Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / Who Killed Cock Robin? (1935)

Go To

Who Killed Cock Robin? is a 1935 animated short film (8 minutes) from Disney, one of the Silly Symphonies. It was directed by David Hand.

Unsurprisingly, it is based on the traditional nursery rhyme "Who Killed Cock Robin?". Cock Robin is serenading sexy Jenny Wren when he's shot by an arrow, tumbling from a tree branch to the ground. All the birds of the forest then launch a comic trial set to music, with an owl for a judge, in which they set out to discover who killed Cock Robin.


  • Ambiguously Gay: Cupid, if only because of his exaggerated mannerisms, curly hair, beak modeled to resemble red lips, large eyelashes, effeminate voice, obsession with giggling, and making his entrance on a heart-shaped space formed by pink flowers. Other than that, he barely qualifies.
  • Animal Species Accent: The owl presiding as judge at the inquest says "Whooooo killed Cock Robin" with an owl's hoot for the "Who".
  • Animal Stereotypes: The owl is the wise and ominous judge, the parrot (a talkative bird) is the prosecutor, the blackbird is a black stereotype, and the cuckoo is a Cloudcuckoolander.
  • Bad Guy Bar: Cock Robin is found in front of one, named "The Old Crow Bar".
  • Black Comedy: "We don't know who is guilty so we're gonna hang 'em all!" (sung to the tune of "The Farmer in the Dell")
  • Blowing Smoke Rings: Legs Sparrow the gangster smokes a cigar and blows smoke rings to demonstrate his ease on the witness stand.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The cuckoo, fittingly enough. He has no idea what the judge is asking from him, and just randomly points at the judge, the prosecutor and himself as culprits.
  • Convenient Coma: OK, sure, Cock Robin isn't dead, but he sure was unconscious for an unusually long time.
  • Courtroom Episode: Most of the cartoon is about the trial to find Cock Robin's murderer.
  • Cupid's Arrow: It turns out that Cock Robin was shot by Cupid, and he isn't really dead, just out cold after falling from the tree.
  • Hanging Judge: The genial owl judge reacts to not being able to figure out who the killer is by deciding to hang all his suspects.
  • Head-Turning Beauty: Jenny Wren gets the attention of not only Cock Robin, but also all the male birds at the court, including the judge, the eight members of the jury, the police officers and a few spectators.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: The judge and the jury sing a cheerful tune about how they're going to hang all the suspects.
  • Match Cut: From the cop rapping his billy club over the head of a suspect to the judge rapping his gavel on the bench.
  • Mouthy Bird: The beaks of the feminine Jenny Wren and the effeminate Cupid are animated as red human lips; that they are actual beaks is made apparent from views of Jenny's profile and Cupid's silhouetted shadow.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The birds are shout-outs to celebrities. Crooning Cock Robin is Bing Crosby, curvaceous, purring Jenny Wren is Mae West. The cuckoo is Harpo Marx whereas the blackbird is Stepin Fetchit and the Sparrow is Edward G. Robinson.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: Jenny Wren's chest is very puffed out and even forms cleavage when she inhales
  • Officer O'Hara: The policeman bird is an Irishman, as revealed by his accent when he tells the suspect "Sure and tell it to the judge."
  • Police Brutality: Played for Laughs. The police officers are pretty eager to smack the culprits in the head with their batons. Especially the blackbird.
  • Pretty Boy: Cupid has exaggerated mannerisms, curly hair, a beak modeled to resemble red lips, large eyelashes, an effeminate voice, an obsession with giggling, and he makes his entrance on a heart-shaped space formed by pink flowers.
  • Questioning Title?: "Who killed Cock Robin?"
  • Rule of Three: There are three culprits at the trial: a blackbird, a thuggish sparrow, and a crazy cuckoo.
  • Serenade Your Lover: Cock Robin is serenading Jenny Wren when he's shot by the arrow.
  • Shadow Discretion Shot: The person who shot the arrow is shown only as a shadow creeping through the trees.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Unlike in the nursery rhyme, Cock Robin isn't really dead.
  • Tap on the Head: The arrow didn't kill Cock Robin, he just hit his head and was knocked out when he fell out of the tree, and he's perfectly fine in the end.
  • Through a Face Full of Fur: The blackbird's whole head blanches white when he is shown the body of Cock Robin.
  • Title Drop: The question is asked many times.
  • Uncle Tomfoolery: The blackbird is a racist shout-out to Stepin Fetchit.