We’ve been humming (badly): “Look for the bare necessities, The simple bare necessities, Forget about your worries and your strife“, ever since we heard the amazing news that there’s going to be a symphonic cinema concert of the original 1967 animated The Jungle Book!
Disney In Concert: The Jungle Book, will premiere at London’s Royal Festival Hall on 26 March and we’re dead excited. After reminding ourselves of all the lyrics, we then delved into some facts that we’d like to share about arguably the BEST film version of the beloved Rudyard Kipling novel. You’re welcome!
*The Jungle Book film almost didn’t happen*
Disney rejected the first version of the script that screenwriter Bill Peet bought to him. He believed it was far too dark. A new team were bought in who made it more jovial and shaped it into the feel-good family version that made it to the screen.
*It was Walt Disney’s last ever film*
Walt Disney died in 1966 from lung cancer. The Jungle Book came out the following year, making it the last animated film he was ever to work on and approve.
*Disney wanted the four vultures to be played by The Beatles*
It’s no accident that the film’s group of vultures had scouse accents and mop-top haircuts. Disney wanted The Beatles to sing their That’s What Friends are For song. Unfortunately John Lennon declined saying he ‘didn’t want to do an animated film. Three years later they released Yellow Submarine. Boo!
*The orangutan was based on Louis Armstrong*
The songwriters behind The Jungle Book’s music, The Sherman Brothers, desperately wanted Louis Armstrong to be the voice of its much-loved flame-haired ape that busts out I Wan’na Be Like You, admitting to The New York Times: ‘We were thinking about Louis Armstrong when we wrote it, and that’s where we got his name, King Louie”. Jazz singer Louis Prima stepped in to be the voice when they couldn’t get their first choice.
*The wolf cubs are reused animations from 101 Dalmatians*
The director, Wolfgang Reitherman’s, trademark was to reuse animation from his previous films. So the wolf cubs you see in The Jungle Book were actually previously the puppies from 101 Dalmatians. Obviously minus the spots and with some extra tweaks!
*Mowgli was also Christopher Robin in Winnie The Pooh*
The director cast his son, Bruce Reitherman, when he was 12-years-old as The Jungle Book hero, Mowgli. Recognise his voice? He was also Christopher Robin in Winnie the Pooh. The fame didn’t go to his head and Reitherman still says now: “A lot of my friends didn’t even know or care it was me when they saw the movie. I was just a normal kid in a normal family.”
*Kaa and Winnie the Pooh have the same voice*
Streling Holloway was the man behind two very different Disney characters. He’s the voice of the kind but slightly dim Winnie-the-Pooh and also responsible for the hypnotic, villainous snake that’s determined to eat Mowgli in The Jungle Book.