With a Huff and a Puff

By | May 27, 2009

In eight minutes on May 27, 1933 Walt Disney retold an old story. It was on that day that Disney’s Silly Symphonies version of the Three Little Pigs was released.

The cartoon produced by Disney and directed by Burt Gillet played in movie theaters for months, in a time when shorts were played for only a few weeks some only for a week. It is considered the most successful animated short and won the 1934 Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons.

The Frank Churchill song, “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf” hit home for many. In 1933 the US was still in the Great Depression and it mirrored people’s resolves against the ‘Big Bad Wolf’. With additional lyrics by Ann Ronell it has been recorded many times, including two versions, Ben Bernie and Victor Young, in 1933.

No one is sure where the tale originates. A tale of the Big Bad Wolf and the Three Pigs was in Nursery Rhymes and Nursery Tales by James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps. This was first published around 1843. His version was retelling of an age old tale.

When Joseph Jacobs published is first collection of English Fairy Tales in 1890 the story of the Three Little Pigs was included. He gave credit to Halliwell.

A variation of the tale was written by Joel Chandler Harris when the pigs were replaced by his Br’er Rabbit. This version of the story was published in 1881 as part of Uncle Remus: His Songs and Sayings and then again in Nights with Uncle Remus in 1883.


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