The Best in the Disney Classic Beauty and the Beast has been a popular character among children and adults, a stand out “creature” which isn’t exactly a single animal, but was conceptualized as the combination of various animals merged into one.
As the thirteenth feature length animation by Disney, Beauty and the Beast gave the classic fairy tale a modern twist, with a “forward-thinking” female in the character of Belle, a trait which worked well with the original story’s theme where a girl falls in love with a beast.
Being a Disney feature, it has to be said that Beauty and the Beast’s animators had to come up with a creature that was frightening yet had some lovable “human” sides to it. Glen Keane, the character’s designer, took on the challenge of creating such a character, combining the different traits of various known animals into one unique creation.
Ultimately, the Beast is made up of a lion (his mane), a buffalo (his horns), a gorilla (his eyebrows), a human being (his eyes), a wild boar (his tusks), a bear (his body), and a wolf (his tail and legs).
Though not exactly coming from Keane himself, the Beast character is somewhat reminiscent of the Platypus, which, when it was first described, was the subject of a lot of inquiries and doubts, with mot experts doubting the existence of such a “weird” creature, a mammal which laid eggs, had flippers, a beaver-like tail and a bill, hence its name, the duck billed platypus.
Countless parents had to take the time to explain to their kids what kind of creature the Beast was, with references to other combination-creatures like the Sphinx or a Gryphon. Even winged horses and winged monkeys would have most certainly been brought up too.
Still, though the Beast is not really based on a real creature, it was so well made that many had, at one point in time, thought it was real, with both children and adults convinced of his actual existence.
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