Beauty and the Beast and The Family Channel Controversies

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Beauty and the Beast and the Family Channel Controversies

The Family Channel, a cable channel, was the first to buy the rights to broadcast the newly-syndicated episodes of Beauty and the Beast (TV).

The show aired beginning in September 1990.

The Official Announcement

From a March 1990 press release by Republic:

The sale of 'Beauty and the Beast' to the Family Channel and the commitment by major broadcasters delivers on our promise to millions of fans through out the United States to bring the series back to television screens nationally. Not in the recent history of television has there been a program that has received such a tremendous outpouring of critical and popular support.

[...]

Tim Robertson, Family Channel President, said he was delighted to add "Beauty and the Beast" to the Family Channel schedule. "The amount of encouragement we have received from both fans and the advertising community is truly amazing," he said, citing the hundreds of letters from elated viewers who heard rumors of the show heading for The Family Channel.

"We are thrilled to bring a show of such tremendous popularity to a cable-exclusive audience," he said.

Paul Krimsier, The Family Channel's Vice President of Programming and Promotion, said the network will offer two episodes of the show together as a movie once a week. "This will be especially enjoyable to fans," Krimsier said. "Women fans 18-49 fit perfectly into the demographic pattern of The Family Channel," he added, "and we're certain the show will help continue our dramatic growth in that important category." [1]

Fans Get the News

Fans got the news in the spring of 1990:
Well, we've just found out that Republic Pictures has made a rerun deal with the Family Channel to show all 56 episodes for one year starting in September and NBC will show the reruns after that. [2]

Many fans expressed happiness that they would be able to see regular reruns, as well as being happy about the show being seen as a money-making operation that could lead to the possibility of a future movie:

So let those letters of support flow once again. To Russell Goldsmith of Republic Pictures, thanking him for bringing back B&TB to the forefront once more by getting it on a cable channel so soon, and letting him know we are behind his efforts to get B&TB back into production for movies. To the Family Channel, thanking them for supporting B&TB and tactfully asking them to show the episodes in order and not to edit them, so we can garner a new, strong following to help us in our attempts to get new stories. [...] [3]

Not Without Strife

But the Family Channel's deal was not one with controversies.

Controversy One: showing the episodes "out of order," therefore altering continuity and perceived characterization.

Controversy Two: The Family Channel edited, or removed, scenes they considered offensive, non-Christian, and did not portrayal "family values." There was also a proposal to add and/or manipulate original footage in the third season to show Vincent Wells and Catherine Chandler getting married, therefore "legitimizing" the birth of their baby. Another proposal or rumor is that The Family Channel would removed any mention or scene with the baby.

Some Context: Outside, and Self-Censorship Issues

The Beauty and the Beast (TV) fandom had many gen zines, fade-to-black het zines, and sexually explicit het zines. It had NO slash zines and, in fact, the topic was barely, barely mentioned, much less discussed. So, while it pushed the boundaries of what was on the screen in some ways, fans were not tolerant of exploring other views.

Another discussion that was playing out at the time as discussion about the zine Black Cover and "acceptability," was the Family Channel's shenanigans regarding airing re-runs of the show, and that network's aggressive editing of the show to make it "family friendly." This was a topic that most fans railed against, and another backdrop of censorship. See more on this topic at Beauty and the Beast and the Family Channel Controversies.

Fans also had a long history, and discussed at GREAT length, the topic of Vincent Wells' genetic make-up, origins, and "otherness": was he a beast with human qualities, or a human with beast qualities. This topic was important for many reason, only one of which was the tension among fans, the show's writers, and the networks about whether the relationship between Catherine Chandler and the beast could/should be consummated, or was this bestiality? See more on this topic at Vincent: The Beast.

