Three Little Pigs is arguably one of the most successful and well known of the Silly Symphony series. It is based on the popular fairy tale of the same name, which dates back hundreds of years. The Disney interpretation is the most recognized version and went on to win the 1934 Academy Award® for Best Animated Short Film.
It is the story of three swine brothers, Practical Pig, Fiddler Pig and Fifer Pig, who each build their own homes. Fifer Pig plays the flute, “doesn’t give a hoot and plays around all day” and builds his home of straw. Fiddler Pig, who “plays on his fiddle and dances all kinds of jigs,” builds his home out of sticks and, of course, Practical Pig, who plays the piano, builds his house out of bricks and mortar. We all know the outcome of this story once the Big Bad Wolf shows up!
The animation in this short was done by a number of Disney animation legends including Fred Moore, Norm Ferguson, Art Babbitt, and Dick Lundy. The short was a milestone in adding personality to the animated characters. You can see this in the pigs as well as the Big Bad Wolf in comparison to the characters in the previous short, Flowers and Trees.
Carl Stalling, who went on to become the legendary music director/composer for the classic Warner Bros. “Looney Tunes,” arranged the score for Three Little Pigs.
This short also featured the song Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, which became a smash hit in the 1930s. Frank Churchill wrote the song with additional lyrics by Ann Ronell. Mary Moder and Dorothy Compton, who voiced Fiddler Pig and Fifer Pig respectively, sang it in the film. Billy Bletcher voiced the Big Bad Wolf and is best known for voicing Peg Leg Pete.
Aside from the commercial success of Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, Frank Churchill wrote some of the most endearing music in the Disney catalog. Among those include Heigh-Ho, Whistle While You Work and Some Day My Prince Will Come from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He co-wrote the Academy Award®-winning score for Dumbo and was nominated with Ned Washington for Best Song from that film for Baby Mine. Churchill was also nominated posthumously for co-writing the score for Bambi as well as the song Love Is a Song from that film.
Finally, it is certainly worth noting that the Library of Congress added Three Little Pigs to the National Film Registry in 2007. According to the Library of Congress, “Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act of 1992, each year the Librarian of Congress, with advice from the National Film Preservation Board, names 25 films to the National Film Registry to be preserved for all time. The films are chosen because they are “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”