Favorite Silly Symphonies

by pitsburghfuzz | created - 07 Nov 2012 | updated - 15 Nov 2012 | Public

Disney's Silly Symphony shorts were great exercises in timing music to animation, and allowed animators to try out new techniques. Here are my favorte ones.

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1. Three Little Pigs (1933)

Passed | 9 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

When a hungry wolf starts blowing down some pigs' houses, they take refuge in their sensible brother's brick house.

Director: Burt Gillett | Stars: Billy Bletcher, Pinto Colvig, Dorothy Compton, Mary Moder

Votes: 3,868 | Gross: $0.25M

I can't help but love this film. The song, "Who's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" became an anthem for the Great Depression. The colors are very vibrant and the character animation is perfect. The Big Bad Wolf is one of my favorite Disney villains because of his haggard appearance and his many disguises. Just watch it.

2. The Goddess of Spring (1934)

Approved | 10 min | Animation, Short, Family

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The lovely goddess of spring Persephone is kidnapped by Hades, thus bringing about the winter season.

Director: Wilfred Jackson | Stars: Kenny Baker, Jessica Dragonette, Tudor Williams

Votes: 412

Another underrated short, Goddess of Spring is essentially the Persephone/Hades myth. However, it instead has Satan, and his character is more like Mephisto. Great animation of the animals and Satan is a very well realized, very lively character. The music is also very impressive.

3. Who Killed Cock Robin? (1935)

Approved | 8 min | Animation, Comedy, Family

7.2
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Robin is crooning to a Mae West-like Jenny Wren when he is shot with an arrow. A court is convened; the judge, an owl, keeps singing the title. A variety of birds are brought to the witness... See full summary »

Director: David Hand | Stars: Billy Bletcher, Pinto Colvig, Clarence Nash, Purv Pullen

Votes: 491

An underrated film, about a court case. There are some very funny lyrics and great character animation. I love it when the jury rejoices at the fact that the witnesses are going to hang. Also has a Mae West look-a-like.

4. The Big Bad Wolf (1934)

9 min | Animation, Comedy, Family

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The two foolish little pigs escort Red Riding Hood on a short cut through the woods, against the advice of their bricklayer brother. When they encounter the wolf, Red runs ahead to granny's... See full summary »

Director: Burt Gillett | Stars: Sara Berner, Billy Bletcher, Pinto Colvig, Dorothy Compton

Votes: 1,018

I was shocked when I saw this one, because its just about as good as the first. Also features Red Riding Hood, with some very funny jokes, and more disguises from the Big Bad Wolf. There were two more after this one, but as Walt said himself, "You can't top a pig with a pig".

5. Music Land (1935)

Approved | 10 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The princess violin from the sleepy Land of Symphony is chased by a more lively alto saxophone from the Isle of Jazz. Soon the queen (a viola) discovers them and locks the sax in the metronome.

Director: Wilfred Jackson

Votes: 750

Literally what Silly Symphonies should be, compelling with its images and music. Its Romeo and Juliet, but with a battle between Jazz and Classical music. Wonderful creativity in this one.

6. The Tortoise and the Hare (1935)

Approved | 9 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A Walt Disney Silly Symphony telling of the classic fable about a foot race between speedy Max Hare, aka The Blue Streak, and and Slow But Sure Toby Tortoise.

Director: Wilfred Jackson | Stars: Pinto Colvig, Eddie Holden, Ned Norton

Votes: 1,642

The music for me is not distinctive, but the characters are. The Tortoise and Hare are two of the most well-realized characters in all of the Silly Symphonies. It is also an early appearance of "speed line" in animation.

7. The Wise Little Hen (1934)

8 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

7.2
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The hen is looking for someone to help her plant her corn. Peter Pig and Donald Duck both feign belly aches to get out of the chore. So, with help from her chicks, she plants it herself. ... See full summary »

Director: Wilfred Jackson | Stars: Florence Gill, Clarence Nash

Votes: 1,208

Nice use of music to tell the story, and seeing early Donald is great. Also good moral and animation.

8. The Grasshopper and the Ants (1934)

Approved | 8 min | Family, Comedy, Animation

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

As in the classic fable, the grasshopper plays his fiddle and lives for the moment, while the industrious ants squirrel away massive amounts of food for the winter. With his song, he's able... See full summary »

Director: Wilfred Jackson | Star: Pinto Colvig

Votes: 987

The music and colors are vibrant and brilliant in this short. The many ants animated in the short are impressive, considering how many there are. The Grasshopper in voice and animation is also perfect, and the moral of the story still holds up very well.

9. Three Little Wolves (1936)

Approved | 9 min | Animation, Comedy, Family

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The two foolish little pigs think crying "wolf" on their brother is great sport. Then the real wolf comes around, with his three little wolves. He dresses as Little Bo Peep, with his sons ... See full summary »

Director: David Hand | Stars: Billy Bletcher, Pinto Colvig, Dorothy Compton, Mary Moder

Votes: 839

Not the first two, but the third short in the "Big Bad Wolf Quadrilogy" is also very enjoyable. The addition of the little wolves is also welcome.

10. The Old Mill (1937)

Approved | 9 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

8.0
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We see the various birds, mice, and bats that have moved into an old windmill, followed by the frogs, crickets, and fireflies making their music in an adjacent pond. Then a storm comes, ... See full summary »

Director: Wilfred Jackson | Stars: Marie Arbuckle, Jean MacMurray, Louise Myers, Clarence Nash

Votes: 2,734

Mainly for the multiplane camera usage, this short is gorgeous from opening to close. Nuff said.