Synopsis by Hal Erickson
After a self-imposed, nine-year "retirement," former child star Shirley Temple returned to show business as host and occasional star of a series of monthly specials based on popular fairy tales. The first entry of Shirley Temple's Storybook, and one of the few to be broadcast live (most subsequent episodes were filmed), was a lavish adaptation of Beaumont's classic fable Beauty and the Beast, with Claire Bloom and Charlton Heston in the title roles. E.G. Marshall (who was to appear in several future Storybooks) is cast as the hapless merchant who, after thoughtlessly plucking a rose from the garden of a strange and forbidding castle, is ordered by the castle's beastly master (Heston) to give up one of his three daughters, lest he lose his own life. The merchant's oldest daughter, Beauty (Bloom), volunteers to remain at the Beast's castle for the rest of her life, never dreaming that her love and kindness will one day release her captor from the spell that imprisons him in his monstrous form. Although Shirley Temple does not appear in the play proper, she serves as host and narrator, and also sings the familiar Storybook theme song. "Beauty and the Beast" was originally telecast in color.