A 1933 short cartoon made as part of Walt Disney's Silly Symphony series. It is essentially a pretty faithful telling of the well-known story, but done with exceptional animation (in glorious Technicolorstarted in 1929, the switch to color came in 1932). Being part of the Silly Symphony series, music (wonderfully orchestrated) plays throughout, the dialogue is sung, and many of the sound effects are done with percussion, slide whistles, or other musical instruments.
It begins with Fifer Pig1 building his house of straw and hay. His welcome mat and chair are also constructed of the same material. Unsurprisingly, he would rather not work (hence the slapped together house of straw), saying "I toot my flute and I don't a hoot and play around all day." You know he's in for it.
Next we meet Fiddler Pig, who has a house of sticks and twigs. As with his brother, he eschews work and sings of his preference to "hey diddle diddle, I play on my fiddle, and dance around all day." Interestingly, he has a horseshoe hanging above his door. We'll see what kind of luck it brings.
Pratical Pig is then shown hard at work on his house of stone and bricks. Unlike his brothers, who wear silly sailor suits, he has blue overalls and a white cap. Very practical, pig. As he slaps some wolf-proof paint on some boards, he explains that he gets "no chance to sing and dance, 'cause work and play don't mix." He warns his brothers of the dangers of the Wolf and tells them they will be sorry. They, of course don't care, dancing and singing away.
Who's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf...
Enter the Wolf. Pretty much a shoeless tramp. All lanky and drooling, patched red pants held up with green suspenders, and topped off with a stovepipe hat (and carrying a carpetbag). He's clearly up to no good.
The two pigs brag about how tough they are (while singing and dancing in their little sailor suits):
"I'll punch him in the nose!"
"I'll tie him in a knot!"
"I'll kick him in the chin!"
"We'll put him on the spot!"
Ones who tempt fate so, are headed for a fall.
So the Wolf chases them and they run. Fifer runs into his very solid-looking house of straw, pulling in the welcome mat with him. Then that famous exchange takes place. The Wolf demands he "open the door and let me in!" "Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin!" "I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house in!"
And he does. Fifer escapes to the fortress of sticks.
There, the Wolf is stopped by a seemingly impregnable wooden door. Reveling in their apparent victory, they sing and dance. Deciding to try another tactic, he says "they're too smart for meguess I'll go home." He goes and hides, returning later, in a basket dressed as a lamb, complete with sheepskin and bottle. The pigs aren't smart, but they aren't that stupid (maybe). Giving up the disguise, he goes to the old standby and blows that house down (all but that wooden door). They flee to brother Practical's house.
And what a house it is: flowers outside, nicely furnished, a piano (made of bricks), and pictures of "Mother" (a sow with piglets) and "Father" (one shows a number of connected sausage links and the other showing a big ham leg). Again the two tempt fate by dancing and singing (they do a lot of that). The Wolf tries another disguise. He knocks at the door claiming to be the Fuller Brush man, "working me way through school." Practical doesn't buy it and raps him with his own brush, before pulling the welcome mat out from under him.
Time to fall back on old reliable. He huffs, he puffs, he puffs, he huffs, he repeats. He blows so hard that his face turns blue then purple and his pants fall to his ankles. No go. But he has a planthe chimney! Mr. Wolf climbs up to the roof and prepares toSanta-likedrop down the chimney for some pork dinner.
Little does he know that the pigs have a kettle of boiling water on the fire. Practical takes off the lid and in what seems cruel overkill, dumps a tin of turpentine into the water. As expected the Wolf drops into the pot (pause for it and him to sink in) and them shoots up through the chimney, landing well away from the house before running away.
All three pigs dance and sing. They do that a lot.
As enjoyable as it is, that's not all. One of the most interesting things about that particular short is that in 1941, animation from it was reused and reworked in order to make a cartoon ad promoting the sale of Canadian war bonds (it was titled "The Thrifty Pig") for the National Film Board of Canada. Apparently there were three other shorts made for that purpose.
the Big Bad Wolf is redrawn with a Nazi hat and armband to represent the Nazi enemy. When the wolf attempts to blow down the brick house, the plaster is blown away to reveal that the bricks are protected by a secure "foundation of bonds." Thrifty Pig says, "These bricks not only stop his blowing, they will also get him going," and heaves the "certificate bricks" at the fleeing wolf. The three pigs sing at the end of the short:
"Who's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? The Union Jack's still waving. We'll be safe from the Big Bad Wolf If you lend your savings."
(I've never seen this, but it sounds like a hoot.)
The short also won the Academy Award for best shot subject (cartoon) and proved to be one of Disney's most popular shorts ever, the cartoon even outlasting many features at the movie theaterone theater in New York City began putting beards on the outside pictures of the pigs that got longer and longer as it continued its run (the sign saying "You've kept us so long we've grown beards). Also, a record of "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf," featuring the main singing parts of all three pigs, was released and became a huge hit.
An odd little note (interesting in light of "Three Little Wolves": refer to footnote one under that title) is that in an "original version" (according to film buff and annual Movie and Video Guide franchiser) Leonard Maltin, the Wolf arrives not as the Fuller Brush man, but dressed as a (stereotypical) "Jewish peddler"complete with overcoat, hat, bushy beard, and big nose. In defense, Maltin explains that "ethnic and racial stereotypes were a staple in Hollywood movies at that timeincluding those produced by Jews." Not that this doesn't make the stereotypes "distasteful," but he wishes to put it into the context of the time. Regardless, that piece of animation is not part of the "official" version and can only be seen in the intro to the cartoon.
In total, Disney made four shorts featuring the Three Little Pigs:
1The pigs were not named in the shorts (with the exception of Practical, for the later short). However, they were given names.
(Sources: the Walt Disney Treasures: Silly Symphonies DVD set, www.teemings.com/shorts/disney/years/1933/threelittlepigs1.html)