Critical Research Failure: As pointed out by this hilarious post on the official Disney blog, the amount of eggs Gaston claims he consumes for breakfast roughly equates to 6,000 calories - per day, for breakfast. Which is enough to fuel two grown men of 6 feet tall in their twenties.
Development Hell: Walt himself had tried to develop an adaptation of this story back in the 1940s, but no one could figure out how to make the second act (the heroine's stay in the castle) work.
Dueling Movies: An American Tail: Fievel Goes West and Rock-A-Doodle were in theaters at the same time, with Fievel even opening on the same weekend as Beauty. Needless to say it wasn't much of a fight - all other movies were pretty much Curb-Stomped as audiences flocked to the one with a story that broke through the Animation Age Ghetto, with watershed animation and with Broadway-caliber songs, as well as the still-evolving idea that such an important female character could be anything other than a Distressed Damsel.
Averted with the Beast. No one knew that was Robby Benson.
A little explanation: Benson's natural speaking voice is actually closer to the baritone of the Beast, but due to Type Casting has been forced to pitch it up higher to a tenor which some feel better represents his often assumed role as a dashing and heroic Love Interest.
Gaston is the original Phantom. Not in the acclaimed Andrew Lloyd Webber version, but the one by Maury Yeston.
Cogsworth mentioning that "promises you don't intend to keep" are among the usual things given to ladies was an adlib by David Ogden Stiers when he thought the advice as scripted wasn't sufficiently bad.
The special edition added the song "Human Again", a song originally fully animated but cut for time reasons, where the servants clean up the whole castle. The animators ultimately chose to leave the West Wing ruined after Belle left the castle to save Maurice, rationalizing that the Beast wrecked it again during his Heroic BSOD. And to really drive the point home, they add in the sounds of glass breaking as Belle rides off.
Speaking of "Human Again" Paige O'Hara and Robby Benson ad-libbed their little "Twoe?- -Two" exchange.
The dummy lyrics written for Gaston's song were so impressive that they became the actual words used.
Also, in the final fight, Gaston falling off the castle was intended to be deliberate, with Gaston actually letting go after stabbing the Beast (there were originally supposed to be two stab wounds that he inflicted), and while falling he was also going to laugh like the Joker in The Dark Knight under similar circumstances. For some reason, this was vetoed. Also, Gaston's line before nearly being hung over the edge was "It's over, Beast! Time to die!", but they changed it to "Belle is mine!" in order to fit Belle back into the scene and also to omit violence. There was apparently also supposed to be a scene where Gaston and D'Arque go into the actual asylum area.
As mentioned, the Beast was actually supposed to have an entire song to himself, which was supposed to happen after he chases Belle out of the West Wing, but for whatever reason this was scrapped and he only had a brief singing line in "Something There". However, he does get a song in the stage musical called "If I Can't Love Her" (which happens, wouldn't you know it, right after he chases Belle out of the West Wing!).
Rupert Everett auditioned for the role of Gaston, but was told by the directors he didn't sound arrogant enough. He remembered this when he voiced Prince Charming in Shrek 2.
Disney was originally going to have Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel in The Little Mermaid also provide the voice for Belle. However, it was decided that Belle needed a more "European" sounding voice. Howard Ashman remembered working with Paige O'Hara and suggested she try out for the part.
Many scenes were storyboarded but never animated. Those include Maurice actually visiting the fair (with a song called "The Invention Convention") before getting lost on the way home, a scene where Gaston visits the Asylum and a scene where the Beast is seen dragging a carcass of an animal he killed. Both where considered too gruesome for the film (and it was feared that the latter would cause the audience to lose sympathy for the Beast) and the ideas were dropped.
The majority of the sculptures seen in the castle are different earlier versions of the Beast.
The original "cute" character of the movie was a music box, which was supposed to be a musical version of Dopey from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. But when the character Chip's role was expanded, the music box idea was scrapped. However the music box can be seen for a brief moment on a table next to Lumière just before the fight between the enchanted objects and the villagers in the Beast's castle.
The film was previewed at the New York Film Festival in September 1991 in a "Work-In-Progress" format. Approximately 70% of the footage was the final color animation. The other 30% consisted of storyboard reels, rough animation pencil tests, clean-up (final line) animation pencil tests, and computer animation tests of the ballroom sequence. This marked the first time that Disney had done a large-scale preview of an unfinished film. There was some concern at the studio as to what the audience, consisting of only adults, would think of the work-in-progress version. According to producer Don Hahn the audience gave the film a standing ovation.
Many of paintings on the walls of the castle are undetailed versions of famous paintings by such artists as Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Goya.
It was lyricist Howard Ashman who came up with the idea of turning the enchanted objects into living creatures with unique personalities.
Howard Ashman also started lyric work on at least two songs for The Beast. He wanted to show things from his perspective as he felt previous version had place enough focus on the Beauty character and since he has the greatest Character Development the Beast the main character anyway. For one reason or another they were scrapped but some of the ideas were worked into the character, like the anger than went with the despair and the Broadway took inspiration from his work to craft "If I Can't Love Her".
The signs that Maurice comes upon when going to the fair, according to movie commentary, read from top to bottom: Saugus, Newhall, Valencia and Anaheim, all towns in Southern California. The sign just above Saugus reads Ramona, another town in Southern California, although the commentary did not mention it specifically.
Caricatures of the directors, Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale, can be seen in the scene where Belle is given the book as a gift. As she is leaving the store three men are seen pretending to not look through the window and then they sing, "Look there she goes. The girl who's so peculiar. I wonder if she's feeling well." They are the two men on the outside of the large blonde man.
The Beast had hundreds of designs before they finally settled on the chimera-like form seen in the movie because too many of them where just variations of animal heads on human bodies
When Paige O'Hara was auditioning, a bit of her hair flew in her face and she tucked it back. The animators liked this so they put it in the movie, giving Belle one of her signature moves.
The Beast Face Palming at several points in the movie come from Robbie Benson doing it in recording sessions when he was getting tired and hoarse from screaming all the time.
The library in the Beast's castle bears a strong resemblance to the oval reading room of the Richelieu Building at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris.
The first stained glass window seen in the prologue has the Latin phrase 'vincit qui se vincit', which means, in a subtle prefiguring of the arc of the whole story, 'He conquers who conquers himself'.
The supervising animator for Wardrobe was Tony Anselmo - the current voice of Donald Duck.
Playing Against Type: Somewhat in reverse for Ron Perlman. In this show he conclusively showed that he could do subtle drama very well, but subsequently got invariably Typecast as a grim yet wisecracking Badass, virtually without exception. Even his Hellboy character spends more time making deadpan quips and kicking the butts of his enemies than romancing his partner Liz.
Disabled Character, Disabled Actor: The episode "Sticks and Stones" was quietly groundbreaking, with scenes involving only deaf characters being presented with subtitles and on-screen silence instead of having a hearing character translate or dubbing in voices. Even background music was absent. This was something the deaf actors involved, especially Terrylene (who played Laura), fought hard for, not wanting their language to be given second-class status or for their "voices" to be obscured by those of other actors.