The Orangatan Named, Louis

The door to D-Wing swung open and the “old guys,” Milt, Frank and Ollie came stomping through the door laughing their heads off. It was the nineteen sixties at the Walt Disney Studios and a new animated movie was in production. The directing animators had just returned from a recording session over on Stage A but you would have thought they had just returned from a party. Well, in a way they had.

If you were lucky enough to have been a guest on Disney’s recording stage A back in the sixties you would have seen and heard Louis Prima and his band “tear up the place.” Prima had been selected to be the voice of King Louie, the orangutan Mowgli encounters in the jungle. However, Louis Prima didn't show up alone for his recording session. He brought his band along as well. And, who could blame them. Las Vegas can be fun, but it can't hold a candle to Disney's cartoon factory. 

As Louis Prima started to rehearse the movie's hit song, the Vegas showman couldn't seem to stand still. Suddenly, he began to channel the animated orangutan and with all the energy being expended the band couldn't help but join in.

 I don't exaggerate when I say Prima and his band totally freaked out and nearly blew out the walls on Stage A.The final tracks you hear on the movie's soundtrack have been toned down. And, I mean way, way down. Louis Prima and his band at full “Las Vegas tilt” was a lot more than moviegoers of the sixties would have been able to handle. At least that's what Walt Disney thought, in any case.

Then again, maybe Walt Disney was wrong. Some cranky old animators thought the stuff was pretty darn cool.

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