Louis Armstrong

  1. Louis Prima, The Jungle Book, 1966.    Oh, what a beautiful toon!  For what proved his final cartoon feature (one of his finest), Walt Disney inaugurated the idea of using celebrity voices. He won over Sebastian Cabot, Phil Harris and George Sanders for Bagheera, Baloo and Shere Khan.  But couldn’t land Satchmo (although most swore it was him!) for King Louie of the Apes. .  Anyway, the Disney suits got cold feet about having the black jazzman playing a monkey.  It would, surely, make it a racist film.  DIdn’t seem to the black actors playing King Kouie’s  tribe.  Walt did not get The Beatles  either  – for the four vultures based on them. A furious John Lennon said Uncle Walt should go get Elvis! 
  2. Scatman Crothers, The Aristocats, 1966.  Scat Cat was designed for Louis.  The feline even looked rather like him –chubby physique and how he played his trumpet. But Louis was ill. DIrector Wolfgang Reitherman (father of Bruce, the kid playing Mowgli in The Jungle Book) told his substitute: “Pretend you’re Satchmo.”

 Birth year: 1901Death year: 1971Other name: Casting Calls:  2