The Practical Pig
Silly Symphonies series
Directed by Dick Rickard
Produced by Walt Disney
Voices by Billy Bletcher
Pinto Colvig
Dorothy Compton
Mary Moder
Music by Frank Churchill
Paul J. Smith
Animation by Ollie Johnston
John Lounsbery
Frank Thomas
Layouts by Thor Putnam
Studio Walt Disney Productions
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release date(s) (USA)
Color process Technicolor
Running time 8 Minutes
Country United States
Language English

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 second-to-last Silly Symphony made, and 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] It was the only Three Little Pigs Silly Symphony that was released as a standalone "Three Little Pigs Cartoon", suggesting that they were to get their own series of cartoons.

Plot summary

While Practical Pig is hard at work building a new anti-Wolf contraption, this time a lie detector his two brothers Fiddler and Fifer Pig laugh at him and 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 lake by the Big Bad Wolf, who disguises himself as a voluptuous mermaid to entice them and then traps them in a net.

While the Wolf plans to entrap Practical Pig as well using a fake letter requesting help by his brothers, he tells his sons, the Three Little Wolves not to eat until he captured Practical. They then lie that they'll wait until the Wolf returns with Practical. But as soon as he leaves, they prepare to make Fiddler & Fifer into a pie.

The Wolf's messenger boy disguise is seen through when the wolf blows the fake letter under Practical's door and the latter sees an excellent chance to try out his new invention. The welcome mat drops in beneath the Wolf's feet, and he falls, screaming, into the pit below. He is next seen strapped into a chair in Practical's house, helpless against the technology of the resourceful. When interrogated by Practical about the whereabouts of his brothers, the Wolf first claims to have never heard of the two missing pigs and the lie detector goes into action; a needle on the machine's indicator points to "LIE", two steam whistles blow an equivalent to a wolf-whistle to signify the claim as such and the machine washes the Wolf's mouth out with soap. Then the Wolf claims to have not seen the two pigs and he gets a spanking from the lie detector. Lastly, the Wolf tries to fool the machine into thinking he and Practical are "pals" but the lie detector is able to detect that as a lie and the Wolf ends up getting the works (with his mouth washed out and a spanking, as well as having his knuckles whacked with rulers).

Meanwhile, at the wolves' hideout, the Three Little Wolves are about to bake Fifer & Fiddler in the finished pork pie, in spite of the pigs reminding them of the Wolf's warning. But one of the wolves says that they forgot the pepper and add it onto the pigs. The pepper shaker's lid unexpectedly comes off however and the pepper gets everywhere, causing the inevitable result of explosive sneezing from the pigs, such that it blows the crust right off of the pie and into the wolves, splatting them against the back wall. The two then escape and rush back to Practical's house.

Back at Practical's house the lie detector punishes the Wolf harder and harder until he gives in and the machine's indicator points to "TRUTH" (with a mechanical bird tweeting and playing a harp) at which point he tells the truth, "they're in the old... the old mill". He is then shot right out of the house with a rocket. Practical prepares to go save them when Fiddler and Fifer immediately burst in, slamming the door in his face. When scolded by their older brother on defying his orders, they play innocent and tell him they didn't go swimming. But the lie detector springs into action, Fiddler and Fifer are flipped over and are spanked soundly. Practical tells them "Remember, this hurts me worse than it does you", but the machine takes him literally to his chagrin.

Later references

In Stieg Larsson's thriller "The Girl Who Played with Fire", the fiercely independent protagonist Lisbeth Salander several times uses the term "Practical Pig" for the journalist Mikael Blomkvist, whose efforts to help her she both appreciates and resents.


  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. 

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