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Western Animation / The Tender Tale of Cinderella Penguin

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The Tender Tale of Cinderella Penguin is a 1981 animated short film (10 minutes) directed by Janet Perlman, produced by the National Film Board of Canada.

It is, of course, the story of Cinderella. Cinderella is basically a slave, cooking and cleaning for her wicked stepmother and two wicked stepsisters. The prince of the kingdom invites everyone to a ball, but Cinderella's stepmother won't let her go. Luckily, however, a fairy godmother intercedes on Cinderella's behalf, using magic to give her a coach and a beautiful dress....

What makes this different? The title gives it away: all the characters are penguins.

You can see it on the NFB's official Youtube channel here.


Provides examples of:

  • Cinderella Plot: The cartoon is a full adaptation, except modified with the addition of penguins. Cinderella Penguin is a servant to her stepfamily, and is refused to go to a ball. Her Fairy Godpenguin help her get there though, and Cinderella Penguin dances with the prince.
  • Credits Gag: The credits start with an image of Cinderella and the prince. Then an egg appears. Then the egg is replaced by a little penguin. Then a couple more eggs appear, then there are a couple more kids—more eggs appear and more baby penguins appear until the credits and the cartoon finally end.
  • Dance of Romance: Cinderella and the prince dance the tango.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: The story of Cinderella certainly is a lot sillier with a bunch of penguins waddling around everywhere.
  • Fairy Godmother: In this version it's a tiny flying penguin, who swoops in and waves a wand.
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  • The Girl Who Fits This Slipper: In this cartoon, Cinderella has been thrown in the basement by her stepsisters, but one of her feet is sticking up, caught in the door to the basement. The glass slipper gets knocked in the air as the stepsisters grapple for it, falls down—and fits Cinderella perfectly.
  • Line Boil: Seen throughout the cartoon, and in this instance obviously deliberate, meant to evoke a crude old-timey animation style.
  • Silence Is Golden: No dialogue in the short, because the Cinderella story is known well enough that dialogue is not required.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Cinderella Penguin has a mane of curly blonde hair. None of the other penguins in the cartoon have any hair.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Cinderella's stepmother is very mean.

Alternative Title(s): Cinderella Penguin