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Poor Unfortunate Souls

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Poor Unfortunate Souls
Originally performed by
Composer Alan Menken
Lyrics Howard Ashman
Performer(s) Ursula (Pat Carroll)
Films The Little Mermaid
Shows
Attractions The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure
Video games
Albums The Little Mermaid - An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack
Classic Disney - Volume I
McDonald's Celebrates Disney Music - Volume 2: Rascal Songs

Disney's Greatest Volume 3
Disney Villains: Simply Sinister Songs
Preceded by Under the Sea
Followed by Les Poissons
Video

"Poor Unfortunate Souls" is a song from the Walt Disney Pictures animated film The Little Mermaid. Written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken and performed by Pat Carroll, "Poor Unfortunate Souls" is sung to Ariel by Ursula the Sea Witch. In a style that combines Broadway Theatre with Burlesque, Ursula uses the song to seduce Ariel into trading her voice for the chance to temporarily become human and be with Eric.

A short melodic reprise of this song is featured later in the original Disney movie being sung by Vanessa, Ursula's alter ego, voiced by Jodi Benson (as she had stolen Ariel's voice).

The Original Movie

Lyrics

Ursula: I admit that in the past I've been a nasty
They weren't kidding when they called me, well, a witch
But you'll find that nowadays
I've mended all my ways
Repented, seen the light, and made a switch (True? Yes)

And I fortunately know a little magic
It's a talent that I always have possessed
And here lately, please don't laugh
I use it on behalf
Of the miserable, lonely and depressed (Pathetic)

Poor unfortunate souls
In pain, in need
This one longing to be thinner
That one wants to get the girl
And do I help them? Yes, indeed

Those poor unfortunate souls
So sad, so true
They come flocking to my cauldron
Crying, "Spells, Ursula, please!"
And I help them? Yes I do

Now it's happened once or twice
Someone couldn't pay the price
And I'm afraid I had to rake 'em 'cross the coals
Yes I've had the odd complaint
But on the whole I've been a saint
To those poor unfortunate souls

[dialogue interupption]

The men up there don't like a lot of blabber,
They think a girl who gossips is a bore!
Yes, on land it's much preferred
For ladies not to say a word
And after all, dear, what is idle prattle for?

Come on, they're not all that impressed with conversation,
True gentlemen avoid it when they can!
But they dote and swoon and fawn
On a lady who's withdrawn
It's she who holds her tongue who get's a man!

Come on, you poor unfortunate soul
Go ahead! Make your choice!
I'm a very busy woman, and I haven't got all day
It won't cost much. Just your voice!

You poor unfortunate soul
It's sad but true

If you want to cross the bridge, my sweet, you've got the pay the toll
Take a gulp and take a breath, and go ahead and sign the scroll
Flotsam, Jetsam, now I've got her, boys
The boss is on a roll!
THIS POOR UNFORTUNATE SOUL!

"Poor Unfortunate Souls" is also noteworthy for Ursula's incantation at the end of the song actually being sung, rather than merely recited. Accompanied by Gothic organ music, the spell features words somewhat twisted from normal everyday words, only strung together extremely quickly:

Beluga Sevrgua, come winds of the Caspian Sea
Larynxes Glacydis Ad max Laryngitis la voce to me

(Now Sing)

Alternate/Extended Poor Unfortunate Souls

Poor Unfortunate Souls underwent little changes from storyboard to the final cut. One segment in the beginning of the scene was cut out from the final film, when Ursula beckons Ariel to come in. She toys with her hair for a bit and then explains to Ariel how she's been banished for attempting to, "elevate" her station in life. Which Ariel
Walt-Disney-Deleted-Sequence-The-Little-Mermaid-walt-disney-characters-26067461-2268-2560
claims, was attempting to overthrow her father.

Then, there's another change that was made, in that an entire segment of the song was completely omitted from the final version of the scene which was meant to convince Ariel that going with Eric was the right thing, despite having to leave her family behind.

Come on, I know you need a little magic
And magic is my specialty du jour
Don't just stand there looking sick
Would I kid you? Play a trick?
Like I told you, I don't do that anymore

So I think you ought to take my little bargain
Yes, I think you ought to make my little deal
Sure, it's hard to leave your life
But you could be a prince's wife
Why don't you let me take that dream and make it real?

At this point, the storyboarded version of the film cuts off to Ursula explaing her price to Ariel, however, there is another version that goes just a little further. It is Howard Ashman's demo version, which drastically lengthens Poor Unfortunate Souls length.

Come on, you poor unfortunate soul
Poor child! Poor fish!
Aren't you glad you brought your problem
To a lady you can trust?
Won't you let me grant your wish?

