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Monday, May 18, 2015

Shere Khan Original Production Cel on Key Matching Production Background from "The Jungle Book," 1967


Original hand painted production cel of Shere Khan numbered 111 in ink lower right; Set on a key matching hand painted production background from "The Jungle Book," 1967; Framed with a copper and black wooden frame, four suede acid free mat, and UV conservation clear museum perfect glass; Size - Shere Khan: 8 1/4" x 9", Image 10 1/2" x 15", Background 12 x 16"; Unframed.


Shere Khan, a Bengal tiger, is the main antagonist in the 1967 Walt Disney film "The Jungle Book;" an adaption of writer Rudyard Kipling's series of stories. Khan was voiced by George Sanders, a veteran actor with a deep bass voice and a heavy British accent. According to Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston from "The Disney Villain":

"The perfect choice for the voice was George Sanders, the complete cynic, who added the element of boredom. With this voice, we could imagine a tiger who would kill without concern or effort. Sanders was asked if he would like a drawing of Shere Khan as a souvenir, to which he responded, "I suppose so." Asked further if he would like Walt to autograph it, he replied, "How utterly absurb. Why would I want his signature? He might want mine, I created the character."


Close up of the Shere Khan cel on the production background.

Also from Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston from "The Disney Villain:"

"Shere Khan was one of our most interesting villains. He was physically strong, agile, and capable, but did not have a "tough guy" attitude. There was no need for a swagger, no show-off, no having to prove himself. The storyman, Bill Peet, had drawn a powerful, mean character, aloof and cold. Ken Anderson had added arrogance and Basil Rathbone touch of intelligence and culture. He was above the other animals of the jungle. Like a Roman emperor or a medieval king, he accepted complete authority as his due; there was no need to wallow in the glory of his position. Unlike those monarchs, he did not have to worry about assassins or treachery in the ranks."


Shere Khan complete production cel with the number 111 seen in the lower right corner.

Milt Kahl, the great veteran Disney animator, was in charge of bringing Shere Khan to life and so of course Kahl set out on a crash course in tigers. Kahl said in an interview: I learned so much about tigers by studying them that I didn't have to rely on any life action crutch." From Disney animator Andreas Dejas about the animation of Shere Khan, "Great perspective walk, and I love the way the tiger lies down, upper body first, then the rear. The way he moves those front feet is worth studying alone. Such great anatomy."


Original production background without the Shere Khan cel.

For animation art collecting, it does not get any better than finding a key setup. This occurs when you have an original production cel on it's matching original production background; such that if you were to freeze the film at the exact cel, you would have a perfect match to what is frozen on the screen! Such is the case with this Shere Khan cel and background. In addition, this particular background was used multiple times in the film. The cel image of Shere Khan is a large 8 1/4" x 9", and is from one of the most famous scenes in the film "The Jungle Book;" the interaction between Shere Khan and another villain, Kaa. In the scene Kaa has hypnotized Mowgli (the man-cub) and has him in his coils in the treetops above, and Shere Khan is looking for him. The dialog for the scene is below:

Shere Khan: [Scratches Kaa's nostril with his claw] "Perhaps. But at the moment I'm searching for a man-cub." 
Kaa: "Man-cub? What man-cub?"
Shere Khan: "The one who is lost. Now where do you suppose we could be?"
Kaa: "Search me?"
[Kaa covers his mouth to stifle his gasp]

To view the scenes in which this cel and background was used to create, click on the short video: