Beauty and The Beast: The Newsletter/Issues 001-002

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Zine
Title: Beauty and The Beast: The Newsletter
Publisher: Beauty and the Beast Fan Club (US)
Editor(s): Deb Hense
Type:
Date(s): March 1988-June 1990
Frequency: four times a year
Medium: print
Fandom: Beauty and the Beast (TV)
Language: English
External Links:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Beauty and The Beast: The Newsletter is a Beauty and the Beast fanclub newsletter and letterzine published out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

mailing out the September 1988 issues (printed in the December 1988 issue)

It was published four times a year: March, June, September, and December.

The first issue was published in March 1988 and ended in June 1990. The newsletter spanned from the end of the first season to two months before the show was cancelled. As a result, the letters, fan discussion, and translation of information doled out to fans by TPTB reflected a cycle of excitement and optimism, fear and anxiety about characterizations and show cancellation, fervent mobilization to keep what they loved, and finally, for many fans, the crushing defeat and sense of betrayal that fractured the fandom.

This zine series was informally continued in Passages, which began the month "Beauty and the Beast: The Newsletter" ceased.

v.1 n.1 (March 1988)

Beauty and The Beast: The Newsletter v.1 n.1 was published in March 1988.

The art is by Beth Adams and Deb Hense.

Editorial and layout staff: Beth Adams, Patricia Adams, Rita Adams, Mark Hammons, Eileen Hartwig, Deb Hense, Kevin Lair, Barbara Sargent, and Janet Schmidt.

"This issue is dedicated to Richard "Kip" Carpenter — a man who appreciates his fans and responds to them wholeheartedly."

front cover of v.1 n.1
back cover of v.1 n.1, by Beth Adams
  • Introduction to the Club Vice President, Janet Schmidt: Figurehead (or "How I Fell for a Staircase") (3)
  • Contest 1: Name That Fan Club (4)
  • Contest 2: Name That Newsletter (4)
  • Introduction to the Club President: Deb Hense (5)
  • Interview with George R.R. Martin (conducted at the February 1988 Wiscon, includes bibliography) (7)
  • Letters of Comment ("For those new to fandom - letters of comment are discussions (in writing) about a particular aspect of the story/character/society as presented in the series. Letters of Comment (LOC) are not letters filled with praise for the show, or its actors (although one or two lines or a paragraph or two is appreciated). But are instead a personal comment backed by carefully though out reasoning on what you particularly liked or disliked about a character, a single aspect of a character, a storyline, or the setting, or the character development as presented in the series. Here are a few ideas to help you get started...How do you explain Vincent?...Does he need to be explained? How to explain the tunnel people/society...the evolution of the society of the tunnel people... Is the love affair ever going to be consummated and should it be? Can it be?" [1] ) (15)
  • Bits and Pieces (15)
  • Illustration of Catherine by Beth Adams (16)
  • Merchandise List (17)
  • Episode Guide (19)
  • reprint from The New York Times: "A Commentary by John J. O'Connor" (The last paragraph: "We are not talking here, let me hasten to add, about a TV series for the ages. "Beauty and the Beast" can at times be as predictable or silly as any other show on the grueling weekly production line. But by attempting to be a little different, it has edged forward a bit beyond conventional formulas. With Hamilton and Perlman contributing not only top-notch peformances but also some splendid mutual chemistry, the show can certainly lay claim to the season's most unusual and compelling love affair. In a medium devoted to images, especially those of standard beauties and hunks, here is a show saying, week after week, that looks can deceive.") (21)
  • Contest 3: Identify a Poem (22)
  • Advertisements and Penpals (25)
  • Standard Policy and Addresses to Write (28)

v.1 n.1: Excerpts from the Martin Interview

How do you like writing scripts as opposed to writing stones?

I like both in their own different ways. Both of them have their plus's and their minus's. If I do any one too long I miss the other.