You poor unfortunate soul
Poor sweet! Poor dear!
Aren't you lucky that I'm ready with a potion and a plan?
Aren't you glad you came and asked
If I could help you? And I can
When a mermaid comes to Ursula, she always gets her man

You poor unfortunate soul!

The Broadway Musical

The original version of Poor Unfortunate Souls was left intact for the Broadway play, aside from the occasional ad libbed line from Sherie Rene Scott. 

Two versions of a full reprise of "Poor Unfortunate Souls" were written for the Broadway adaptation. The first version, used for the demo workshop and performed by Emily Skinner, contains lyrics implying that it is meant to be sung before Ursula transforms herself into Vanessa, with the spell incantation:

Mascara, tiara
Yea, winds of the tropics appear
Catharsis, lavorious
Et qua manicurus
mutato me here!

The above demo reprise was scrapped when Ursula's temporary transformation into Vanessa was removed from the storyline of the Broadway show. It was replaced with a different reprise, sung by Ursula to King Triton to force him into taking Ariel's place in the agreement.

Lyrics

KING TRITON
"Ursula!"

URSULA
"Brother darling! You're right on cue."

KING TRITON
"Give Ariel back to me!"

URSULA
"Not on your life!"

It so happens that your daughter signed a contract,

KING TRITON
"No!"

URSULA
Even drew a little heart above the "i"
Is it binding? Goodness, yes!
Unbreakable, unless...

KING TRITON
"Unless?"

URSULA
"There is a little somethin' we could try."

KING TRITON
"Go on."

URSULA
Yes,
Perhaps we can arrange a sort of tradeoff,

KING TRITON
"What?"

URSULA
Maybe swap your daughter's soul for, say, your own
Sign the scroll and set her free
Or else she comes with me
To suffer through eternity alone...

"The mute little hatchling, drowning in her own sorrow, with no voice left to cry out your name... Well? I'm waiting."

KING TRITON
"It's not my soul you're after-it's my power."

URSULA
"Which would you rather be?"
"The King of the Sea... or a father to his little girl?"
"Finally! The oceans belong to me!"

And now you poor unfortunate soul!
Time's up! You're through!
Now the power of Poseidon
Has been once again made whole
All the magic of the trident
And the shell in my control!
And now dark shall reign forever
Over ocean, sea and shoal!

Now see for yourselves how banishment feels!

You poor unfortunate soul!

Jonas Brothers Cover

Jonas Brothers Poor Unfortunate Souls official music video HD

The Jonas Brothers covered "Poor Unfortunate Souls" for The Little Mermaid two-disc special special edition of the soundtrack, released on October 3, 2006 to correspond with the two-disc The Little Mermaid Platinum Edition DVD. The Special Edition Soundtrack includes a music video for the song, where the boys are singing around a public swimming pool.

Although the song mostly stays true to the lyrics of the original, certain lines have been changed to prevent any reference to magic or gender. Also, the second verse and ending have been omitted. Instead, the song ends with a reprise of the chorus following the first verse.

The song is also featured on Disney's On the Record along with "Part of Your World", "Under the Sea" and "Kiss the Girl" of songs from The Little Mermaid.

A portion of the song is performed twice in the Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Halloween-themed fireworks show HalloWishes during Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.

Lyrics

I admit that in the past I've been a nasty
They weren't kidding when they called me kinda strange
But you'll find that nowadays
I've mended all my ways
Repented, seen the light, and made a change
And I fortunately know a little secret
It's a talent that I always have possessed
And dear lady, please don't laugh
I use it on behalf
Of the miserable, the lonely, and depressed (pathetic)

Poor unfortunate souls
In pain
In need
This one longing to be thinner
That one wants to get the girl
And do I help them?
Yes, indeed!
Those poor unfortunate souls
So sad
So true
They come flocking to me crying
"Will you help us, pretty please?"
And I help them!
Yes I do!

The men up there don't like a lot of blabber
They think a girl who gossips is a bore!
Yes on land it's much preferred for ladies not to say a word
And after all dear, what is idle prattle for?
They're not all that impressed with conversation
True gentlemen avoid it when they can
But they dote and swoon and fawn
On ladies who withdrawn
It's she who holds her tongue who gets a man

Poor unfortunate souls
Go ahead!
Make your choice!
I'm a very busy person and I haven't got all day
It won't cost much
Just your voice!
Those poor unfortunate souls
So sad
So true
If you wanna cross the bridge, my sweet
You've got the pay the toll
Take a gulp
Take a breath
Go ahead
Sign the scroll
Nick and Kevin
Now I've got her, boys
The boss is on a roll
You poor unfortunate souls

In pain
In need
This one longing to be thinner
That one wants to get the girl
And do I help them?
Yes, indeed!
Those poor unfortunate souls
So sad
So true
They come flocking to me crying
"Will you help us, pretty please?"
And I help them!
Yes I do!

