May 21, 1954 – The Special Short Film Pigs is Pigs is Released to Theaters
“Whenever an agent gets in a debate, and there is an argument over the rate, the agent must wire for a rule and apply, and hold onto the package until they reply.”
On May 21, 1954, the special short film Pigs is Pigs was released to theaters. The short was based on the short story by Ellis Parker Butler, which was first published in 1905. The style of animation used in the short was based on the UPA style of limited animation, which was very popular in this time period. It was directed by Jack Kinney, with story by Leo Salkin and animation by John Sibley. The short was nominated for an Academy Award.
At the Westcote Railway Station, Agent Flannery gets ready for the day. Flannery is known as the best agent there is, as he follows each rule to the letter. One day, he receives a package of two guinea pigs, and, having never seen guinea pigs before, notices that they don’t look like pigs, but he’ll follow the rules for pigs, as “it says [they] are” with “the writing plain to see.” A customer named McMorehouse arrives to pick up the guinea pigs, and is incensed to find that pigs cost four cents more than pets, and argues with Flannery that guinea pigs are pets, not pigs. McMorehouse refuses to pay the extra money, and Flannery states that in the case of a debate between the agent and customer, he’ll have to contact the main office for a ruling; until then, he will have to hold on to the package. McMorehouse storms out, saying that when Flannery finds he’s wrong, he is to send the package to his address.
Flannery is swamped by the ever multiplying guinea pigs, and tries to calm them with Irish jigs
At the headquarters, the telegram arrives from Flannery and goes through a very regimented process of signing, dating, and copying. Meanwhile, Flannery tries to take care of the guinea pigs, only to find that they have started breeding. He creates a bigger crate for the guinea pigs, as there are now nine, but multiplying fast, with guinea pigs in every drawer and bursting from every place possible. At headquarters, the debate continues, with everyone up to the board of directors trying to determine whether guinea pigs are pigs or pets. They finally determine that guinea pigs are pets, and the lower rate applies. The guinea pigs multiply and multiply, bursting out of the Westcote Station. When Flannery gets the telegram, he rushes to McMorehouse’s home, only to find that that McMorehouse doesn’t live there anymore. He wires the office again, asking what he should do in this situation, as there is no rule for this. Not knowing that they pigs have multiplied into “two million and two,” the office makes a recommendation that the guinea pigs be sent there. Flannery fills six hundred boxcars with guinea pigs and sends them on their way. The guinea pigs are stored everywhere in the whole company, even the president’s office. From that day forward, Flannery refuses to follow the rules to the letter anymore, declaring that all animals will thereby be classified as pets.