Mad About Mermaids-Mad About "Mad About Men"

About a month ago, on a Saturday morning, I sat sipping coffee and relaxing. I switched on the television and turned to TCM (Turner Classic Movies). Since I adore old movies, especially those from the 30's,40's and 50's,  this is often my movie channel of choice. Hollywood movies of this bygone era, as well as some European, especially British comedies(love that Brit humor), are favorites of mine. A British movie happened to be playing that morning, one that I had not seen before, and I was totally enthralled. I will get back to that later.

Mermaids! There is something so alluring about the notion of that mythological, half human/half fish, creature
My grandchildren adore them. They love movies about mermaids. They collect mermaid dolls and mermaid toys. One of the newest attractions at Walt Disney World was inspired by Disney's movies about the mermaid, Ariel, who started out her Disney character life in the movie "The Little Mermaid." The new attraction is named "Under Sea Journey of the Little Mermaid." The highlight of this attraction is an enchanting ride featuring the different stages in the "fantasy" life of Ariel. She starts out as being a little undersea mermaid, as pictured here:

By the end of the ride, she has been magically transformed into a human being. She is courted by Prince Eric as they are serenaded by some of her sea creature friends as in this photo:
Prince Eric Is Being Encouraged  To "Go On And Kiss The Girl"

This enchantingly colorful and lively ride ends with the marriage of Prince Eric and Ariel as pictured here:
Ariel Marries Her Handsome Prince Eric And They Live Happily Ever After 
There are any number of videos about this ride on YouTube. You can check out a good one by clicking on the YouTube icon on my blog or by clicking on here:
 You can also click on the following link to find some information on one of Walt Disney World's sites:

Pictured above are two of my granddaughters. This was taken about four years ago at Walt Disney World, with the mermaid, Ariel. The look of awe on baby Rachel's face speaks volumes. To this day,  Ariel is still her favorite mermaid, as well as her favorite Disney princess.

Even Disney's ever popular attraction "Pirates of the Caribbean" has been redesigned and updated to include the somewhat eerie underwater illusion of a mermaid, as well as an auto-animatronic version of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) from the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean-On Stranger Tides." Mermaids play a very big part in this movie, in which Johnny Depp stars. The movie is also a little eerie to me, though we have it in our collection.

Many books have been and continue to be written about mermaids. Sophie(on the far left above) loves to read. Books about mermaids rank very high on her list of things to read about. For her birthday, we gave her a book entitled Whatever After, Sink or Swim, which she finished reading a couple of weeks ago. It is one book in a series she is reading by Sarah Mlynowski and she tells me she enjoyed it very much. You might say these girls are "mad about mermaids!"

Our granddaughters are not alone. My husband is very fond of mermaids, too. His grandparents lived in Miami, Florida and he spent many summers there when he was growing up. He remembers going down to the docks with his grandfather and father when he was about six or seven years old. There were billboards there to advertise fishing excursions. He recalls one of the billboards as having mermaids painted on it. He related to me that he remembers thinking what a marvelous thing it would be to catch a mermaid. He had no idea, he says, what he was going to do if he had been able to catch one, but he never forgot the wonder of it. The dreams and imaginations of children are boundless!

It seems little boys and girls are not the only ones with great imaginations. Mermaids  have been the subject of tales told by sailors of old. Among others, it is said to have been recorded that Christopher Columbus and his crew claimed to have encountered them, on more than one occasion, while at sea. I have been able to locate some references to this effect on several sites on the Internet. Perhaps there is some truth to the assertion that he wrote about these encounters in his logs or diaries.

Some speculate that it was the sighting of a slow moving and gentle giant, the manatee, which might have spurred these intriguing accounts given by those sea-faring fellows.

A Manatee at the Aquarium Located in the Aquarium of the Finding Nemo Attraction
The above picture of a manatee was taken at yet another attraction "Finding Nemo," located at Walt Disney World This ride, located in Epcot, was inspired by the movie with the same name. As the ride comes to an end and you exit your vehicle(a colorful clam shell), you are surrounded by a fabulous aquarium, filled with an array of wonderful sea creatures. It was difficult to get a clear picture of this manatee, as the water was quite murky because of the feeding  that takes place in this area of the aquarium. Manatees eat tons of lettuce! Look closely. Can you see a resemblance to anything human? Well, try as I might, I certainly cannot.