There's an excitement to television, there's no denying it. The mere fact that you write the script and then a short time later they're suddenly producing the script and they're building the sets you described. It's a high.

When I went over to the set and saw the Whispering Gallery that they had built (you get a high from that)... Now it wasn t what I pictured in my head, but it was close to it. And I knew there were various reasons why what I described couldn't be done. To see your dreams assume that kind of a reality, that concrete reality, can be a tremendously exciting thing that authors of books don't often have.

There's a lot of aspects of the genre that are just fun. I love it when our prop guy comes over and says, "Here are the claws for this weeks episode", or "Here are the toy carousels. Which one would you like?" It's like they're paying me these vast sums of money to play with these toys. "I don't like that carousel. I like this one. It lights up and the horses move up and down." That kind of thing is a lot of fun.

The downside is that Hollywood is basically a collaborative medium, and I am not the boss. I write my scripts and I rewrite them, and I rewrite them, and I rewrite them. I have to attend meetings. The director may have a problem with something, the actors may have a problem, or my fellow writers on the staff may have a problem. So it is always a process of trying to make everybody happy and still trying to keep happy with yourself.

I think all writers are fundamentally gigantic egoists who think they know better than anybody else. So the whole collaborative thing is very difficult on the writer. It's the downside of television in general and certainly not just BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

Books... You don't have that in books. I wrote a novella recently which I worked on nights and weekends. At one point when I was writing very early in the novella, I decided that the protagonist's father (who had been dead a very long time) was a policeman. It just came to me.

I then went in and told some of my fellow BEAUTY AND THE BEAST writers, "God — This is great! I just decided her father was a policeman and I didn't have to have a meeting about it." I didn't have to listen to someone say, "Well, maybe it would be better if her father was a policeman", or, Hell, I don't know if we want him to be involved in city services at all. Perhaps he should be a small grocer."

You can gain from that. I mean I'm making fun of it, but it doesn't often get ridiculous. But creative people are usually pretty strong-minded people, so sometimes you do have some vicissitudinous arguments.

v.1 n.1: Excerpts from Fan Letters

From Janet Schmidt's self-description:

I've been in fandom in general for 6 years. Through STAR WARS, DOCTOR WHO, ROBIN HOOD, and now, THE BEAST. I will also talk LADYHAWKE, THE EQUALIZER and a lot of other stuff. I do soft sculpture, costuming and cookies. Mundanely, I work at a shoe factory. Not very exciting, but I'll never get stuck on the "B" Ark. I have one mundane sister, one fannish sister (the editor of QUARTERSTAFF, plug, plug), two cats, one niece and one Creature. I have been 25 for many years, am single and not looking.

The BEAST write-up in the Fall Preview TV GUIDE intrigued me. I made a note to check up on it, but that was all. Then, on September 25th, while I was watching Dallas (to see who came out of the shower this year), CBS ran an ad for the rest of the night's programming. There was this spiral staircase....

I knew I had to tape that program. I stuck it on after MAX HEADROOM.

Sometimes you remember the exact moment you know you are hooked. Darth Vader's entrance in STAR WARS, the Doctor and the jump rope, the preview for that ROBIN HOOD episode. With Vincent, it was his first line. That was it.
From Deb Hense's introduction:

I first became involved in fandom with Buckaroo Banzai (I'm still a Blue Blazer Irregular). Then came Robin of Sherwood through a round about way.

It started with a research paper for class. This paper had to be about a form of writing. So I chose scriptwriting.

I wrote to Richard "Kip" Carpenter about how he went about writing scripts. How did he get chosen? Because I thought that the show had a limited viewership (it was only being seen on Showtime here in the US at that time) and was produced in England. I reasoned that they weren't getting thousands of letters like an american show would, so I stood some chance of actually having my questions answered. Kip surprised and overwhelmed me by answering all my questions in a typewritten (5 pages worth) letter. We exchanged a few more letters before the paper could be called complete. Then through Kip, I learned about the Robin of Sherwood - North American Branch fanclub for the series. Of course I joined.

