The Jungle Book is the nineteenth animated feature in the Disney Classics collection, and the last movie in which Walt Disney worked. Even though Walt had left the animation department to focus more on Disney's amusement parks and tv series, the idea of working on an adaptation of this story led him to be as involved as ever in an animated project.
After completing the production of 101 dalmatians, Walt asked Bill Peet () to choose a new project for their next animated feature. It was Peet who advised Walt on acquiring the rights to The Jungle Book, since he considered that it would be a good opportunity to develop great animal characters.
Based on the novel by Rudyard Kipling, the script was originally Bill Peet's last screenplay for Disney, but his version of it was too dark, closer to the original story. So Walt didn't like it very much, since he preferred simpler tory lines with richer characters. In the end, the script was scrapped and Larry Clemmons stepped in to work on the new version.