Having visited this exhibit and watching these wonderful animals on numerous occasions, I have tried to imagine how such a creature might have been mistaken for half woman and half fish. I have my own theory about these sightings. Now, you may disagree, but it is my belief that such phenomenal sightings were brought about not only by long stints at sea without female companionship, but by more than a few belts of rum having been imbibed. Add to that combination, a whopping portion of wishful thinking by a few imaginative sailors, and those mermaids start popping up all over the place!

Did I mention that I love mermaids, too. I admit it, I do. The first time I remember hearing about mermaids was when my parents told me about a trip they made. It was probably one of the few times my parents went anywhere together, alone,  until after all their children were grown and out of the house. They told me about a place they had visited at some point when I was young. The place was called Weeki Wachee Springs and I can remember Daddy's smile as he relayed the story of the beautiful mermaids they had seen there and how they watched them swimming around. I have entered a link to the site, so you can see what a wonderful place it must have been for them to visit so many years ago and is still today.Weeki Wachee‎.

Now, let us go back to the beginning of this post where I told you that I had watched an old British movie about a month ago. It was not just any movie, it was a movie about, you have probably guessed, Mermaids! The name of the movie is "Mad About Men."

Let me tell you a little more about the movie."Mad About Men," a sequel to the movie "Miranda," also about a mermaid, was produced in 1954. Both are based on the stage comedy, Miranda, written by Peter Blackmon. The first movie, "Miranda," is not filmed in color. "Mad About Men" is directed by Ralph Thomas. It opens with breathtakingly beautiful scenes of  Britain's craggy coastline and seascapes and is filmed in the wonderful hues of technicolor. Technicolor, I believe, is a particular attribute of many of these fabulous old movies. I adore the old black and whites, too, but I love technicolor and the life it brings to the scenery and costumes.

Speaking of costumes. Much of the costuming in the movie is over-the-top gorgeous and alluring. I noted that one writer or critic described Miranda as looking a bit "garish" in the movie. Well, I think she looks positively wonderful, all of her heavy  make-up included! She just would not be Miranda with out all the paint and so on. I thought the costumes and gowns she wore in the movie made her look all the better for the part she played. These and other outlandish elements create the allure that movies and actors of the day possessed, at least from my point of view. It is the stuff that makes them all the more wonderful. Too much glamour is not enough in those old movies!

"Mad About Men" is a wonderfully lighthearted comedy revolving around a blatently flirtatious mermaid named Miranda(played by the gorgeous Glynis Johns) and her human and somewhat reserved, though beautiful, look-alike relative, Caroline Truella(also played by Glynis Johns). Caroline is a gymnastics teacher. The thing is, Mermaid Miranda absolutely adores men. She's just plain mad about them!
Caroline travels to a house called Smuggler's Rest, which she has apparently inherited from an aunt and its basement is also the site of a "smugglers cave."

Mermaid Miranda and her red-headed and somewhat zany and dim-witted side-kick, Berengaria (played by Dora Bryan) are discovered by Caroline in the smuggler's cave, over which the cottage is constructed. The two of them, Miranda and Caroline, are descendants of the same man, namely their Grandfather Truella. Grandpa, it seems, had carried on a somewhat illicit love affair with Miranda's mermaid grandmother many years before. Do you see what I mean about people loving mermaids? Even Old Grandpa Truella  loved mermaids!

The plot thickens when Miranda wants to come to live on land for a while. With the help of a human nurse friend, Caroline feigns an injury and takes to a wheel chair. She then takes off on a two week biking excursion with a friend. Miranda then covers her tail and takes Caroline's place living up in the cottage while pretending to be the injured Caroline Truella.

Viewers discover that the settings, inside and outside of the little cottage are enchanting. The street scenes and exteriors of the houses are like stepping into a fairy tale.

