The Practical Pig

Last updated
The Practical Pig
The practical-pig.jpg
Directed byDick Rickard
Story by Larry Clemmons
Produced by Walt Disney
Starring Billy Bletcher
Pinto Colvig
Dorothy Compton
Mary Moder
Betty Bruce
Tom Buchanan
Ralph Hansell
Richard Holland
Donald Kearin
Leone Le Doux
Tommy Wiggins
Music by Frank Churchill
Paul J. Smith
Animation by Preston Blair
Ollie Johnston
John Lounsbery
Frank Thomas
Layouts by Thor Putnam
Color process Technicolor
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • February 24, 1939 (1939-02-24)(United States)
Running time
8 Minutes
CountryUnited States

The Practical Pig is a Silly Symphony cartoon. It was released on February 24, 1939, and directed by Dick Rickard. [1] [2] It was the fourth and final cartoon starring The Three Pigs. [3] Like its prequels, The Practical Pig incorporates the song "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?". [4] Unlike its prequels however, this was labeled as a standalone "Three Little Pigs Cartoon", suggesting that they were to get their own series of cartoons. It is also the second-to-last Silly Symphony cartoon. [5]



Practical Pig is hard at work building a new anti-wolf contraption, this time a lie detector. His two brothers, Fiddler and Fifer Pig decide to go swimming, despite Practical's warning about the Big Bad Wolf lurking by the pond. The Big Bad Wolf disguises as a mermaid to lure Fiddler and Fifer and captures them and bringing them to an old windmill where his sons the Three Little Wolves are waiting for their dinner, but tells them they must not eat until he captures Practical. The Wolf plans to entrap Practical as well using a fake letter requesting help by his brothers. While the wolf is off to capture Practical, the Three Little Wolves start early to put the two pigs into a pan and prepare to bake them into a pie. The Wolf, disguised as a messenger boy, blows his cover when he blows the fake letter under Practical's door. Realizing the wolf is up to his tricks and his brothers have been captured, Practical tries out his new invention. As the wolf attempts to lure Practical, the welcome mat opens under the wolf's feet, and the wolf falls into the pit below. He is next seen strapped in a chair in the basement, captured, as Practical demands to know his brothers' whereabouts. The wolf first he claims he has never heard of Practical's brothers and secondly he claims he hasn't seen them, but the lie detector detects his lies and punishes the wolf with brushes to wash his mouth out with soap and spank him in each case. The wolf then lastly tries to fool the machine by claiming that he and Practical are pals, but the lie detector sees through this and gives him both of the works.

Back at the wolves' hideout, the Three Little Wolves are about to bake Fifer and Fiddler into the oven as the two pigs tell them they'll be sorry when their father comes home. One of the wolf cubs uses pepper but the lid accidentally comes off and this causes the two pigs to sneeze so strong, the pie doe is duffed off and into the wolves splatting them against the wall like glue. With the wolf cubs trapped, Fiddler and Fifer escape and rush back to Practical's house.

The lie detector punishes the Wolf harder and harder until he finally tells the truth, saying "They're in the old mill". He is then shot out of the house with a firecracker and seemingly explodes in the sky. Practical prepares to go save his brothers when Fiddler and Fifer burst in. When Practical scolds them for defying his orders, they tell him that they didn't go swimming, at which point the lie detector springs into action and gives them a spanking.

Voice cast

Principal voices
Additional voices

Comic adaptation

The Silly Symphony Sunday comic strip ran a three-month-long adaptation of The Practical Pig from May 1 to August 7, 1938. [6]


The Film Daily wrote, "The musical effects here heighten the comedy to howling proportions... While lacking a hit tune, this edition of the Three Pigs is a delightful bit of nonsense." [7]

Home media

The short was released on December 4, 2001 on Walt Disney Treasures: Silly Symphonies - The Historic Musical Animated Classics , [8] as an easter egg in the options menu . [5] It has also been released as a bonus feature on the British VHS edition of Dumbo .

