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Danziger as Kipper
An Interview with

Kipper on
Beauty and the Beast

Cory on stage at the conventionSome of us had the pleasure of meeting you at the convention last summer in San Diego. Were you surprised that you were asked to be a guest because of a character you played in Beauty and the Beast, a television series which was cancelled more than 20 years ago? 


I was surprised by the invitation to San Diego's convention.  I had been to a meet-up in Los Angeles in the mid 90's and since then had periodically heard about different conventions being held.  I'm so glad I went, and I even got to take my father.  He remembered the days I used to work on the series, and he got a great kick out of the experience 20 years later.



Tell us a little about yourself in general - where you grew up, your acting background, and how you got started in show business, etc


I grew up in Los Angeles' suburbs.  I was an outgoing child, and my parents could tell I was ready to perform early on.  After a friend of mine began to act professionally, I convinced my mom to seek out an agent.  Fortunately, we met with Iris Burton early on, and quickly I was being sent out to calls around town.  I started working by the time I was 7 on various commercials and television shows.  I continued for 10 years and had a great time. I left the industry and went to college in 1995.



How old were you when you appeared on Beauty and the Beast? Did you continue in other acting work after the show was cancelled? 


I was Kipper for a season and a half.  I believe I was 11ish.  I actually left the show in the second season because I wasn't signed to a guaranteed contract of a minimum of episodes per season.  During the second season of BATB, I received an offer from Disney to appear on another show, The Magical World of Disney.  This series provided a guarantee and required me to not appear on another series.  That marked the end of my days on BATB.



How did you originally get the role of Kipper? Another boy had played him in the pilot episode. How did the change come about? 


The young man that played Kipper in the PILOT was Jason Allen, a great young actor from New York.  He did the pilot, but wasn't prepared to move to Los Angeles for the role once the series was picked up.  Hence, they recast the character.  Interesting to note, within a few years of the PILOT being shot, Jason moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting with his family and became a good friend of mine for many years.  He was a great young actor.



Did you audition specifically for the part of Kipper, not as a random tunnel child? Were you aware at the time that he would be a recurring character?Cory in a Childrens Story


The interview was initially for Kipper, and the first episode to be shot was for the episode “Children's Story.”  At the time, we knew that the role would be recurring.



How much of yourself went into creating Kipper and what kind of instruction were you given about his background and how he should be played? Did you have your own ideas about who he was, or a back story for him?


I did receive some backstory on the character and the fact that he was a child that would assist Vincent above ground.  Initially that was the intention of the character...hence several episodes involved Kipper running through the streets of the city and doing little errands like in the Children's Story's plot.  I can tell you that the most assistance I received in terms of developing the approach of playing Kipper came from Roy, who took an interest in my acting and supporting me as I was learning how to portray the character.  He was a very generous actor with so much knowledge, and was always a great mentor to watch and learn from on the set.



Kipper with Vincent and other tunnel children in A Childrens StoryFrom the viewpoint of a child, what was your reaction at your first sight of the tunnels set and of Ron Perlman in full Vincent make-up?  


It was incredible.  The sets were so elaborate that it was impossible not to be mesmerized by the creativity involved.  The show was wildly expensive at the time to shoot and create.  The sets were testament to that fact.  In terms of Vincent's makeup, I was impressed by it and certainly shocked the first couple of times that I saw him on the sound stages, but funny enough, it became very normal by the second week.  I didn't think twice of it by the fourth or fifth week.  Funny how the mind works.



Our fans’ minds know it’s TV, but the tunnels still hold some magic for us.  Are you, or were you a fan of the show? If so, does having also been part of it spoil some of the magic we fans find? 


The tunnels hold magic for everyone on the show, who has ever seen the show, and anyone who appreciated what BATB was about.  I'm sure of it.  They were special.  As I've grown older, I've learned to really appreciate what BATB stands for and how special the bond that Vincent and Catherine share.  As a child, many of the stories were a bit to sophisticated for me, but with time, I've learned to appreciate just how special the series is.



Of the episodes you appeared in, did you have a favorite? If you did, why that one? Kamie Harper as Ellie


I would say that “Children's Story” was my favorite because I got to work with Kamie Harper who ended up being the first girl I ever kissed.  We took a liking to each other while we were shooting and she ended up being my first kiss...haha...sounds silly, but its true.



Do you have a favorite memory of the show or your time as a part of it? 


My favorite memory of the show was hanging around the Renmar sound stages because the Golden Girls were shooting at a soundstage next door.  They were really sweet ladies and used to make a big fuss over me.  Another thing that I've grown to appreciate is the time I got to spend with mom while I was working.  She and I are very close.  I miss having those special memories on the set and having her be an important part of it.  She was definitely my teacher in terms of lines and how to deliver them.



