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Western Animation / The Three Little Bops

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“The pigs were due for a big surprise…”

"The Three Little Bops" is a musical 1957 Looney Tunes short directed by Friz Freleng with Shorty Rogers providing the music.

Another (very loose!) revision of the classic "The Three Little Pigs", with the pigs playing as a bebop jazz group and the wolf being a "square" trumpeter. In this version, the wolf is not interested in eating the pigs but rather becoming a member of their band. However, as his constant off-key playing is off-putting to both the pigs and the clientele, he gets kicked out of the first two clubs he plays and thus has a motive for blowing the houses down.

Famously, this is one of the first Looney Tunes shorts where somebody other than Mel Blanc got a solo screen credit for voices, in this case Stan Freberg.

"A-one and a-two and away they went!"

  • 12-Bar Blues: The music for this short is written this way, but most of the singing is heard over the I-IV-I part with the V-I part being instrumental.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Played with. The Big Bad Wolf doesn't want to kill or eat the pigs, he just wants to play music with them. However, he'll still blow their clubs down whenever he doesn't get his way.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: "Dew Drop Inn did drop down."
  • Artistic License – Music: The instrumentation for this short are trumpet (doubling on flugelhorn), tenor sax, electric archtop guitar, piano, double bass, and drums. However, the pigs are usually only seen playing guitar (sometimes doubling on sax), drums (sometimes doubling bass), and piano.
  • Banana Peel: Strategically placed in the Wolf's path while he is performing his perfect ukulele rendition of the Charleston song. The Slippery Skid causes an involuntary rapid increase in the tempo.
  • Battering Ram: The tree trunk the Wolf uses on the door to the House of Bricks.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: The Wolf.
  • The Big Bad Wolf: The Bops' adversary, who later joins them (literally "in spirit") as another band member.
  • Bowdlerization: The ABC Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show airing of this cartoon cuts the scene after the House of Bricks is introduced where the Wolf looks into the front door and gets punched in the face by the bouncer. This was also cut when shown on The Looney, Looney, Looney, Looney Bugs Bunny Movie, though that was a time cut rather than a content cut.
  • Can't You Read the Sign?: The sign outside the brick house clearly states, "No Wolves Allowed".
  • Determinator: "I'll show those pigs that I'm not stuck! If I can't blow it down, I'll blow it up!"
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The Wolf blows down the Bops' clubs just because they wouldn't let him join their band.
  • Double Entendre: "I could disguise myself. Boy, what a dope!"note 
  • Entitled Bastard: The Wolf believes he deserves a place in the pigs' band so much that he destroys their club for not having him, and then keeps on trying to force himself into their group even after he's deservedly earned their ire.
  • Everybody Wins: Yeah, he's a ghost now, but the Wolf finally learns to play like a pro, he earns the pigs' admiration, and he's officially inducted into the band as "The Three Little Bops Plus One."
  • Fantastic Racism: The House of Bricks has a "No Wolves Allowed" sign, though it could be argued that it was a recent installation to dissuade the Big Bad Wolf.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: "Didn't go to Heaven, was the other place."
  • Foreshadowing: Every time the wolf shows up to play his trumpet, he does it little better than before, Also, two of the disguises attempted by the wolf hinted he really had genuine musical skills on him: with the drum and the ukuleke.
  • Fully Dressed Cartoon Animals: The pigs.
  • Giftedly Bad: The Wolf can't tell that his trumpet playing is lousy. He even believes "They don't know talent in this here town!"
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Wolf brings in a large barrel of dynamite to blow up the brick house, only for the pigs to blow out the fuse, leading him to back up a few feet before lighting it again. Before he can get to the house, the dynamite blows him up.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: The Wolf's main motivation.
  • Iris Out: This variant doesn't take The End (which instead fades out afterward) with it.
  • Killed Off for Real: After attempting to blow up the house of bricks with a large barrel of dynamite, the Wolf suffers a premature explosion, and as the camera attempts to look for him, the Narrator confirms he was "really gone / and with him went his corny horn."
  • Mime and Music-Only Cartoon: Zig-zagged. While this has singing and rhyming dialogue, most of the sound effects are represented by the music, with the exception of when the Wolf's bass drum deflates.
  • Mobile Shrubbery: The wolf figures out another way to get inside: inside a potted plant.
  • Musical Episode: From the opening credits to The End, the entire cartoon qualifies as one, with only one non-rhyming line of dialogue, when Piano Pig does an imitation of Liberace. ("I wish my brother George was here.")
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: How the Wolf attempts to enter the house of bricks, three times. He actually gets in each time, even though he doesn't bother to try hiding his face. The pigs easily see through each disguise.
  • Power Trio: The Bops, of course.
  • Punny Name: Dew Drop Inn (do drop in), the House of Sticks.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Wolf first appeared with "red rimmed eyes."
  • Rhyming Episode: The narrator tells (or sings) the story in rhyme.
  • Rock Me, Asmodeus!: When the Wolf stops playing off-key.
    Piano Pig: The Big Bad Wolf, he learned the rule. You gotta get hot to play real cool!
  • Shout-Out: While playing piano, one of the pigs, in a shout-out to Liberace, says, "I wish my brother George was here!"
  • Signature Headgear: Each pig wears a different hat. It's the only way to tell them apart.
  • Speak in Unison: At the Dew Drop Inn, the audience all says during the Wolf's "solo", "Stop the music! Throw the square out!"
  • Standard Snippet:
    • When the Wolf disguises himself as fur-coat wearing ukulele strumming college boy, "Charleston" is heard.
    • When the Wolf poses as a marching band bass drummer, "Don't Give Up the Ship" from the film Shipmates Forever plays.
  • Storybook Opening: The short opens with a shot of a storybook of the Three Little Pigs as we traditionally know them, before fading into a shot of the House of Straw as a nightclub.
  • That's All, Folks!: The regular ending title card is averted. Just an iris out and a "The End" card.
  • Totally Radical: It's minor, but some 1950s or general jazz slang is used throughout, like one of the pigs using the phrase "the most" (meaning the best), the Wolf calling his fellow musicians "cats", and the narrator calling the Wolf's trumpet playing "corny".