Monday, October 15, 2007

New Member of the Jungle Book Family-Rocky the Rhino!

Walt Disney’s The Jungle Book: 2-Disc Platinum Edition DVD was released on October 2nd.

This Disney classic was the last animated film that Walt personally touched. Featuring a ton of all new bonus features, this anticipated release will be available for a limited time, celebrating the 40th Anniversary of this jumpin’ jungle classic with a spectacular new restoration with enhanced picture and sound.

The all-new bonus features include a new member of The Jungle Book family, the long lost character created for the original film and discovered recently for the first time - Rocky, a near-sighted and short tempered, but hilarious rhinoceros.

Storyboard concepts of the “lost character” Rocky the Rhino were recently discovered at Disney’s Animation Research Library. A key character in The Jungle Book, developed by Walt Disney himself, he never made it to the silver screen. Several possible explanations have been offered by Disney animators over the years, but it is unclear why Rocky never made it into the final film.

Walt Disney personally created Rocky and described him as a 'loveable rhinoceros who is half blind and extremely dumb.' His character had been written and developed over months, and he was penciled to make his screen debut as Mowgli meets the friendly vultures. He was even going to show off his vocal skills by singing a full verse of the final song, That's What Friends Are For. Rocky’s personality was brought to life through the casting of veteran actor Frank Fontaine, who was selected to voice this bumbling character.

Dropped from The Jungle Book in 1967, Disney character Rocky the Rhino is set to get another chance to grab the limelight. For decades the name Rocky has been associated with the ultimate underdog story of a boxer from Philadelphia - but a dopey cartoon rhino created more than 40 years ago is set to grab the limelight. Rocky the Rhino should have been a star in the Disney classic The Jungle Book, but was unceremoniously cut from the 1967 film.

But, like a true gutsy underdog, he is going to get another chance after archivists searched Disney's library and discovered drawings of him. The story of the discovery of Rocky and an introduction to the character will feature in the 40th anniversary DVD of the children's favorite. Mystery surrounds why Rocky was dropped, missing his chance to become a household name like Baloo the bear, Shere Khan the tiger or king of the swingers, King Louie.


This is a size comparison chart of all the characters from the film, including Rocky the Rhino.

Given the Walt Disney Classics Collection has done lost moments and characters such as Soup's On, Snow White Dancing with her Prince and Hortense the Clock (Pinocchio), would love to see them immortalize Rocky the Rhino in 3D and make him a permanent part of the Jungle Book Family where he belongs.

14 comments:

Timon said...

I think a "lost moments" series would be a great idea! There is such a wealth of ideas and characters in the Disney files, and many of us would love to have that "unique" collection. That's what drew me (no pun intended) to WDCC in the first place.

KingHubert said...

Don,

Rocky's a cute character but my guess he was dropped for two reasons. First is the size of the cast, it was getting pretty large. The second is that while Walt and the rest weren't sticklers for realism, most if not all of the other characters are more closely related to the Indian sub-continent while a rhino is definitely African.

Bob

Babette said...

Hey Bob
Disney artists definitely did do their homework when it came to researching animal character movements for the films. According to wikipedia, there are 5 species of rhino, 2 native to Africa and 3 native to southern Asia.
In watching the DVD, I think they said that Rocky might have been pulled because Walt thought the voice of Rocky wasn't funny after a while.
Was great to watch the movie over the weekend. I had not seen this film since I was a child. Love to see them bring more elements of JB into the Animal Kingdom.
As far as a Rocky WDCC piece, it could be cute and humorous, but I'd prefer Roz or Heimlich first if we're going for bloated oversized Disney characters.

cuatrecess said...

This is my second favorite Disney movie of all time! I'd love to see ANY new pieces from it!

~Cheryl

Duckman said...

A Lost Moments Series, consisting of characters like Rocky the Rhino would make a great addition to the WDCC. It would help set WDCC apart from other collectibles that stick with the more mainstream characters.

Bob, have been doing additional research this evening on Rocky and found the following (some eluded to on the DVD). In an article by Jeff Otto who spoke with Doug Engalla, a researcher in the Animation Research Library, Walt Disney himself removed Rocky from the film. “It just wasn’t working in the context of the story,” Engalla told Mr. Otto. “I also heard a rumor that Walt thought Frank Fontaine’s voice was a bit irritating…” (along the lines of what Michelle read). So it still remains a mystery, why Rocky was removed.

Michelle, I too would like to see Jungle Book incorporated more into Disney's Animal Kingdom (DKA).

Hey! No high-jacking my Rocky the Rhino campaign! LOL!

Duckman said...

Hi Cheryl! Jungle Book is my 3rd all-time favorite Disney film and like you, love to see them continue to add more characters and new scenes from this Disney masterpiece!

Matthew said...

Don, when the Animal Kingdom first opened, there was a Jungle Book show in the theatre next to Dinoland (the same theatre that presented the Tarzan show and show presents the Finding Nemo musical). I remember it being really cute and definitely fitting the theme of the park.

Would definitely love to see a "missing moments" series. There's hope... now that we have Silly Symphonies...

cuatrecess said...

Hey Don? What were your first two favorite Disney movies?

My all time favorite is "Robin Hood," what a shocker!

~Cheryl

Duckman said...

Hi Cheryl!

My top two favorite Disney movies are Dumbo and Peter Pan.

Pinocchio and Sleeping Beauty round out my Top 5.

KingHubert said...

Michelle,

Thanks for the correction! I always think in terms of the Black & White rhinos of Africa but your post inspired me to do some checking and I did find the three species of Asian Rhinos (all incredibly endangered).

Bob

JL said...

I would love to see Rocky the Rhino. It would be nice if they made him and put the size comparison chart in the green box.

Duckman said...

I like that idea JL! They could do the size comparison chart in the size of the lithos we receive with the membership kits. I nice added bonus!

Behr said...

Hey Don

Maybe its time for a couple of surveys, one for Rocky and one for the haunted mansion pieces to see how much interest there is to show WDCC and Enesco that they are missing the boat in not creating these pieces for us?

Duckman said...

Hi Geoffrey,

Always nice to see an older entry resurrected!

Had planned a Haunted Mansion Series poll, just finished setting one up. By the time that poll ends, plan to set up another listing all our suggestions to see which characters in the attraction collectors are most interested in seeing done.

Will follow those polls with a Rocky poll, another character I would like to see done. BTW, was also great re-reading the comments when this entry was first made.