The Jungle Book (lost Bill Peet version of Disney animated film; 1963-1964)
The Jungle Book was Disney's 19th animated feature film and was written by four different people, headed by Larry Clemmons. Originally though, The Jungle Book was written and storyboarded by Bill Peet, but quit the project and Disney in general, in 1964.
After the release of their 18th animated feature film, The Sword and the Stone, Bill Peet went to Walt Disney with an idea that they could make more interesting animal characters like in another Disney film that Peet storyboarded in, 101 Dalmatians. He also suggested that it would be based on a book by English author Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book. Disney liked the idea and greenlighted the project, with Bill Peet creating an original script with little supervision.
Disney however, became more involved with the story after The Stone and the Sword bombed at the box office. Bill Peet went for a more dark and mysterious take, akin to the original book. Disney initially thought the script and storyboards looked pretty good, but then became more critical and thought it looked more like Batman than a regular Disney animated story. Walt insisted on more changes in the story to make it lighter and more towards the family demographic. Bill Peet combated Disney on these changes until, on his birthday in 1964, Bill Peet left Disney Animation Studios and never came back. He cited that he had five children's books being published at the same time, and devoted full time to children's books in general. Bill Peet was replaced by another writer, Larry Clemmons, as head writer for the story of The Jungle Book.
Additions and Differences
There were many additions but also differences between Bill Peet's version of The Jungle Book and the version that was made into a film. As previously stated, Bill Peet's version was to be darker than the final product. The film's writers made the story more straightforward, instead of episodic-like the book. Mowgli (who was still to be the main character in Bill Peet's version) was to go back and forth between the jungle to the "Man Village." Three new characters were added to the story. There was the human girl, who served as the main love interest to Mowgli, King Louie, who was an orangutan who enslaves Mowgli to teach him also to make fire, and a rhino character, presumably named Rocky. Both King Louie and the human girl were kept in the final film, while the rhino was cut from the film. There was also going to be a poacher in Bill Peet's version who drags Mowgli back to the ruins (where King Louie lives) where there are gold and jewels under the ruin, and Mowgli is in charge of helping him find the treasure.
Bill Peet's version was to feature several songs by Ted Gilkyson, an American folk singer and who has collaborated with Disney before on some other animated works. Disney thought these songs were also too "dark" for a Disney film. Walt Disney decided to put the Sherman Brothers to write the music, which included seven songs. The one song they kept from Ted Gilkyson was "Bear Necessities", which the crew thought the song fits the movie well.
- A Wikipedia article on the 1967 Disney version of The Jungle Book. Retrieved 24 Apr '18