In November 1990, a fan, Beth Blighton, wrote a long letter to the letterzine, Once Upon a Time... Is Now #27, encouraging fans to resist censorship in all forms in the broader world and included comments about "The Family Channel's" involvement with Reverend Wildmon. Throughout the late 1970s, Wildmon, a conservative Christian, actively protested television series that he thought promoted immoral lifestyles. Beauty and the Beast fans were specifically affected by Wildmon's crusade as he was a "consultant" on "The Family Channel's" handling of the series/ [4]:
And don't think that this sort of intolerance can't touch "Beauty and the Beast" as a work of art or as a fandom. Our little friend Rev. Wildmon] has already labeled B&B as being perverted and dangerous. I mean, after all... Bestiality! Sex between two unmarried persons (and one not even HUMAN)! Violence and the occult! Shocking! Remove it from the airwaves before it indoctrinates any more unsuspecting citizens into it's cult!

And, of course, the massive topic hanging over all of this fandom was the controversial third season. See The Beauty and the Beast Wars.

Showing Episodes Out of Order

Showing syndicated shows out of order was not unusual. This was due for many reasons: carelessness, disinterest in continuity, access to certain episodes and not others, and the belief that order was not essential in non-episodic television.

Shows were often originally shown in an order that was different than when they were filmed. Fans, reliant upon the original airing date, assumed that this order was then the correct one.

Fan Comments

Luckily, as Stephanie Wiltse from Pipeline, explained, an intrepid fan set the record straight about The Family Channel's original schedule:

I mentioned rather ineptly at TunnelCon that I have many reporters around the world without whom there would be no news to print. Well, if it hadn't been for one of these intrepid souls, [Dottie L] of Amarillo, TX, not only wouldn't you be reading this, but Family Channel would have unknowingly shown Beauty and the Beast's episodes out of the order to which we are accustomed.

Like other groups around the country the "High Plains B&B Network" had decided to run an ad in their local news paper heralding B&B's syndied return. So Dottie decided to check her contact at Family Channel's programming department one last time before sending in the ad copy. To her horror, she found something didn't jive, "Once Upon a Time in the City of New York" was paired with "A Children's Story," and so on. Her contact replied that that was the order in which Republic Pictures had sent the episodes!

Dottie whipped out her "Helper's Network Directory" and read them the chronology as aired on CBS, explaining how neither "Terrible Saviour" nor "Siege" especially, could be aired farther along be cause Catherine's relationship with Vincent would significantly change in later episodes. There is indeed an arc-like evolution to the 1st season. Another example, "Margaret," a character introduced in "Song of Orpheus," is referred to later on in "Shades of Grey," etc., etc.

Then [Mrs. L] really went into action, after leaving a message on the Workshop's (infamous) answering machine, she then called Jill Coplan over at Republic Pictures. Jill explained that CBS had not shown the episodes in the order that they had originally been written (a common practice); Republic's 'film service division' thought that the fans (purists that we are) would want to see them as they were intended to be shown in the first place. (Hmmm, will run a list of that chronology next issue, just for the sake of comparison.) Dottie again vigorously explained about "Saviour" and "Siege." Meanwhile, her source over at Family Channel (they really are trying to do right by us) called Dottie back on the 31st to tell her that they had revised their own schedule to conform to CBS' air dates — at least for the next 8 episodes (4 movies).

As far as Republic is concerned, "If Family Channel's willing to work with you on that and you can figure out the order that will make people the happiest, that's fine with us; but it's really up to the Family Channel ... as long as we get the episodes out to them when they need them, that's all we're concerned about." And according to Earl Weirich, VP in charge of Public Relations at Family Channel, "I am told that it is squared away. We've been in touch with Republic Pictures, I've talked to our programming people, I went over the whole thing with everybody. They were scrambling to get it straightened out. Last I heard they had them all in order, if not, give us a call and yell at us."

Mr. Weirich, in FAM's own B&B newsletter, sounds a little overwhelmed by all our attentions ...and/or ire, for referring to Vincent as "frightening" he was certainly taken to task. He quoted one reader as suggesting, "that I be sentenced to six months in solitary confinement with nothing to do but watch television commercials." Hey guys, he's on OUR side!

