"Once Upon a Time...Is Now" Open Letters (April 1990)

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Title: "Once Upon a Time...Is Now" Open Letters
Date(s): April 1990
Medium: print
Fandom: Beauty and the Beast (TV)
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"Once Upon a Time...Is Now" Open Letters is a set of four open letters written to Beauty and the Beast (TV) fans by four BNFs.

The topic was fans' very strong opinions about the show's third season and how those opinions were affecting the fandom. The letters were by fandom BNFs

The letters were printed in April 1990 in the letterzine, Once Upon a Time... Is Now #23.

The Letters

Some Topics Discussed in the Four Letters

  • the fracturing of the fandom due to decisions made by TPTB regarding casting changes, plotting, and characterizations in the show's third season
  • in-fighting is costing this fandom members and it is also stifling creativity regarding fanworks
  • poorly behaved fans who complain to TPTB ruin the possibilities for future canon and attention of showrunners
  • bad and ungrateful fans ruin it for everyone
  • complaining and fighting makes creating fanworks not fun
  • The Dumpster Brigade
  • rumors
  • the showrunners, actors, and TPTB letting fans have too much power and access
  • fans trying to gain power over each other
  • extensive use of the term nay-sayer, which to some fans was a pejorative
  • lost friendships, suspicion

Some Topics Discussed in Fans' Response Letters

  • some fans were unaware of the tensions, or the severity of the tensions
  • many fans hadn't wanted to know about all this background info and/or how much fighting there was going on
  • many fans were grateful that these letters were written; they cited impatience, disappointment, and anger that they had to read negative comments and complaints in the letterzine
  • many fans were very unhappy these letters were written as they felt not only scolded, but that they were being told to shut up and not express their opinions
  • some fans stated that the letters they had written in response were the very first letters of comment they'd sent
  • some fans stated they'd been just about ready to drop their subscriptions but that the "new policy" by the editors of the letterzine (putting the brakes on season three complaints) made them change their mind
  • many pleas for unity, sadness and dejection, one fan compared this fandom implosion to that of Vincent Wells beasting out

Fan Comments

If it was a pain for me to read all this stuff, it must have been absolutely horrendous for you and the other editors. AND, to zine editors like Kathy Cox. Yes, she's right; it can definitely kill one's creativity... I use to dread getting these letterzines since Dec. 12; at least with OUT...IN, I know the headaches will go away.[1]

I personally want to apologize to you, Pat, Stephanie, Kathy, et. al., for all the grief you've been subjected to. You shouldn't be made to feel "caught in the middle" and held accountable for that which is beyond your control and truly appreciate all the time, money and energy you've devoted to our "magnificent obsession".[2]

I am terribly upset from reading the letters (#21) from you, Stephanie Wiltse, Pat Almedina, and Kathy Cox. I can understand how all of you might feel right now. How depressing it must be for you to receive and have to read all the "hate" mail — it would eventually prey on anyone's spirit. But please, don't give up! Don't let those with feelings of hate and despair triumph over ours of love and hope. If you and/or the other editors quit because of this conflict, then they will have won.[3]

It really breaks my heart; to read these 3 letters from Stephanie, Pat, and Kathy. I didn't know it was that bad in America. [...] It's a good thing you decided to do: no more angry letters. We are all friends. There is so much hatred already for all sorts of causes that we cannot allow that among B&B fans. This is not what Vincent taught us. We should be a community, one big family. So far we still don't have the 3rd season over here but I just can't imagine such things would happen in Europe.[4]

Kathy Cox's letter in #21 upset me a great deal. If she and some of the other really good writers out there are thinking about giving it up because of all the unrest, then we as fans would be losing out on a lot. We have already lost so much with this last cancellation...[5]

... the editorials in this issue had a very "shut-the-door-as-you-get-out" flavor, whether you realize or intended it, or not. This is precisely the sort of dictatorial intolerance which is creating such division and bitterness in the fandom. I was flabbergasted to find how cheerfully you had succumbed to it. And it is not a problem generated by those of us who didn't like the third season.

I have B&B friends in all corners of the world these days, but this was (I swear) my first brush with this "warfare" I'd been reading about. None of my friends and acquaintances feel identically about anything, much less B&B. Some liked the third season; others didn't. (Kathy Cox reports that her mail runs about 71% in favor of it; mine runs exactly the opposite but in this, as in all things, like attracts like.) My friends and I don't fight. We live and let live. Who are all your firebrands out there, so eager to burn everybody else's bridges? This OUT...IN gave me my very first taste of being sickened by the fandom itself (a fandom that's opened a world of friendships to this former recluse). But other fans didn't force it on me; you did. It was Prominent Fan Editorializing that I overdosed on—not on rancorous following.