What I have read about the movie states that the cottage is supposed to be in Cornwall. Not far into the movie, however, there is a street scene which grabbed my attention and makes me think that, perhaps, some of the scenes from the movie are shot in the ancient seaside town of Rye.
Picture Of The Official Britain Magazine
My husband and I enjoy reading  "Britain" magazine and I was immediately reminded of this July 2011 issue.
One of the main characters in the movie, Jeff Saunders(played by Donald Sinden) is outside "The Mermaid Inn." The sign in this scene looks like the very sign as is pictured on the front of the Britain magazine and which is mentioned in the featured article "Charmed by Rye." I remember reading the article, over and over, and I was positively "Charmed by Rye and The Mermaid Inn." If you look closely, you can see the hanging sign with a mermaid on it in this picture of the front of the magazine.

By the way, the inn was often visited by smugglers, just like the house belonging to Caroline Truella. It is said to be somewhat haunted. You can go to to read more about The Mermaid Inn and the town of Rye and the ancient history of both. This place looks positively charming.  I would love to visit Rye and the Mermaid Inn someday!

There is a more stately estate house in another scene where one of Miranda's suitors, Col. Sutton, invites her to dinner. It, too, is wonderful!

I have been trying to locate the DVD of this movie in stores and at Shop.TCM, but none of them have it in stock.  After watching the movie, I began right away to try and find out more about it, since it was a new one for me. While searching the Internet I came across a video on YouTube, posted around the time I watched it on TCM. It is a video of the entire movie and even though the video might not be quite as clear as the movie when I watched it on TV, it does remind me of the things about the movie that I found so appealing.

Would you like to see the totally shameless and unabashedly flirtatious Miranda in action? If you can handle some lighthearted and giddily silly comedy with a tiny bit of inuendo and undertones, please read on. If you love old movies and the things that make them wonderful, as I do, click on the YouTube link at the end of this post. Consider yourself warned, however, because you might just find yourself as mad about "Mad About Men" as I am!


Unknown said…
Great post Mama! I love it!

I so adore old movies and mermaids too so I will be looking into this movie! I think your theory on mermaid sightings makes so much sense! I have fond memories of my mini mermaid bath dolls and their sponge lilly pads! So fun and your photo of your granddaughters gazing up at Ariel are absolutely adorable!!! And that town looks charming! I do hope I will have time in my life to travel over seas! Thanks for the fun inspiration!!!
How fun! I can't wait to take my kids to Disney World for these experiences! We're planning A Little Mermaid party for my daughter's birthday in October.
lynn cockrell said…
Thanks for following my blog. Thanks for always being so encouraging and for always being supportive of your Mama in all things. I love you, Baby Girl!
lynn cockrell said…
Nicole, thanks so much for taking time out of your busy day to drop in and read my meager offerings. My grand-girls love their mermaid tub toys, too. Doesn't Rye look like a wonderful place? I could not tell you how many times I have gone back to that magazine over the past year or so, just to read that article over again. It stirs up some wonderful dreams and imaginings in me. It is not as close to the shore as it was hundreds of years ago, as the sea has recessed over centuries.I can see how writers and artists were inspired being there. It is one of the places on my wish list to visit some day. I love your blog pictures of your little "beans" at the concert!Beautiful children, all.
lynn cockrell said…
Disney World really is a place where even older folks, such as myself, can go and feel like a youngster. I hope you and your family can visit in the off-season. Rates are lower on lodging and crowds are not as bad then. When our kids were young, we had to plan around school scheduling and it was usually hot and pretty crowded. It didn't stop us from having a good time anyway. I hope you will post about your little one's party. I know it will be magical!
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Burlap Luxe said…
This was à beautiful post, as for your grand daughters who loved mermaids my daughter is 20 and she still loves them :)
Thank you for all the information on Disney her is southern Ca, we to enjoy the attractions Disney offers.
You do feel young and story like with a Disney visit, you seam to forget about your worries while visiting.

Thank to for your beautiful visit and taking the time to eave me a comment that graces my comment roll, it warms my heart to see that I may inspire another :)

Have a beautiful month of June letting it inspire each day.

lynn cockrell said…
It was so sweet of you to stop by, Dore. My husband visited Disneyland in the late sixties just before he was shipped off to war. He enjoyed it very much, so when Disney World opened in Fl., we were excited to be able to drive there. Over the years, we have watched the growth and changes, along with our girls and then their families and extended families. We have spent many happy times there. You are right, it truly bring out the kid in even us grown-ups, and the same can be said for mermaids. The awe and allure continues as the years go by! Bless you, Dore!

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