Soooo, starting September 7th, Friday, at 8 pm Eastern/Pacific time Family Channel will begin to air 2-episode Beauty and the Beast 'movies.' [...] Thanks to our friends at FAM! [5]

The Aggressive Editing of the Rebroadcasts

Immediately after "The Family Channel" procured the show, fans began speculating. From Stephanie A. Wiltse of Pipeline:
[April/May 1990]:

Most asked of the Family Channel in the months leading up to "Beauty and the Beast's" cable premiere is: "Will the Family Channel edit or 'censor' each episode...

It is common in regular syndication (and when episodes are aired in other countries) for anywhere up to an extra 2 minutes of each episode to be set aside for commercials. 2 minutes can be an entire scene, but it also amounts to a hefty amount of commercial revenue. And what with the British networks' treatment of Vincent's beastlier moments, concerns over censorship are quite valid.

In regards to this, Earl Weirich, VP in charge of Public Relations for The Family Channel, answered; "That's always the possibility. We have the right to edit all of our shows. We check all of them very carefully. I wouldn't say censor, we don't censor things. Sometimes episodes might be cut somewhat for length or if there is something that appears to be objectionable....We're a family channel and nothing is that sacred that it won't be screened first. From what I know of the show — of course I can't speak authoritatively, I'm not the one who screens them — but, I'm not aware of anything in violation of what our code is here." [6]

The Family Channel, of course, did indeed edit the shows, something that raised the topics of canon and reality, of censorship, of moral overreach, of clumsy decision making, and what constituted "family values."

General comments about both the editing and the "marriage scene" rumor, as well as comments about censorship, fan behavior, and morality from Stephanie A. Wiltse:
[October 1990)]:

Beauty and the Beastly?

Again, fans are divided between those who were simply appalled by the editing of the episodes aired so far on Family Channel and those that found the editing itself unobtrusive and were simply happy to have "the dream kept alive." Most who have respond ed to FAM have been the latter, but to the former this editor offers the following:

There are organized groups who look one look at B&B and just saw more evidence that the networks had gone to the devil, literally. What is Beauty for some is "Bestiality" for others. I believe that when the Family Channel bought this series, they made no less a significant break with these lobbyists as when they began to call themselves the Family Channel rather than the Christian Broadcast Network. Obviously, they could ill-afford a puritanical or prudish image and still remain competitive as an entertainment service. This has not, however, made the network any the less devout or idealistic, its programmers simply saw the same values and quality in this series that we have. Their beautifully crafted and extensive on-air promotion attests to that sensitivity.

A rumour that FAM was considering somehow working in a marriage ceremony before Vincent and Catherine's, shall we say, already as chaste as possible liaison at the end of 2nd season ...is quite true. But before we get embroiled in an argument that starts with a snipped scene or two and extends all the way to questions on freedom of speech and the National Endowment for the Arts... it is well to re member that the network itself reels it is protecting the rights of the vast majority of its loyal viewership and their families. The fact remains that organizations claiming to represent that viewership have virtually banned (burned??) Beauty and the Beast for a variety of perceived evils far more heinous than Vincent merely being considered "frightening."

For myself I agree with Granville Hicks that "A censor is a man who knows more than he thinks you ought to." But FAM has to continually compromise between their 'old' loyal audience and the new viewers they hope to gain. Because of this I think we will be unable to convince FAM not to edit the episodes they air, either for time or for content. To be fair, they had always been very tentative in statements to that effect. So far no damage has been done to story lines or continuity, only to all our hopes for a complete video collection. This must be particularly galling to those who went out and bought satellite dishes for the purpose.

The point is the "blame game' has never worked to our advantage, being rude or abusive has made more enemies than it has ever won arguments. The public-relations people many of us have spoken with have had to deal far longer with a far more righteously indignant crowd than we would ever want to be — people who would prefer B&B had never aired at all, anywhere, ever. Perhaps we can make more brownie points in Heaven for being more tolerant than they. It is also well to remember that the people who field our mail or answer the phone at the Family Channel do not make editorial decisions, they only have to deal with their consequences. I don't think this would strain the quality of our mercy so much.[7]

Fan Comments: The Removed Scenes

I just had to write a LOC about the treatment the fans of B&TB have been getting from the Family Channel. Can you believe it — we have been lied to again. The Family Channel said that they knew there were millions of loyal fans of B&TB — fans that would and work at a mundane job to pay the bills, be so happy to have the show back on television. They acted like they knew how much we cared for this wonderful series, and they said they wouldn't edit the episodes.