I want it understood that I'm not interested in S. Wiltse's (or anyone else's) censure of others' views; and I'm hearing far too much of it. That is no one's prerogative (including mine). I care about people's feelings for B&B, and how it has affected their lives. That's what drew us all together, isn't it? [6]

Regarding the 3 editorials at the beginning of April's issue — I've noticed a lot of people getting HOT over what happened with B&B in 3rd season. I don't want to get into this subject as I've already had my say. I just want US— ALL OF US — to be "family" again. It hurts me to think that friendships are being disrupted over this. What happened to the tunnel taught tolerance Vincent and the others have modeled for us? Dreams can be dreamed again.[7]

Truly disturbing reading this last issue of “OUT...IN” (April). Look, I’m new to this Community, this Family (only found the entrance to the underground in December with my first mailing from Pipeline), but I’m damned glad I found you, squabbles, warts and all. Believe me, guys, where something as fragile as B&B is concerned, alone is not a good thing (didn’t Mouse say something like that, S3?). B&B helped this jaded old cynic rediscover some half-forgotten values (faith, hope, compassion); the B&B Community, even in its present state of civil war, has helped keep those values fresh and alive. Jeanne, Stephanie, Pat, Kathy, et al., don’t give up the good fight now. We need you! [8]

What is interesting is the failure of all the "leaders" in the fandom to address certain fundamental issues that both pro and con third season agree on. First, regardless of how the movie storyline was leaked, it was in fact made known to us. Ron Koslow and Witt-Thomas repeatedly denied that the revealed story would be shown; it was. No doubt Mr. Koslow was caught between a rock and a hard place, but did he have to lie? Perhaps so much anger that exists would be calmed if he were taken to task for this. Second most of the letters regarding this past season, whether pro or con, expressed a real sense of disappointment in the quality of TLBL, both in terms of storyline and production. There is a deafening silence by the producers and their supporters concerning the reasons for such poor work. Third, whether you are a fan of Linda Hamilton/Catherine or not, the "real story" behind Ms. Hamilton's leaving is still unclear and should be known.


Finally, we all have a real love and respect for the character of Vincent, and his portrayal by Ron Perlman. For those fans who can find solace in having him merely read the phone book, I envy you — I demand, sometimes unfairly I admit, more of my heroes.

The three women who joined you on "the soapbox" are all women of integrity, who do an outstanding job with their zines. I support them in their work, and have had the privilege of corresponding and chatting with two of them. I find it interesting that while the claim is made that the vote seems to be in favor of season 3, the majority of zines that I have seen that were published since TRIS aired and which are in the planning stages have Catherine and Vincent together, proclaiming that the romance lives. Perhaps actions speak louder than words.[9]

After finding your issue #21 in my mailbox yesterday, I had to write today and applaud your decision to walk a “lighter and brighter” path. B&B has been my introduction to fandom and recent impressions were beginning to color my initial delight in what I had found. From early discussions among work/church friends who shared the love of this series, to the discovery of fanzines which broadened my knowledge, to new friends made throughout the U.S. by being a video "helper", to the discovery of a small, local fan club, to the fictionzines bought or borrowed (those helped have now turned "helpers"), to my first Creation convention last month — this whole experience has been incredibly positive to me. I am saddened that those of you closer to the core of all this have been bombarded by such negativity. I've read the angry letters and heard (but ignored) a few of the nasty rumors, but not until I read the dirty details in this current "OUT...IN" did I realize how low some people could stoop to have things their own way. Maybe it is easier for those of us on the "outside looking in" ~less painful anyway. I extend my heartfelt thanks for all you have given us and encourage you to continue to support the B&B spirit I have come to love.[10]

Here, here, and bravo! I was hoping one of you editors would stand up and have her say; never thought 3 of you would together.[11]

BRAVO! Your "Editor's Soapbox" was right on!!! Your decision to dump the negativism will get a standing ovation from most of us all here. (I say "most" because, as we all well know, there are always perpetual dissenters—no matter what)...

