20 Things You Didn’t Know About Beauty and the Beast

2 of 21

(Original Caption) Walt Disney (1901-1966), famed orignator of full-length animated motion pictures, at work at his drawing board.

20. Disney considered making this into a movie as far back as the 1930s

After the success of Snow White in 1937, Walt Disney searched for other stories that would translate well to the screen. However, story teams had difficulty adapting the 18th-century tale into a modern film, and early attempts were scrapped. Filmmakers may have also been discouraged by Jean Cocteau’s 1946 film adaptation of Beauty and the Beast.

By the 1950s, he had become wrapped up in the creation of his now wildly successful theme parks. Frank Thomas, one of the “Nine Old Men” who made up a core group of animators at Walt Disney Studios, tried to persuade his boss to get involved in animation again. He said that “When Walt became all wrapped up in the theme parks and live-action films, we tried to get him interested in animation again … (Disney) said, “If I ever do go back, there are only two subjects I would want to do. One of them is ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ For the life of me, I can’t remember what the other one was.”

However, there’s no evidence that any serious work on a Beauty and the Beast project started during Disney’s lifetime. The earliest treatments for such a film came well after his death. Pete Young, Vance Gerry, and Steve Hulett created the earliest known treatment in 1983. In that version, the Beast is a catlike monster who lives in a ruined castle. Belle interacts with animals during her stay there, instead of enchanted household objects.