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Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Tale as Old as Time

I find my journey of discovery takes me along paths in which I find myself immersed in many of the different vehicles used to create the Disney Magic.  Recently, I’ve experienced two new vehicles for what has become a Disney Classic fairytale – Beauty and the Beast.  This classic first appeared in writing in the middle 1700’s in France, and has seen many adaptations in almost all forms of entertainment venues.
Some seventeen years ago, a three year old toddler discovered this tale as old as time in the VHS release of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” which immediately became her favorite.  Not a Saturday went by that this VHS tape was not playing in the VCR, when I awoke.  As a testament to the joy found in this story by that now young woman, three VHS tapes and 4 DVD’s have been used up by their frequent revisiting.  With the advances in 3D technologies, the original Executive Producer – Don Hahn, and his team, reformatted the story for 3D theater viewing.  Being the devotee she is, nothing would do, but a trip to the local movie house to watch this new release.  While I’ve had trepidations about the 3D viewing experience, finding the use of 3D often used to supplant an otherwise weak story and being an eyeglass wearer – the discomfort of wearing a 3D eyewear over my own, I would not be deterred from witnessing my young daughter’s joy of yet another new experience of her favorite story.  I, curiously, found myself enjoying this new rendition of the classic as much as her.  The use of 3D being employed to enhance the original animation art, and not detracting or overpowering it.  It was, in my opinion, an excellent example of what Walt Disney called “plussing.”

Through the generosity and kindness of the Walt Disney Family Museum, I was able to obtain tickets for the Broadway San Jose’s performance of Beauty and the Beast, so I should first thank the Museum for arranging with Broadway SJ to discount tickets for the Museum Friends and followers, and to Broadway San Jose for generously providing the discount.  So…  I thank you, as does my youngest daughter Theresa.  J  This was an experience neither of us will ever forget.

While Theresa was vibrating which excitement from the very moment she learned we would be attending a performance, I approached it with some trepidation.  Given the excellence with which the original animated feature, and its subsequent 3D release, where presented, I was a bit concerned that anyone could reproduce that experience on stage.  I can tell you now, without qualification, those concerns were completely unnecessary.  Through magnificence set designs, unparallel musical arrangement and additions, the incredible talents of the cast and crew and the mastery of storytelling worthy of Walt Disney himself, the magic, mystery, and illusion of Don Hahn’s original production was amazingly captured on the stage at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts.  I was myself as enthralled and invested in the story unfolding on stage as my young date.  I also found myself experiencing with almost indescribable joy a chance, much as I did during her first visit to Disneyland, to watch her literally sparkle as her favorite story unfolded before her eyes.  There were almost other young Belles in attendance last night, and it was a joy to watch them enter the theater with such glee and joy in their youthful eyes.  This was again, in my opinion, an excellent example of plussing.

This was a presentation of the Disney magic every bit and wonderful as any I have had the pleasure of experiencing, and I highly recommend witnessing this magic for yourself, should the opportunity present itself.

Thank you all, to everyone who made this experience possible!  And…  Most especially to the man who truly made it all possible – Walt Disney.

Your comments or questions are always welcome.  If you have a correction or something you think I should look at in my research, please feel free to contact me at

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