As an innocent lad, Bruce Reitherman went to work for his father, providing the voice of Mowgli in The Jungle Book.
Only now, with tomorrow's release of the two-disc 40th Anniversary DVD of the beloved 1967 movie, is Reitherman finally realizing that he helped write an important chapter in Disney movie history.
"But the experience was no big deal to me as a youngster because I wasn't really invested in the whole acting career," Reitherman says today. "I never went on to do anything else in acting."
His dad happened to be Wolfgang (Woolie) Reitherman, one of the legendary Nine Old Men who were with Walt Disney since the early days of the House of Mouse. And Bruce just happened to be available at home -- with his feet up on the sofa, watching TV -- when other voice talents failed in auditions.
Young Reitherman, now 52 and an acclaimed documentary director-cinematographer who specializes in natural history, was simply himself. Just as he had been earlier doing the voice of Christopher Robin in Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree.
"In some ways, I think they ended up with me because I couldn't act. I was just a little kid. Well, I could act a little bit. I could get it. When I read a line and I was supposed to be afraid, I was afraid and, when I was supposed to be happy, I was happy. But I wasn't trying to act like a little kid, I was a little kid."