where they have been contained and swim teasingly in front of the colossal King Neptune who might be a redrawn Santa Claus. Ahem...King Neptune doesn't wear underwear, either.

Disney Studios briefly considered having Ariel and the other mermaids without any clothing, but it wouldn't have worked. Here, it does. The mermaids swim to the surface and lounge around on the rocks, unaware of a nearby ship.

Just when you think all is innocent fun, a gang of pirates show up and capture the only blond mermaid in the bunch and come as close to rape as anything in a Disney cartoon would go.

The always "jolly" Neptune counterattacks and the pirates are history. The mermaids get into the pirate's loot and drape themselves in pearls and go through their synchronized swim routine again, only this time with the added effect of pearls. Not a bad bit of animation, there.
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