The Wearing of the Grin

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The Wearing of the Grin
The Wearing of the Grin Title.jpg
Title card
Directed byCharles M. Jones
Produced byEdward Selzer
Story byMichael Maltese
StarringMel Blanc
John T. Smith
Music byEugene Poddany and Milt Franklyn
Animation byLloyd Vaughan
Ben Washam
Ken Harris
Phil Monroe
Color processTechnicolor
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
July 14, 1951 (US premiere)
Running time
7 min (one reel)

The Wearing of the Grin is a Looney Tunes (reissued as Blue Ribbon Merrie Melodies in 1960) cartoon directed by Chuck Jones and written by Michael Maltese. It was released theatrically on July 14, 1951.

It was the final cartoon featuring Porky Pig as the only major recurring character. Porky had been Warner Bros. animation’s first major star until had been supplanted first by Daffy Duck (a phenomenon that was even satirized in toon form in Friz Freleng’s You Ought to Be in Pictures), and later by Bugs Bunny. As this had progressed, Porky starred in fewer solo cartoons. All of Porky's subsequent appearances in the classic era would be with other characters such as Daffy or the non-speaking, house cat version of Sylvester.

The title refers to The Wearing of the Green, an old Irish ballad, while the green shoes themselves are borrowed from the Hans Christian Andersen fable The Red Shoes (and the 1948 film based on it) about a pair of ballet shoes that never let their wearer stop dancing. The title was parodied, also as "The Wearing of the Grin", in the Bugs Bunny cartoon What's Up, Doc?, where Bugs reveals that being in the play's chorus was his first gig as an "actor."


On a raining stormy night while traveling through rural Ireland on his way to Dublin, Porky Pig is caught in a storm and asks for lodgings at a nearby castle for the night, but the caretaker, Seamus O'Toole, tells him that no one inhabits the place but himself and the leprechauns. Porky dismisses the remark, tells the caretaker to "cut out this nonsense and take my bags to a room", and slams the front door, causing a mace above to fall. It strikes Porky on the head and knocks him unconscious. At that point, "O'Toole" is revealed to be a pair of leprechauns disguised as a human being. O'Pat, the first one, is very calm while O'Mike, the second one, quickly becomes frantic with fear that Porky is after their pot of gold. O'Pat, being the "Chief Leprechaun", convinces his partner that he knows how to deal with the pig.

When Porky wakes up, he is helped to a room by the "reunited" caretaker who, during the short trip to the room, gets accidentally divided in two again. Porky, quite tired out by "all this excitement" doesn't notice the problem with his host until "O'Toole" asks him if he has seen his other half. It registers with Porky that he is in the presence of two leprechauns and, terrified, he hides in the bed, which happens to be a trap door. The bed closes into the wall and Porky is dropped down a winding shaft until he lands in a witness chair in a leprechaun courtroom. There the leprechauns charge and convict him of trying to steal the pot of gold; they sentence him to the wearing of the Green Shoes.

At first Porky appreciates them as nice shoes, but soon he realizes that they are cursed, as his feet begin a frantic Irish jig which made O’Pat and O’Mike laughing at him. The shoes will not stop dancing; even when he removes them, they chase him and return themselves to his feet. He is "danced" through a nightmarish Salvador Dali-esque landscape filled with Irish icons until he falls in a boiling pot of gold. At this point, he wakes up, in a puddle of water, on the spot where he fell after being hit by the mace. "O'Toole" is standing over him with an empty bucket, implying he has dumped water over Porky to revive him. Porky screams, remembering that "O'Toole" is actually the two leprechauns, and leaps up to one of the posts that had been holding the mace. The caretaker tries to convince Porky that nothing has been amiss; Porky, frightened and disoriented, grabs his bags and runs away from the castle and into the distance. "O'Toole" watches him run, smoking his upside down pipe, and sporting a mischievous smile, shakes hands with himself (actually O'Mike) over a shamrock-shaped iris out.

Other appearances[edit]

  • "The Wearing of the Grin" is the name of one of the Broadway shows featuring Bugs Bunny as one of the "Boys in the Chorus" in What's Up Doc?[1]
  • The Leprechauns from the cartoon can later be spotted during the basketball game in the bleachers in Space Jam.
  • The Leprechauns make their return in the SNES game of Porky Pig's Haunted Holiday.


The Wearing of the Grin is available on the Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 1 DVD box-set, supplemented with an audio commentary by animation historian Michael Barrier.

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