A big, good look at Disneyland Records’ album of stories from the 1933 Silly Symphony, Three Little Pigs, plus two sequels narrated by Sterling Holloway and soundtrack excerpts.
The Stories and Songs of Walt Disney’s
THREE LITTLE PIGS
How They Fooled the Big Bad Wolf & Three Little Wolves and Invented a
Narrated by Sterling Holloway
Disneyland Records ST-1910 (12” 33 1/3 RPM / Mono / 1961)
LP Reissues: Disneyland DQ-1310 (1966) ST-3963 (With Book / 1967)
Executive Producer: Jimmy Johnson. Producer/Musical Director: Camarata. Musical Directors: Frank Churchill, Paul Smith. Running Time: 23 minutes.
Studio Voices: Gloria Wood (Three Pigs); Jimmy Macdonald (Big Bad Wolf).
Soundtrack Voices: Billy Bletcher (Big Bad Wolf in Soundtrack Version), Pinto Colvig (Practical Pig); Leone Ledoux (Little Wolf); Alice Ardell (Little Wolf).
Songs: “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” by Frank Churchill, Ann Ronell; “Schweine Stew” by Frank Churchill, Rafaella Pensa.
Stories: “Three Little Pigs,” “The Wolf-Warning Horn,” “The Wolf Spanking Machine.”
This is a very unique disc among the early Disneyland story records narrated by Sterling Holloway. They were usually studio productions with original music and little, if any, soundtrack material. This entry is an exception in that it offers a few nice bits from Silly Symphony cartoons starring the Three Little Pigs.
The 1933 cartoon was a landmark, establishing the Disney studio for animation of characters with distinct personalities, rather than movement for movement’s sake. It was a gigantic hit, sometimes attracting people to theaters regardless of what feature was also playing. The film also provided Walt Disney with his first hit song, “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” which became a metaphor for the Depression, when “the wolf (creditors) was at the door.”
The Disneyland album opens with Holloway cueing up Camarata’s six-minute musical adaptation of the short, recorded in 1958 for the Official Mickey Mouse Club Record label. It was one of the most flexible of recordings, surfacing on 45 and 78 RPM singles for decades.
The fully orchestrated mini-production also appeared on side two of the first Three Little Pigs 7” read-along book and record set and on the compilation albums The Littlest Outlaw and Other Stories, Walt Disney’s Merriest Songs and 50 Happy Years of Disney Favorites. There is a short musical intro that is or is not included, depending on the reissue, but you can hear the whole thing here, on its first 45 RPM release.
The remainder of the album consists of Holloway telling two stories called “The Wolf-Warning Horn” and “The Wolf Spanking Machine” on the Silly Symphony sequel Three Little Wolves (1936), adapted to become two stories instead of one. When the album was first released in 1961, the back cover was printed with line art and a plastic coated paper so kids could color the pictures with crayons and wipe off the colors over and over again (several albums, like Peter Pan, had this feature). The coloring feature was not included on the 1966 reissue, a color illustration was substituted.
On the 1961/66 covers, the three little wolves are seen with evil grins, but this doesn’t reflect the recorded adaptation. Sterling Holloway’s narration reflects the way the little wolves had later been presented in comics and storybooks long after the original films had been released: as two bad little wolves and one good little wolf. This was for the 1967 Storyteller reissue, in which one good little wolf is differentiated in all the illustrations.
The Practical Pig includes a song called “Schweine Stew.” According to J.B. Kaufman and Russell Merritt in the liner notes for the Silly Symphony Collection [http://www.ebay.com/itm/Various-Artist-Silly-Symphony-Collection-1929-1939-Vinyl-New-/131808216160?hash=item1eb061c460:g:FQcAAOSwXshWqrLJ] LP set, the song is “based on a traditional German polka that had become a staple of vaudeville. A version of the tune was recorded by Danny Kaye as “Schnitzelbank” — and also by Jimmie Dodd and the original Mouseketeers.
In 1978, Jymn Magon produced a cleverly edited version of Camarata’s rendition that allowed Linda Gary’s narration to match a newer read-along book.