From Flickr: “The Jungle Book (1967)” by Truus, Bob & Jan too!

French postcard. Image: Walt Disney Productions. Publicity still for The Jungle Book (Wolfgang Reitherman, 1967).

It was Walt Disney’s lead story man and writer Bill Peet who first suggested making an animated version of Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Jungle Book’. In the film version, The Jungle Book (Wolfgang Reitherman, 1967), baby Mowgli is abandoned in the jungle after an accident. He is taken and raised by a family of wolves. As the boy grows older, the wise panther Bagheera realises he must be returned to his own kind in the nearby man-village. Baloo the bear however thinks differently, taking the young Mowgli under his wing and teaching him that living in the jungle is the best life there is. Bagheera realises that Mowgli is in danger, particularly from Shere Khan the tiger who hates all people. When Baloo finally comes around, Mowgli runs off into the jungle where he survives a second encounter with Kaa the snake and finally, with Shere Khan. It’s the sight of a pretty girl however that gets Mowgli to go to the nearby man-village and stay there.

The Jungle Book (Wolfgang Reitherman, 1967) was the 19th animated feature by the Disney studio, and the last to be personally supervised by Walt Disney himself. Disappointed by the muted reception to The Sword in the Stone (1963), Walt Disney was determined to come back with a universally well-regarded film. He told his animation crew to "throw away" Rudyard Kipling’s book ‘The Jungle Book’ because the original concept storyboards were too dark and dramatic. During pre-production, Disney assigned animator Larry Clemmons to head story development on the project. He gave Clemmons a copy of ‘The Jungle Book’ and told him, "The first thing I want you to do is not read it." Terry Gilkyson had written a full score initially, but Walt Disney found it also too dark. At the last minute, he threw it away and asked the Sherman brothers to replace it with a more ‘fun’ score. However, ‘Bare Necessities’ stayed on at the insistence of others involved in the film, and went on to be nominated for the Academy Award. The xerographic system, which had been used since 101 Dalmatiërs (1961), was further refined to combine both Xeroxed cels with hand-inked details. For example, while the basic animation on the village girl at the end of the film was with Xeroxed cels, her mouth was inked by hand. The backgrounds also moved back towards the more traditional look of earlier films. Ken Anderson storyboarded this scene, the final scene almost at the same time that Richard and Robert Sherman had finished ‘My Own Home’. Everything that the Sherman brothers had envisioned while writing the song was up on the storyboards. They brought Anderson up to their office and played him the song and he immediately began to cry.

Source: IMDb.

via Flickr