When people ask me what my favorite Disney movie is (which they ask much less frequently these days --the Mouse House is seriously falling as a movie dream-making factory) I invariably answer with a quick respectful "Sleeping Beauty" or a giddy, 'wasn't the 1991 Oscar race cool' "Beauty & The Beast". But if you had asked me as a little kid I pro'lly woulda shouted out "JUNGLE BOOK" I was crazy for that movie. Had the vinyl soundtrack album. Knew all the songs. Danced around like a madman (as uninhibited little kids do) to "I Wanna Be Like You". One of the main reasons I loved it so? Cats! Two of the best ones in the movies. You've got your classic evil tiger (Shere Khan) and you've got one of my favorite Disney characters ever: the panther Bagheera.
I knew as a kid that I was supposed to get the biggest kick out of the comic relief characters like Baloo and King Louie but my heart was always with the protective and serious Bagheera. I sided him with him in every scene and absorbed his feelings while watching the movie. Baloo just made me crazy. He's gonna get that little human killed! So irresponsible.
So today I salute one of my favorite wild felines from childhood. Thanks for saving little Mowgli my man! (He turned into quite a looker when he grew up...and he couldn't a done it without you.)