Songwriter Richard M. Sherman remembers the first time he and his brother were called into a meeting to learn about this idea Walt Disney had for a new film.
“We were called into Walt’s office with several other people: Woolie Reitherman, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Larry Clemmons, and a whole bunch of the regulars at the studio. We were all staff people with our own specialties. Walt sat us all down in his office and he looked at us and said,
‘How many of you guys have read Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling?’
And of course nobody raised their hand. So I, sort of sheepishly said, ‘I saw a movie with Sabu.’ He said, ‘Yeah, yeah, but you didn’t read the book, did you?’ I said, ‘No, I didn’t read the book.’ ‘Good.’ He said,
‘We’re going to tell the story of The Jungle Book the Disney way.'”
And while Walt didn’t live to see the completion of the film, it was released on this day in 1967 and met with great praise by the critics. Richard’s brother, Robert B. Sherman, takes pride in his involvement and calls The Jungle Book “Walt’s parting gift to the world.”