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Three Little Pigs</span> Fairy tale

"The Three Little Pigs" is a fable about three pigs who build three houses of different materials. A Big Bad Wolf blows down the first two pigs' houses, made of straw and sticks respectively, but is unable to destroy the third pig's house, made of bricks. Printed versions date back to the 1840s, but the story is thought to be much older. The earliest version takes place in Dartmoor with three pixies and a fox before its best known version appears in English Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs in 1890, with Jacobs crediting James Halliwell-Phillipps as the source.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ted Osborne</span> Creator of Walt Disney Cartoon Characters

Theodore H. Osborne was an American writer of comics, radio shows and animated films, remembered for his contributions to the creation and refinement, during the 1930s, of Walt Disney cartoon characters.

<i>The Wise Little Hen</i> 1934 Silly Symphony cartoon

The Wise Little Hen is a 1934 Walt Disney's Silly Symphony cartoon, based on the fable The Little Red Hen. The cartoon features the debut of Donald Duck, dancing to the Sailor's Hornpipe. Donald and his friend Peter Pig try to avoid work by faking stomach aches until Mrs. Hen teaches them the value of labor. Though distributor United Artists gave June 9, 1934 as the cartoon's release date, it was actually first shown on May 3, 1934 at the Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles for a benefit program, while it was later given its official debut on June 7 at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City. It was animated by Art Babbitt, Dick Huemer, Clyde Geronimi, Louie Schmitt, and Frenchy de Tremaudan and directed by Wilfred Jackson. The story was also adapted in the Silly Symphony Sunday comic strip by Ted Osborne and Al Taliaferro, which was Donald Duck's first appearance in Disney comics.

<i>Silly Symphony</i> Series of animated short films produced by Walt Disney Productions from 1929 to 1939

Silly Symphony is an American animated series of 75 musical short films produced by Walt Disney Productions from 1929 to 1939. As the series name implies, the Silly Symphonies were originally intended as whimsical accompaniments to pieces of music. As such, the films usually had independent continuity and did not feature continuing characters, unlike the Mickey Mouse shorts produced by Disney at the same time. The series is notable for its innovation with Technicolor and the multiplane motion picture camera, as well as its introduction of the character Donald Duck making his first appearance in the Silly Symphony cartoon The Wise Little Hen in 1934. Seven shorts won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Big Bad Wolf</span> Fairy tale character

The Big Bad Wolf is a fictional wolf appearing in several cautionary tales that include some of Grimms' Fairy Tales. Versions of this character have appeared in numerous works, and it has become a generic archetype of a menacing predatory antagonist.

<i>Pigs in a Polka</i> 1943 animated short film directed by Friz Freleng

Pigs in a Polka is a 1943 Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies cartoon series directed by Friz Freleng. The short was released on February 2, 1943.

<i>Three Little Pigs</i> (film) 1933 short animated film directed by Burt Gillett

Three Little Pigs is an animated short film released on May 25, 1933 by United Artists, produced by Walt Disney and directed by Burt Gillett. Based on the fable of the same name, the Silly Symphony won the 1934 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film of 1933. The short cost $22,000 and grossed $250,000.

Dorothy Compton was an American voice actress born in the early 1900s. An early friend of Walt Disney, she made her first acting debut in The Three Little Pigs (1933) as the voice of Fifer Pig. From 1933 onward she made more appearances in the next 3 installments of the Three Little Pigs: The Big Bad Wolf (1934), The Three Little Wolves (1936) and The Practical Pig (1939) along with minor appearances in It's Great to Be Alive (1933) and I Married an Angel (1942).

<i>Toby Tortoise Returns</i> 1936 film

Toby Tortoise Returns is a 1936 animated Technicolor cartoon in Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies series. It was directed by Wilfred Jackson. It is a sequel to the 1935 short The Tortoise and the Hare, and premiered on August 22, 1936.

<i>Three Little Wolves</i> (film) 1936 American film

Three Little Wolves is a Silly Symphony cartoon. Released on April 18, 1936, and directed by Dave Hand. It was the third Silly Symphony cartoon starring the Three Little Pigs. It is loosely based on The Boy Who Cried Wolf. It introduces the Big Bad Wolf's sons, the Three Little Wolves, all of them just as eager for a taste of the pigs as their father.

The first wave of Walt Disney Treasures was released on December 4, 2001. It includes four different DVD sets.

"Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" is a popular song written by Frank Churchill with additional lyrics by Ann Ronell, which originally featured in the 1933 Disney cartoon Three Little Pigs, where it was sung by Fiddler Pig and Fifer Pig as they arrogantly believe the Big Bad Wolf is not a serious threat. The song created a market for future Disney tunes and led to a contract with Irving Berlin Publishing Co. that same year, securing the sheet music rights over Mickey Mouse and the Silly Symphonies. The song's theme made it a huge hit during the second half of 1933 and it remains one of the most well-known Disney songs, being covered by numerous artists and musical groups.

<i>The Big Bad Wolf</i> (1934 film) 1934 film

The Big Bad Wolf is an animated short released on April 13, 1934, by United Artists, produced by Walt Disney and directed by Burt Gillett as part of the Silly Symphony series. Acting partly as a sequel to the wildly successful adaptation of The Three Little Pigs of the previous year, this film also acts as an adaptation of the fairy-tale Little Red Riding Hood, with the Big Bad Wolf from 1933's Three Little Pigs acting as the adversary to Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother.

<i>Three Orphan Kittens</i> 1935 American film

Three Orphan Kittens is a 1935 animated short film in the Silly Symphonies series produced by Walt Disney Productions. It was the winner of the 1935 Oscar for Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoons). It was followed in 1936 by a sequel, More Kittens.

<i>The Ugly Duckling</i> (1931 film) 1931 film

The Ugly Duckling is an animated black-and-white cartoon released by Walt Disney in 1931 as part of the Silly Symphonies series. This cartoon was later remade into a color version released in 1939.

<i>The Pied Piper</i> (1933 film) 1933 American film

The Pied Piper is a 1933 American Pre-Code animated short film based on the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. The short was produced by Walt Disney Productions, directed by Wilfred Jackson, and released on September 16, 1933, as a part of the Silly Symphonies series.

<i>The Flying Mouse</i> 1934 American film

The Flying Mouse is a 1934 Silly Symphonies cartoon produced by Walt Disney, directed by David Hand, and released to theatres by United Artists on July 14, 1934. The use of color here was rather innovative as it is set during the course of a single day.

<i>The Thrifty Pig</i> 1941 film by Ford Beebe

The Thrifty Pig is a 1941 four-minute educational short animated film made by the Walt Disney Studios, for the National Film Board of Canada. The film was released theatrically on November 19, 1941, as part of a series of four films directed at the Canadian public to learn about war bonds during the Second World War. The Thrifty Pig was directed by Ford Beebe. It is also a remake of the 1933 film of the same name

Silly Symphony, initially titled Silly Symphonies, is a weekly Disney comic strip that debuted on January 10, 1932 as a topper for the Mickey Mouse strip's Sunday page. The strip featured adaptations of Walt Disney's popular short film series, Silly Symphony, which released 75 cartoons from 1929 to 1939, as well as other cartoons and animated films. The comic strip outlived its parent series by six years, ending on October 7, 1945.

The Rhythmettes were a singing trio who provided the vocals on several 1930s and 1940s Hollywood films, including Disney Silly Symphony shorts and The Wizard of Oz (1939).


  1. "The Practical Pig". IMDb . Retrieved 2012-02-24.
  2. Borowiec, Piotr (1998). Animated short films: a critical index to theatrical cartoons. Scarecrow Press. p. 134. ISBN   978-0-8108-3503-0.
  3. "The Practical Pig.
  4. Hischak, T.S. & Robinson, M.A. (2009). The Disney song encyclopedia. Scarecrow Press. p. 228. ISBN   978-0-8108-6937-0.
  5. 1 2 Merritt, Russell; Kaufman, J. B. (2016). Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies: A Companion to the Classic Cartoon Series (2nd ed.). Glendale, CA: Disney Editions. pp. 208–209. ISBN   978-1-4847-5132-9.
  6. Taliaferro, Al; Osborne, Ted; De Maris, Merrill (2016). Silly Symphonies: The Complete Disney Classics, vol 2. San Diego: IDW Publishing. ISBN   978-1631408045.
  7. "Short Subject Reviews". The Film Daily . 74 (81): 8. October 12, 1938. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  8. "Silly Symphonies: The Historic Musical Animated Classics DVD Review". DVD Dizzy. Retrieved 20 February 2021.