April 14, 1934 – The Silly Symphony, The Big Bad Wolf, is Released to Theaters
“There’s danger in them woods. Beware! The big Bad Wolf is lurking there!”
On April 14, 1934, the Silly Symphony, The Big Bad Wolf, was released to theaters. Capitalizing on the popularity of The Three Little Pigs Silly Symphony, it marks the return of the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf, but the short was not nearly as successful as its parent Silly Symphony, and is today still considered inferior to the original, despite some clever gags. It was directed by Burt Gillett, and stars the vocals of Billy Bletcher as the Big Bad Wolf, Pinto Colvig as the Practical Pig, Dorothy Compton as the Fifer Pig, and Mary Moder as the Fiddler Pig.
Little Red Riding Hood is skipping down the path to her grandmother’s house, and passes by the Three Little Pigs’ house, with the Practical Pig hard at work on an addition to the brick house, while his two brothers play their instruments and dance. The brothers greet Little Red Riding Hood, and when she explains that she is on her way to Grandma’s house, the two pigs tell her to take a shortcut through the woods. The Practical Pig, alarmed at their advice, tells her not to go through the woods, because the Big Bad Wolf is lurking there.
The two brothers begin to laugh at the Practical Pig’s advice, calling the wolf a sissy and offering to go along with Little Red to protect her before singing “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” The Practical Pig just shakes his head at their folly, but continues to work on the house. Just as the three begin their journey on the short cut, the Big Bad Wolf is seen sneaking through the forest, disguised as a bush. He spies the three skipping merrily down the path, and leaves his disguise to climb up a tree and set his new plan in motion.
The three are stopped suddenly by a “fairy” falling from the sky (the wolf in disguise), and the two pigs hide underneath the shivering Red’s cloak. The “fairy” introduces herself as Goldilocks, the fairy queen, and begins flying around, telling them that they’re safe with her. Unfortunately, the suspenders the Wolf used to help him fly are attached to a broken branch, which splits and lands on his head, knocking off his disguise. Alarmed, the three take off running but are separated, with the Wolf hot on Little Red’s tail. Fortunately for her, he gets stuck between two trees, giving her a chance to get away. The Wolf isn’t angry for long, for he comes up with another plan.
Using another shortcut, the Wolf reaches Grandma’s before Little Red, and peers through the window to see Grandma in bed, knitting. When she hears a knock at the door, she tells the visitor to come inside, and the Wolf enters, laughing menacingly. Grandma leaps out of bed and locks herself in the closet, with the Wolf trying to open the doors. Outside, Little Red is seen speeding through the front gate, stopping at the door to calm herself down before she enters what she thinks is the safety of Grandma’s house. Alerted by the knocking at the door, the Wolf quickly stops trying to get Grandma, and focuses his attention on getting the girl. He quickly disguises himself in Grandma’s robe and bonnet and slips into bed before calling Little Red in. Little Red notices what big eyes Grandma has, and what a big nose Grandma has (to which the Wolf looks at the audience and asks, “How am I doing?”). When Little Red points out the big mouth Grandma has, the Wolf strikes, chasing her around the room.
Meanwhile, the two pigs have made it back home and alerted their brother about Little Red’s predicament. The Practical Pig runs to his collection of “Wolf Exterminators” and begins to load them into his bag before setting off for Grandma’s, leaving the two pigs cowering in the doorway. As the Wolf continues to chase Little Red, Grandma uses an umbrella to scoop the girl up and pull her into the closet for safety, with the Wolf once again trying to open the doors. The Practical Pig arrives just in time, and sneaks in while the Wolf isn’t noticing, and begins to place popcorn kernels down the Wolf’s pants, and then grabs some hot coals from the fire. Placing the shovel with coals in with the kernels, the Wolf cries out in pain and leaps through the ceiling of the house, and runs back into the woods, with the popcorn kernels popping wildly.
The two other pigs show up just in time to see the Wolf running away, and shake hands in happiness that the Wolf has been bested again. Inside Grandma’s house, Little Red and the Practical Pig are playing the piano while Grandma knits, with the two other pigs dancing and singing “Who’s Afraid of The Big Bad Wolf?” once more.