The Reason Ariel's Red Hair Was a Problem for The Little Mermaid

Walt Disney Studios
Walt Disney Studios

It’s hard to imagine the iconography surrounding Disney’s 1989 film The Little Mermaid being complete without the flowing red locks of Ariel, the titular woman-fish hybrid. The movie was a gigantic success, revitalizing Disney’s languishing animation division, and Ariel quickly joined the brand’s lineup of beloved princesses. Who could complain?

Toymakers, apparently. In an interview with CinemaBlend, The Little Mermaid co-director Ron Clements revealed that executives at Tyco, the toy company that had obtained the license to make dolls and other merchandise based on the film, were horrified to learn the main character was a redhead. The reason? They were convinced that redheaded dolls didn’t sell.

“They said, ‘All of our research … shows that redheaded dolls have never sold,’” Clements said. “And we said, ‘Well, I’m sorry, but she’s going to be a redhead.’”

Tyco was apparently so concerned over the hair color issue that early Ariel dolls were produced with strawberry-blonde hair. It’s not clear whether any made it to stores, but if some did, they’re likely collector’s items now.

Ariel was far from the first doll to sport red hair—some of the earliest Barbies in the 1960s had locks that could change color from black to red when kids applied a special solution—but the success of The Little Mermaid merchandise likely helped licensees relax when it came to market research. Since then, a number of redheads have risen to prominence in popular culture, including Chucky, Conan O’Brien, and Disney’s own version of Quasimodo.

[h/t CinemaBlend]

A Friends Jewelry Collection Just Launched From Alex and Ani for the Show's 25th Anniversary

Getty Images
Getty Images

The 25th anniversary of Friends is coming in September, and there is no shortage of ways you can celebrate, whether you binge-watch the series while drinking a cup of Central Perk coffee or head to a movie theater for a marathon of some of the show's standout episodes. Now, courtesy of jewelry outlet Alex and Ani, you can further flaunt your love of Friends with a line of new charm bracelets and necklaces inspired by episodes from the beloved '90s sitcom.

If you're looking for a gift for the Rachel to your Ross, Alex and Ani has a “You’re My Lobster” bracelet, featuring a charm of a little lobster and one with Phoebe’s famous advice. For your favorite coffee lover, you can get the Central Perk bracelet with the café’s logo and two little steaming coffee mugs. And for that friend that's always there to help you move, there's the gold Couch and Pivot Cluster Charm Bangle, which has multi-colored crystal charms, a couch charm, and one that, of course, reads “Pivot! Pivot! Pivot!”


Alex and Ani

The pieces in the Friends Alex and Ani collection run from $39-$49 and can be found on the company's website or at select retailers.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

[h/t US Weekly]

Netflix's Stranger Things Season 3 Video Is Full of Easter Eggs You Might Have Missed

Joe Keery, Maya Hawke, Priah Ferguson, and Gaten Matarazzo in Stranger Things.
Joe Keery, Maya Hawke, Priah Ferguson, and Gaten Matarazzo in Stranger Things.
Netflix

Stranger Things's third season was full of many surprising twists and turns, not to mention some awkward teen romances. While the gruesome Mind Flayer and the evil Russians were no doubt terrifying, the show kept its sweet touch of nostalgia due mainly to the fact that the Hawkins gang is now smack-dab in the middle of the 1980s.

It doesn’t take a keen eye to see many of the series's '80s references, particularly in the latest season. With scenes taking place at the new mall, references from the decade—including Hot Dog on a Stick, Sam Goody, and Back to the Future—are all part of the setting. However, creators Ross and Matt Duffer wanted to pay true homage to the decade, and thus left Easter eggs throughout the season that you likely missed.

Luckily for us, as BGR reports, Netflix has just released a video explaining the hidden references (with the New Coke debate, Mrs. Wheeler’s erotica novel, and Hopper’s Tom Selleck-inspired Hawaiian shirt among some of our favorites).

Check out the full video above and see what you missed!

[h/t BGR]

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