Alphabetical Movie – The Jungle Book
When I was young, there was no such thing as home video. If you wanted to watch a Disney animated film, you went to see what was in the theatre or watched edited chunks of them on “The Wonderful World of Disney.”
What we did have was record albums of the movies. Specifically, I remember a recording of The Jungle Book that I listened to repeatedly to the point that I knew every sound in The Jungle Book. Literally every sound. It was not a record of the songs from the film. It was a record that was literally the entire film.
A picture book came with the record so I knew what a few moments looked like but there were large chunks of the record that never gave me enough cues to understand what I might possibly be seeing.
If you know The Jungle Book, think about the Dawn Patrol scene with the Elephants. Imagine that you had no visual cues aside from a picture of Mowgli standing next to a young elephant. With just the sound of a bunch of elephants crashing together, I was never quite sure what happened during that part of the movie.
Heck, there were parts where a characters voice was muffled and I had no idea why. Was it a problem with the recording or something that happened in the film?
I don’t want to equate that experience with being blind but I imagine it is about as close as I can come to understanding the difference between watching a movie and listening to it.
When I finally saw The Jungle Book, there was a disconnect between what I imagined was happening and what really happened.
Take the Dawn Patrol sequence. When Col. Hathi fails to halt the patrol, there is a great crashing noise. When I listened to that record all those years ago, I assumed that his failure to call halt resulted in the patrol falling off of a cliff. Seems like a fairly reasonable assumption given the sound effects.
That isn’t what actually happens. The difference doesn’t change the story but it changed the picture I had in my head.
I still think those elephants are going to walk off a cliff. That’s what I had in my head for so many years and even now, I’m a little bit surprised that they “just” run into one another.
Creepier than that was the fact that I had a record album of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh as well and Kaa is voiced by the same actor as Winnie the Pooh!
Why would Winnie the Pooh do that to a man cub? He’s a bear! He should like cubs! And why would he want to eat a man cub! He likes honey!
Yeah, I know. I was five. Those things matter when you’re five.
Watching The Jungle Book now, I always remember listening to that record and imagining what the movie would look like. In many ways, it looks exactly the way I expected.
And yet it isn’t the same. I kind of wish I had the record back.