'The Jungle Book' Success Story

Animator Floyd Norman Strikes It Big With Walt Disney.
3:00 | 02/11/14

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Transcript for 'The Jungle Book' Success Story
In 1967 Walt Disney introduced us to the memorable characters of -- believe ballooned to gear -- many more. All -- made up the animated classic that jungle book. Joining us today is one of the original animators from the animated classic Floyd Norman welcome. Thank you happy to be here very good so how old were you when you started. With Disney. I think I was either nineteen or twenty. Just out of art school in my third year of art school and I received -- -- To come to Leo Walt Disney studio believe it or not I was watching the Mickey Mouse club. When that phone call came man. Have been very well -- was for I was just a kid and -- member getting -- all I sure do like it was yesterday. -- very exciting news. And there was my dream -- dreams of one day working for Disney. And now all of a sudden I was going to be inside the magic factory can you are also one of the first African American animators to work there. So until. Although honestly that never crossed my mind I was just another eager young kid who one of the job in the cartoon business. And how exciting was that for you as you entered those stores and pretty much living entry well it was excited because keep in mind back in those days few people knew anything about the animated. Process -- these films are made and nobody ever got inside. A studio like Disney. -- to find myself on the inside. I was like you know inside a candy factory it was just it was just an awesome experience. And you've had an opportunity -- work on some amazing projects of course the Mickey Mouse club. Sleeping beauty and then he received a phone call from want Walt Disney himself. Well that's not exactly the way it worked out. -- didn't exactly call me because keep in -- and I wasn't anybody important I was just another kid. But Walt Disney had seen my cartoons all over the studio. So. He didn't contact me but he contacted my bosses and said -- in this kid and story. And that's how I found myself promoted. To Disney's coveted store department. And that is where you also went to work on -- jungle book that that indeed this where it all began. Give me an idea what was it like working on that project did you -- it was going to be something very special. I thought the jungle book was going to be very special because one of Walt Disney's. -- this story artist was developed in the film. For motion picture you know he he had adapted and one dalmatians sword in the stone. And this is. Bill piece of one of Walt Disney's find this story artists' studios. But guess what happened Walt Disney did not like -- -- -- had done. He found Kate's treatment too dark too mysterious and he wanted to like -- -- So he and bill got into it and bill walked off the picture. And then I became part of -- news story group had to -- the film. So Walt Disney didn't call you personally but he did have a nickname for you right yes Walt Disney called me kid. Which was appropriate because I was just -- know nothing kid at that time. And so believe you me there was no one more surprise than myself when I get paid to work on the jungle book. Because keep in mind back then. Lot of people wanted to get into the story department and could not get in it was a job that was -- easily -- And yet here I was a kid not even wanting the job suddenly finding myself in this. This covenant position. -- -- everyone has their own favorite part of the jungle book but it bare necessities of course is a big part of it. What did you think -- -- started reading through the story of how -- would approach this. We'll tell you one thing the boss told us not to do and that is he told us. Do not read -- wins the jungle book. He didn't want us to be influenced by. The original Kipling story because well one of the -- an awful -- different directions. So he said -- don't read this that I -- -- and fun. That I won basically a party in the jungles and -- -- wrong. And so we just had to create some good times for -- -- -- Ballou the bear. So what sort of influenced you what inspired you -- and sat down there. Old when you start working on a film well you start but a blank sheet of paper. That's the thing about being a creative person you've basically start with -- Now honestly we did have some wonderful characters but keep in mind these characters were already created by -- So we knew about Mobley and -- -- And -- -- the tiger so and a sense we had a great cast. Waiting for us. Except we didn't know exactly what we were going to do with them bill created already given. His shot and Walt didn't like it. So here we were having to start over again and we had to make a film that Walt Disney did like. Patty bring those characters alive in there own way and also a way it's going to -- -- -- well. I. Thank I was lucky honestly I was a kid who had grown up watching Disney movies. I had grown up reading Disney comics and then Disney story books so you know what happened I wasn't infused with Disney. Disney was part of my DNA. So when Walt Disney said. This film isn't working and I want to Disney movie. Well honestly I knew exactly what that was. Maybe. I couldn't exactly articulated. But I knew what made a Disney film work and so I just began to apply those principles. And guess what -- liked it. You know Walt Disney -- -- such an iconic name. How was he as the -- as a person what are your memories. So people often ask me about Walt Disney and what was -- -- And there's all kinds of stories you know that -- was a tyrant and he was. -- mean boss and demand the and then and it's true