Little Hiawatha

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Little Hiawatha
Little Hiawatha (Disney film).jpg
Theatrical re-release poster
Directed byDavid Hand
Produced byWalt Disney
StarringSally Noble, Mary Rosetti, Millie Walters[1]
Narrated byGayne Whitman
Music byAlbert Hay Malotte
Animation byDick Huemer
Charles Thorson
Ollie Johnston
Fred Moore
Frank Thomas
Color processTechnicolor
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • May 15, 1937 (1937-05-15) (U.S.)
CountryUnited States

Little Hiawatha (also called Hiawatha) is a 1937 animated cartoon produced by Walt Disney Productions, inspired by the poem The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It does not appear to have historical correlation to legendary Mohawk leader and peacemaker Hiawatha. It is the last Silly Symphonies short to be released by United Artists.[1]


Over opening narration, a Native American boy named Little Hiawatha is seen paddling his canoe down a river – at one point backwards – on his way to hunt game. Upon reaching land, he steps out and immediately falls down a hidden hole in the water, bringing about the laughter of the animals in the forest. Hiawatha gives chase to them – with his pants often falling down as the cartoon's running gag.

Hiawatha pursues a grasshopper, but is foiled when it spits in his face, much to the amusement of the other animals. He chases them again and manages to corner a baby rabbit on a tree stump; he finds, however, that he cannot bring himself to kill it, especially when it repeatedly gives him sad glances, and even after he arms it with a spare bow and arrow. Frustrated, he shoos it back to its family and then breaks his bow and arrow, to the animals' great delight.

Shortly afterwards, Hiawatha comes across a set of bear tracks, which leads him to a face-to-face encounter with a bear cub. He chases after it, but runs into the cub's protective mother, who aggressively chases him through the forest. In gratitude for Hiawatha sparing their lives, the other animals band together to keep him out of the bear's clutches, including raccoons using a vine to trip the bear, opossums flinging Hiawatha through the air, and beavers cutting down trees in the bear's path, among other things. Finally returned safely to his canoe, Hiawatha rows off into the sunset as the animals gather together and bid him farewell.


The Silly Symphony Sunday comic strip featured an adaptation of Little Hiawatha for eight months, from November 10, 1940, to July 12, 1942, based on drawings from Charlie Thorson.[2][3]

The character moved to comic book stories in 1943. First, he appeared as a secondary character (named "Little Bear") in a story featuring Flower in Walt Disney's Comics and Stories No. 30 (March 1943).[4] This was followed a year later with an 8-page story headlined by Little Minnehaha (Hiawatha's best friend) in Walt Disney's Comics and Stories No. 43 (April 1944).[5] Two more "Little Minnehaha" stories were printed in 1944, followed by appearances in the Vacation Parade specials in 1950 and 1951. Little Hiawatha returned as a regular feature in Walt Disney's Comics and Stories starting with issue No. 143 (August 1952),[6] and by the end of the year, he got his own one-shot comic: Four Color No. 439 (December 1952).[7]

In Europe, locally drawn Hiawatha comics ran in the local Donald Duck comic magazines well into the 21st century.[8]

Home media[edit]

The short was released on the 2000 DVD release of Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World and again on December 19, 2006, on Walt Disney Treasures: More Silly Symphonies, Volume Two.[1]

It was released on Blu-ray in 2012 on Pocahontas.


  1. ^ a b c Merritt, Russell; Kaufman, J. B. (2016). Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies: A Companion to the Classic Cartoon Series (2nd ed.). Glendale, CA: Disney Editions. pp. 190–191. ISBN 978-1-4847-5132-9.
  2. ^ Walz, Eugene (1998). Cartoon Charlie: The Life and Art of Animation Pioneer Charles Thorson. Great Plains Publications. pp. 26. ISBN 0-9697804-9-4.
  3. ^ Holtz, Allan (2012). American Newspaper Comics: An Encyclopedic Reference Guide. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press. p. 351. ISBN 9780472117567.
  4. ^ "Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #30". Inducks. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
  5. ^ "Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #43". Inducks. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
  6. ^ "Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #143". Inducks. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
  7. ^ "Little Hiawatha – One Shots #439". Inducks. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
  8. ^ "Hiawatha" (in Dutch). Retrieved October 26, 2021.

External links[edit]