Saturday, October 4, 2014

Ned Land! Ho!

Those of us who were first introduced to Jules Verne's classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea via the 1954 Disney film will have formed a positive impression of harpooner Ned Land, a sailor on the ship Abraham Lincoln, as played by Kirk Douglas. I believe I heard that it was the only part Douglas ever sang for. And sing he did.

He makes it look easy.

He sang probably the best remembered number from this or any other live-action Disney film (prior to Enchanted, anyway). In "A Whale of a Tale," Canadian Ned---yes, Ned was Canadian, according to the Verne book---tells the musical song of his star-crossed love life. And we know that he's telling the truth, inasmuch as he swears his oath upon his tattoo. The three verses each describe a problematic relationship, such as:
There was Mermaid Minnie 
Met her down in Madagascar
She would kiss me
Anytime that I would ask her
Then one evening
Her flame of love blew out
Blow me down and pick me up, 
She swapped me for a trout!
The thing is, Ned is a sailor, and even a Canadian sailor is going to have more than three gals in his past. We did some research, and as it turned out Ned had more of a checkered past than he let on---in fact, there were twenty other girls, and twenty other verses to the song!

Copyright issues prevent us from reprinting the entire song, but we are able to present a spreadsheet showing Ned Land's various romances, including the initial attraction, the snag, and the resolution:


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