Those poor unfortunate souls

Trivia

  • Howard Ashman recorded a version of the song with himself in the role of Ursula, to send to Carroll to convince her to take the role, which it did. This version was released in the four-CD set The Music Behind the Magic. Carroll admits that she borrowed some of the inflections she used in the song from Ashman's performance, and that he had been delighted she had done so.
  • Carroll's original rendition of "Poor Unfortunate Souls" was included on a 1995 compilation CD of songs performed by or about various Disney villains called Rascal Songs. The CD was released as part of a four-disc Disney song series as a McDonald's promotional item.
  • During the song, Ursula pulls out a contract, laying out the terms of the deal. The movie spares a moment to glance over the words of the contract, but speeds from the top of the scroll to the bottom at fast speed. If one were to slow down the movie at this part, they would notice that the contract is made up of garbled words, and a hidden mickey can be seen as well.
  • Before this song was written, Ursula would sing a song called "Silence is Golden".


The Little Mermaid
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Media
Films: The Little Mermaid | The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea | The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning
Television: TV Series (Episode List) | House of Mouse | Once Upon a Time
Music: Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack | Musical
Video Games: NES game | Sega Genesis Game | Ariel's Story Studio | Kingdom Hearts | Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories | Kingdom Hearts II | The Little Mermaid 2: Pinball Frenzy | Disney's The Little Mermaid: Magic in Two Kingdoms
Books: Official Comic Adaptation | Marvel Comics| Disney Comics

Disney Parks: Voyage of the Little Mermaid | Mermaid Lagoon | The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure | King Triton's Carousel of the Sea | Ariel's Grotto | Mickey's PhilharMagic | Fantasmic! | Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom | World of Color | Disney Dreams! | Celebrate the Magic | Flounder's Flying Fish Coaster | Scuttle's Scooters

Characters
Original: Ariel | Flounder | Sebastian | Scuttle | Prince Eric | King Triton | Ursula/Vanessa | Flotsam and Jetsam | Attina | Alana | Adella | Aquata | Arista | Andrina | Max | Grimsby | Carlotta | Chef Louis | Ursula's Garden | Glut | The Seahorse Herald | Harold | Merpeople | Washerwomen
Sequel Characters: Melody | Tip and Dash | Morgana | Cloak and Dagger | Undertow | Flounder's guppies | Baby Penguin
Prequel Characters: Queen Athena | Marina Del Rey | Benjamin | Shelbow | Ink Spot | Cheeks | Ray-Ray | Stevie | Electric Eels
TV Series Characters: Urchin | Gabriella | Ollie | Dudley | Pearl | The Evil Manta | Little Evil | Dr. Vile | Daniel | Moray | Simon | Lobster Mobster and Da Shrimp | The Sorceress | Glowfish | Ebb and Flo | Emperor Sharga | Octopid | Brain Sponge | Zeus | Spot the Killer Whale | Crab Scouts | Hans Christian Andersen | Stormy the Giant Seahorse

Objects: Prince Eric's statue | Trident | Ursula's Cauldron | Ursula's Necklace | Melody's locket | Queen Athena's music box | Dinglehopper

Locations: Atlantica | Ariel's Secret Grotto | Ursula's Lair | Prince Eric's Castle | The Wedding Ship | Morgana's Ice Cave

Songs
Film Songs: Fathoms Below | Daughters of King Triton | Part of Your World/(Reprise)/(Finale) | Under the Sea | Poor Unfortunate Souls | Les Poissons | Kiss the Girl | Vanessa's Song | Down to the Sea | For A Moment | Tip and Dash (song) | Here On The Land and Sea | Just One Mistake | I Remember
TV Series Songs: Just a Little Love | You Got to be You | The Edge of the Edge of the Sea | The Lobster Mobster's Mob | The Beddy Bye Blues | Sing a New Song | In Harmony | This is the Life | You Know I Know | Never Give Up | You Wouldn't Want to Mess With Me | The Sound of Laughter | Daring to Dance | Just Give Me a Chance | Just Like Me | Evil Lullaby
Musical Songs: She's In Love | Human Stuff | Positoovity | I Want the Good Times Back | Her Voice | The World Above | The Contest | If Only (Quartet) | Beyond My Wildest Dreams | Sweet Child | One Step Closer

Other: Disney Sing Along Songs: Under the Sea | The Disney Afternoon

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This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The article or pieces of the original article was at Poor Unfortunate Souls. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Disney Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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