Monday, May 16, 2016

Jungle Vultures

I am not sure who painted this color key for the opening of the vultures sequence for The Jungle Book, but the dark mood beautifully represents Mowgli's emotions. He is wandering alone through this part of the woods, before the vultures spot him in the near distance.
Milt Kahl animated all introductory scenes of these birds, and the following drawings from seq. 9, sc. 20 represent a glimpse into the mind of an animation genius.
One of the vultures, Ziggy, encourages the other three, Dizzy, Buzzie and Flaps to fly down the tree in order to examine this strange looking creature, which is walking on two legs.

"C'mon, lads, c'mon! Let's have some fun with this little fellah, this little blokey."
During this line of dialogue Ziggy moves toward the other three, repeatedly pushing on Dizzy, until one after the other looses their balance and stagger downwards.
A "tour de force" scene, to say the least. The overall motion is all on ones, as one bird after the other is being affected by Ziggy's pushy moves. A friend of mine commented that only a mad man could put all of this together and make it look natural.

This is why I love drawn animation, there is nothing like it!
Part II of the scene coming up.


  1. Fascinating sequence and one that is perhaps overlooked and under appreciated amongst the other wonderful sequences in Jungle Book. Thanks for bringing our attention to it.

  2. I just listened to an interview the Sherman Brothers gave regarding the vultures and the "That's What Friends Are For" song they wrote & composed for it. They mentioned that vultures are really dark but they had to make it light and funny. They definitely succeeded, and Milt Kahl's designs/draftsmanship are always a wonderful sight. Thanks so much for sharing so many beautiful/hidden treasures!

  3. I was watching this movie this week and realized that this animation is reused at the time the vultures will rescue Mowgli to Shere Khan, but the scene is accelerated. In my opinion, this movie is using smarter this resource ''recycling animation''

  4. Thank you so much!

  5. Dammit that's amazing!LOVE IT!!! Thanks Andreas :)

  6. Little pieces of animation like this make an impression on me, though I might not realise it until it's pointed out like this. Looking through this sequence immediately brings to mind the bouncy 'squashing together' motion of the finished animation, though it's been a few years since I watched the film. More and more I get some idea of the talent of animators like Milt, and how deceptively easy they make it seem!

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  8. Hi Andreas, this is terribly embarrassing, but seeing as my emails haven't been replied to, I think this might be the only other way to contact you.
    At CTN last year, you had your workshop in that little room (there were, like, 5 billion of us crammed in there), and afterwards I had asked if you had a spare Muschka poster lying around. You said 'yes', and you mentioned you would bring it tomorrow. The next day, I saw you at your lecture on your book in that outdoor tent, and afterwards it looked like you were heading off to your car.

    Then the final day of CTN rolled around, and it was your book signing that I attended this time. While you signed my book (thank you for that, by the way!) I asked if you had the poster, you said you had forgotten, but you gave me a little post-it note with your email on it. I mentioned I live in downtown LA and that we could probably just meet up somewhere, you said I should email you.

    So I've been doing that for the past 6-ish months now, but I don't know if they've been getting through! Your email is the Lycos one, right? 'Cause I swear that's got to be the right one. Please shoot me an email and let me know if you've gotten any of them! I'm dyin' heah!