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Talent Recalls 'Jungle Book'

15 Sep, 2007 By: Fred Topel

Surrounding Baloo is (L-R, rear): Disney animator Andreas Deja, Darleen Carr (ôShantiö), composer Richard Sherman and Chad Stuart (ôFlapsö). Photo by: Sthanlee B. Mirador, Shooting Star

Disney films really are a family affair, especially for Bruce Reitherman. Reitherman, the voice of The Jungle Book's Mowgli, recalled his own family time on the film during a special screening and presentation at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood.

“I had the privilege of doing the voice of Mowgli and also working with my dad [the director] and seeing on a daily basis what the world of filmmaking was like at a big time studio,” he said.

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment is giving the classic film a two-disc Platinum Edition DVD release Oct. 2 with The Jungle Book: 40th Anniversary Edition ($29.99).Director Wolfgang “Woolie” Reitherman, a World War II pilot, didn't have an easy time at Disney.

“I think the animators always respected me up to a point,” Wolfgang said in an old clip. “With the large talents that were there, it wasn't easy to get respect. This was survival as far as I was concerned, and most of the animators were concerned with survival to keep this thing going, this thing called Walt Disney animation. I always believed in Walt. He had a good batting average.”

Composer Richard Sherman recalled Walt Disney's personal involvement in the film, the last one he oversaw before his death. Disney gave the job of voicing Shanti to Darleen Carr because he heard her performing a rough version of one of Sherman's songs.

“We were having this meeting, and the casting folks [said], ‘We'll have to go listen to some voices and get the right voice for the girl,’ Sherman said. “Walt said, ‘Oh, you've got the voice already. You know, that girl. You know, Darleen, get Darleen.' So that was it.”

More stories from the making of The Jungle Book will be on the upcoming DVD.

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