Three Little Pigs
Animated "Silly Symphony" Cartoon, Technicolor, Mono sound, 10 minutes, released May 1933
Produced by Walt Disney
Directed by Burt Gillett
Animation by Art Babbitt, Norm Ferguson, Norman King, Dick Lundy, Fred Moore
Voices by Billy Bletcher, Pinto Colvig, Dorothy Compton, Mary Moder
Music by Carl Stalling
Song "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" by Frank Churchill, Ted Sears
The idea for the film came to Walt Disney in a dream. It had been one of the Grimm fairy tales that his mother Lillian had read to him as a child. Walt had recently seen the Charlie Chaplin film The Kid, and was influenced by the strong images of the orphanage officials pounding at the little Tramp's door to take away his little "adopted" child. The cartoon would emphasize how the pig characters acted rather than how they looked, with a focus on character and behavior. Disney later said in an interview that the cartoon was popular in the Depression due to its simple moral message that "wisdom and courage is enough to defeat big, bad wolves of every description, and send them slinking away" (Watts 1995, p. 100). The film was successful, grossing $250,000 in its first 2-year release. Additional profits came from the merchandising efforts of Kay Kamen. As a result of these profits, Disney secured a $1 million credit line from A. P. Giannini of the Bank of America and was able to finance the production of Snow White, the first feature-length animated cartoon. Disney won his 2nd Oscar for best cartoon. The song "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" was the first musical hit song from a cartoon.
- Eliot, Marc. Walt Disney: Hollywood's Dark Prince. NY: HarperCollins, 1993, paper; describes well the rise of Disney but overemphasizes the psychological interpretation.
- Schickel, Richard. The Disney Version: the Life, Times, Art, and Commerce of Walt Disney. 3rd ed. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1997, paper; argues that Three Little Pigs reflects the conservative philosophy of Hoover, not the liberal philosophy of FDR.
- Watts, Steven. "Walt Disney: Art and Politics in the American Century." Journal of American History 82, June 1995, pp. 84-110; argues that Three Little Pigs reflects the populism of FDR, not the conservatism of Hoover.
- Watts, Steven. The Magic Kingdom. Walt Disney and the American Way of Life. NY: Houghton Mifflin, 1997; argues that Walt Disney is both "innovative artist and a willfully commercial entrepreneur."
- Origins of American Animation
revised 3/1/03 by Schoenherr | Filmnotes