With BB I was a passive member - just someone who received the newsletters and read them. But with Robin of Sherwood I became an active member - actively seeking out other fans who liked the show, getting to know Chris, Barb, and Nancy (the officers of ROSNAB) personally.

I looked for a Beauty and the Beast fanclub at Windycon (a SF&F convention held in Chicago the first weekend in November). There wasn't one - nor even a hint of one! So I talked Janet into being my Veep (Vice President). The club was born then and there, (or is that there and then?) Now I am not just an active member - but an officer of a fan club. My, how things do progress.

For those of you who are new to fandom - Get involved!!!

Have some fun!!! Those of us who are involved in fandom will accept anyone (no matter what your faults) so long as you have

enthusiasm, and are willing to let your imagination out for a run occasionally, and are accepting of us. You'll meet some of the best people that way...

v.1 n.1: Sample Interior

v.1 n.2 (June 1988)

Beauty and The Beast: The Newsletter v.1 n.2 was published in June 1988 and contains 28 pages.

front cover of v.1 n.2, Beth Adams
back cover of v.1 n.2

The art is by J. Bishop, L.J. Clayton, Beth Evans, D. Hense, and H. Rulon.

Editorial and Layout Staff: Beth Adams, Patricia Adams, Rita Adams, Mark Hammons, Eileen Hartwig, Deb Hense, Kevin Lair, Barbara Sargent, and Janet Schmidt.

  • Introduction to the Club Correspondence Secretary and Artist, Patricia Adams (3)
  • Contest 1: Name That Fan Club (4)
  • New Contest (4)
  • How Your Club Works (5)
  • Chamber Musings: Interview with Roy Dotrice ("Roy very kindly granted us this interview while he was in hospital recovering from hip surgery. Read on and enjoy!") (7)
  • Illustration: Roy Dotrice by Nancy Miller (8)
  • Episode Guide (13)
  • Member Contributions (16)
    • Uncommon Face, poem by Kathryn M. Cox
    • The Beholder, poem by Lois J. Clayton
  • Candleglow: Letters of Comment (17)
  • Fanclubs and Letterzines (23)
  • Do you really want to be a "FAN"?, essay by Lisa S. Knopp (24)
  • Bits and Pieces: Heard it through the pipeline, meta essay, not credited (25)
  • Standard Policy and Addresses to Write (26)

v.1 n.2: Excerpts from Fan Letters

I'm still on an emotional high from the April 8th season finale of B&TB. What a wonderful episode! I wish Ron Koslow would write more full scripts for this series. The other writers, Martin, Gansa, Gordon, etc., also did a great job. But Koslow's scripts for the premier and the "A Happy Life" finale approached or maybe even achieved perfection. In this letter I'm going to try to dissect the reasons I feel so passionately in love with B&TB, so forgive me if it's long. There are so many good things about the show. I don't believe there was ever a TV show I cared this deeply about. Not even Star Trek. I've always enjoyed the SF/Fantasy genre, although as a child I never enjoyed fairy tales. So what is it that so grabbed me.? Well...

The romance... [snipped]

The characters... [snipped]

I only have one complaint. I realize they have to use stock shots of Vincent running the tunnels, riding the top of a subway car, etc., but they need to better match the costumes to the shots. Also they shouldn't use shots that were integral to another episode. Worst case was using the same shots from the premiere of Vincent carrying Catherine into the tunnels which in "To Reign in Hell" were now Erlik carrying Catherine into the tunnels. With the magic of VCR's a lot of us tape the show and save the tapes. We probably know the footage better than the show's film editors.

