Let’s go back to: Disney's animated classic Beauty and the Beast
Loosely based on the French classic, La Belle et la Bete that was first published in 1756 by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, Disney released this full-length animated feature Thanksgiving weekend of 1991. The story followed Belle, a young French girl from a small town, who trades her own freedom for her father's in the castle of a terrible beast who, unbeknownst to her, is actually an enchanted prince. There, she finds solace in the enchanted items within the castle and learns that while the beast may be an ogre on the outside, he's actually a good person within. Paige O'Hara and Robby Benson lend their vocal talents to Belle and The Beast/Prince Adam and the enchanted objects are voiced by legends like Jerry Orbach and Angela Lansbury. The film went on to win two Academy Awards in 1992: one to Alan Menken for Best Original Score and one to both Alan Menken and Howard Ashman for Best Original Song, "Beauty and the Beast". Since the release of this film, it has become a Broadway musical, a short-lived CWTV show, Belle has become a main cast member on ABC's Once Upon A Time, and most recently, Harry Potter star Emma Watson and Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey were announced as the leads in a live-action version -- bringing this enchanted tale to life in 2017 with a plethora of all-star cast mates!
Why it means something to you or to our podcast: I remember this movie coming out in theatres very vividly. I think it might have been the first movie that I actually remember seeing in the movie theatre and I immediately fell in love with the story. Belle has always been my favorite of the Disney princesses and young Kelly had a pretty awesome Belle outfit that I rarely took off. Especially because you never know when I might burst into song. I had to be dressed for the part, you know. With 90's technology, I also had a mirror that you shout "Show me the Beast!" and it would light up (okay, maybe it had a button, but young Kelly pretended like it actually worked). That was one of the best toys I owned. Belle was also part of the reason why my best friend and I became friends. She, too, was obsessed with Belle for the same reasons as I: she was the first Disney princess to stand up for herself, not require a man define her, and was perfectly happy with her nose in a book. For that reason, I think that she is an important member of the Disney princess family.
Where can you find it now?: The CWTV version of Beauty and the Beast and Once Upon A Time is now streaming on Netflix and you can see Disney's original classic wherever you can buy DVDs and digital downloads. This is definitely a Disney classic you won't want to miss.
-- Kelly Lee