Well, so much for that promise. After viewing the first two hours on September 7, I was so upset. As if it wasn't bad enough to edit several scenes from the show, they also cut the scene from the pilot that had Carol telling Catherine who the men were who attacked both of them, and why they were attacked. I mean, wasn't that a major point in the plot? I watched the second set of reruns on September 21, and again there were several scenes missing. After the Family Channel said that they would show B&TB uncut, I find it strange that they would decide to do this. Didn't they think we would notice? I guess they're just like CBS, only interested in the "almighty dollar." I hate to think what they're going to do to the remaining episodes, and what scenes will be missing.

I was going to tape B&TB when it was aired on the Family Channel, because I don't have all the episodes. Now I'll have all the episodes, but they won't be complete -- the way they were meant to be. That's really too bad. I'm sure many fans of the show were planning on starting or completing their collection of B&TB episodes. I hope when this series goes to other networks in syndication, these networks will understand that the reruns should be shown in their entirety.[8]
I'm taping shows from the Family Channel, but I'm sorely disappointed in the way they are cutting scenes (3 separate scenes were cut in the pilot episode alone). I feel cheated and hate the idea that the shows I treasure are incomplete. I wouldn't mind having the Winterfest episode and the episode with Michael going Above and falling in love with Catherine, either. I have along wait ahead of me and the frustration in knowing parts are being deleted. [9]

Moving on to more mundane matters, I am personally getting a bit fed up with the Family Channel's editing/censoring/butchering of B&B. I realise that the official reason for the deletions is to make room for more commercials. I do not like that, but I could tolerate it if that was all that it was. But it is quite obvious to me that specific scenes (and entire episodes!) are being eliminated because they are "unsuitable" for family viewing (as defined by Pat Robertson, no doubt!).

Two explicit bed scenes (in "Temptation" and "A Fair and Perfect Knight") were deleted entirely. Mild expletives like "damn" and "hell" were edited out.

But the worst offensive act (in my mind) has been the censoring of scenes and episodes which touch upon non-Christian themes. The Family Channel has apparently chosen to skip "Dark Spirit" (dealing with voodoo) and "When the Bluebird Sings" (dealing with a ghost) and they cut out Narcissa's prediction of Winslow's death in "To Reign in Hell". I know many B&B fans are Christians (I'm not, myself) but I think most of you would agree with Hamlet that "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." The Family Channel is deliberately suppressing ideas, just like the preacher on "WKRP" who wanted to ban John Lennon's "Imagine". I urge all of you to write to the Family Channel and make them aware of your disapproval. [10]

Fan Comments: The Topic of Censorship

As for reports that The Family Channel is tampering with episodes of B&TB (I, unfortunately, can't get it in my area), this is deplorable. Yet, it's typical of all fundamentalism -- if it doesn't match a certain belief system (theirs!), it's automatically "wrong" and undeserving of expression, period. Truly "enlightened" thinking, isn't it? I would urge all those of us whom this bothers to write CBS and voice our concern.

Which brings me finally to Beth B's wonderful LOC in Issue 8. The issue of censorship and intolerance in this country could indeed become the "racism" of the 1990s, and may already be such. As a man who happens to be gay, I find it saddening to live in a society that, for the most part, equates "different" with "bad" or "evil." I am outraged when I realize that some people/organizations believe that my very existence is a mistake, "phase," perversion, or "sin." I am more than my sexual orientation (which I had nothing to do with choosing, in case some people still don't understand that -- nobody "made" me this way!), just as Vincent is more, much more than a half-man/half-beast. I'm sure we've dealt with very similar personal "demons!" It might've been interesting to see how the show dealt with that issue! [11]
I'm told [The Family Channel which was re-airing Beauty and the Beast] is afraid of bestiality. Well, on their commercials they show a man kissing a horse (The Black Stallion) and a boy kissing a dog (Rin Tin Tin). Now why isn't that bestiality? [12]

