Jolly Little Elves is a 1934 animated short film (8 minutes) directed by Manuel Noreno, co-written and produced by Walter Lantz, part of the "Cartune Classics" series.
It is an adaptation of the old folk tale The Elves and the Cobbler. As in the story, the cartoon finds a cobbler and his wife in desperate straits, with no money and no food, and the cobbler making one last pair of shoes. The cobbler hears a noise and is startled to see an elf, out in the bitter cold and snow, asking for shelter and food. The cobbler shares with the elf the very last bit of food he has: a single doughnut.
In this version of the story elves really like doughnuts. After singing a song about how much he loves to dunk doughnuts, the elf leaves and summons his elf buddies. A whole gang of elves then show up at the cobbler's home and start making shoes.
- Adaptational Alternate Ending: In the original fairy tale, the elves leave forever after the grateful cobbler makes the mistake of giving them clothes.note In this cartoon, however, the cobbler gives the elves a doughnut feast, and they are still there singing their song and chowing down on doughnuts as the story ends.
- Blowing Smoke Rings: How the cobbler passes time now that he's one of the Idle Rich with elves making his shoes for him.
- Character Witness: The cobbler shares one doughnut with a hungry elf. The elf then brings all his other elf friends, who eventually make the cobbler rich.
- Christmas Elves: That's how they look, anyway, tiny little elf dudes running around making shoes.
- Cobweb of Disuse: One place that's really bad to have a cobweb of disuse: your wallet.
- Hard-Work Montage: Much of the cartoon is an extended montage showing the elves making shoes. One elf is pounding nails into a boot with a rivet gun.
- House Fey: The elves seem to be quite happy to dedicate their existence to making shoes for the cobbler.
- Literal Metaphor: The elves make shoes that the cobbler sells, making him rich, until he has "money to burn"—and he literally burns money, lighting up a $1000 bill.
- Narrator: The narration is sung, but it's still narration, as the song tells the story.
- Scooby Stack: It takes five elves to get up to the keyhole to check on the cobbler.