And even after repeated viewings of the blink-and-you-miss-it video vignette, some stunned Mermaid viewers continue to ask, "Is that a pocket fisherman in his pocket or is he just glad to see her?"
Reports of the animated erection surfaced several weeks ago, in a lengthy Wall Street Journal story that debunked rumors of risqu subliminal images and messages supposedly embedded in several animated Disney features. Subsequently reprinted in the Arizona Republic, the article primarily focused on rumors surrounding a garbled line of dialogue from Aladdin that some people interpreted as "All good teenagers take off your clothes." The article also mentioned rumors regarding a "visibly aroused" bishop in The Little Mermaid, but ultimately dismissed those tales as inconclusive.
Although digital frame enlargements from The Little Mermaid laser disc seem to offer hard evidence to the contrary, Disney stands firm: That was no erection, that wasa knee.
"If you take a look at it closely, you'll see that what happens is the bishop's knee moves up," explains Disney home video spokeswoman Tonia Moloney. "Because he's so so so tiny on the video screen, you can't tell the difference. But people see what they want to see."
Wooden ya know.