The Added Wedding and the Baby Erasure Plan

Comments by Stephanie Wiltse: "It's nice to know that some of the newspaper people on my freebie list still read their "Pipelines." Less than a week after the October issue was in the mail, Rich Heldenfels of the Schenectady Gazette and Mark Dwadiziak, syndicated columnist with the Akron Beacon (and Cinefantastique contributor) called to correct me on Family Channel's intentions. Checking my info out with VP Earl Weirich, they had discovered the network was indeed leaning toward additional 'wedding' footage. The alternative being to edit out all reference to Catherine's baby in subsequent episodes — FAM apparently has a problem with an illegitimate child being a regular on one of their programs! Logically, one wouldn't normally assume that by airing the series as is, Family Channel would be endorsing anything, let alone promoting the begetting of illegitimate oflspring. The day after that issue of Pipeline had gone to press, Mr. Weirich returning my call (my answering machine had been rude to him the day before), was still denying any present day existence as a "Christian Broadcasting Network" though at the same time confiding that the Reverend Wildmon (organizer of the A.F.A., which promotes the boycotting of sponsors based on a program's 'moral' content, see V3#3) had indeed been a "consultant" on their handling of the series. Which explains quite a lot. One reporter even surmised that Pat Robertson, possibly considering the U.S. presidency again in '92, might have something to do with the 'illegitimate regular' issue (since FAM is still a Robertson family affair)." -- from Pipeline v.3 n.11 (November 1990)

The Family Channel announced that it was alter the original third season to either portray a wedding between Vincent and Catherine, or the network would delete any scene or mention of Vincent and Catherine's baby. This was due to its refusal to promote the portrayal a child born to unmarried characters.

Mainstream Press Blurbs

From Mark Dawidziak from the "Detroit Free Press" (October 18, 1990):

Family Channel wants to see beauty and beast tie the knot.

What has the Family Channel nervous is the notion that Vincent impregnated Catherine without the benefit of marriage (we’re talking out-of-wedlock concerns, here, not out-of-species). To remedy this shocking situation, the cable service is considering the addition of a marriage scene.

"They say they have enough footage to piece together a wedding scene, or at least intimate that they are wed,” said Stephanie A. Wiltsie [13], who publishes the “Beauty and the Beast” newsletter Pipeline in Albany, N.Y. “The alternative is to completely edit out the story of the child born out of wedlock.” Wiltsie isn't sure the second option can be executed without “completely gutting” the third-season episodes, many dealing with Vincent's search for his child.

“The objection is that the child is illegitimate,” said Earl Weirich, the Family Channel’s director of public affairs. “Our viewers count on us for good, wholesome shows — family entertainment. We don't want to be censors, but we have an obligation to our viewers.

“It is our view that a marriage would give the relationship between Vincent and Catherine further dignity. Every network exercises the right to edit for content. We've edited about two minutes from each episode for time, language or violence."

Wiltsie realizes all television executives edit for content, but wonders why the Family Channel purchased “Beauty and the Beast" if there are problems with such a major plot.

“I assume they knew what they were buying," she said. “These plots weren't exactly kept secret. And, remember, things were pretty well sanitized by CBS before they hit the air. We're getting to the point where the Family Channel is having trouble with the basic relationship between Catherine and Vincent, which is what the whole show is about." [14]

BACKSTAGE by Marilyn Beck

WEDDING BELL BLUES: Forget reports that the Family Channel will be piecing together a wedding scene from existing footage of "Beauty and the Beast" — so the love child of Beast and his lady Catherine will be legitimized in the Family network's cable reruns of the show. "Beauty and the Beast"creator Ron Koslow informs this column that the Family folks would have to get an ok from him before they did such tampering — and that he has no intention of saying yes. - From OnSat magazine, Dec. 2 - Dec. 8, 1990 [15]

What Did Ron Perlman Think of This?