What was it like for you when Beauty and the Beast became a well-known show and the fan interest began? Were you recognized as Kipper? Did you catch any flack at school?


When the show came out I had already been acting for a while so I had already learned to not make a big deal about it at school, hence I don't know if many of my friends really knew about it.  They were young and probably watching Full House instead.  It was on at the same time.  I used to get recognized a bit outside of school.  I always thought that was kind of neat.



Were you aware then that you were being seen in about 90 other countries? Did you ever see yourself dubbed in another language? 


I've known about the other countries because there are international press agencies that would periodically contact me over the years relating to BATB debuting in different parts of the world.  I remember we did some photos for promotion several years later, long after the show was off the air.  But I've never seen the episodes fun!



How was school handled when you were on set for the entire day? 


We had a studio teacher that worked with me.  My school would provide work in advance and the teacher on set would see to it that I completed it and would help with any questions I had.



Danziger in A Children's Story wearing full tunnel garbThe tunnel garb all appears to be heavy clothing. Was that a problem when filming in warm weather? Were fittings as difficult for you to tolerate as they would be for most boys at the age you were then? 


Great question.  The clothing was very heavy and had a ton of layers.  I remember it was hard to move around with ease once I was fully in costume.  But I remember the studio actually being very cool and the clothing didn't seem to overheat me during work.



We’ve interviewed adult members of the cast. From your perspective as a child, what was the working atmosphere like on the set?


It was intense.  Everyone was very serious about what they were doing.  I've worked on sets where things were very light hearted and fun, but BATB was so expensive and elaborate and carefully orchestrated that it was a very serious environment where everyone was taking their jobs very seriously.



Was there any cast or staff member in particular who took you under his/her wing as a young actor? Cory as Kipper with Roy's(Father's) hand on his shoulder


Linda was wonderful and so sweet.  Ron was awesome and always kind.  No doubt about it, Roy stands out as the one who took me under his wing and helped me.



Do you have any souvenirs from the show and if so, what are they? 


I have a bunch of neat artifacts.  I have a design for one of Kipper's costumes that is hand done by Judy Evans.  I also have scripts galore, photos, notes, etc... My mom saved a lot of stuff knowing it would mean more and more the older I got.  She was right!



Have you stayed in touch with anyone else you met while you were filming the show? 


I haven't stayed in touch with anyone in years from the show.  After the show finished, I saw Ron a few times at various places/events.  But unfortunately, haven't seen too many others.



Do you have any ideas about why the show is still remembered and so much enjoyed by its fans after all these years?


It’s a very special story, and it's multi-dimensional.  It’s sophisticated and beautiful.  It's positive at the core and is inspiring.  It's easy for me to see why :)



Have you ever been part of another project that had this kind of devotion? 


I've appeared on a few things which both have an interesting afterlife (like Star Trek TNG and The Burbs), BUT BATB is different.The people that I met at San Diego's convention were special, and their appreciation of the show was coming from a really warm, loving place.  I was inspired.



Cory as Kipper in Masques dressed as a pirateDid being a part of Beauty and the Beast specifically, or a child actor in general, affect what you’ve done since those days? 


Another great question.  I would say that being a child actor was a real privilege.  I was lucky, too, because I had great parents, who kept me in line and gave me a lot of support.  The most important thing that acting taught me was to not be fazed by rejection.  I learned to keep moving forward.



As well as meeting you, those of us at the convention also enjoyed meeting your proud papa. May we assume that he’s played a part in your successes over the years? 


My Dad is awesome.  Thank you for mentioning him.  He and I are very similar and he's definitely the guy I trust most.  He gives it to me straight, and has my back.  I'm very lucky.



What are you doing currently – your life/career at the moment, your most recent projects?


I own a company called SceneFour in downtown Los Angeles that specializes in conceiving and producing projects with musicians. Some of our clients include Nine Inch Nails, Beck, The Pixies, and Marilyn Manson.  Recently, one of the projects we created is an online school with funk legend Bootsy Collins, called The Funk University.  We also just did an art release of 300 massive canvases with Wu Tang Clan founder The RZA called “Victory or Death.”  The Village Voice actually called the art piece “The Greatest Painting of 2010.”  Kinda neat :)



Is there anything you would like to say to our readers or comments you would like to make about you, Beauty and the Beast or the show’s fans? 


I would like to let everyone know that I really appreciate being included in this event.  I'm so happy that the show and all the work involved lives on.  I know it means a lot to the whole cast and crew.  I can't wait to see you all again at a future meet-up!