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|The Jungle Book character|
Baloo, at the base of a tree in the 1895 edition of The Two Jungle Books
|First appearance||"Mowgli's Brothers"|
|Created by||Rudyard Kipling|
Baloo is a fictional character featured in Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book from 1894 and The Second Jungle Book from 1895. Baloo, a bear, and Bagheera, a panther, save Mowgli from Shere Khan the tiger, and endeavor to teach Mowgli the Law of the Jungle in many of the stories of the Jungle Book.
Name and species
He is described in Kipling's work as "the sleepy brown bear". Robert Armitage Sterndale, from whom Kipling derived most of his knowledge of Indian fauna, used the Hindi word "Bhalu" for several bear species, though Daniel Karlin, who edited the Penguin reissue of The Jungle Book in 1989, states that, with the exception of colour, Kipling's descriptions of Baloo are consistent with the sloth bear, as brown bears and Asian black bears do not occur in the Seoni area where the novel takes place. Also, the name sloth can be used in the context of sleepiness. Karlin states, however, that Baloo's diet of "... only roots and nuts and honey" is a trait more common to the Asian black bear than to the sloth bear. Nevertheless, this may be single observation only; we know from Diatry Habits of a Sloth Bears that while Sloth bears prefer mainly termites and ants - which is also described as Baloo's special treat in the jungle book - their main source of food is exactly honey and fruits most of the year.
In film, television, radio and theatre
Baloo as he appears in the Walt Disney's The Jungle Book (1967).
|First appearance||Jungle Book (1967)|
|Created by||Rudyard Kipling|
|Voiced by||Phil Harris (The Jungle Book)
A.J. Henderson (Jungle Book Shōnen Mowgli)
Ed Gilbert (TaleSpin)
Pamela Adlon (Jungle Cubs)
John Goodman (The Jungle Book 2)
Steven Curtis Chapman (The Jungle Book Groove Party)
Kevin Carolan (The Jungle Book Musical)
The Jungle Book animated film
Baloo, based on Kipling's creation, has appeared in various Disney productions, starting with that company's 1967 feature-length animated film The Jungle Book. In this version, Baloo is an easygoing and fun-loving character who shirks responsibility—seemingly far removed from the law teacher in Kipling's book. Baloo is one of Mowgli's mentors and friends. Baloo is loyal, protective; his weakness is that he's ticklish. Variations of this version of the character have appeared in three animated series, TaleSpin (as a pilot), Jungle Cubs (as a cub) and Disney's House of Mouse (as a guest), as well as the 2003 animated sequel The Jungle Book 2. Disney's Robin Hood, interpreting the traditional characters as anthropomorphic animals, features a version of Little John (also voiced by Phil Harris) that strongly resembles Baloo. He also meets up with Violet in a cameo appearance in the Disney on Ice play Disney Presents Pixar's The Incredibles in a Magic Kingdom Adventure.
Disney's Baloo is arguably the most popular character in the filmed version of The Jungle Book. He was made famous by the song "The Bare Necessities", sung by Phil Harris, in which he tells Mowgli how, if you know the tricks, you can live off the land and still have a life of leisure.
In an unproduced show called B-Players about supporting characters from Disney movies, Baloo was intended to appear as one of the better-off veterans of Disney films.
In the Disney animated TV series TaleSpin, Baloo (voiced by Ed Gilbert) is the main character of the series and is based primarily on the character from Disney's The Jungle Book, but he wears a flight cap and a yellow shirt. He also has four-fingered hands instead of his Jungle Book counterpart's claws. He has a fun-loving and irresponsible personality just like the Jungle Book version. Although lazy, slobby, unreliable, and always broke, he is also an excellent pilot and capable of daring aerial maneuvers. He flies a cargo plane called the Sea Duck. He will also selflessly come to the aid of people in need of help. Some of his mannerisms survive from The Jungle Book, including his nickname of "Papa Bear" given by his young friend Kit Cloudkicker, which Mowgli had given to him in The Jungle Book. He also calls Kit "Little Britches", as he did with Mowgli.
In the Disney animated TV series Jungle Cubs, Baloo (voiced by Pamela Adlon) is a friendly and free-spirited cub. He likes to play with his friends (including his best friend Louie) and sometimes plays tricks on Bagheera in order to snap the latter out of his uptight attitude.
Japanese anime version and American adaptation
There has also been a Japanese anime TV series called Jungle Book Shōnen Mowgli based on the Mowgli series, which was later adapted into an American live-action series, Mowgli: The New Adventures of the Jungle Book. This version more faithfully depicts Baloo as a mature teacher of Mowgli, not above getting physical in his displeasure when the boy is being difficult.
1994 live-action film
In the 1994 Disney live-action film Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, Baloo, like all the other animals featured, does not speak. He first meets Mowgli as a cub when Mowgli finds him trapped inside a broken log. Mowgli frees him and they become fast friends. In a later scene, while Mowgli is escorting his childhood sweetheart Katherine "Kitty" Brydon through the jungle, Baloo appears and playfully wrestles with Mowgli, in the process temporarily scaring Kitty until Mowgli introduces his jungle friends to her. In a later tussle against soldiers working for Captain William Boone, the main villain, Baloo is shot and left for dead, but Mowgli finds him and locates Dr. Julius Plumford to save his life. In the final scene, after Boone's defeat, Dr. Plumford is shown to have successfully saved Baloo, and is seen standing with Baloo beside a waterfall.