Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
King Louie is a fictional orangutan character who kidnaps Mowgli in Disney's 1967 animated musical adaptation of The Jungle Book. He does not appear in Rudyard Kipling's original book, which the movie is "inspired by" rather than "based on". In the book Mowgli is abducted by a band of nameless Bandar-log (monkeys), and the rest of the scene plays out very differently.
King Louie appears to be evil but he just wants to be human. In the movie, he is voiced by famed jazz trumpeter and vocalist Louis Prima, who sings the song "I Wanna Be Like You" after he kidnaps Mowgli, and asks the boy to show him the secret of "red fire" so he can be human. On the spinoff show Tale Spin he runs a tavern where Baloo the Bear and his sidekick Kit Cloudkicker like to hang out. On the other spinoff, Jungle Cubs, he came up with the band called the Five Bananas where he performed alongside Baloo, Bagheera the Panther, Hathi the Elephant, and Kaa the Snake.
A slightly different King Louie character appeared in the Disney 1994 live action Jungle Book movie starring Jason Scott Lee. Once again he is an orangutan, and the 'leader' of a group of monkeys that make their home in an abandoned human city. His name arises in this version from the vast wealth that humans left behind in the city, and in particular to his habit of wearing a crown similar in appearance to that worn by the King of France, ?Louis XIV.
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