Disney was tough and he was demanding. No doubt about it but he knew what he wanted. And he also knew that he wanted every every person on his team to give their best. I have no problem but the -- being tough. When that boss knows what they're doing and -- always knew what he knew what he was doing he knew what he wanted so all we had to do was deliver. Deliver the goods and then we tried our best to do that we knew that if we made Walt happy we would make the audience -- They know there's a recent film that was out saving mr. banks of course Tom Hanks for trail was it an actor one in your opinion. Well believe it or not it was it was indeed I was lucky enough to be on -- with mr. Hanks. And watched him go through his paces as well -- me. And I'll tell you -- did a great job. Now I'll have to say Tom Hanks doesn't exactly look like Walt Disney and Tom Hanks really doesn't sound like Walt Disney. But when you see Tom -- on screen he truly came across as Walt Disney he captured the essence of the man -- that was the Walt Disney idea. That must have been impressive being on -- actually seen that transformation. That was indeed it was indeed. Just the way -- moved. Just as a matter of speaking. What was the kind of at a simple -- -- in many ways he was a complex man but he was really kind of a simple guy and who could. You know relate to anybody I think that's why his films were so successful he knew his audience -- he was part of that audience himself. And so -- managed to capture that in his portrayal. Give me an idea you know with the animation -- illustration the so much of it has gone to computers now. How do you feel about that do you like that transition. Well you know I honestly have a soft spot in my heart. For the -- films were made in the old days that is they were essentially a handmade product. Every frame of film was pretty much drawn by hand every -- sketched on paper every -- Paint and painted by hand it was a hand made products. I think that's what made animated film so special because. They were -- because they were actually a movie made by hand. Well but things changed in the 1960s we had a new process called Xerox. Which enabled us to transfer or drawings onto the sheets of acetate. With a photocopy machine. In the ninety's we had another major technological shift where our drawings could then be painted on the computer. Well today the entire process can be done digitally. Our films are animated on the computer -- backgrounds are painted digitally so it's a major shift in the way films are made. Yet at the heart of every film it's still that wonderful heart -- magical story that much hasn't changed at all. And with all the changes that you have seen over the decades of course now the jungle book coming out on Blu-ray the vibrant. Sort of digital high definition. Do you like seeing that that format is it watching it sort of an a new way for you as well. I think what's so amazing about about our technology. That enables us to keep these older films alive. And that means that the jungle book looks just as fresh today as it did in 1967. When I first saw the film at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. And so. These films are or are timeless -- -- And our technology enables us keep them about ways to let kids fifty years from now. Can still see the jungle book and -- -- just to degrade them as a dozen now. You think the jungle book will be relevant. And decades to come as well as the story as well as the characters in the way they're drawn an illustrated. Oh yeah I I think what the jungle book represents. Is the very best of Walt Disney keep in mind it was Walt -- final film. We lost him in December of 1966. Not long after we had wrapped up the story. But that film. Sort of like it was the end of an era. -- best animators -- were at the top of their game. You know gave their -- -- this film. And it's a film but I think will be remembered by animation historians. As well is just the average audience. Because. It was really the clothes in the open era. We lost world and we had to go on without him. Good work we'll still be done but sadly it'll have to be done without -- I wanna stay with that for a moment what do you remember about wrapping that as well as with the loss of Walt -- Will close in the jungle book was. And -- and interest your story all by itself we really didn't have an -- for the film. We knew that Mobley the man code would have to give activity to the Mann village. But we didn't have any way of getting them back there you know what -- got there now what do we do. We'll believe it and it was Walt Disney who gave us the end -- him he said. Have a little girl come out and -- some water from the well. And where Mobley -- He's gonna follow her back to the Mann village. And we thought well this is ludicrous he says the ten year old kid he's not a heavily interest and girls. And -- doing. It'll work. So this is. The way Walt -- kind of closed -- his career he gave us the answer even though we didn't you know accepted right away. The men knew exactly what he was doing he knew what would -- he knew what would connect with -- with audiences. And it seems he always knew that. And we have that answer and that ending for generations to come. Real quickly are you going to keep working as well do you enjoy it. -- I've always enjoyed my work. I enjoyed my years of Disney. I can't imagine doing anything else I honestly feel I've had the best job in the world. Floyd Norman thank you so much and for stopping by the jungle book deluxe edition is out on Blu-ray and this -- stores now. Good luck with everything.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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