The Practical Pig
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|The Practical Pig|
|Silly Symphonies series|
|Directed by||Dick Rickard|
|Produced by||Walt Disney|
|Voices by||Billy Bletcher
|Music by||Frank Churchill
Paul J. Smith
|Animation by||Ollie Johnson
|Layouts by||Thor Putnam|
|Studio||Walt Disney Productions|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Running time||8 Minutes|
The Practical Pig is a Silly Symphonies cartoon. It was released on February 24, 1939, and directed by Dick Rickard. It was the second-to-last Silly Symphony made, and the fourth and final cartoon starring The Three Pigs. Like its prequels, "The Practical Pig" incorporates the song "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?". In fact, it was the only Three Little Pigs Silly Symphony that was credited as a "Three Little Pigs Cartoon".
Plot summary 
While Practical Pig is hard at work building a new anti-Wolf contraption, this time a lie detector ("He's building another Wolf machine! He must be crazy in the bean!"), his two brothers Fiddler and Fifer Pig go swimming ("To work all day is fun for him, but not for us! Let's take a swim!") despite their brother's warning not to go ("Don't go swimming, do ya hear? The pond ain't safe; the Wolf is near!"). Oblivious to the danger around them, they are soon captured by the Big Bad Wolf, who disguises himself as a voluptuous mermaid to entice the two hapless porkers and then catching them in a net.
While the Wolf plans to entrap Practical Pig as well using a fake letter requesting help by his brothers, the Three Little Wolves, who were told by their father that they don't eat until he captured Practical, try to eat one of Fifer's legs as a sandwich but the Wolf, seeing what his sons are doing, promptly blows the little wolves down. They then lie that they'll wait until the Wolf returns with Practical. But as soon as he leaves, they prepare to make Fiddler & Fifer into a pork pie (the pigs questioning the wolves' actions, "Why don't you mind your papa?").
Practical sees right through the Wolf's messenger boy disguise (the Wolf blew the fake letter under the door, in turn blowing his cover) and sees an excellent chance to try out his new invention. The welcome mat drops in beneath the Wolf's feet, and he falls, screaming, into the pit below. He is next seen strapped into a chair in Practical's house, helpless against the technology of the resourceful. When interrogated by Practical about the whereabouts of his brothers, the Wolf lies (claiming, "Your brothers? Never heard of 'em!"), and the machine goes into action. The Wolf's words are played back on a phonograph, and bulbs light up while an alarm bell sounds. Steam is pumped out, chemicals bubble and churn, electricity sizzles, and finally an indicator on the wall with a needle points to "LIE" and two whistles blow. The Wolf gets his mouth washed out with soap by a scrubbing brush.
The second time he lies (this time, claiming, "I ain't seen 'em!"), the chair he is sitting in spins around, his pants are pulled down by a hook and he is given a spanking. The third time, the Wolf tries to fool the machine into thinking he and Practical are "pals" ("I ain't... Now listen, buddy; you got me wrong. Why, I'm your pal."), but the lie detector sees through the ruse and the Wolf ends up getting the works (with his mouth washed out and a spanking, as well as having his knuckles whacked with rulers).
Meanwhile, at the wolves' hideout, the Three Little Wolves are about to bake Fifer & Fiddler in the finished pork pie. The two pigs remind them of the Wolf's warning ("You'll be sorry when your Pop gets back and we aren't here!"), of which the young wolves dismiss. But one of the wolves says that they forgot the pepper and add it onto the pigs. The lid unexpectedly comes off however and the pepper gets everywhere, causing the inevitable result of explosive sneezing from the pigs, such that it blows the crust right off of the pie and into the wolves, splatting them against the far wall. The pigs then escape and rush back to Practical's house.
At Practical's house, the Lie Detector machine punishes the Wolf harder and harder (he is now spun round by it, alternating between being spanked and mouth washed out, and his head getting bonked and his rear getting washed) until he gives in and the indicator points to "TRUTH" and a mechanical bird plays a harp at which point he tells the truth ("They're in the old... the old mill."). He is then shot right out of the house with a rocket stuck up his shirt. Practical prepares to go save his brothers (he mistakenly picks up a broom as he heads to the door, then goes back to pick up his blunderbuss), but Fiddler and Fifer have since managed to escape from the Three Little Wolves, and return home safe and sound, slamming the door right into Practical and embedding him in the wall. When scolded by their irate brother against defying his orders ("Didn't I tell you not to go swimming?"), the two pigs play innocent and tell him they didn't go swimming (Fifer: "Oh, we didn't go swimming, did we?", Fiddler: "Oh no..."). But the lie detector springs into action, Fiddler and Fifer are flipped over with their trunks pulled down and the two storytellers are soundly spanked. While Fiddler and Fifer are being spanked, Practical tells them "Remember, this hurts me worse than it does you", but the machine takes him literally, to his chagrin.
Later references 
In Stieg Larsson's thriller "The Girl Who Played with Fire", the fiercely independent protagonist Lisbeth Salander several times uses the term "Practical Pig" for the journalist Mikael Blomkvist, whose efforts to help her she both appreciates and resents.
- "The Practical Pig". imdb. Retrieved 2012-02-24.
- Borowiec, Piotr (1998). Animated short films: a critical index to theatrical cartoons. Scarecrow Press. p. 134. ISBN 978-0-8108-3503-0.
- "The Practical Pig". www.bcdb.com
- Hischak, T.S. & Robinson, M.A. (2009). The Disney song encyclopedia. Scarecrow Press. p. 228. ISBN 978-0-8108-6937-0.