Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Tale as Old as 1987



Where shall I begin?   Do I begin In the 1980's with hazy recollections or do I start in 2011?  Yes, I believe the 21st Century is the time to begin this tale of a freakboy, his sister, and a television series quite different from any series on during its brief run.

In July of that not-so-long ago year, I was visiting the city of Omaha, Nebraska.  Well, visiting is not quite accurate.  Technically I was being retained for my triple-threat abilities of pseudo-nanny, dog-watcher, and house-sitter, but that is another blog entry for another day. During a moment of seriously much-needed free time I made a beeline for my favorite Omaha book/movie/music store.

Half Price Books, located on 123rd & West Center, near Hooters, is a wonderland for the avid reader, watcher and/or listener!  I was meticulously scanning the various shelves of various sections when I froze solid in front of the DVD discount shelf.  Typically this shelf is a haven of films that everyone has seen and nobody wants, but that day there were two items I knew my sister would want and how!

I reached up and removed the first two seasons of the 1980's series BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.  Even though it was the discount shelf, I was still stunned by the low, low price of 5 dollars a season!  I knew this was a purchase that must happen because my sister would love this brilliant and unexpected find.  My only disappointment was that the final season was nowhere to be found.

After my triple-threat abilities were no longer required, I headed home with Linda Hamilton as Catherine and Ron Perlman as Vincent packed in my bag.  To say my sister was thrilled would be an understatement, and she wasn't horribly disappointed that I had not found the final season.  She recalled the short third season to be underwhelming, if not completely terrible.

We immediately began watching the first season (which originally aired in 1987 - 1988).  She remembered a lot, but I only recalled the couple of episodes she had acquired on VHS, and even then my recollections were, as I previously stated, hazy.   However, I must admit that no matter how hard I struggled against it, I was being drawn into this romantic fairy tale world of Catherine and Vincent.  Each time it looked as if they were about to kiss but then hugged instead, I nearly screamed...and don't get me started about their 'souls' kissing at the end of the season!  Yet, that season-ender was not near as frustrating as the cliffhanger ending of the second season (1988 - 1989).

It would have been extremely easy to order the final season off the internet or from a store, mainly to see how the cliffhanger was resolved, but my sister chose to wait.  Her reasoning partly stemmed from her belief that the final season was less than worth it and also from the thrill of the search.  Perhaps it was the magical aspect of Beauty and the Beast that gave sense to this decision.

A few years clicked by until February 2014 innocuously rolled around and with it a little trip to Kearney, Nebraska.  A family gathering had been planned, one which would involve basketball, card tricks, chocolate turnovers, and a stop at my favorite Kearney book/movie/music store called Hastings.  Just take an East turn on the hilltop and you will find it next to Hobby Lobby.

My sister and I divided once inside Hastings and commenced with browsing.  Soon I found myself among science-fiction film titles, not looking for anything in particular.  Suddenly a flash of blue was shoved in front of my face and I instantaneously recognized the cover to the final season (1989 - 1990).  In a display showcasing how much this series got under my skin, I took off my snarky, annoying little brother cap and expressed genuine excitement and eagerness for my sister's surprising find!

We were soon involved in a viewing marathon, having decided to watch the first two seasons again before starting on the third.  As for this long-awaited final season, the first two episodes resolved the second season cliffhanger and then did the unthinkable.  Killing off one of the title characters is a risky move and I can see why my sister originally disliked this season.  The initial shock surely tainted the remaining episodes.  Yet time has a way of making us forgive, and in the end we both found the final season of Beauty and the Beast intriguing and completely worth the wait.

If you are interested, here is the opening titles to the first two seasons...   http://youtu.be/qeUhrLoMIYo

Be well, Readers, and Freak Out,
JLH


P.S.  We attempted to watch the CW remake of Beauty and the Beast, but it failed to capture either of our imaginations.

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