Last night during the Wonderful World of Disney’s presentation of Mary Poppins, ABC announced that another Disney classic would be coming to the small screen for the first time. In celebration of the movie’s 25th anniversary and in hopes of whetting the appetite for the new live action version of the upcoming film, the 1991 animated Beauty and the Beast will be shown on Christmas night.
The Beauty and the Beast special presentation follows tonight’s television premiere of Frozen and will be the second Disney special to air on Christmas. Formerly known as The Disney Christmas Day Parade, the annual Disney Park’s Magical Christmas Celebration will air Christmas morning at 10:00 a.m. and Beauty and the Beast will air later that night at 8:00 p.m.
The story “as old as time” about the beautiful Belle (who is also seen as “odd” by her own village because she has a love for books and knowledge) forced to live with a terrible beast (who once was a good-looking prince under a terrible spell) in hope that she will fall in love with him to break the spell, was a huge box office success grossing more than $425 million worldwide. It won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) and was the first animated film to earn an Academy Award for Best Picture. It didn’t win the latter award, but it did win two Oscars for Best Original Score and Best Original Song. Like Mary Poppins, the original Beauty and the Beast was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
Beauty and the Beast features the voice talents of Paige O’Hara as Belle, Robby Benson as the Prince/Beast, Richard White as Gaston, Jerry Orback as Lumiere, David Ogden Stiers as Cogsworth, Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Potts, Bradley Michael Pierce as Chip, Rex Everhart as Belle’s father, Maurice, Jesse Corti as LeFou, Hal Smith as Philippe, Jo Anne Worley as the Wardrobe, May Kay Bergman and Kath Soucie as the Bimbettes, Brian Cummings as the Stove, Alvin Epstein as the Bookseller, Tony Jay as Monsieur D’Arque, Alec Murphy as the Baker, Kimmy Robertson as the Featherduster, and Frank Welker as Sultan, the prince’s dog which was turned into a footstool.
The new live-action Beauty and the Beast movie (which comes to theaters on March 17, 2017) features former Harry Potter star, Emma Watson, in the starring role as Belle. Dan Stevens plays the prince/Beast, Luke Evens plays Gaston, Kevin Kline plays Maurice, Frozen’s Josh “Olaf” Gad plays Gaston’s sidekick Lefou, Ewan McGregor plays Lumiere, Stanley Tucci plays Maestro Cadenza the harpsichord, Ian McKellen plays Cogsworth, and Emma Thompson will be Mrs. Potts.
Both versions of Beauty and the Beast features an award-winning song from Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, but the new movie will also include brand new music as well written by Menken and Tim Rice.
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Though not a fan of the remake, Angela Lansbury performed the theme song to Beauty and the Beast with Alan Menken for the film’s anniversary in September at the Alice Tully Hall in New York. The Walt Disney Signature Collection Blu-ray and DVD of the iconic movie was released in September as well.
[Featured Image by Walt Disney Pictures]