Saturday, October 18, 2008

October 18: The Jungle Is Jumpin'

On this day in 1967, Disney's animated feature The Jungle Book was released. Inspired by an 1894 novel written by Rudyard Kipling, it was the last film produced by Walt Disney (who unfortunately passed away during its production).
The plot centers around man-cub Mowgli (voiced by Bruce Reitherman - son of Wolfgang the film's director & one of Walt's Nine Old Men) who is found in a basket as a baby deep in the jungles of India. He is raised by a wolf (along with her cubs) and becomes acquainted with jungle life. The film tells of his ups and downs as he makes his way back to the human village.
Although based on Kipling's story, Disney writers Bill Peet, Larry Clemmons, Ralph Wright, Ken Anderson, and Vance Gerry altered the tale for the big screen. In fact the character of King Louie was created by the Disney staff. The orangutan who kidnaps Mowgli does not appear in Kipling's tale (as orangutans are not native to India).
The all-star voice cast included Phil Harris as Baloo the bear, Sebastian Cabot as Bagheera the panther, George Sanders as Shere Kahn the tiger, Sterling Holloway as Kaa the python, Louis Prima as King Louie, J. Pat O'Malley as Colonel Hathi the Asian elephant, and Clint Howard as Junior - Hathi's son.
All of of the songs were written by the Sherman Brothers except "The Bare Necessities" which was written by Terry Gilkyson. The overall score was written by George Bruns.
Animators who worked on The Jungle Book included Ollie Johnston, Milt Kahl, Eric Larson, Frank Thomas, and some 20 plus other stylists and layout artists.
The film grossed $73,741,048 in its initial release.

Click HERE for more October 18 Disney history.

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