Sunday, May 31, 2009

Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad, Wolf?

In 1933, Walt Disney and Company released it's first short film in color. It was a much discussed move from the black and white shorts and the cost at first seemed prohibitive. Along with adding color to this short, Walt also wanted to set it to music. Frank Churchill was brought in to write a song to move the story along. It was a risky move and one that Disney hoped would pay off. It didn't take long, for the Three Little Pigs to take off and become a huge success.

In 1934, it won an Academy Award for Best Short Subject, and the title song, "Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Wolf" became a best selling single, and kind of became an anthem for the Depression-weary Americans. It was voted one of the top 50 Greatest Cartoons, was selected for preservation in the Library of Congress because it is "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant," and to this day is considered the most successful animated short ever made.

Although a very popular short (even more so over the years), this film became one that Disney would reference as his inspiration not to ride along on its success, but to continue to press on with ground-breaking, risk-taking ideas that were bigger and better than the last. The saying, "You can't top pigs with pigs!" became one of Walt's favorite slogans.

It's no wonder that when Disneyland opened in 1955 and began offering photo opportunities, that the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf were among them. Here is a picture of them in the early days of the park.

Imagine our surprise last October when we came around the end of Hollywood Boulevard in DCA and found the Big Bad Wolf posing for photos. His costume is practically the same as it was back in the 1950's. I have a copy here in black and white so you can compare.

We were thrilled to get this picture with Mr. Wolf as it was kind of like getting a picture with an icon of Disney history. So if you are ever wandering around Disneyland, DCA or WDW, and you see Mr. Wolf or any of the Little Pigs, be sure to stop and take a picture with them. They were an important and influential part of making the Disney Corporation what it is today.

If you have never had the opportunity to watch the Three Little Pigs, here is a link:

1 comment:

Laurie Zeller said...

That's so interesting, Tami! And very cool that you got a picture with a character who is such a huge part of Disney history.