Beauty and the Beast was based on the traditional French fairy tale “La Belle et la Bête” by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont. Walt Disney had discussed the possible animation of this classic tale in the late 1940s, but could not find a satisfactory way to deal with the tale’s imprisonment sequence.  In 1989, producer Don Hahn took the project off the shelf and created one of the Disney Studio’s masterworks. As occurred in the case of several Disney animated productions, Beauty and the Beast was transformed into a highly successful stage adaptation in 1994.

Movie poster for Walt Disney Pictures Presents Beauty and the Beast

Movie poster for Walt Disney Pictures Presents Beauty and the Beast. Burbank, CA: The Walt Disney Company, 1991. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (041.00.00) © Disney Enterprises Inc., All rights reserved.

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A “Merry Christmas Howard” card from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast co-workers

A “Merry Christmas Howard” card from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast co-workers, December 1990. Card. Howard Ashman Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress (038.00.00) © Disney Enterprises Inc., All rights reserved.

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“Important Stuff,” notes in the hand of Howard Ashman for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

 

“Important Stuff,” notes in the hand of Howard Ashman for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, ca. 1989. (047.00.01) Manuscript. Howard Ashman Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress (47.00.01) (047.00.00) © Disney Enterprises Inc., All rights reserved.

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