The Crunch Bird

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The Crunch Bird
Directed by Ted Petok
Produced by Ted Petok
Voices by Len Maxwell
Studio Maxwell-Petok-Petrovich Productions
Regency Films
Distributed by Regency Films
Release date(s) 1971
Running time 2 min.
Country USA
Language English

The Crunch Bird (El pájaro crujiente) is an animated short by Ted Petok, Joe Petrovich, and Len Maxwell. It won the 1971 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. Joe Petrovich animated the cartoon. Len Maxwell provided the voices for the husband, wife, and pet shop owner. Ted Petok was the producer.

A woman goes into a pet store seeking a gift for her husband. She decides to get him a bird with a most unusual talent, but her gift brings about an unforeseen result.

With a running time of only two minutes, it is the shortest animated short film ever to receive an Academy Award.

It was also one of the first animation outside New York or California (Michigan) to win an Oscar (Oregon's Closed Mondays from 1974 and Louisiana's The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore from 2010).


A Narrator tells of a woman searching for a birthday gift for her husband Murray, who has few interests and is largely occupied by his job. At a pet store, the proprietor offers a "Crunch Bird." The Crunch Bird devours anything to which its master directs it. To demonstrate, the proprietor commands, "Crunch Bird! The chair!" and the bird reduces a wooden straight chair to sawdust within seconds. The woman is impressed by the bird's talent, buys it, and takes it home.

Murray, exhausted from a hard day at his job, comes home. His wife shows him his birthday present, the Crunch Bird. Crabbily, the husband replies, "Crunch Bird, my ass!" The bird swoops toward Murray, and mercifully, the film cuts to black and the credits roll before we see what follows. . . .

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