June 29, 1935 – The Silly Symphony Who Killed Cock Robin? is Released to Theaters
“Who killed Cock Robin? Who got him with a shot and put him on the spot? Who killed Cock Robin and vanished like a phantom in the night?”
On June 29, 1935, the Silly Symphony short film Who Killed Cock Robin? was released to theaters. The short was a modern take on the popular nursery rhyme, which was believed to be a satirical comment on the fall of Sir Robert Walpole, who was falsely accused of corruption and imprisoned in the Tower of London. He was eventually released and became the first Prime Minister of Great Britain, but was met once again with opposition and was forced to resign. The short was directed by David Hand, and stars Billy Bletcher as the voice of the judge, and Martha Wentworth as the voice of Jenny Wren. The short is also notable for the many celebrity caricatures; Jenny Wren is a caricature of popular actress Mae West.
The short opens with Cock Robin whistling and playing a guitar outside the home of Miss Jenny Wren. Jenny steps out onto her balcony to listen to the music, and Cock Robin begins to croon. A shadow of a bird with a bow and arrow is seen against the trees, firing an arrow straight into Cock Robin’s chest. He swoons a bit, then plummets to the ground, with everyone looking. Everyone comes out, alarmed at what just happened, and the police are called in to investigate. The medics take Cock Robin away on a stretcher.
The court case begins, with the judge asking who killed Cock Robin. A scared crow is sitting in the witness box, and when asked, answers that he doesn’t know who killed him. When shown Cock Robin’s body, the crow turns deathly white and tries to flee. He reiterates that he knows nothing about the case, and is hauled off to jail as they pull out the next witness, Legs Sparrow. Legs won’t answer the questions, so the next witness, the Cuckoo Bird, is called. The Cuckoo Bird isn’t a reliable witness, however, so they decide to move on, with everyone rather frustrated that nobody knows.
Jenny Wren steps forward as the next witness, entrancing the entire court. She tells the judge that she wants to see justice done, as somebody took out her Robin. When she suggests that somebody ought to be hanged for the crime, the judge, very taken with Miss Wren, demands that all three suspects be hanged for the crime. Out of nowhere, another arrow flies in, taking the judge’s hat and nailing it against a tree. The judge looks up to see the real culprit, Cupid. Cupid informs them all that he shot Cock Robin, but Robin isn’t dead, he’s just fallen for Jenny and landed on his head. Jenny asks Robin to kiss her, and he wakes up, giving her a smooch.