Orangutans, Donald Trump, & The Jungle Book

News reports today are saying that Donald Trump is suing Bill Maher for $5 million dollars because of a joke Maher made at Trump’s expense. After Donald Trump made his famous offer that he would pay if President Obama released his college transcripts, Maher responded to Trump with his own offer on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, creating the basis for the lawsuit.

On The Tonight Show, Maher referred to his “New Rules” segment on his own Real Time show, when they had supposed that “Donald Trump had been the spawn of an orangutan. . . .” Then Maher added, “I’m not saying it’s true . . . . But unless he comes up with proof, I’m willing to offer $5 million to Donald Trump that he can donate to a charity of his choice.” The video is no longer available for embedding, but you may watch it on YouTube.

After Maher’s “offer,” Trump presented his birth certificate proving that he is not the son of an orangutan. Salon reported that Trump even explained that he did not believe Maher was joking. While Maher’s line on Leno was not one of his cleverest jokes (and I’ve often thought that most Trump hair jokes are lazy attempts at humor), I suspect that everyone else in America got the joke. If it goes that far, I am sure the courts will figure it out quickly (although some folks think Maher should pay).

Since Donald Trump has proved he is not the world’s most famous orangutan, it raises the question of who carries that title. While some may make a case for Clyde from Every Which Way But Loose (1978), the most famous orangutan in film is probably King Louie from Disney’s The Jungle Book (1967). Louie in the film is voiced by singer and trumpeter Louis Prima, who passed away in 1978, while Baloo’s voice is from Phil Harris. King Louie’s big moment is “I Wanna Be Like You,” a song written by Robert and Richard Sherman (the pair who also wrote Walt Disney’s favorite song).

This interesting video at the link (not available for embedding) explains how some of the animated action was inspired by Prima and his band. Prima used to lead his band members in a line into the audience, which was copied by the animators when they had King Louie lead his short procession. Also, in the movie, King Louie plays his hands at one point like Louis Prima played his horn. Prima’s dance moves provided further inspiration. Unlike Donald Trump, Louis Prima did not mind being associated with an orangutan.

Who can hear “I Wanna Be Like You” and not feel happy? So, for Mr. Trump, here is a little something to cheer you up (without implying any relation between you and the singer).

Who is your favorite orangutan? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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