This is maybe more of Ginny McSwain's territory, but what prompted the choice of Ed Gilbert over Phil Harris as Baloo? Was it quality of acting, or of voice?!
How about RJ Williams over Alan Roberts as Kit?! Did the fact that RJ and Ed have a previously successful chemistry in "Kissyfur" have an effect on the choice of casting?
Anyway, thanks for answering our questions, Mr. Magon. I greatly appreciate it! :D
Well, actually I CAN answer this question, since I was directly involved with the casting. In fact, Mark & I voice-directed the first few episodes. (Then we got too busy, and Ginnie was hired to take over.)
Phil Harris WAS hired as Baloo, and I think we recorded two (maybe three) episodes. He certainly SOUNDED like Baloo - duh. But, yes, his age was a factor. He didn't have the slick, con man timing anymore. I loved working with Phil, so I was distraught to inform management that he just wasn't going to work out for 65 episodes. (Besides, we had to chauffeur him to and from Palm Springs for the recording sessions - a 4 hour round trip!!) So we went looking for a replacement. Ed was finally chosen, and I took him to lunch, explaining that the series really was riging on Baloo's shoulders. Ed worked really hard to sound like Phil and to get his timing. I thought he did a really good job. (When I saw the John Goodman choice, years later, I thought "Dang, why didn't we think of HIM for TS?!)
Alan was our original choice for Kit, and we used him for a few episodes. But by then Ginnie had taken over the voice direction, and I seem to remember she had some troubles directing him. So she went with RJ who was a more seasoned kid actor (if I'm remembering right), and that why the switch was made.