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25 Things You Never Knew About Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast'

Be our guest as we celebrate 30 years of the classic animated tale.

25 Things You Never Knew About Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast'
Disney

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Disney's beloved adaptation of the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. We've compiled a list of 25 things about Beauty and the Beast you (hopefully) never knew. It'll put you in the mood for the 1991 Oscar-nominated classic and then you can cry your eyes out at the wonderfulness.

1. Disney originally envisioned an animated adaptation of Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont's 1740 French fairy tale in the 1930s as a non-musical. The film never happened, but the studio revisited the idea during the Disney Renaissance of the early '90s. 

25 Things You Never Knew About Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast'

2. It was then-Disney chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg who insisted Beauty and the Beast be a musical, like The Little Mermaid.

3. As in the best films, Beauty and the Beast tells a visual story as well as a narrative one. Colors are important. Belle is the only person in her town who wears blue. This separates her as someone special. Beast also wears blue, and has blue eyes. So before they ever meet, the two leads are connected by this outcast color. 

4. The film is a musical, but only 25 minutes of it contain a song. The musical score, however, runs throughout the film. There are only five minutes of background silence.

5. Beast is a combination of many animals: He has the mane of a lion, the beard and head structure of a buffalo, the tusks and nose bridge of a wild boar, the heavily muscled brow of a gorilla, the legs and tail of a wolf, and the body of a bear. 

25 Things You Never Knew About Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast'

6. Similarly, the man behind Beast, Robby Benson, had his voice altered by the growls of real panthers and lions so that it's virtually unrecognizable in the movie. 

7. The prologue states that the rose will bloom until the prince is twenty-one. Later, in "Be Our Guest," Lumiere sings: "Ten years we've been rusting..." So, if the castle has been enchanted for ten years, and the prince is now 21, then he was 11-years-old when he encountered the enchantress.

8. Angela Lansbury, the voice of Mrs. Potts, thought that another character would be better suited to sing the ballad "Beauty and the Beast". The director asked her to make at least one recording to have for a backup if nothing else worked, and that one recording ended up in the film.

25 Things You Never Knew About Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast'

9. All songs were the last complete works for a movie by Academy Award winner Howard Ashman who died eight months prior to the release. The film is dedicated to Ashman. At the end of the credits, you can read the dedication: "To our friend Howard, who gave a mermaid her voice and a beast his soul, we will be forever grateful."

10. The majority of the sculptures seen in the castle are different earlier versions of Beast.

11. Rupert Everett auditioned for the role of Gaston, but was told by the directors he didn't sound arrogant enough. Donny Osmond and Patrick Swayze were both considered as well. Osmond would later play Beast on stage.

12. The role of Cogsworth was written specifically with John Cleese in mind but he turned it down.

25 Things You Never Knew About Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast'

13. "Be Our Guest" was originally supposed to be sung to Maurice, not Belle. It was changed because it was considered the best song and should be sung to the main character.

14. Paige O'Hara voiced Belle and contributed to the animation unknowingly. During her audition, some of her hair flew in her face and she tucked it back. The animators liked it and included it in the movie.

15. A few gruesome scenes were storyboarded, but not included in the movie. One showed Gaston visiting the asylum and another showed Beast dragging an animal he just killed through the woods. 

16. In the original fairy tale, the Prince wasn't turned into a beast for being selfish, it was because he refused to marry his evil fairy godmother. 

17. Chip is the only member of the Beast's staff to refer to Belle by name.

18. The first stained-glass window seen in the prologue has the Latin phrase "Vincit Qui Se Vincit" which aptly means "He conquers, who conquers himself."

25 Things You Never Knew About Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast'

19. While his it's never mentioned in the movie, it's been confirmed by the Beauty and the Beast Broadway musical that Beast's real name is Prince Adam.

20. The movie uses 1,295 painted backgrounds and 120,000 drawings.

21. Easter eggs: After Gaston and the men chop down the tree, there are three water droplets that form an upside-down Mickey mouse head. Also, a trio of stones by the roots to the left of the cottage at the beginning form an upside-down vision of the symbol. During the "Human Again" sequence, Cogsworth is outside inspecting the shovels when a heap of ashes is dumped on him from above. Three circles appear in the snow on the left side of screen that form the Classic Mickey head again.

22. More: When Belle sings in town during the first song of the film, she sits by a fountain and reads a book. Look closely and in the picture you'll see Belle in the bottom right corner, the Prince in the middle to the left, and the castle beyond them.

25 Things You Never Knew About Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast'

23. The line, "Screw your courage to the sticking place" in Gaston's "Mob Song" is a reference to Shakespeare. The line appears in Macbeth.

24. The smoke seen during the transformation at the end is actually real smoke, not animated. The same effect was used in The Black Cauldron in 1985.

25. The library in Beast's castle bears a strong resemblance to the Oval Reading Room of the Richelieu Building at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris.

25 Things You Never Knew About Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast'
All images courtesy of Disney

H/T to IMDb, Wikipedia, and the Beauty and the Beast Blu-ray

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