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Monday, May 11, 2015

Mowgli and Kaa Production Drawings from "The Jungle Book," 1967


Original production drawing of Mowli and Kaa in graphite and blue pencils from "The Jungle Book," 1967; Numbered 47 lower right; Size - Mowgli and Kaa 8 1/2 x 6 1/2", Sheet 12 1/2 x 15 1/2"; Unframed.


Wolfgang Reitherman began working for Walt Disney in 1934, along with future Disney legends Ward Kimball and Milt Kahl.  The three worked together on a number of classic Disney shorts, including "The Band Concert," "Music Land," and "Elmer Elephant."  Reitherman worked on various Disney feature films produced from 1937 to 1981, including "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (animating the Slave in the Magic Mirror) up to "The Fox and the Hound," where he was the co-producer.  Beginning with 1961's "One Hundred and One Dalmatians," "Woolie", as he was called by friends, served as Disney's chief animation director.  In addition to "101 Dalmatians," Reitherman directed "The Sword in the Stone" (1963), "The Jungle Book" (1967), "The Aristocats" (1970), "Robin Hood" (1973) and "The Rescuers" (1977).


Original production drawing of Mowli and Kaa in graphite and blue pencils from "The Jungle Book," 1967; Numbered 49 lower right; Size - Mowgli and Kaa 8 x 6 1/4", Sheet 12 1/2 x 15 1/2"; Unframed.

One of Reitherman's productions, the 1968 short "Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day," won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.  In addition, all three of Reitherman's sons — Bruce, Richard, and Robert provided voices for Disney characters, including Mowgli in "The Jungle Book," Christopher Robin in "Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree," and Wart in "The Sword in the Stone."  Not only did Bruce Reitherman provided the voice of Mowgli in "The Jungle Book," but he also acted out certain scenes as live action reference for the animators.  The character of Mowgli was animated by quite a few animators, however Milt Kahl set the final design and the majority of Mowgli's scenes were animated by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston.


Original production drawing of Mowli and Kaa in graphite and blue pencils from "The Jungle Book," 1967; Numbered 55 lower right; Size - Mowgli and Kaa 8 x 7", Sheet 12 1/2 x 15 1/2"; Unframed.

Kaa the python, was animated by Frank Thomas in his entrance appearance of the film which is when Kaa first meets Mowgli and nearly eats Bagheera.  Later in the film Kaa was animated by Milt Kahl, whose design for the snake may be more iconic; being that his scene was longer and included his trademark song "Trust In Me" as well as the famous interaction with the villainous tiger, Shere Khan.


Original production drawing of Mowli and Kaa in graphite and blue pencils from "The Jungle Book," 1967; Numbered 57 lower right; Size - Mowgli and Kaa 8 1/2 x 7", Sheet 12 1/2 x 15 1/2"; Unframed.

Kaa was the second character who was originally voiced by Sterling Holloway, the first being Winnie-the-Pooh.  Holloway's voice is just so wonderful in tone and pitch, and it is hard to imagine any other person doing the character justice.  Kaa is very similar to another snake character, Sir Hiss from "Robin Hood".  The two share several traits as both use hypnosis, and both suck up to the film's main antagonist (Shere Khan in Kaa's case, and Prince John in Sir Hiss's case).  Exceptions are that they are different colors, sizes, and Sir Hiss wears a cape and hat.


Original production drawing of Mowli and Kaa in graphite and blue pencils from "The Jungle Book," 1967; Numbered 59 lower right; Size - Mowgli and Kaa 8 1/2 x 7", Sheet 12 1/2 x 15 1/2"; Unframed.

In these wonderful and large drawings, the animators were able to covey the sense of size and wight of the python Kaa as Mowgli struggles to try and push him off his head.  The dialog for this sequence is below:

Mowgil: "I don't trust anyone anymore."
Kaa: "I don't blame you. I'm not like those so-called fair-weather friends of yours. You can believe in me."

To view the scene which these drawings was used to create, click on the short video below: