Bleats

The Little Mermaid’s Ursula Was Inspired By A Poop-Eating Baltimore Drag Queen

It's the spicy back story of one of the greatest characters to grace a family favourite.

Disney have started work on the inevitable live action adaptation of The Little Mermaid and the big casting announcement for Ariel has already hit the interwebs.

Sadly the perfect actor to play the might sea-witch Ursula – Harris Glenn Milstead – is no longer with us. And that’s not just a subjective opinion either: Disney literally based the character on him. Or more specifically, his drag queen alter ego, Divine.

That’s a LOT of eyebrow.

Yes, friends: Disney based Ursula on a drag queen. In fact, a drag queen best known for literally eating dog poo.

Milstead was a friend of fellow Baltimore countercultural weirdo John Waters – the man who christened him Divine – and when Waters started making no-budget films in the late 60s it was a given that Divine was going to be his star.

Waters kept upping the ante on the “bad taste” quotient of his many works and in 1971 informed Divine that the starring role of Babs Johnson in his next film – Pink Flamingos – would involve eating dog poo.

And Divine did so. As he explained, “it was in the script.”

Yep. That happened.

And it was a smart if disgusting move too.

Pink Flamingos became a cult hit, and Divine’s career in more mainstream cinema followed, thanks to Waters and his first (relatively) accessible films Polyester (aka “The Film From Which The Avalanches Sampled Heaps Of Lines For ‘Frontier Psychiatrist'”) and the box office hit Hairspray. And Divine’s non-drag acting career was starting to take off too: he even auditioned for Blade Runner, which would have been amazing.

Alongside that was his drag disco career, including the classic ‘You Think You’re A Man’.

It’s a classic for a reason.

So how did he become Ursula? That happened because of another queer Baltimore kid.

Howard Ashman had known Divine vaguely through the local amateur theatre scene when he was a teenager. Years later he was tapped to save Disney’s floundering animation department along with his co-writer Alan Menken after the surprise success of their musical version of Little Shop Of Horrors.

The pair were tasked with writing the songs for The Little Mermaid in 1986, but Ashman did a lot more than that: he had a hand in casting, he helped develop the storylines, and he signed off on character designs; one of which was Ursula as “a vampy overweight matron who everyone agreed looked a lot like Divine.”

And under Ashman’s direction, that was how it developed.

And they were not wrong.

The film came out in 1989 and was a massive, Disney-saving hit. And this story should have a happier ending for both Divine and Ashman.

Millstead never saw himself become an indelible pop culture figure. He died in 1988 of a heart attack on the night before what could have been a career-changing guest spot on the wildly popular sitcom Married… With Children.

He was only 42, which is insane.

Fade to black.

And Ashman, who also pitched the concept for and wrote songs for Aladdin, was two years younger that Glenn when he died in 1991 from complications due to AIDS.

However, in the iconic figure of Ursula, at least they leave one hell of a joint legacy. Rest well, gents.

A Family Accidentally Got On The Drag-Filled Pride Flight And It Was Glorious

This is the new standard we will accept for all flights, thank.

When UK couple Kerry and Sean Powell booked a flight to the US for themselves and their two preschool age sons they presumably hoped there’d be some way to entertain the little ones for the eight hour flight.

And, since they’d accidentally booked on the Virgin Atlantic Pride Flight, that wasn’t a problem. As in, they were serenaded by drag queens, an in-flight DJ, and Tituss Burgess, aka Titus Andromedon of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Possibly doing this?

The family were heading off on a holiday. Virgin were celebrating 50 years since the Stonewall Riots. Both groups seemed to have a pretty great time – especially the kids got off to a good start, jumping around on the seats to ‘Born This Way’.

For the record, the last we tried doing that on a Virgin flight the attendants were far less accomodating.

“Mum, this sounds like ‘Express Yourself’!”

Also on board was Australian national treasure Courtney Act, and original Stonewaller Tree Sequoia.

According to Ms POwell, “It was brilliant, the kids enjoyed it and the eight hours flew by.” Which… look, anyone here ever travelled with kids? Does that sound plausible to you?

If this is true, and rowdy celebrations of LGBTIQ+ pride genuinely do keep children and infants occupied during long-haul flights, then all planes should be immediately staffed with drag queens as a matter of course. Where do we sign that petition?

Fortnite Has In-Game Unicorn Floaties And Here's Where To Find Them

Because when you're fighting for survival, it's fun to forage for inflatable horsies!

Pride Month has just concluded in the US and Fortnite have celebrated with special themed collectibles as part of their 14 Days Of Summer event which is presumably designed to remind us that we just don’t matter to Fortnite’s opinion of seasons. Honestly, there’s an entire southern hemisphere down here.

Anyway: today’s is rainbow-emblazoned unicorn floaties!

Um, not this.

As it’s obviously a time-sensitive sort of a thing, in that the game is time limited and that you only have a short window to beat each challenge during this festive so-called “summer”, you’ll want to get in asap.

And that means you need to get three from the following locales (and there may be more as yet undiscovered!):

  • The beach party between Fatal Fields and Paradise Palms
  • Dusty Divot, pond at the northern edge
  • Lonely Lodge, water to the north
  • Lazy Lagoon: one in the Lagoon (under the bridge to the pirate ship),
  • Another in the hot spring northeast of Lazy Lagoon
  • North of Loot Lake
  • The southern (only) water in Fatal Fields
  • Swimming pool at Paradise Palms

Also, you’ll score yourself a festival yellow and pink wrap if you succeed, which is nice in these wintery times.

So what are you waiting for? Those floaties aren’t going to search and loot themselves, you know.

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