Monday, February 19, 2007

Pigs in Animated Shorts During WW2

There were at least five cartoon versions of the Three Little Pigs story produced during the Second World War in the United States:

Thrifty Pig, Disney/National Film Board of Canada, 1941
Wolf Chases Pigs, Columbia, 1942
Hams That Couldn't Be Cured, Walter Lantz, 1942
Blitz Wolf, MGM, 1942
Pigs in a Polka, Warner Brothers, 1943

Three of these shorts were explicitly about the war effort. In Tex Avery's Blitz Wolf the wolf (named "Adolf Wolf") is attempting to invade the state of Pigmania until he is thwarted by "Sgt. Pork." In Frank Tashlin's Wolf Chases Pigs, the wolf enlists in the army and ends up being outranked by the pigs. Disney's The Thrifty Pig was designed to promote the sale of Canadian War Bonds. The Big Bad Wolf wears a Nazi hat and armband, for example, and when he tries to blow down the house made of bricks he finds that it is protected by a secure "foundation of bonds." This cartoon reuses and reanimates some footage from the classic 1933 Disney short The Three Little Pigs.

The remaining two shorts, while not about the war, were remarkably clever. Friz Freling's Pigs in a Polka, based on the dance music of Brahms, was a parody of Disney's 1933 The Three Little Pigs and the classic 1940's film Fantasia. Finally, in Walter Lantz's cartoon we learn that the pigs are actually at fault for the wolf's actions, for they had wanted to play jazz instead of the classical music that the wolf was trying to teach them. This short may be seen as having set the stage for the revisionist versions of the Three Little Pigs that seem to pop up all the time these days, especially in children's books.

By the way, I'll be out of town for a week or so, so don't fret if you miss your more-or-less daily fix of pig-related news and comment.


Blogger d said...

Here's a link to "Blitz Wolf," for those who are interested . . .

12:37 PM  
Blogger d said...

And here's a link to "Pigs in a Polka."

12:40 PM  

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