Jeanne, quite frankly, I had already decided last month that I would not be renewing my subscription to "OUT...IN". For a long time, reading your publication had given me such great joy — had made me feel part of a wondrous, magical family. But, the past few months, after finishing each ish of "OUT...IN", I was heartsick at what I had read; heartsick, to the point of despair, at the poison that was spreading through our system. I decided that I would not spend any more money on something that made me feel so bad. Ahhh, but that was then and this is now.[12]

I had to give my reaction to #21 of OUT...IN. As I stated to Stephanie in a copy of a letter which I'm enclosing, I thought 4 letters in OUT...IN from fanzine editors taking fandom to task was a bit of overkill. To tell you the truth, although I was disappointed with B&B third season and with fandom (including myself at times), my biggest disappointment was in a lot of you. It seems to me a lot of the name calling came from Pipelines, a message one week, "Beast-bashers", on the Helper's Network, your publication, what I consider a nasty letter from Pat Almedina in "Promises of Someday" towards Linda Hamilton fans, etc. Like it or not people consider yourself, Stephanie, Kimberly Hartman, Pat, etc. leaders and unfortunately I think the leaders started the name calling in fandom.[13]

There are a number of things that were said by yourself and your fellow zine editors with which I do not agree including the persistent idea that expressing our desires to production people or networks, calmly and politely, is counterproductive. I cannot accept this because I firmly believe that a network is very interested in just what type of program it is buying, comedy or drama, adventure or romance, fantasy or reality. Since B&B has two very different paths open to it I believe a network considering it will want a general agreement on which direction it will go before making a commitment of time and money. I am merely casting my democratic vote as to which I prefer. They can choose to listen or ignore me.[14]

I wasn't going to renew my subscription until I received the last issue #21. Kick ass!! I believe I have gained some hope again. Stephanie's article really broke down the process of the rumor mill logically and sensibly.. .Pat Almedina spoke the naked truth about what is happening to this fandom... The idea about the color coded name tags that 'Nea Dodson mentioned for TunnelCon doesn't sound half bad to me after the mini-con I attended...[15]

The two cancellations combined with the third season were not as distressing as the last issue of OUT...IN. I knew that there was dissension in the ranks, but I never realized it was so pervasive as to inspire the opening comments and letters. I have been fortunate to meet and correspond with other fans who agree on two things — our love of B&B and our respect for each others opinions especially when we vehemently disagree with those opinions.[16]

When I read the latest issue of OUT...IN I felt as if I'd had the door slammed in my face by a very old and dear friend. To be chastised, and then told I have no right, in your newsletter, to speak in my own defense, is not fair. I have a mind, and I choose to use it, not let it be used. It is fine though, to publish a letter from an editor who has done more to prolong with "War of Words" than all the so-called "naysayers" and "dark-siders" combined. Honestly, I really didn't know about this great, raging battle until I read about it in "Pipeline". Oops! That was a no-no. They can put us down, but we're not allowed to defend ourselves. Isn't that how it works? My letter probably just hit the dumpster! [17]

I was heartened to find that the general direction of fandom has taken a peaceful turn; well before the editorializing of OUT...IN issue #21, many publications had reader comments and LoCs which were reflective of a mature level of quality discussion. There are other letterzines out there and certainly OUT...IN stands among them,but it is not the only one in which the calm breezes have blown through the meadow.

Fandom, as an entity, was showing definite signs of healing and reunification as the editorializing was happening, I believe as part of a larger process in fandom. I think there was a spontaneous call from many different directions; there was evidence of the peaceful stage in the evolution to be found in many places.

Personal feelings have continued to be expressed, thankfully, in more than just one place. In most publications, there truly has been a more tolerant, cooperative tone while still allowing for, yes—even welcoming the constructive clash of thought and point of view.[18]


  1. ^ from Once Upon a Time... Is Now #23 (June 1990)
  2. ^ from Once Upon a Time... Is Now #23 (June 1990)
  3. ^ from Once Upon a Time... Is Now #23 (June 1990)
  4. ^ from Once Upon a Time... Is Now #23 (June 1990)
  5. ^ from Once Upon a Time... Is Now #23 (June 1990)
  6. ^ from Once Upon a Time... Is Now #23 (June 1990)
  7. ^ from Once Upon a Time... Is Now #23 (June 1990)
  8. ^ from Once Upon a Time... Is Now #23 (June 1990)
  9. ^ from Once Upon a Time... Is Now #23 (June 1990)
  10. ^ from Once Upon a Time... Is Now #23 (June 1990)
  11. ^ from Once Upon a Time... Is Now #23 (June 1990)
  12. ^ from Once Upon a Time... Is Now #23 (June 1990)
  13. ^ from Once Upon a Time... Is Now #23 (June 1990)
  14. ^ from Once Upon a Time... Is Now #23 (June 1990)
  15. ^ from Once Upon a Time... Is Now #23 (June 1990)
  16. ^ from Once Upon a Time... Is Now #23 (June 1990)
  17. ^ from Once Upon a Time... Is Now #23 (June 1990)
  18. ^ from Once Upon a Time... Is Now #25 (August 1990)