Did you know that the Family Channel has put Beauty and the Beast into syndication and is planning to concoct a wedding scene for Vincent and Catherine? How do you feel about that?

(Ron makes a disbelieving face.) Now I've heard everything. Poppycock. The question was, that the Family Channel has put Beauty and the Beast in syndication and they're going to... create a wedding scene. If we didn't do it, then it never got done. That's my feeling. And nobody has the right to mess around, it's like... It's like colorizing John Huston films or... it's a sacrilege. [16]

Fan Comments

The Detroit Free Press article about Family Channel's plans was rather startling. I was really hoping that all the talk about the faked wedding was just rumor... after all, it seemed so ridiculous it was hard to see how it could be true! In my mind, changing the story in such a way goes far beyond "editing." In the few Family Channel "edited" condensed-version shows I’ve seen, I've been irritated and grumbly about the cuts but the story, though slightly moth eaten, has always stayed relatively intact. (With the exception of course of "Dark Spirit," which seems to have disappeared altogether." The show would be a lot better off without such editing, but will probably survive it as long as the main storylines remain intact.

With the plan for a phony tacked-on wedding scene, however, Family Channel isn't talking about editing. They're talking about changing, adding to and rewriting the story. The same holds for the equally crazy idea of removing all reference to baby Jacob. [17]

Some people continue to wonder about The Family Channel's plans for B&TB this fall (they begin airing episodes Friday, Sept. 21, 8-10 PM). Certainly they've been giving out some strange information. In a recent letter to a fan who had written deploring the sadistic violence of the third season and asking how it could be consistent with TFC's agenda of "family viewing," Janet Mosier (Public Liaison Coordinator for TFC) replied with the following: "Every show aired on The Family Channel is edited carefully to make certain that it is in line with our traditional values, and suitable for family entertaining. In one episode (of B&TB) where the two main characters had relations outside of marriage, we intend to rewrite it so that they will be married before they consummate their relationship." Ms. Mosier said something similar in a phone conversation to another fan, but was very vague about how this would be accomplished, and finally suggested that we would just have to watch to see what happened.

Now, I'm sure that many of us would love to see that scene — but the next thought for me would be: "Where are they going to get this footage?" I would be willing to bet the farm that nothing like a wedding was ever shot, so how are they going to accomplish this? It may be a ploy to keep us glued to the TV set in the hopes of lost footage, but I'm not advising anyone to hold their breath. Very, very odd. I personally find it disturbing that TFC answered a letter asking how unacceptable violence would be handled for family viewing with the promise that premarital sex would be banished from our screens. That wasn't the question! It looks like TFC, with all its claims of commitment to family values, holds no different standards than much of the rest of our society — sex is sinful, bad, something to be punished for, but the humiliation, torture, and murder of women is of little concern to them. Why did I expect any thing different? [18]
Regarding the possibility of the Family Channel taking a spray can to the painted tunnels: I believe they would be in grave error. However, if they feel they can exercise their right to preserve the Commandments and safeguard the Morals. Why not go one further? I'll accept the addition of a marriage if they carry forth with plans to delete a torturous murder! Now that's a bargain I'd be willing to see occur on the network. [19]
It was just announced, on Feb. 5, that the Family Channel has decided that they will not air the third season of B&TB, presumably since they were not allowed to legitimize Vincent & Catherine's relationship with a fabricated wedding. Starting on Feb. 11, they will be starting over again with the pilot. [20]

