Three Little Pigs
We have all heard of the story of how releasing Snow White in 1937 saved the studio from Bankruptcy. But did you hear the one about the Three Little Pigs?
Released in 1933 during the Great Depression, this Silly Symphony quite possibly could have saved the project of Snow White. The story seemed to be an Anthem for the United States. Hard times befell most and the US as a whole was looking for hope. Who would of thought Three Little Pigs would be a part of that hope?
People clamored to the theaters to see this short over and over. They wanted more of these porcine protagonists. Sequels did come, The Big Bad Wolf, Three Little Wolves and the Practical Pig. None seemed to hit the big time as Three Little Pigs. In Walt’s disappointment he coined the phrase, “You can’t top pigs with pigs”.
But, you can create merchandise!!! Fifer, Fiddler, Practical Pig and Smitty The Big Bad Wold became some of the most merchandised characters. Sheet music, plush toys, beach pails, tooth brush holders, a tea set were just some of the many varied merchandise created.
Comics kicked off a running story as well. This loosely adapted serial in the Sunday paper kept Disney in the public eye week after week. The Three Little Pigs kicked off a merchandise boom and a story line that kept the studio moving for years to come. The income boost from the pigs allowed Walt to continue the Snow White project.
The pigs worked many projects. The even boosted morale during WWII and were part of a Canadian Bond film, The Thrifty Pig in 1941. The versatility of the popular porkers migrated them through numerous projects. The 1942 children’s book The Victory March: The Mystery of the Treasure Chest, the Three Pigs, Donald, Mickey, and other Disney character chase the Smitty and his nephews around the monuments of Washington, D.C., when they try to steal Donald’s treasure: A United States Saving Stamp. The Post Office wanted children to buy the stamps at 10 cents each and this story was part of the marketing campaign.
There was an unmade war themed film A House Divided found by the Animation Research Library at the Disney Studios. Sketches of Smitty, (the Big Bad Wolf), swindling Fifer and Fiddler by selling rationed gasoline for an unheard of $1.00 a gallon. One dollar a gallon a swindle, what does that make today’s prices!!!!!!
The pigs today are still beloved by the Disneyphiles around the world. On a typical day on eBay, you can find around 1,000 items listed related to the pigs. One may not be able to top pigs with pigs, but when pigs are on top, why bother.
Source: D23/Charles Solomon 5/25/2018