Three Little Bops

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Three Little Bops
Title card
Directed byFriz Freleng
Story byWarren Foster
Produced byEddie Selzer
StarringStan Freberg
(all voices)
Edited byTreg Brown
Music byShorty Rogers
Animation byGerry Chiniquy
Bob Matz
Harry Love
Layouts byHawley Pratt
Backgrounds byIrv Wyner
Color processTechnicolor
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
The Vitaphone Corporation
Release date
  • January 5, 1957 (1957-01-05)
Running time
CountryUnited States

Three Little Bops is a 1957 American animated comedy short film directed by Friz Freleng and written by Warren Foster.[1] A takeoff on The Three Little Pigs told as a hip, jazzy musical, the short features the voice of Stan Freberg, with music provided by jazz composer/trumpeter Shorty Rogers.[2] It was released by Warner Bros. Pictures on January 5, 1957 as part of the Looney Tunes series.[3]


Presented primarily in the style of twelve-bar blues, the short opens with a display of the book that shows the Three Little Pigs who used to play pipes and dance jigs. The short then focuses to the present day and reveals the pigs now play modern instruments and perform as The Three Little Bops.

During a Bops gig at the House of Straw, the Big Bad Wolf shows up, demonstrates that he is friendly by shaking hands and states that he wants to sit in with the band. He immediately shows he is a terrible trumpet player, however, so the pigs, labelling him a square, throw him out. Insulted, the Wolf retaliates by using the trumpet to blow down the straw house, forcing the pigs to go to the Dew Drop Inn, the House of Sticks.

Things go well (including the piano playing pig doing an imitation of Liberace's "I wish my brother George was here"), until the Wolf arrives and sits in again. The audience calls for the pigs to "throw the square out", which they do. The Wolf retaliates by blowing down the Dew Drop Inn. The pigs then realize that to escape the Wolf's "windy tricks", they must become the band of choice at the House of Bricks (built on May 1, 1776, according to a cornerstone).

The House of Bricks has a "No Wolves Allowed" rule, so when the Wolf tries to get in, he is punched in the face by a bouncer. He then unsuccessfully tries to ram the door down with a log. The Wolf falls back on trying to use his trumpet to blow down the building, but soon runs out of breath.

He decides that disguising himself will allow him to successfully get in, so he reenters in fur coat, playing on a ukulele a perfect rendition of the Charleston (cut short when the piano player pig recognizes him and tosses a banana peel). The Wolf returns, hidden inside a houseplant. He pops up and begins playing his trumpet, but the pig playing the double bass fires a plunger off the strings and blasts the Wolf out of the building. For his third try, the Wolf shows up in a drum major outfit playing a big bass drum to the tune of "Don't Give Up the Ship". The Bops' drummer throws a dart and deflates the bass drum. Humiliated, the Wolf leaves. The pigs shut and lock the door to ensure he cannot get in again.

Not the least bit deterred, he shows up with a large cylinder of TNT and snaps, "I'll show those pigs that I'm not stuck! If I can't blow it down, I'll blow it up!" The fuse is blown out by one of the pigs, so the Wolf carries the cylinder a few feet away from the door to light it a second time. He has moved too far away, though, and as he is carrying it back to the door of the building, it explodes. The Wolf is killed.

The narrator reveals that the explosion did not send the Wolf to Heaven but down to "the other place", where his trumpet playing improves. When the pigs hear this, one of them says, "The Big Bad Wolf, he learned the rule: you gotta get hot to play real cool!" The Wolf's spirit then rises up through the floor and, now playing expertly, joins in for the final notes, prompting the pigs to alter their band's name to "The Three Little Bops Plus One".


Instrument credits are believed to be:[4]

This is one of few Warner Brothers cartoons to not feature Mel Blanc doing voice characterizations during the period of Blanc's exclusive contract with the studio. It is also one of only three from that period that gives a voice credit to anyone other than Blanc (the others were The Mouse that Jack Built, which credits the cast of The Jack Benny Program, of which Blanc was a cast member and thus was credited accordingly, and The Unmentionables, which credits Blanc and Ralph James). Even though Freberg contributed voices to many other Warner Brothers cartoons during this time, none of the others were credited. It is also one of the few Looney Tunes shorts not to use the "That's all, Folks" endline.


Professor of musicology Daniel Goldmark writes, "Three Little Bops is a return to the swinging sounds that once dominated the Warner Bros. cartoons. Los Angeles boasted a thriving jazz scene in the 1950s, so not only was the studio able to feature trumpeter Shorty Rogers, it also made great use of comedian (and voice artist) Stan Freberg as the cartoon's hep narrator. The entire cartoon is told in scatlike rhyme, and the pigs really play some smokin' jazz — as does the wolf once he finally gets 'hot' down in hell."[5]

Home media[edit]

Later appearances[edit]

  • The Big Bad Wolf, who first appeared in Little Red Walking Hood and had previously appeared as Uncle Big Bad in The Turn-Tale Wolf, would appear in another two Golden Age cartoons: Now Hare This and False Hare, also as Uncle Big Bad. This was his only Golden Age appearance in a Friz Freleng cartoon.
  • This cartoon was included (in slightly edited form) as part of the 1981 film The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie; presented as part of a fictitious awards show called "The Oswald Awards", it features brief "interviews" with both the Big Bad Wolf and the Three Little Pigs as they arrive at the theater with Porky Pig during the awards pre-show.
  • The Big Bad Wolf made an appearance in the 1983 film Daffy Duck's Fantastic Island. He was standing in the line where everybody is getting their wishes from the island's famous wishing well, but he was wearing shoes instead of showing his bare feet.
  • The Three Little Pigs and The Big Bad Wolf make a cameo appearance on the bleachers watching the basketball playoff against the Monstars and the Toon Squad in Space Jam.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Schneider, Steve (1988). That's All, Folks! : The Art of Warner Bros. Animation. Henry Holt and Co. pp. 123–124. ISBN 0-8050-0889-6.
  2. ^ Beck, Jerry; Friedwald, Will (1989). Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies: A Complete Illustrated Guide to the Warner Bros. Cartoons. Henry Holt and Co. p. 294. ISBN 0-8050-0894-2.
  3. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. pp. 100-102. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  4. ^ Three Little Bops + Two Peppers at JazzWax
  5. ^ Beck, Jerry, ed. (2020). The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes Cartoons. Insight Editions. p. 185. ISBN 978-1-64722-137-9.

External links[edit]