What a great photo montage with King Louie next to jazz musician and trumpeter extraordinaire Louis Prima, who also voiced the character. The Sherman brothers wrote the signature song "I wanna be like you!", and Richard Sherman still raves about Prima's vocal energy and improvisational quality he brought to the character and the song. The "scat dialogue" between him and Phil Harris as Baloo was Prima's idea.
If I would look at a concept like this one today, mixing American Jazz with (elements of) Kipling's Jungle Book, I would probably call it a bad idea. But boy...it works like gangbusters!
Hilarious concept sketches by Ken Anderson and a cel from a Frank Thomas scene.
Milt Kahl's early stunning animation. Yet Walt Disney asked for slightly larger eyes and more hair on the top of the character's head. Those changes were made by Milt's assistant Dave Michener.
A clean up model sheet of Louie's sidekick Flunkey, beautifully animated by Frank Thomas.
More on King Louie here: