Disney: Three Little Pigs
aka: The Three Little Pigs
The Three Little Pigs
was a landmark animated short film
released on May 27, 1933
. It was produced by Walt Disney
(though distributed through United Artists). Based on the fairy tale of the same name
, Three Little Pigs
won the 1934 Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons
. In addition to critical acclaim, the cartoon was a smash hit, so much that it was still running in theaters months after its debut, and became Disney's biggest financial success. To this day, it remains the single-most successful animated short ever made.
Animator Chuck Jones
said, "That was the first time that anybody ever brought characters to life [in an animated cartoon]. They were three characters who looked
alike and acted
differently". The film is also notable for being the first animated short to be musically scored like a feature, rather than the standard cartoon scores of the time, which tended to be stitched together from staple songs.
A few follow up shorts were made in the following years, but none of them ever matched the original in popularity. The characters also made appearances in other Disney media, including many comic books. Also of note is the Pigs appearing in a 1963 non-Disney feature, "Cri-Cri el Grillito Cantor" (Chi-Chi, the Singing Cricket). See it here.
In 2007, The Three Little Pigs
was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry
by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
Tropes Found in The Three Little Pigs
- An Aesop
- Aesop Amnesia: Subsequent Silly Symphonies shorts show that Practical Pig is still the only one doing any work or taking Big Bad seriously.
- All There in the Manual: The characters names are given in supplemental material of the shorts, but not in the actual cartoons.
- All Work vs. All Play: Practical is All Work, Fiddler and Fifer are All Play.
- And Then What?: A comic story in which the Wolf finally catches the pigs sends him through this.
- Aside Glance: The Big Bad Wolf does this often.
- Ass in a Lion Skin: The wolf becomes (literally) A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing.
"I'm a poor little sheep, with no place to sleep. Please open the door, and let me in!"
"Not by the hair of our chinny-chin-chin! You can't fool us with that old sheepskin!"
- Big Bad: It's in his name.
- The Big Bad Wolf: Yup.
- Blow You Away
- In the original cut of the original short, the wolf attempts to gain access to Practical Pig's house by disguising himself as a Jewish peddler. After World War II, however, the shots of his Jewish peddler disguise were reanimated to depict him as a Fuller Brush Man (sans the Jew-mask), albeit still with the original version's audio (thus he still speaks with the Yiddish accent).
- Some TV airings of the short further excise this, by not only omitting his Jew-mask, but also dubbing the audio, so that he no longer has the aforementioned accent.
- Comic Book Adaptation: There are many comics starring the characters, usually focusing on Zeke Wolf's never-ending schemes to catch the pigs.
- Cross-Dressing Voices: Fiddler and Fifer were voiced by women.
- Crossover: The first sequel, The Big Bad Wolf, features Fifer and Fiddler escorting Little Red Riding Hood to her grandmother's.
- The comics also frequently guest star Br'er Bear, usually as a foil to Zeke. In these stories, B'rer Bear is generally portrayed as more of a good guy than he was in Song of the South, even being friendly with the pigs and Li'l Wolf — although he's still stupid and violent, with Zeke as the most frequent target for his violent tantrums. note Br'er Fox and Br'er Rabbit also make sporadic appearances, with their original characterizations more or less intact.
- Some African retellings of the Three Little Pigs tale would have them share a verse with Br'er Rabbit, Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear, reflected in the version Joel Chandler Harris retold in 1883.
- Crying Wolf: Part of the plot of Three Little Wolves. Fifer and Fiddler discover their brother's wolf alarm (a horn), and start blowing it, ignoring his warnings that overusing it may cause him to ignore an actual alarm.
- Cute Little Fangs: Li'l Bad Wolf in the self-titled cartoon short.
- Disneyfication: In Disney's version, the first two pigs manage to escape the Wolf after he destroys their houses and seek refuge in Practical's house. Several other retellings of the story, such as the Richard Scarry version, also went with this.
- Divergent Character Evolution: The Li'l Wolves went through this. Three Little Wolves introduced the Big Bad Wolf's three sons, all of whom were just as determined to eat pork as their father. This short and its follow up, The Practical Pig, were changed in later adapations to two Bad Li'l Wolves and one Good Li'l Wolf, who feels sorry for Fifer and Fiddler and helps them escape. This Good Li'l Wolf eventually evolved into Li'l (Bad) Wolf, Zeke's only son and the Pigs' best friend.
- Forged Letter: The Wolf captures two of the pigs and writes a letter to Practical Pig pretending to be from his brothers in an attempt to lure him out. Practical doesn't fall for it: along with the bad penmanship, he recognizes the Wolf's breath when he blows it under the door.
- Funny Background Event/Visual Pun: A picture of sausage links on Practical's wall is labeled "Father." Another picture labeled "Uncle" shows a football.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In Three Little Wolves, the Big Bad Wolf disguises himself as Bo Peep, lures Fifer and Fiddler inside his home, locks the door and swallows the key. The pigs seem to think 'she' has entirely different reasons for doing this.
- Guile Hero: Practical outwit the wolf in every ways.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The Big Bad Wolf falls to this several times. Practical also ends up falling to this at the end of The Practical Pig: when his brothers are being punished by his Lie Detector, he claims "This hurts me more than it does you..." and the Lie Detector reacts accordingly.
- Lie Detector: Practical builds one in The Practical Pig. Thanks to his usual method of building, it doubles as a punishment device for anyone it catches lying.
- Nephewism: Averted; the Li'l Wolves are stated to be Zeke's sons.
- Papa Wolf: A literal example, as the Big Bad Wolf becomes father of three cubs, as seen in Three Little Wolves and The Practical Pig, the cubs having just as big a taste for pig as their pop.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: One of the Big Bad Wolf's favorite methods.
- Predators Are Mean
- Recursive Adaptation: The "Li'l Bad Wolf" short on House of Mouse adapts the characters' comic stories, which, of course, follow up the 1930s shorts.
- Rube Goldberg Device: Practical became quite fond of these in the follow-up shorts.
- Rule of Three: (Duh!)
- Savage Wolf: The wolf is depicted as a villain out to eat the heroes of the story.
- Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: The Big Bad Wolf on two legs becomes enraged at not being able to enter the brick house of the third little pig. In a VillainousBreakdown, Animorphism kicks in. Gloves and his hat fly off, and desperate breaths to blow the brick house down break his suspenders. Ultimately, he steps out of his pants, completely naked, and acting fully like a wild four-legged wolf for the rest of the cartoon.
- Spared by the Adaptation: In the original fairy tale, the first two pigs are killed and eaten by the wolf — who, in turn, is killed by the boiling pot.
- Spotlight-Stealing Title: The cartoon was such a hit that many cinemas took to billing it higher than the feature presentation!
- Took a Level in Dumbass: Fifer and Fiddler in the sequels, not only suffering from instant Aesop Amnesia but also completely falling for tricks and disguises of the sort they were able to see through at once in the first cartoon.
- Villain Song: Three Little Wolves has "Li'l Pigs Is Good To Eat", where the Big Bad Wolf waxes harmonic about all the delicious things made from pigs.
- The Villain Sucks Song: "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?"
- Villainous Breakdown: In Three Little Pigs, after the wolf's Fuller Brush Man disguise (or Jewish peddler disguise, depending on when or where you see the film) fails.
Big Bad Wolf: By the hair on your chinny-chin-chin, I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house in!
- In the process, he loses all his clothes and reverts to a normal wolf.
- A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: The wolf pretends to be a orphaned sheep to get the first two pigs to open the door. It doesn't work.