Animation History
May 15, 2013 posted by Jerry Beck

Disney’s 1963 “Three Little Pigs” Sequel

You’ve read about or heard about Walt Disney’s animated films aimed at Latin American audiences in the 1940s – but here’s one cartoon sequence that rarely gets any attention. This is a Disney animated segment from a 1963 South American feature, Cri-Cri el Grillito Cantor (Chi-Chi, the Singing Cricket). In it, the Three Little Pigs sort-of become The Three Caballeros:

Didier Ghez posted about this in 2006 and I first posted about it in 2007.

Rudy Agresta wrote in to tell us:

“This was a Spanish made live action film that the producer (Carlos Amadour, S.A.) made in 1963. The Disney studio was contracted to produce the animated segment. This was left in the capable hands of Bill Justice and X. Atencio. It featured the 3 Little Pigs, their mother and the wolf.”

Darrell Van Citters added this information:

“Those cels were from a project done for Latin America. All I can with certainty is that John Lounsbery animated the opening stuff up to the point where the pigs become the Disney version of the Three Pigs. I saw the scenes in the old morgue (as we called it). The drawings are awesome – I loved them so much I photocopied some of them. There’s even some of the Big Bad Wolf. They were done with lots of blue colored pencil under-drawing and the extremes were tied down quite loosely, along the same lines as John’s drawings of the Colonel in 101 Dalmatians. The sheets indicated that the tracks were in Spanish so I don’t think it was ever shown here. If someone on the inside wants to do more research or get better quality scans, the production number is 5954, Los Tres Cochinitos.”

Here was the original movie poster and lobby card:

cri_cri_poster
cri-cri-lobby

17 Comments

  • What about Disney TV Animation’s 1997 “Three Little Pigs”, written by Frank Coniff and directed by Darrel Rooney but never released? I saw a bootleg print of this along with “Redux Riding Hood” back about then, and it was hilarious; much funnier than “Redux”. The pigs are running a boarding house and the wolf wants to become a roomer. Due to anti-discrimination laws, they can’t turn him down after he swears that he’s just turned vegan and no longer eats meat. All during the cartoon, setups make the pigs suspect that the wolf in their house is about to attack them, while the wolf who really has turned vegan is slowly starving himself to death. I’d love to see this again.

    • I would love to see it too after seeing what was done in Redux Riding Hood, the whole project certainly was a clever modern take on these classic tales done effectively the way they were being produced. Too bad it never saw the light of day.

  • Interesting, I’ve heard of the other Three Little Pigs spinoffs, but never this one. But hey, it makes sense this was produced as part of the ‘good neighbor’ policy Disney was trying to promote with Latin America at the time. Other popular characters like Donald Duck had already been used. I think today it is easier to forgot how popular the three pigs were, as they have become far less prevalence in Disney’s advertising champagnes in recent years.

  • A few years ago, Comcast On Demand use to upload old spanish movies from the 1950′s and 1960′s and 1950′s Spanish dubs of brazilian films from the Atlantida studio. Though they weren’t subtitled I use to browse through them, mainly because I was interested in the opening studio logos; (some of those were pretty cool, you can definitely see Hollywood’s, especially 2Oth Century Fox’s, influence on them). I remember they posted this movie, after I heard about this sequence, and went through the entire movie. The opening credits, if I recall, to the movie, though not animated (and do not have a studio logo) were very clever and had cartoon characters drawn into them. They didn’t have the three little pigs on them but they had some other Disney-ish looking cartoon characters which I did not recognize on there. They had my curiosity as to if they were designed by a Mexican studio or if they were designed by the Disney studio.

    PS- I was very bummed when Comcast stopped posting these old Spanish films. Though they weren’t subtitled, they were still fun to go through. A lot of the old musical dramas (not musical comedies) made by Producciones Pereda with Maria Anotnieta Pons were always fun to look through.

  • I knew and interviewed Disney Legend Bill Justice. Here’s the story:

    In the Fall of 1962, Walt Disney called Bill Justice and X. Atencio to his office to introduce them to Carlos Amador and his movie star wife, Marga.

    Amador was preparing a live action movie about the life of a famous south-of-the-border writer. Since one of the stories was about the three little pigs, Amador wanted to use Disney’s three little pigs in a four-minute animated segment.

    The reason Walt agreed and assigned Justice and Atencio to the project was that half of the profits would go to help provide poor Mexican children a free lunch each school day. Walt had decided to donate the animation, especially since the charity was the favorite of the Republic of Mexico’s first lady and it was, in fact, the only way many children could be persuaded to attend school.

    Amador wrote the adaptation with Justice and Atencio doing the production work.

