Photographed by Eric Hayes, courtesy of erichayes.ca.
“HOW I MET GEORGE HARRISON
In the mid-1960s I was a Canadian student at the prestigious Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California. I had a keen interest in music, particularly the British invasion led by the Beatles, and for fun I played guitar in a small rock band. I was also developing an interest in Eastern music and philosophy, in part inspired by George Harrison of The Beatles, who was studying East Indian music with classical sitarist Ravi Shankar.
In early August 1967, a concert of Indian music was to take place at the Hollywood Bowl featuring Ravi Shankar, and word got round that George Harrison was in L.A and would be there. I decided to go, too, and with any luck I might get to see my favourite Beatle.
The day of the concert [4 August 1967] I drove to Los Angeles in mid-afternoon, straight to the Bowl, and, security not being like it is these days, I was able to hang around as a photographer until concert time, but there was no sign of the Beatle. When the music started I was out front taking pictures from the edge of the stage. Just before the intermission I felt a burly hand on my shoulder and a man with a thick British accent said, ‘Mr. Harrison would like you to come back stage during the intermission and get some pictures of him with the Indian musicians.’
It seems hard to imagine today that there wasn’t a mob of paparazzi lurking in the shadows, but evidently, at the time, I was the only person there with a camera. So that’s how I ended up in a dressing room at the Hollywood Bowl with George Harrison and his wife Patti [sic] Boyd, along with Ravi Shankar, tabla player Allah [sic] Rakah, shehnai player Besmilla Kahn, sarod virtuoso Ali Akbar Khan, and other accomplished classical East Indian musicians.
Also there was Ravi Shankar’s manager, Jay K. Hoffman, of New York, who gave me his contact info and ordered a set of prints. I kept in touch with Mr. Hoffman, and the following January, in Japan on my way to India, I received a telegram from him, asking if I’d like to meet up with a movie crew in Calcutta and shoot stills for a film they were making about Ravi Shankar and the music of India. Over the next month and a half I saw a lot of India and heard a lot of amazing music. The film, entitled ‘Raga,’ was released in 1971.
I saw George Harrison twice more: in Bombay during work on the film, and a year later in London, England, at the Beatles’ Apple Studios. George was at the piano teaching Joe Cocker Paul McCartney’s song, ‘She Came In Through The Bathroom Window,’ which appeared on Cocker’s second album.” - Eric Hayes
“sometimes i don’t know, which moment which cool gust of wind will come, and enchant me tousling my hair and my heart, stirring…that familiar ache of poetry, which drop will kiss the old wrench in my soul reminding me, all over again i miss you better in the rain.”
~ Sanober Khan
“The Jungle Book was inspired by the 1894 book of the same name by English author Rudyard Kipling. Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman, it was the last film to be produced by Walt Disney, who died during its production. The plot follows Mowgli, a feral child raised in the Indian jungle by wolves, as his friends Bagheera the panther and Baloo the bear try to convince him to leave the jungle before the evil tiger Shere Khan arrives.
After The Sword in the Stone was released, storyman Bill Peet claimed to Walt Disney that ‘we [the animation department] can do more interesting animal characters’ and suggested that Kipling’s The Jungle Book could be used for the studio’s next film. Disney agreed and Peet created an original treatment, with little supervision, as he had done with One Hundred and One Dalmatians and The Sword in the Stone. However, after the disappointing reaction to The Sword in the Stone, Walt Disney decided to become more involved in the story than he had been with the past two films, with his nephew Roy E. Disney saying that ‘[he] certainly influenced everything about it. (…) With Jungle Book, he obviously got hooked on the jungle and the characters that lived there.’
Peet decided to follow closely the dramatic, dark, and sinister tone of Kipling’s book, which is about the struggles between animals and man. However, the film’s writers decided to make the story more straightforward, as the novel is very episodic, with Mowgli going back and forth from the jungle to the Man-Village, and Peet felt that Mowgli returning to the Man-Village should be the ending for the film. Some plot points were taken from Kipling’s 1895 novel The Second Jungle Book.
