Mowgli's Story - Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The popularity of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book cannot be denied.  First released as separate short stories in London-based magazines between 1893 and 1894, with more stories printed in 1902, after Kipling moved to Vermont.  The stories are all morality tales, intended to provide children with lessons about life and the world.  The Jungle Book proved to be hugely popular, and the love of it has never waned.  In fact, stories from the book have been incorporated into all sorts of media over the years, including comic books, radio, live theater, and of course television and the movies.  Arguably, the most famous of all the depictions is the 1967 animated feature by Disney.  In this film, the man-cub Mowgli learns the lessons of the jungle with his friend Baloo, and from encounters with Louis Prima's King Louis and the menacing Shere Khan, a hypnotizing snake voiced by Winnie-the-Pooh's Sterling Halloway.  Interestingly, the Soviet Union released their own animated adaptation of the stories of Kipling the same year.

Disney has not yet given up on telling tales about Mowgli.  Proof of this can be given with a poster on display in the Toy Box here at the American Treasure Tour.  Mowgli's Story is a live-action feature that was released direct-to-video in 1997, back when videocassettes were still the big thing.  In fact, the movie was initially supposed to be released in 2002 to celebrate the centennial of the release of Kipling's second book, but Disney pushed it up when they realized the direct-to-video market was fast disappearing.  Honestly, the film was not received very well, and kinda fell into obscurity very quickly.  Which, we would like to think, makes our poster that much more special.  Coming soon to a theater near you, though, is an even newer live-action treatment of The Jungle Book by, you guessed it, the Disney Company!
QUESTION:  What British leader went to Kipling to specifically ask for permission to incorporate the lessons of The Jungle Book into his organization?
A)  Winston Churchill
B)  Robert Baden-Powell
C)  Queen Elizabeth II
D)  Guy Fawkes
ANSWER BELOW

TASTY TEA ALL GONE.  So, what would you rather do on a cold December night like tonight in the year 1773 - sit by a fire and enjoy some tea, or trespass onto someone's ship and destroy some of their expensive, imported goods?  Well, if you were one of the Sons of Liberty, you would have chosen the latter.  Today is the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party - a protest against laws implemented by the British government against the residents of their American colonies.  Let's just say those laws were unpopular, and the dumping of the tea into Boston Harbor did not make the powers that be very happy.  We won't spoil it, though, and tell you what happened next.  

HAPPY B-DAY, PKD!  Born on this day in 1928 was the science fiction author/essayist/philosopher Philip K. Dick.  Dick and his twin sister entered the world six weeks early in Chicago.  His sister's death six weeks later would have a profound impact on Dick and his later writings, in which a "phantom twin" would often be encountered.  Dick became one of the nation's best-recognized science fiction authors, and included the novel The Man in the High Castle, which speculated about life in a world where Germany and Japan won World War II, now a series available for streaming.  Dick died in 1982 from a stroke, but left behind an impressive set of works that still reach people today.

QUOTE:  It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane. - Philip K. Dick

ANSWER:  B)  Robert Baden-Powell.  The founder of the Boy Scouts asked for Kipling's permission to incorporate stories and games included in the book to training his boys to become upstanding citizens.