Remembering the Enchanting 1987 TV Series 'Beauty and the Beast'

CBS aired a reimagined "Beauty and the Beast" TV series from 1987 to 1990, starring Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton. The show's creator, Ron Koslow, drew inspiration from a 1946 French version and conversations with author Joseph Campbell.

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Remembering the Enchanting 1987 TV Series 'Beauty and the Beast'

Remembering the Enchanting 1987 TV Series 'Beauty and the Beast'

In the late 1980s, CBS captivated audiences with a reimagining of the classic fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast" set in contemporary New York City. The enchanting TV series, which aired from 1987 to 1990, starred Ron Perlman as Vincent, a lion-like beast man, and Linda Hamilton as Catherine Chandler, an assistant district attorney. Their unlikely love story unfolded against the backdrop of a fantastical underground world beneath the city's streets.

The show's creator, writer-director Ron Koslow, drew inspiration from a 1946 French version of "Beauty and the Beast" and conversations with author and literature professor Joseph Campbell. "I wish I had had a recording because everything that came out of his [Joseph Campbell's] mouth was brilliant... He looked at me with this mischievous smile and he said, 'Love,'" Koslow recalled. The concept juxtaposed class distinctions and inequality, with people living in tunnels beneath New York City's Waldorf Astoria hotel.

Initially, the series had a "crime of the week" element, but it gradually shifted focus to the fantastical aspects of the tunnel world, which resonated with its growing fanbase. "All of these things came together... It was amazing actually when you think about how it happened. All these myths, all these ideas and thoughts and concepts sort of merged," Koslow reflected on the show's evolution.

Linda Hamilton, fresh off her role in "The Terminator," was hesitant to take on the part of Catherine Chandler at first. "Ron Koslow wrote it specifically for me... I was hesitant to do the show, but I saw a drawing of Ron Perlman as Vincent and I just went, 'Wow,'" she shared. Perlman, known for his roles in "Sons of Anarchy," "Hellboy," and "Pacific Rim," brought a soulful depth to the character of Vincent. "Vincent doesn't need to become the prince. I think Vincent is the Prince," Perlman mused.

The show's talented cast and evocative storytelling brought the series to life in a way that captured viewers' imaginations. The writing staff included George R.R. Martin, who would later create the epic fantasy series "Game of Thrones". Despite undergoing a significant reconfiguration in its third and final season, "Beauty and the Beast" left an indelible mark on the television landscape during its three-year run.

More than three decades later, the 1987 TV series "Beauty and the Beast" remains a beloved classic, cherished by fans for its poignant exploration of love, acceptance, and the enduring power of the human spirit. The show's legacy endures as a testament to the timeless appeal of a tale as old as time, reimagined for a modern audience.

Key Takeaways

  • CBS' 1987-1990 TV series "Beauty and the Beast" reimagined the classic tale in modern NYC.
  • Ron Perlman starred as Vincent, a lion-like beast man, alongside Linda Hamilton as Catherine.
  • The show's creator, Ron Koslow, drew inspiration from a 1946 French version and Joseph Campbell.
  • The series initially had a "crime of the week" element, but shifted focus to its fantastical tunnel world.
  • The show's legacy endures as a timeless tale of love, acceptance, and the human spirit.