The Third Season and Fandom Conflict Spills Over to The Family Channel

Fan Comments

The Catherine/3rd season debate is going to rage on for decades, like some of the "Star Trek" controversies and questions. You may as well get used to it. Everyone who discovers this marvelous show, in the years to come, will be faced with some of the same decisions and dilemmas. The Family Channel's syndication, beginning in September, will bring you a flood of new viewers glad to find they're not alone; and their fandom will likely follow the course ours has. [21]
I'd like to respond to appeared in TT Vol. 2, #1, and was penned by [Gloria D]. First, I want to thank Gloria for offering the first answer I've seen to my question about why anti-third season fans are writing to the Family Channel to keep the third season off the air, rather than simply not watching, and leaving the rest of us to our choice of viewing. Gloria responded that she thought the Family Channel would pass those letters on to Republic and/or Ron Koslow, and she was hoping that "somebody, somewhere, sometime" would "the the message!" Well, Gloria, to that I can't help but reply that you stand a better chance of these people getting your message if you write directly to them instead of hoping the Family Channel will take the time out to forward your mail. Furthermore, such an approach would insure that the people concerned with the upcoming film would get your message WITHOUT your endangering my chances of watching all the episodes I'd like to see, or new fans' chance to see the 3rd season and make up their own minds about it, instead of relying on conflicting second-hand information from other fans. [22]
I also found it interesting to hear from some new fans in the recent TTs who have found the show through the Family Channel. Since the Family Channel has apparently decided not to air third season, it makes you wonder how many new viewers have tuned in and know very little of what occurred third season. [23]
While I can't say I agree with their motives [to not air the third season at all], I still applaud the end result. The thought that the third season — which, for me, was a perversion of everything that B&TB had come to mean, both because of Catherine's ignoble death and the disintegration of Vincent's noble character — will not be appearing on TV screens, at least for the present, is a source of great relief and happiness for me. I'd rather that new fans didn't see it, and it seems almost a vindication for the truth and beauty of Vincent and Catherine's dream. It also lifts my hopes a little higher; maybe we will yet see the fairy tale return. [24]
[Regarding rumors about] concerns [about] Family Channel's refusal to air the third season; and says that our Virginia Beach group, the DreamSeekers, was responsible. I'll tell you honestly — I wish we had been; I was worried about new fans being as hurt as I was by those episodes. Now that kind of wishful thinking may seem, to some people, as reprehensible as the act itself; but, in fact, it simply isn't. [25]

The Family Channel Wasn't the Only Meddling Culprit

A note: Sci-Fi Channel is airing Beauty and the Beast at 11 a.m.-noon and 5-6 p.m CST. While I write letters to them, mentioning I don't like how they cut scenes (like Family Channel), I do appreciate their advertising. If CBS did this or even syndication, our fan club would surely have grown! "He rises from below to save an innocent victim, but he is victim to a love that can never be." "Share the impossible romance!" "Live the adventure." "Beauty - Linda Hamilton as Catherine, Beast - Ron Perlman as Vincent - relive the love that can never be."

LORDY! Everyday every chance they get is an ad for the show. Once they advertised that show twice in another one hour episode! While they do the same for the other shows, too, for me, as a fan of Vincent and Catherine, I am not used to this! And sometimes they behave and make no cuts, so I can sort of forgive.[26]

The Cease and Desist Letters

In early 1991, two fans who produced zines were sent cease and desist letters by "Republic Pictures," the entity that owned the rights to Beauty and the Beast (TV).

The letters, of course, caused much consternation and fannish discussion regarding the legality of fanworks, fear of being sued or harassed, questions about why the letters were sent, and future actions.

Some fans heard rumors that fellow fans and/or The Family Channel See The Beauty and the Beast Cease and Desist Letters.

Fan Comments

Certain rumors are making the rounds of our fandom, with regard to the "cease and desist" letters sent by Republic to Kay Brinkley and myself. So, since I know that no B&TB fan would deliberately slander another, I thought I'd take a moment to set the record straight. One rumor states that Kay and I were held captive at the Family Channel and forced to reveal the contents of X-rated zines. (I'd love to meet whoever thought that one up!)

Another suggests that we revealed such subject matter (and the names and addresses of other fan-artists/authors) willingly, so that the Family Channel could pass that information on to Republic. (Thereby cutting our own throats, and justifying a comfortable "they deserve whatever they get" philosophy.)

