Cross your heart and admit how many of us did not wish to be raised by the wolves and had big sloth bear and ferocious black panther as our best friends. We assume many of us have been thinking of living such lives in jungles; this was the impact of watching and reading The Jungle Book. This collection of short stories by Rudyard Kipling has been adapted several times on television and movies are coming back once again with Indian-American origin Neel Sethi playing the lead character of Mowgli.
Thinking about The Jungle Book, all of us get very nostalgic as Mowgli, Baloo, Bhageera, Akela, Kaa and Shere Khan were all part of our childhood. With Disney announcing a yet another roller-coaster ride for all the Mowgli fans, we take a look at few interesting things about The Jungle Book:
1. Collection of short stories by English author Rudyard Kipling were first published in 1893–94 as The Jungle Book. Inspired by the tale of man-cub, Walt Disney Productions came out with the animated film on The Jungle Book in 1967.
2. The Jungle Book was Walt Disney’s last work as a Producer. He died during the production of the movie. He died on 15th December 1966, from lung cancer in Burbank, California. This was his last movie where Walt Disney gave his personal inputs.
3. Story-man Bill Peet sat down to write an original screenplay based on Rudyard Kipling’s version. He worked on the characters closely but turned out to be too dark according to Disney. After a long argument over this, Peet left Disney Studio in 1964. He worked with the production house for 27 years. Larry Clemmons was one of the four new writers assigned by Disney.
4. Director Woolie Reitherman son Bruce Reitherman played the part of lead protagonist of orphaned man-cub Mowgli and gave his voice to the role. In fact Reitherman’s Aal three sons — Bruce, Richard, and Robert had provided voices for Disney characters. Bruce played part of Mowgli in The Jungle Book and as Christopher Robin in Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree.
5. The popular song That’s What Friends Are For or The Vulture Song sung by J. Pat O’Malley, Lord Tim Hudson, Digby Wolfe, and Chad Stuart in the movie was originally planned to be sung by the famed band ‘The Beatles’. The Vultures that were evil in the book, were kept way cooler in the movie. Disney even planned to give the look of Beatles to the Vultures but scheduling conflicts did not let this dream unification come true.
6. “The Bare Necessities” the only song, written by Terry Gilkyson, original composer for The Jungle Book was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. The other songs were not included in the final draft as Disney thought they were too dark just like Bill Peet’s screenplay. The songs of the movie were written by Sherman Brothers and composed by George Bruns in light tone.
7. The Jungle Book releasing 10 months after the death of Walt Disney became a massive success becoming the fourth highest grosser of the year.
8. Sebastian Cabot gave the voice of Bhageera, a black panther who is best friend of Mowgli. Unlike the book, Bhageera was not as strict but he was definitely very serious and responsible. He wants to take Mowgli back to the village as it is not safe for him.
9. Phil Harris gave a new life to the character of Baloo, a carefree sloth bear. In the book there was not much scope of Baloo’s character but it was Harris portrayal through voice of a carefree bear who believes good things come by themselves caught everyone’s attention.
10. Sterling Holloway was the devil Kaa and sweet Winnie, The Pooh. Yes! American voice actor Sterling Holloway gave voice to Kaa, an Indian Python in the movie. It was very amusing to imagine the character of Kaa who always intended to eat Mowgli relate to the character of Winnie, the Pooh being voiced by the same man. But then again we are talking about the magic of Disney!
Disney and their charismatic movies will continue to capture our attention every time. And just like historical success, the fans around the globe would be looking forward to Disney’s upcoming venture on our beloved Mowgli and The Jungle Book.