12 Things You Didn’t Know About The Jungle Book

There is something so incredibly special about sharing a favorite film from your childhood with your own children, and it’s even more special when your kids really and truly enjoy the movie as much as you did when you were their age. This wonderful phenomenon happened just last week for me when our family watched the Walt Disney classic The Jungle Book, which has just been released as a Diamond Edition Blu-Ray combo pack.

I remember adoring the adventures of Mowgli and his pals when I was little, singing along with “I Wanna Be Like You” and “Bare Necessities.” My daughter is having just as much fun with the film, humming and dancing along. It looks like appreciation of great animation runs in the family.

And now as an adult, I wanted to know more about this 46-year-old film, a classic that has really delighted generations. Don’t you?

Check out these 12 things you probably didn’t know about The Jungle Book right here:


  • The Beatles Were Going to Voice the Vultures 1 of 12
    beatles vulture

    In what would have been quite the pop culture crossover event, the filmmakers originally wanted the Beatles to voice the mop-topped British vultures and to sing the ditty "That's What Friends Are For." But that, sadly, did not happen. Richard Sherman talked about why it didn't saying:

    "We thought it would be great to have the Beatles do it. And we wrote a quartet for them to do it. We attempted even to [write the song] in a rock style. And with the Beatles, John was running the show at the time, and he said [dismissively] ‘I don't wanna do an animated film.' Three years later they did Yellow Submarine, so you can see how things change."

    But they did get quite a Beatles feel in the voices, although they did rework the song to be more in the style of a barber shop quartet.


    Source: Telegraph

    Photo Source: Disney/ Wiki Commons

  • Walt Threw Out the Book 2 of 12

    The original script was penned by Bill Peet who had worked for Walt Disney for 27 years and was one of the leading "storymen" on such classic Disney films as Peter Pan, Dumbo, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, 101 Dalmatians, and Fantasia. Yes, he really had an impact on the canon of Disney films. But The Jungle Book turned out to be his last film with Walt.


    For The Jungle Book, Bill Peet had created a "sombre, dark, serious story much more serious than any films they'd done in animation since the days of Pinocchio." Walt took Peet off of the project and Peet, after almost three decades of being part of the Disney family, left the studio.


    When the next team took on the project they went in a totally different direction. Walt's first move was to give the book to the story men saying, "The first thing I want you to do is not to read it!" They went on to create a much more upbeat, fun, light-hearted movie.


    Source: Telegraph

    Photo Source: eBay/available here

  • Mowgli Is Mispronounced 3 of 12

    In the Disney film, his name is pronounced "Moe-glee," but it should actually, as in the book, be pronounced "Mau-glee."


    How does the name Mowgli rate these days? According to Nameberry, it comes in at #974.


    Source: Nameberry

    Photo Source: Disney

  • The Names of the Characters Are Hindi 4 of 12
    Jungle Book Characters-2

    How did the characters get their names? Rudyard Kipling found inspiration in the Hindu names for the animals species: Baloo means bear, Bagheera means panther, Hathi means elephant, and Shere Khan means Tiger King.


    Source: The Kipling Society
    Photo Source: Disney

  • It Was Walt’s Last Animated Film 5 of 12

    The Jungle Book was the last animated film that Walt Disney oversaw. He died on December 15th, 1966.  The Jungle Book was released on October 18, 1967.


    Photo Source: Disney

  • King Louie was First Written for Louis Armstrong 6 of 12

    It turns out there was a different Louie in mind for King Louie.


    "We were thinking about Louis Armstrong when we wrote it, and that's where we got the name, King Louie," said Richard M. Sherman. "Then in a meeting one day, they said, ‘Do you realize what the N.A.A.C.P. would do to us if we had a black man as an ape? They'd say we're making fun of him.'"


    "I said: ‘Come on, what are you talking about? I adore Louis Armstrong, I wouldn't hurt him in any way.' "


    But The Jungle Book team was nervous and instead cast Louis Prima, the Italian American singer, in the role.


    Source: New York Times
    Photo Source: Disney

  • Clint Howard Was in the Film! 7 of 12

    Do you recognize this little boy? He is Clint Howard, the veteran actor who voiced one of the elephants in The Jungle Book. He went on to be in oodles of films and TV shows such as Apollo 13, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, My Name is Earl, and Happy Days. Oh, and he is Ron Howard's younger brother!


    Source: IMDB
    Photo Source: Disney

  • There Were Two Mowglis 8 of 12

    There were two Mowglis in the film. The first child actor, David Alan Bailey, who had the job, was replaced after his voice changed during the course of the three years of production. He was replaced with Bruce Reitherman, who just happened to be the director Wolfgang Reitherman's son. Bruce had some previous voice-over experience, having lent his voice to Winnie the Pooh's Christopher Robin.


    Source: The Guardian

    Photo Source: Disney

  • The Sherman Brothers Were the Second Song Team 9 of 12
    sherman bros working

    Bill Peet wasn't the only person who was kicked off the project — songwriter Terry Gilkyson created a full array of songs for The Jungle Book, but similar to Bill Peet's story, Walt Disney thought the songs were too dark. Walt then called in the Sherman brothers to create a more "fun" score for the film. But one of Gilkyson's songs did remain: The classic "Bare Necessities."


    Source: Telegraph

    Photo Source: Disney

  • Rocky the Rhino Was Cut 10 of 12

    One character was cut from the film, Rocky the rhino. He was a comic character voiced by Frank Fontaine (of Jack Benny Program and The Jackie Gleason Show fame). Rocky was to meet Mowgli and Baloo after their run in with King Louie, but Walt Disney cut the section since he didn't like two comic scenes being right next to each other.


    Source: Telegraph

    Photo Source: Disney


  • Winifred the Elephant Was in Dumbo 11 of 12

    Verna Felton voiced Winifred the Elephant — Colonel Hathi's mate — in The Jungle Book, and it turns out this wasn't her first time playing an elephant. She was also the elephant matriarch in Dumbo. Verna Felton died before the film came out, passing away one day before Walt Disney in December of 1966. Felton was a Disney regular, she also played Flora in Sleeping Beauty, Aunt Sarah in the Lady and the Tramp, the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, and the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella.


    Source: IMDB

    Photo Source: Disney via


  • One Song Was Supposed to Be in Mary Poppins 12 of 12

    The song "Trust in Me" was originally supposed to be in Mary Poppins with the name "Land of Sand," but it wasn't used. However, the iconic song got a second life for The Jungle Book.


    Source: The Great Musical Trivia Book

    Photo Source: Disney


You can find out more about The Jungle Book Diamond Edition and order it for your family right here!


Photo Source: Walt Disney Studios

Article Posted 3 years Ago

Videos You May Like