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Original Production Cels of Mowgli and Kaa from "The Jungle Book," 1967


Original Production Cels of Mowgli and Kaa from "The Jungle Book," 1967

Original hand painted production animation cels of Mowgli and Kaa from "The Jungle Book," 1967, Walt Disney Studios; Set on a lithographic background; Size - Mowgli & Kaa: 5 3/4 x 7 1/4", Image 7 1/2 x 9 3/4"; Unframed.


"Trust in me." - Kaa


"The Jungle Book," 1967 was the nineteenth animated feature film produced by Walt Disney Productions and inspired by Rudyard Kipling's book of the same name. The film was directed by Wolfgang Reitherman, it was to be the last film that was worked on by Walt Disney, as he passed away during its production. The film follows Mowgli, a feral child raised in the Indian jungle by wolves, as he encounters Bagheera the panther and Baloo the bear; who try and convince him to leave the jungle before the villainous tiger Shere Khan finds him. Voice actors include: Phil Harris, Sebastian Cabot, George Sanders and Louis Prima; as well as Disney regulars such as Sterling Holloway, J. Pat O'Malley, Verna Felton, and the director's son, Bruce Reitherman, as the voice of Mowgli.


Shere Khan, a Bengal tiger and Kaa a python were the main Villains in the 1967 Walt Disney film "The Jungle Book;" an adaption of writer Rudyard Kipling's series of stories. Wolfgang Reitherman was the animation director for the film and he 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).


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.


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.


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 clothing (cape and hat).


"Trust In Me" ("The Python's Song") was sung by Sterling Holloway and was written by famed Disney songwriters, Robert and Richard Sherman. This is a great two cel setup of both Mowgli and Kaa, the villainous python. Mowgli is full figure, eyes open, seated, and has a great determined and very focused expression. Kaa is looking directly at Mowgli with his red forked tongue out and his eyes are in a colorful whirl, as he tries to hypnotize the Man-Cub. Original artwork from "The Jungle Book" has become rare to the market, and this would be a wonderful addition to any Walt Disney animation art collection!


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