Jungle Book: Louis Prima’s ‘I Wanna Be Like You’ (1967)

Note: This article may feature affiliate links, and purchases made may earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. Find out more here.

Jungle Book - I Wanna Be Like You

Note: This article may feature affiliate links to Amazon or other companies, and purchases made via these links may earn us a small commission at no additional cost to you. Find out more here.

The King of the Swingers

Louis Prima, a star since the 1930s, was known as “The King of the Swing” — so he was the perfect choice to play “The King of the Swingers,” aka King Louie, in Disney’s “The Jungle Book” movie.

Louis Prima and orchestra

In the book Mouse tracks: the story of Walt Disney Records, authors Tim Hollis and Greg Ehrbar tell the story of how Disneyland Records’ head honcho Jimmy Johnson got Prima for the movie:

“I felt that Louis would be great as a foil in the part of King Louie,” Johnson wrote, “so I recommended him to Walt, who at first was a bit dubious. But Louis really wanted the part, so he brought his entire band down to Burbank at his own expense to audition for Walt and the animators.

“They set up on one of the sound stages and went into their regular Vegas act. As part of the act, Louis’ drummer puts on a rubber ape mask and drums away with a whole fistful of sticks, flipping them into the air, catching them, then drumming all over the room on chairs, on the floor, on other instruments.

“It’s a hilarious bit, and the animators broke up… Some of the other antics of Louis and his crew also found their way into the film.”

See a little behind-the-scenes clip that shows the making of “I Wanna Be Like You” here.

Louis Prima - The New Sounds of the Louis Prima Show

Louis Prima: I Wanna Be Like You

PS: If you liked this article, please share it! You can also get our free newsletter, follow us on Facebook & Pinterest, plus see exclusive retro-inspired products in our shop. Thanks for visiting!

More stories you might like

Because the fun never ends

Comments on this story

Leave a comment here!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.