The Practical Pig

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The Practical Pig
The practical-pig.jpg
Directed byDick Rickard
Produced byWalt Disney
Story byLarry Clemmons
StarringBilly Bletcher
Pinto Colvig
Dorothy Compton
Mary Moder
Betty Bruce
Tom Buchanan
Ralph Hansell
Richard Holland
Donald Kearin
Leone Le Doux
Tommy Wiggins
Music byFrank Churchill
Paul J. Smith
Animation byPreston Blair
Ollie Johnston
John Lounsbery
Frank Thomas
Layouts byThor Putnam
Color processTechnicolor
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • February 24, 1939 (1939-02-24) (USA)
Running time
8 Minutes
CountryUnited States

The Practical Pig is a Silly Symphonies cartoon. It was released on February 24, 1939, and directed by Dick Rickard.[1][2] It was the fourth and final cartoon starring The Three Pigs.[3] Like its prequels, The Practical Pig incorporates the song "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?".[4] Unlike its prequels however, this was labeled as a standalone "Three Little Pigs Cartoon", suggesting that they were to get their own series of cartoons. It is also the second-to-last Silly Symphonies cartoon.[5]

Plot summary[edit]

Practical Pig is hard at work building a new anti-wolf contraption, this time a lie detector. His two brothers, Fiddler and Fifer Pig, find this funny and laugh; they then decide to go swimming, despite their brother's warning not to as the Wolf is lurking near the local pond. Oblivious to their danger, they are followed to the pond by the Big Bad Wolf, who disguises himself as a voluptuous mermaid to entice them, and then traps them in a net. Bring them in an old mill, the Wolf plans to entrap Practical as well using a fake letter requesting help by his brothers. Before to exit, he says his sons, the Three Little Wolves, not to eat until he captures Practical. They agree, but as soon as he leaves, they prepare to bake Fiddler and Fifer into a pie.

The Wolf, disguised by messenger boy, blows the fake letter under Practical's door. Realizing his brothers have been captured, Practical sees an excellent chance to try out his new invention. The welcome mat drops in beneath the Wolf's feet, and he falls into a pit below. He is next seen strapped into a chair in Practical's house, helpless against the technology of the resourceful. So Pratical interrogates the Wolf about the whereabouts of his brothers, but, every time the Wolf lies, the detector punishes him (first by washing his mouth out when he claims not to have heard of the two pigs, then spanking him when he claims not to have seen them and finally giving him the works when he tries to fool the machine into thinking he and Practical are pals).

Back at the wolves' hideout, the Three Little Wolves are about to bake Fifer and Fiddler in the finished pork pie. One of the wolves realizes that they forgot to add pepper and sprinkles some onto the pie. However, the pepper shaker lid unexpectedly comes off and the pepper gets everywhere; the resulting sneeze from the pigs is so strong that it blows the crust right off of the pie and into the wolves, splatting them against a back wall like glue. With their captors trapped, Fifer and Fiddler then escape and rush back to Practical's house.

Meanwhile, the lie detector punishes the Wolf harder and harder until he finally gives in, saying "They're in the old... the old mill". He is then shot out of the house with a firecracker and seemingly explodes in the sky. Practical prepares to go save his brothers when Fiddler and Fifer burst in, slamming the door in his face. When confronted by their older brother on defying his orders, they play innocent and tell him that they didn't go swimming. But the lie detector springs into action, Fiddler and Fifer are flipped over and soundly spanked. Practical tells them "Remember, this hurts me worse than it does you", but much to his chagrin, the machine takes him literally and also gives him a spanking.

Voice cast[edit]

Principal voices
Additional voices

Comic adaptation[edit]

The Silly Symphony Sunday comic strip ran a three-month-long adaptation of The Practical Pig from May 1 to August 7, 1938.[6]


The Film Daily wrote, "The musical effects here heighten the comedy to howling proportions... While lacking a hit tune, this edition of the Three Pigs is a delightful bit of nonsense."[7]

Home media[edit]

The short was released on the 2001 Walt Disney Treasures DVD box set Silly Symphonies, via an easter egg in the options menu in disc one .[5] It has also been released as a bonus feature on the British VHS edition of Dumbo.


  1. ^ "The Practical Pig". IMDb. Retrieved 2012-02-24.
  2. ^ Borowiec, Piotr (1998). Animated short films: a critical index to theatrical cartoons. Scarecrow Press. p. 134. ISBN 978-0-8108-3503-0.
  3. ^ "The Practical Pig.
  4. ^ Hischak, T.S. & Robinson, M.A. (2009). The Disney song encyclopedia. Scarecrow Press. p. 228. ISBN 978-0-8108-6937-0.
  5. ^ a b 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. 208–209. ISBN 978-1-4847-5132-9.
  6. ^ Taliaferro, Al; Osborne, Ted; De Maris, Merrill (2016). Silly Symphonies: The Complete Disney Classics, vol 2. San Diego: IDW Publishing. ISBN 978-1631408045.
  7. ^ "Short Subject Reviews". The Film Daily. 74 (81): 8. October 12, 1938. Retrieved 23 July 2020.

External links[edit]