In spite of serving as the introduction of the Wolf's sons- who, let's
be blunt, are a bunch of little creeps that make even Donald's nephews look
like angels- once again it's daddy who steals the show, with his dressing
up as Little Bo Peep. Oddly, the pigs call him "little girl" even though
he still towers over them! It's also interesting how they think "she" has
amorous intentions when they're locked in by "Bo Peep"! I always thought
it was funny that the Wolf, even after taking off the rest of the diguise,
still has those frilly white bloomers on for the rest of the short.
The Wolf Pacifier sequence is the real highlight of the cartoon by far.
The Wolf gets chased by a buzzsaw, whacked on the head with rolling pins,
kicked in the butt by boots, punched by boxing gloves, dipped in tar and
covered with feathers before being shot out of a cannon. Talk about harsh!
The whole thing goes along to a sort of twisted version of "Who's Afraid
of the Big Bad Wolf?", and it's all so surreal and kinda twisted (especially
the Wolf getting strapped into a chair with its bottom cut out!) There's
a lot of great animation during this scene though, with all sorts of machinery
moving and chugging in the background. There's some really funny imagery
in the background too, making up the machine: soup cans, barrels, a bicycle,
and those things the boxing gloves are attached to are old wooden telephones
If you look at the blueprints, you might notice one part that apparently
didn't make it in: the machine was going to poke the Wolf with a pitchfork!
The three little wolves would return in the last 'three little pigs'-cartoon,
The Practical Pig (1939), but in the subsequent comic strip only one would
remain, and he eventually would befriend the pigs, contrary to his look-alikes
in this cartoon, who are even more aggressive than their father. The endshot
has been reused in the propaganda film "Food Will Win the War" (1942).
The Big Bad Wolf has picked up some sidekicks here, in the form of three smaller wolves who join him in his plot to catch and eat the Three Little Pigs. They’re neat little characters, well designed and interesting, but not developed individually.
In many ways, the Three Little Wolves emulate what was going on with Mickey’s nephews, Morty and Ferdie, and are precursors to Huey, Dewey and Louie. This seems like a type of character that Walt wanted to establish in some way – a trio of mischievous youngsters. It would not take root here, but eventually, with the ducks, it did.
The story of this short is more centered around a variation of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” with the boy in this case becoming the two pigs who previously have gotten into scrapes with the Big Bad Wolf. While their older, wiser, brick-building brother works on a top secret “Wolf Pacifier,” the other two blow the wolf alarm horn, just as a joke.
After his obvious anger, you know what had to come next. The wolf dresses up as Little Bo Peep, and says that she’s lost her sheep. We get the nice gag of the little wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing, and the thankful Bo Peep gets invited over to the pigs’ house.
My favorite gag in the whole short comes next. As the wolf comes inside, he turns around and eyes the pigs, then locks the door and swallows the key. Rather than jump in fear, the pigs blush. They’re expecting romance with Bo Peep, not the wolf that jumps out at them. It’s rather funny and a little more grown up than other Disney shorts.
The scenes of the wolves chasing the pigs through the underground while the Big Bad Wolf leans leisurely against a wall are both amusing and menacing. When the pigs are captured, they at least manage to play some tricks on the wolves, taunting one of the younger wolves to blow the alarm horn. Then, they get the windbag Big Bad Wolf to blow the horn, bringing their brother running, after he ignored their pleas and the other blows on the horn.
We finally get to see the Rube Goldberg-esque Wolf Pacifier in action, and it’s a doozy. The short is worth it just for that, no joke. What is interesting is that Disney did not go further in making the Three Little Pigs more of series. They might not have much story potential, but using the characters in different ways could have given us different Disney cartoon stars. Imagine a world where we have Three Little Pigs meet and greets in the parks rather than Donald Duck? It could have happened.
It's interesting to compare Three Little Wolves to the original
Three Little Pigs. Although the later cartoon was not the sensation that its predecessor was, it shows great advancement in terms of animation and art and is thoroughly entertaining. From a technical stand point it is among the most advanced we've seen so far, nothing cheap about it. If we were to compare 'Aladdin' to 'The Return of the Jafar' it's a very different story. Everything about the sequel is cheaper and flatter, not all the original voice cast is used, Magic Carpet looks completely different it was made for a fast buck and it shows (and sadly it worked - the sequel made a fortune as did the dozens of DTVs that followed).
Anyway, Three Little Wolves is a lot of fun. I like how the sneaking-behind-the-trees scene from the original cartoon is replicated here with all four wolves! Plus it's nice to see Fiddler and Fifer have a good idea of their own for a change when they trick Big Bad into blowing the horn.
Although the pigs and wolves aren't as big now as Mickey and Donald, they have always remained somewhat popular. There's still one more cartoon to go in their series and they'll continue to pop up in animated form here and there. Then of course they're a staple of the Disney comics. In the 90's I grew up with comic stories involving Zeke (AKA the Big Bad Wolf) and his son Lil' Bad Wolf – who was actually friends with the pigs. Interestingly, in the comics, they lived in the same woods as the Song of the South characters.
Click on thumbnail for full size image
Model SheetSubmitted by ToonStar95
Animation DrawingSubmitted by eutychus
Concept ArtSubmitted by eutychus