Monday, February 18, 2013

Jungle Book Recording Session Break

There aren't many people I recognize in this casual setting. In the back is Milt Kahl, arms raised, in the center smiles Ollie Johnston, arms crossed, and I believe Ken Anderson sits on the right with his head half obscured by someone else. (Perhaps Floyd Norman can identify the rest.)
The boards show Anderson's designs for King Louie and Baloo, dressed in drag disguise. 
So the voice artists being recorded that day might have been Louis Prima and Phil Harris, who performed the Sherman brothers' song "I wanna be like you!", one of the highlights of the film.
It looks to me the location could be Sound Stage A or B on the Disney lot.
In later years I was present for many recording sessions there, which involved my characters.
Seems like we had better catering than what I see in the photo. Beside coffee there was never a shortage of fresh fruit, bagels, cookies and sandwiches.
And that was necessary, because those recording sessions could last for many hours.
For final dialogue directors and animators prefer to choose from a number of takes, to pick out the one that sounds just perfect.

Looking at this photo is like time travel, a moment during early production from a film that would change my life.

A closer look at some of Ken Anderson's character designs for this hilarious sequence.

More Jungle Book production art can be found in Pierre Lambert's wonderful coffee table book,
Le Livre de la Jungle:


  1. This is interesting. The ashtrays are certainly a sign of those times. Out of sheer curiosity, I'm wondering when they phased out smoking in the studios? In this photo, there certainly is no shortage of ashtrays within arm's reach for everyone present. I'm aware the banning of smoking indoors was more of a collective movement that began across the country, but given the fact that Walt and countless others at the studio smoked I'm assuming this was done under Ron Miller's reign. I guess I'm asking if folks were smoking in the studio when you started, Andreas!

    1. It's funny how we look back at history like that. I suppose because I grew up in a family of smokers, that sort of thing was commonplace otherwise, and I accepted it as a norm. I can see how people half my age would be rather stunned by it.

    2. Personally, I think it's great that you had good catering during the recording session you were involved in! I would have to agree with having fresh fruit, bagels, coffee and many other things present in the studio. Those voice session must take for hours.

  2. It looks like the Sherman Bros are in the pic either side of Milt? And it could be George Bruns instead of Ken Anderson?

  3. The Others are members of Louis Prima's band.Guy left of Ollie Played sax(see sax clip)Guy next to Milt is Bass. Guy on right with black shirt played trombone.Hope that helps...Thanks for sharing cool pics.

    1. I was about to say that I thought that was Louis's sax player Sam, due to the sax clip. they're probably in that famous recording session videoclip.

  4. Great and inspired picture again, thank you :) .

    Looks like some would be from Louis Prima´s band .
    There´s at Junglebook´s "The Jungle Book - The Making of a Musical Masterpiece" on ca. 6:40 Where band playing "I wanna be like you!" song.

  5. I've read, that the 'scat battle' of Phil Harris and Louis Prima was recorded in two sessions. Prima startet with 'abadudi', für Harris should later just repeat all the phrases.
    But Baloo/Harris did his own scat, to 'abadudi' - 'whoolenibanasa' followed and so on...
    No character voice in any country could do this for the foregign language recording.
    E.g. in Germany Edgar Ott and Klaus Havenstein did a great job as ape and bear, also singing 'I wanna be like you' in german, but the scat duet is the original soundtrack, and so it is worldwide in spanish, french, portuguese, danish, swedish, etc.

  6. I'd second Spokeshave's guess that the mostly obscured fellow with the square head and crewcut is score composer, George Bruns. And Greg Manwaring is indeed correct - that's definitely Prima's buddy and saxophonist, Sam Butera on the far left.

  7. Yeah, I still remember that day. The guys you don't recognize in photo are members of Louis Prima's band. The session did go on for hours. Eventually, Milt and Ollie headed back to the drawing board. However, they went back totally inspired.