I'm 35 years old so I remember the phenomena of Star Trek. One of the exciting things about B&TB is its bringing in people that have never been involved in fandom before or have known the wonders of SF/Fantasy. I believe B&TB is going to be as big as Star Trek. I just hope we do not have to repeat that shows history, when NBC didn't realize the phenomena they had and canceled the show after three years. We're going to have to fight hard to keep B&TB on the air. I don't believe any network, including CBS learned a lesson from the NBC mistake. In fact, I can't believe the rating numbers. I know so many people who love the show including quite a few guys. I believe this show is watched by far more people than the ratings indicate. Well there's strength in numbers, so let's become one big family. As Father put it concerning Catherine and Vincent's bond, "You know you two share something quite extraordinary. Something that touches the best in all of us." I think all of us that love this show share that feeling.

How delightful at last to have somewhere to send a LOC on Beauty and the Beast. Fortunately, I live with another fan and so can discuss it endlessly, but we view it pretty much the same way. Those long distance calls to New York to talk to my brother are beginning to get expensive. My office-mate, who is mildly interested in the show, is good for a brief chat now and then but such is insufficient for the truly obsessed. I'm really looking forward to seeing how Beauty and the Beast is viewed by a wider spectrum of people -- the variety of interpretations of the same work is one of the things that make fandom interesting.

[snipped]

Ah, now for the consummation question. I doubt it will happen on the series for reasons having more to do with ratings than with logic or internal necessity. I feel strongly that it should, however, because it's a central facet of a powerful archetype. More than one commentator has compared Catherine and Vincent to Maddie and David of Moonlighting because of the romantic tension in both relationships. To me, Maddie and David are to Catherine and Vincent as a hamburger stand is to Chartres. (Beyond the fact that they're both buildings, there's little similarity.) The kind of romantic tension on Moonlighting or Remington Steele is a basic formula of romantic comedy: two attractive persons meet and start fighting and sniping immediately; ergo, they will fall in love by the last act. The audience has fun of knowing something the characters don't. The whole point is watching how long it takes the later to figure it out, enjoying the sparks and repartee along the way.

Beauty and the Beast isn't a romantic comedy. It's a modern variation of a legend that has at its core that powerful archetype which illustrates (as Ron Koslow has said) "the transforming power of love." As myth and archetype, it has its roots in the sacred. When Beauty agrees to marry the Beast at the end of the fairy tale, it's more that just a nice happy ending. It's a form of the hieros gamos, the sacred marriage. The consummation is an essential part of the archetype, but will people who don't care about archetypes tune in week after week without the element of tension, the power of al that unresolved passion? I would, but I can't guarantee several million others feel the same. One can postpone consummation indefinitely without stretching credulity in something like Moonlighting or Remington Steele because the protagonists don't know, or don't admit, they love each other. With Vincent and Catherine, it's glaringly obvious they each other very much, and not just platonically. (At least it's obvious by the end of the season.) Consummation seems the natural next step; indeed it would seem unnatural for a relationship with that much emotional passion in it not to progress to physical expression.

Can it be consummated? I see no reason why not. There's no evidence it would be physically impossible -- the parts of Vincent we have been privileged to see don't differ that much from the basic humanoid pattern, so there's no reason to assume any other parts do. Catherine may have been a bit taken aback by Vincent's appearance in the beginning, but by "Nor Iron Bars a Cage" she's readying him poetry about his heavenly face. By "A Happy Life" she's telling him (at least in her dream) how beautiful he is. Lots of people love Vincent as a friend, a brother, a son, so he must know he's lovable. I think, however, he's assumed (an assumption which Father has reinforced) that no one would ever find him both lovable and desirable. I doubt he'll ever believe that's not the case without an unmistakable nonverbal demonstration from Catherine.

v.1 n.2: Sample Interior

References

  1. ^ Hense's description of a letter of comment is somewhat unique (and narrow). Hense's explanation that they are about the show only is incomplete as LOCs were also about many other things, often comments on fanworks. Hense's insistence on positivity is a personal comment, rather than a common requirement. In fact, Hense's description of a LOC in this zine is much more in alignment to the common fan activity called Topic of the Month or "TOTM."