Howard Criticizes Himself?

edited March 2012 in Disney
My guess is that the thread title was a bit of a throw-off to other members. I thought this thread would be useful in bringing attention to the fact that even a lyricist of Howard's caliber is capable of second-guessing his own work.

Recently, I've been reading "Work in Progress," written by Michael Eisner (!!), and in one chapter, he talked about how during production of Beauty and the Beast, Ashman and Menken were working up at Residence Inn at Fishkill, NY near Howard's home (due to his deteriorating health at the time, but that's all common knowledge now). When Ashman and Menken introduced the film's opening number "Belle", Howard gave this warning to Eisner and the rest of artistic directors present:

"You're going to find it too long, too theatrical, and too unconventional."

Mind you, this is based on Michael Eisner's memory of Ashman and Menken's presentation (I don't know if Sarah has any pictures of Howard working at the Inn at that time). Still, isn't it interesting? Despite the effectiveness and timeless quality of the song "Belle", Howard second-guessed his own work. This leads me to the pertinent question:

Was it normal for Howard to criticize his own efforts in spite of his narrative and prosaic expertise?


  • We'll Have Tomorrow
  • Howard always second-guessed his work. He was stubborn about defending himself and his work, but that was only after he had put himself through the wringer writing it. I suspect this is common to most artists. The trick is to make it look easy - but not to go easy on yourself.

    No pix of his working at the RI, at least I don't have any.

    I think his note to Eisner, BTW, was more a reflection of what he thought Eisner might feel, not what Howard felt. Always a good way to deflect criticism, tell 'em what they won't like before they can tell you.
  • Alan has the best line about this. "Howard was a self-flagellating artist, and the problem with working with self-flagellating artists is that sometimes, they miss and hit you."
  • edited February 2015
    @JustinKudwa Couldn't have said it better myself!
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