    To me, one of the funniest moments is at the end when the wolf is standing by a palm tree and a coconut drops from its palms to bonk him on the head. After all, this is Mexico, not the original European setting for the pigs.

    A few months later the finished product was shown to Walt for his approval, and it was followed by an invitation from Amador for Justice and Atencio, along with Gene Armstrong of the Disney Studio’s Foreign Department and their wives to visit for 10 days. The Disney staff was treated like royalty. At the Mexico City airport, they were greeted by a mariachi band and their wives were given bouquets of roses.

    One evening at a special dinner as the guests of honor of the First Lady of Mexico, Justice and Atencio were given gold medals for their work.

    A Disney press release from Fall of 1963 announced:

    “The Three Sleepy Pigs, a new four minute segment of animation in Spanish, has been produced by Walt for incorporation in a live action Mexican feature called Cri-Cri, El Grillito Cantor or in English, Cri-Cri, the Little Singing Cricket. “The feature itself is based on the life of Gabilondo Solar, a famous south of the border song writer, while Walt’s contribution to it is based on Solar’s popular ballad, Los Cochinitos Dormilones. “Proceeds of the feature, which is set for widespread theatrical release throughout Mexico beginning in October, will go to the Institute for the Protection of Mexican Children, an organization that maintains thirty-two plants engaged in the packaging and shipping of food to million school-age youngsters all over the country.”

    Justice and Atencio were invited back to Mexico again in November 1963 to attend an international film festival, where the completed film was to be given an award. Tragically, the screening was during the same time that President Kennedy was assassinated. Justice and Atencio attended and the film festival continued, but Bill told me he still remembers how deeply the people at the festival expressed their sympathy when they discovered he was a citizen of the United States.

    • That just makes it heart-warming!

    • Thank you Jim, for filling us in on the whole story behind this obscure piece of Disney history.

  • John Lounsbery was an amazing draftsman. The Three Little Pigs still more or less resemble the way they did thirty years earlier but the Big Bad Wolf seems to appear more complex in his design here, perhaps due to the anatomical and motion study skill amassed by the Disney animators since 1933. The Wolf also owes less to the old ‘circle’ formula in his construction than do the more rotund porcine trio. He actually looks more modern in his design than do the pigs. Few people on earth would notice or care about that, but there it is.

    • I sure noticed it Tom! It’s nice bit of progression right there.

  • Nice salvage from “The Three Caballeros” in there. Thanks for posting this again Jerry, always interesting to see it. The streaming video here is full of streaky after-imaging, but the sound is good. Just remember what Walt said, “You can’t top pigs with pigs.”

  • Stacia Martin reminds me that:

    For many years, cels from this production (mostly of the pigs’ uptempo musical rendition of “(Who’s Afraid of) El Lobo Feroz” were sold at Disneyland at the Art Corner and other gift shops. It is interesting to note both the repurposed footage cut in from the “La Piñata” sequence of “The Three Caballeros” and the enormous similarity of the first pig’s dream’s backgrounds to the look of the castle interiors of “The Sword In The Stone” (this not surprising, given the time frame).

    A funny bit when the second pig christens his little boat (named “Cri Cri”) with a bottle of milk (here)!

    The live action opening to the sequence shows two children in their nursery, which is decorated with Disney character painted cut-outs…doubtless the work of Bill Justice with Bob Moore. Similar wooden cut-out characters were at the time decorations in the Main Street Storybook Store at Disneyland. Walt Disney Elementary School in Marceline, MO also received similar pieces, and the image of Mickey is almost identical to that of the “welcome aboard” Captain Mickey that greeted guests as they stepped onto the gangway stairs to board Walt’s Gulfstream airplane!

    • Note that in my above message the words “(here),” “two children in their nursery” and ““welcome aboard” Captain Mickey” are clickable and show an elucidating image!

  • It would have been nice to know what Ward Kimball thought of this design of Cri-Cri, since he said of Jiminy Cricket in “Pinocchio”, that it’s impossible to design a cute cricket — he settled for a cute bug that did not look anything like a cricket.

  • Was this done without the aide of xerox? It certainly looks like it.

  • Those are Xeroxed cels that you see. The only part that isn’t is the dupe negative scene from “The Three Caballeros,” which of course was inked. The assistants just did a tight clean line. The Disney studio evolved the clean up line from “One Hundred and One Dalmatians,” which at times looks pretty rough, to a tighter and cleaner line, visible in “The Sword in the Stone” and everything after. Were this print better the Xeroxing might be more readily detectable.

    • At least they were getting the hang of it.

  • Amidst everyone asking for English Subtitles, this was indeed a fun piece of “forgotten” Disney history. Was especially taken to BBW’s “modern design here also – likewise with the sneaky reuse of animation from The Three Caballeros ;-)

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