L-r: Children of Hatha, Kaa, Baloo, Bagheera, Shere Khan.

JUNGLE CUBS

Original Medium: TV animation
Produced by: Disney
First appeared: 1996
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By the mid-1990s, Disney's practice of modifying its old properties into subjects of new half-hour TV series, which began with DuckTales, based on Uncle Scrooge, was well-established. Goof Troop, based on Goofy; Rescue Rangers, based on Chip'nDale and more had all come and gone as segments of the two-hour Disney Afternoon

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… programming block. Jungle Cubs, based on the 1967 feature The Jungle Book, was the first time they based a second TV show on the same original property — TaleSpin (1990) had also used highly modified characters from that movie.

Jungle Cubs debuted October 5, 1996. The basic premise didn't twist its base material nearly as tortuously as the earlier series (which transplanted several of its characters from their jungle setting to civilization, and turned the storyline into something more similar to its near-namesake, Tailspin Tommy, than anything having to do with what it had been before). It was simply the time-honored ploy of depicting younger versions of the characters. In fact, one might even call it a cliché, familiar in toons from Little Archie to Superboy.

In this case, however, the depictions weren't just the same characters at a younger stage of their lives, like for example Baby Looney Tunes. They were an actual later generation, like Infinity Inc. was of The Justice Society of America. The older versions, in fact, were still around, with the exception, of course, of Mowgli, who had gone to live in Man's World.

Baloo the Bear was voiced by Pamela Adlon (Spinelli in Recess, Dewey in Quack Pack). The elder Bagheera was Elizabeth Daily (Buttercup in Power Puff Girls, Tommy in Rugrats). Akela the Wolf was Rob Paulsen (Yakko Warner, Throttle in Biker Mice from Mars). King Louie Sr. was Jason Marsden (Chester in Fairly OddParents, Cavin in Gummi Bears).

Voices heard among the younger characters include Charles Adler (several voices in Spawn, Buster Bunny in Tiny Toon Adventures), Tress MacNeille (Daisy Duck in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and House of Mouse, Nelson's mom in The Simpsons), Cree Summer (Foxxy Love in Drawn Together, Orange Blossom in Strawberry Shortcake) and Jim Cummings (Darkwing Duck, Pete in 1990s and 21st century animation).

Jungle Cubs was made for two seasons, a total of 21 episodes. It was rerun until 2001, but has been mostly off the air since.

— DDM

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Text ©2008-09 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Walt Disney Productions.