A third rumor concerns the Family Channel's refusal to air the third season; and says that our Virginia Beach group, the DreamSeekers, was responsible. I'll tell you honestly — I wish we had been; I was worried about new fans being as hurt as I was by those episodes. Now that kind of wishful thinking may seem, to some people, as reprehensible as the act itself; but, in fact, it simply isn't. In truth, we are less than a dozen members, whatever positive energy (and noise) we're able to generate. We are not a block of religious fanatics intent on censoring B&TB, and most of us wrote to the Family Channel to protest their "editing" of the first two seasons.

[...]

Here are the facts: Kay Brinkley and Laurie W. have interviewed Mr. Weirich twice for our fan club publications Until the Night. I've never met the man, or even been on the grounds. Mr. Weirich was interested in the show's following but knew nothing about fan publications (and, frankly, had — and has — other important things to fill up his day). At no time did Kay or Laurie "inform" on other zine writers/artists or pass along copies of fan-fiction. The interviews were aimed at gathering information, not disseminating it.

During their most recent interview with Mr. Weirich, only weeks ago, he answered questions regarding the third season by stating that no decision had "yet" been made about how it was to be promoted; the assumption was that it would indeed by shown, and Kay and Laurie left with that understanding. The reverse-decision (which we heard about from a fan with better connections, in another state) was as much a surprise to us as to everyone else.

We're convinced that the Family Channel had nothing to do with the "cease and desist" letters generated by Republic. We do not choose to speculate on the source of any "anonymous tip" that might have resulted in such letters being sent (so far) only to Kay and me. [27]

References

  1. ^ as quoted in Pipeline v.3 n.4/5 (April/May 1990)
  2. ^ from Once Upon a Time...Is Now #22 (May 1990)
  3. ^ from Tunneltalk v.1 n.4 (June 1990)
  4. ^ "Mr. Weirich returning my call (my answering machine had been rude to him the day before), was still denying any present day existence as a "Christian Broadcasting Network" though at the same time confiding that the Reverend Wildmon (organizer of the A.F.A., which promotes the boycotting of sponsors based on a program's 'moral' content, see V3#3) had indeed been a "consultant" on their handling of the series." -- from Pipeline v.3 n.11 (November 1990)
  5. ^ from Pipeline v.3 n.8/9 (August/September 1990)
  6. ^ from Pipeline v.3 n.4/5 (April//May 1990)
  7. ^ as quoted in Pipeline v.3 n.10 (October 1990)
  8. ^ from Tunneltalk v.1 n.4 (June 1990)
  9. ^ from Once Upon a Time... Is Now #28 (December 1990)
  10. ^ from Once Upon a Time... Is Now #30 (March 1991)
  11. ^ from Tunneltalk v.1 n.11 (January 1991)
  12. ^ from "Tunneltalk" (February 1991)
  13. ^ The article incorrectly uses "Wiltsie."
  14. ^ this article was transcribed in Once Upon a Time... Is Now #27 (November 1990)
  15. ^ from Once Upon a Time... Is Now]] #28 (December 1990)
  16. ^ from Ron Perlman's appearance at Creation Con November 25, 1990, New York City, see The Spiral Staircase #3
  17. ^ from Once Upon a Time... Is Now]] #28 (December 1990)
  18. ^ from Tunneltalk v.1 n.6 (August 1990)
  19. ^ from Tunneltalk v.1 n.10 (December 1990)
  20. ^ from Tunneltalk v.1 n.10 (December 1990)
  21. ^ from Once Upon a Time...Is Now #23 (June 1990)
  22. ^ from Tunneltalk v.2 n.3 (May 1991)
  23. ^ from Tunneltalk v.1 n.12 (February 1991)
  24. ^ from Tunneltalk v.1 n.10 (December 1990)
  25. ^ from Lynette Combs in Tunneltalk v.2 n.1 (March 1991)
  26. ^ from Once Upon a Time...Is Now #51 (January/February 1994)
  27. ^ from Lynette Combs in Tunneltalk v.2 n.1 (March 1991)