Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Frank Thomas Animal Studies for The Jungle Book

Within the exhibition we have a unique series of sheets with animal drawings by Frank Thomas. Frank drew these at the San Diego Zoo before production began on The Jungle Book. He is exploring anatomy and characteristics of bears, vultures and orangutans. These drawings have never been seen by the public before. They give you a rare insight into Frank's observation and how he searches for motion ranges that would benefit his animation. One of many treasures you'll find in Walt Disney's The Jungle Book, Making a Masterpiece. 

Tickets are available now!

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Jungle Book Panel


We had an amazing panel last Wednesday as part of The Jungle Book exhibition opening at the Walt Disney Family Museum. 

Lovely Darleen Carr talked about her contract with Disney during the time of The Jungle Book. Walt was looking for a young lady who might walk in the footsteps of Hailey Mills, who had begun filming non Disney projects in the UK.

Floyd Norman talked about his luck being pulled into the story department, after the departure of Bill Peet, who created the original, somewhat dark version of the film. Floyd helped storyboard the sequence where Kaa hypnotizes Mowgli during the song "Trust in Me".

Bruce Reitherman comes from a unique perspective because his father directed The Jungle Book. He talked about working with his dad, but Bruce also put the film into an American historical context. The Vietnam war was still raging, and yet people seemed to be ready for some kind of temporary relief, like The Jungle Book.

Europe, Asia, who is ready to take on this extraordinary exhibition after its San Francisco run?

Saturday, June 25, 2022

The Jungle Book comes to San Francisco

The last few days have been enchanting, breathtaking and historical. The Walt Disney Family Museum opened Walt Disney's The Jungle Book, Making a Masterpiece to the public. I had the honor of guest curating this extraordinary exhibition. 

It is difficult to describe how I felt as I walked through the Diane Disney Miller Exhibition Hall. You really walk into the movie, you are in the jungle and you spend time with those characters. And their film makers. 

In planing this exhibit it was very important to me that we get far away from the idea that here is a wall with art on it...and over there is another one. From the beginning we wanted to create immersive spaces that transport the visitors into the drawn and painted world of the film. There is such a variety in the art and artifacts on display. We have early concept art by Walt Peregoy, rough animation drawings and cel set ups. There is plenty to read as well: Walt's sweatbox notes on the overall story development as well as individual sequences. (Yes, he made Milt Kahl change the size of King Louie's eyes and the amount of hair on top of his head.) We show early drafts of the Sherman songs, handwritten. There is a sheet with "spicy" notes from director Woolie Reitherman to Bill Peet, and much more. Monitors feature vintage interview clips, production photos and pencil tests. You'll find a few interactive stations that are a lot of fun. 

A once in a lifetime opportunity to study the art and craftsmanship of The Jungle Book up close. Treat yourself to a trip to the Presidio in San Francisco. You'll have a great time!

Tickets are available now!

Sunday, June 12, 2022

A Message from Bruce Reitherman


A few weeks ago Bruce Reitherman sent a video with him reminiscing about voicing Mowgli for the 1967 original Jungle Book. This of course was done in connection with the upcoming exhibition at the Walt Disney Family Museum: Walt Disney's The Jungle Book, Making a Masterpiece.
It opens to the public on June 23, and I can't wait to walk Bruce as well as Darleen Carr, Clint Howard and Floyd Norman through the exhibit.
Below is a pic with Bruce during a recording session with his father, director Woolie Reitherman. 

Here are a few comments by Bruce from a 2013 interview for the English Express:

"I was about 12 years old when this photo was taken. It was 1967 - the summer of love - and I was recording the voice of Mowgli in Disney's The Jungle Book. I remember I just loved that spotty shirt.

I'm with my dad, Wolfgang Reitherman, who directed the film. Working with my dad wasn't a big deal for me and recording Mowgli was fun, although you had to take it very seriously and come prepared to give it your best shot.

The voice of Mowgli required something special, in the sense that he had to be absolutely ordinary. It had to feel like a really average kid.

You had all these big personalities - people like George Sanders as Shere Khan, Sebastian Cabot as Bagheera and Louis Prima as King Louie - but Mowgli needed to have a sympathetic quality to make him someone you cared about.

The film took four years to make, and when I was recording I used to get out of school do to it, which was a real treat. I didn't have many friends at that age, but some kids knew what I was up to.

It's only since I've grown up and my generation have had children that I've really appreciated what a great thing I was involved in. that film is going to live on for ever - there's a copy of it at major film museums all over the world.

It's a piece of 20th-century art, and having been a part of it, you can't help but feel proud.

The film took four years to make, and when I was recording I used to get out of school do to it, which was a real treat.

Bruce Reitherman

I have a daughter now, Camilla, who's 10 years old. She loves to sing and dance - she's quite the performer, which I think she inherited from me. She's seen The Jungle Book many times and it's one of her favourites.

When we watch it together, there are moments when I might have a little flash of memory from those days, and there are times when my daughter will look at me and say, 'that was you!' But in general we just enjoy it as a piece of entertainment.

Much of the original cast have passed away now but Richard Sherman, who composed most of the songs, is a friend of the family and I still see him frequently. My father was one of Walt Disney's original "nine old men", the animators who worked with him in the early days, and they're all gone too.

But I'm a cinematographer now, and I still connect with members of the animation team who were just starting out at the time of The Jungle Book.

Disney is like a family. that doesn't mean there aren't difficulties, trials and tribulations, but it's a family that sticks together to look after the bare necessities."

A publicity still as Bruce is having a laugh with Kaa and his drawn alter ego.

Here is the link to Walt Disney's The Jungle Book, Making a Masterpiece:

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Wilhelm M. Busch, Letters G, H, I



Ilene Woods


A beautiful publicity photo of Ilene Woods, the voice of Cinderella. Look at all that stunning art by Mary Blair. Some of you might know that Ilene originally sang the demo tracks for three of the film's songs: Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo, A Dream is a Wish your Heart makes and So This is Love. Walt Disney liked the demos so much , he offered her the part of Cinderella. Much to her amazement. 

I had the chance of meeting Ilene a few times over the years at Disney events. She really embodied her character. Soft spoken, kind, patient with fans. There are times when I need to pinch myself for having met legendary people like her. How lucky can you get?

Ilene died in 2010, aged 81. 

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Quick Mushka Update


Early this week I got up with the sunrise and discovered our Mushka maquette looking amazing in this natural light. 
See below a Mushka mug made for our crew members. 

Right now I am actually animating the last scene for the film. That's it, animation is done, just some post production left to do like final sound mix. Negotiations with streaming services will begin as early as next week.

Friday, June 3, 2022

Circus Alphabet by Wilhelm M. Busch

In 1981 German illustrator Wilhelm M. Busch published a limited edition portfolio titled Circus Alphabet. Edition size of 45. I feel so lucky to have found one of those publications online for sale. Busch gave himself the assignment of illustrating individual letters from the alphabet. What starts out as abstract shapes become figurative compositions inspired by the world of the circus.  
What a great exercise in imagination, draftsmanship and composition!!!

Every little ballpoint pen doodle is a masterpiece. Honestly, these sketches make me feel like I can't draw at all. Soooo deliciously beautiful!

Here are sketches that illustrate the letters A, B and C.
Of course I will post the whole alphabet in the future, in groups of three, with the hope that it will inspire many people to DRAW!!