Disney was not pleased with how the story was turning out, as he felt it was too dark for family viewing and insisted on script changes. Peet refused, and after a long argument, Peet left the Disney studio in January 1964. Disney then assigned Larry Clemmons as his new writer and one of the four story men for the film, giving Clemmons a copy of Kipling’s book, and telling him: ‘The first thing I want you to do is not to read it.’ Clemmons still looked at the novel, and thought it was too disjointed and without continuity, needing adaptations to fit a film script. Although much of Bill Peet’s work was discarded, the personalities of the characters remained in the final film.
Many familiar voices inspired the animators in their creation of the characters and helped them shape their personalities. This use of familiar voices for key characters was a rarity in Disney’s past films. The staff was shocked to hear that a wise cracking comedian, Phil Harris was going to be in a Kipling film. Disney suggested Harris after meeting him at a party. Harris improvised most of his lines, as he considered the scripted lines ‘didn’t feel natural’. After Harris was cast, Disneyland Records president Jimmy Johnson suggested Disney to get Louis Prima as King Louie, as he ‘felt that Louis would be great as foil’. Walt also cast other prominent actors such as George Sanders as Shere Khan and Sebastian Cabot as Bagheera.
David Bailey was originally cast as Mowgli, but his voice changed during production, leading Bailey to not fit the ‘young innocence of Mowgli’s character’ at which the producers were aiming. Thus director Wolfgang Reitherman cast his son Bruce, who had just voiced Christopher Robin in Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree. The animators shot footage of Bruce as a guide for the character’s performance.
The characterization of the orangutan King Louie has frequently been cited (including by Anthony Edward Schiappa, Susan Miller, and Greg Rode) as a racial stereotype, especially given the political and civil rights climates in America during the time this film was released. Initially, the producers considered famous jazz musician Louis Armstrong for the role, but to avoid the likely controversy that would result from casting a black person to voice an ape, they instead chose Italian-American musician Louis Prima.
Longtime Disney collaborator Terry Gilkyson was brought in to write the songs for the film. Gilkyson delivered several complete songs which were faithful in tone to Rudyard Kipling’s novel, but Walt Disney felt that his efforts were too dark. The Sherman Brothers were brought in to do a complete rewrite, on the condition that they not read Kipling’s book. The only piece of Gilkyson’s work which survived to the final film was his upbeat tune ‘The Bare Necessities’, which was liked by the rest of the film crew. Walt Disney asked the Shermans to ‘find scary places and write fun songs’ for their compositions, and frequently brought them to storyline sessions.
In the original book, the vultures are grim and evil characters who feast on the dead. Disney lightened it up by having the vultures bearing a physical and vocal resemblance to The Beatles, including the signature mop-top haircut. It was also planned to have the members of the band to both voice the characters and sing their song, ‘That’s What Friends Are For’. However, the Beatles member John Lennon’s refusal to work on animated films in that period led to the idea being discarded. The casting of the vultures still brought a British Invasion musician, Chad Stuart of the duo Chad & Jeremy.
The Jungle Book was released in October 1967, just 10 months after Walt’s death. Produced on a budget of $4 million, the film was a massive success, finishing 1967 as the fourth highest-grossing movie of the year. The Jungle Book received positive reviews upon release, undoubtedly influenced by a nostalgic reaction to the death of Disney. Life magazine referred to it as “the best thing of its kind since Dumbo, another short, bright, unscary and blessedly uncultivated cartoon.’ The song ‘The Bare Necessities’ was nominated for Best Song at the 40th Academy Awards, losing to ‘Talk to the Animals’ from Doctor Dolittle. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Gregory Peck lobbied extensively for this film to be nominated for Best Picture, but was unsuccessful.
According to Elsie Kipling Baimbridge, Rudyard Kipling’s daughter, ‘Mowgli’ is pronounced ‘MAU-glee’ (first syllable rhymes with cow), not ‘MOH-glee’ (first syllable rhymes with go). She reportedly never forgave Walt Disney for the gaffe.
After a studio screening of the finished film Walt Disney’s personal nurse Hazel George came up to animator Ollie Johnston with tears in her eyes and told him that the final shot where Bagheera and Baloo walk off into the sunset was perfect and that it was ‘just the way that Walt had gone out.’”