Buddy Hackett Joked About Murdering Disney Execs to Land ‘The Little Mermaid’

Pour one out for the days when stars could promote Disney movies with jokes about mafia hits
Buddy Hackett Joked About Murdering Disney Execs to Land ‘The Little Mermaid’

As Disney continues to harvest their back catalog of animated films for new, creeptacular live-action/CGI movies, now we’re getting a remake of The Little Mermaidstarring Halle Bailey, Melissa McCarthy and precisely zero underwater kingdoms comprised of giant golden dongs.

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In the new movie, the role of Scuttle the seagull is being played by Awkwafina, while the original was given life by famed comedian Buddy Hackett, best known for his highly non-Disney-friendly material.

How did a foul-mouthed 1960s nightclub act become part of a movie co-starring a calypso-singing crustacean? Well, we know a bit more about Hackett’s involvement thanks to the podcast Matt and Greg Used to Interview Movie Stars, which uploaded the full audio of an interview Hackett gave reporters to promote the re-release of The Little Mermaid back in 1997.

Hackett began the chat by remarking that the microphone reminded him of “when I entered the ‘Big Dick’ contest” — again, not the first time penises derailed conversations about The Little Mermaid. Hackett then recalled his previous Disney experience, co-starring in The Love Bug, the 1969 classic about a Volkswagen that’s clearly possessed by some kind of demon.

But Hackett claimed that he later had an “argument with the studio” due to the actions of an unnamed executive who made Hackett a “promise” and then “denied making the promise.” Without mentioning any details, he added, “If the Disney people knew the truth, they would come to my side. But nobody did, and so I didn’t work there for a long time.” 

When asked how exactly he returned to the employ of the Mouse House for The Little Mermaid, he said, “So much time passed that everybody died who was mad at me.” Then he joked that his mafia buddies had a hand in said deaths: “A few I had to help along the way, with my friends from Las Vegas. One guy fell out of a window from which there was no building within 100 miles. That’s a strange thing to happen.”

At least, we hope it was a joke, considering that a gun-toting Hackett once shot up a car that had parked in his space. Though on the other hand, knowing folks who get people to sleep with the fishes could be considered method acting for a mermaid ally, so who knows?

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