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 Technicolor—started 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 me—guess 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 plan—the chimney! Mr. Wolf climbs up to the roof and prepares to—Santa-like—drop 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.

From www.teemings.com:

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 theater—one 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 time—including 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)

So me and my droogs were out lookin’ for a good time y’know. We was bored and it was getting’ kinda late, so I thought I might as well get some work done. We finished up our milk and bade our goodbyes. They were doubtlessly off to get high and commit some acts of senseless violence, but me, I had a method to my madness. I had sold my soul to the feds in order to support my habit. So I stopped by my drop box and there it was: a list of people who needed a little talking to-signed by the man himself. John Ashcroft had slated three houses for me to hit that night.

I made my way out of the downtown, careful not to steer too close to the whores or the night stalkers. People gave me my space. Nobody messes with those upon whose head the consent of Big Brother has been placed. Thank God for the Patriot Act I thought as I entered a fairly poor looking neighborhood, and continued to carry myself as though I really belonged there. I checked the paper one last time and then calmly approached the house bearing the correlating number and rapped loudly on the door. It was a small, decrepit looking house-looked almost like straw.

“Open up and let me in!” Nobody answered for a second and then I heard a distant reply muffled through the doors.

“Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin!”

God those unshaven barbarian pigs really pissed me off. They didn’t even eat pork for Christ Sake! Who did they think they were dealing with? Girl Scouts? My street name isn’t the Big Bad Wolf for nothing y’know? I wasn’t used to putting up with this kindof shit.

“Dude, I will blow your frickin’ house down if you do not open up right now.”

“Do your worst,” came the closer, angrier reply.

This little punk had obviously never dealt with the likes of me before. Nobody leaves their hat on during the national anthem and goes unpunished. Not in this fine country: we’ve got a frickin’ war to win. His house lasted about two seconds. If he’s lucky he died in the collapse.

The second house was a solid-looking wooden structure. The little communist who lived in there obviously had never heard the legend of the Big Bad Wolf either. Well, I showed him what happens to those who dare to even think about the word assassinate: can’t be too careful with psychotics like these. Two houses down, and a nice big fat commission.

I stopped short at the last house. It was a big solid brick structure in the midst of a real nice neighborhood. These folks had money. And architecture even I couldn’t mess with. I tried, I really did, without even warning them. But no matter how hard I huffed and puffed the house would not come down. Tabernac. So I crossed the street to this phone booth and punched in the code number at the bottom of the sheet. It didn’t even ring once before they answered.

“Yeah, this is Bravo Bravo Whiskey. I got a brick structure protecting a batch of godless unpersons and I can’t overwhelm the structure on my own. Request backup immediately.”

Then I hung up and walked away without even waiting to even hear an answer. Within seconds I could hear the sound of the black helicopters but I didn’t even turn around. They would be able to find and pay me. They always did.

This writeup brought to your courtesy of the AP English "Rewrite a Fairy Tale" Assignment, and the Node Your Homework Campaign

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