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December 17

December 17, 1931 – The Silly Symphony The Ugly Duckling is Released to Theaters


On December 17, 1931, the Silly Symphony The Ugly Duckling was released to theaters. The short was based on the short story by Hans Christian Andersen, and was one of the only Silly Symphonies remade in color; the color version was also the last Silly Symphony, and won an Academy Award for Best Cartoon of 1939. The 1931 short was directed by Wilfred Jackson.

A hen is sound asleep in her nest, when her chicks start to hatch. The last egg, however, is of a duck, and the hen is alarmed to find a duckling in her nest. She escorts her chicks far away from the duckling, and the poor ducking is upset at being abandoned. When the chicks steal his food and dismiss him, he is upset. The constant abandonment causes him to cry, but he tries to find a new mother within the farm. He cries by the side of a pond, until he spies a tornado sweeping through the farm. He tries to warn the hen and her chicks, and does so just in time, though they kick him out of their hiding place. The chicks are swept up into the air and land into the rushing river, much to the hen’s dismay. The duckling, exhibiting an ability to swim, goes after the chicks and manages to save them just in the nick of time. The chicks and the hen embrace him as one of their own, and he quacks happily.

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