|The Wise Little Hen|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Wilfred Jackson|
|Produced by||Walt Disney|
|Music by||Leigh Harline|
|Animation by||Archie Robin|
Frenchy de Tremaudan
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|7 minutes (one reel)|
The Wise Little Hen is a Walt Disney's Silly Symphony cartoon, based on the fairy tale The Little Red Hen. The cartoon marked the debut of Donald Duck, dancing to the Sailor's Hornpipe. Donald and his friend Peter Pig try to avoid work by faking stomach aches until Mrs. Hen teaches them the value of labor. This cartoon was released on June 9, 1934. It was animated by Art Babbitt, Dick Huemer, Clyde Geronimi, Louie Schmitt, and Frenchy de Tremaudan (with assistance from a group of junior animators headed by Ben Sharpsteen) and directed by Wilfred Jackson. The story was also adapted in the Silly Symphony Sunday comic strip by Ted Osborne and Al Taliaferro, which was Donald Duck's first appearance in Disney comics.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (September 2015)
The Wise Little Hen of the title 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 since they would rather play than work. So, with help from her chicks, she plants it herself. Harvest time comes; again, Peter and Donald claim belly aches, but the hen sees through this when boards of their clubhouse fall off showing their little act when they shake hands with each other for evading responsibility. Upon wising up to their ruse, she and her chicks wink at each other upon knowing what to do with Peter and Donald later. She cooks up a tantalizing assortment of corn dishes, and heads over to Peter and Donald to help her eat them, but before she can open her mouth, they already fake their belly aches. Once she asks, they are miraculously "cured" but all she gives them is castor oil, to teach them a lesson. As the hen and her chicks eat the corn themselves, Peter and Donald, with nothing but an appetite, repent with all their might by kicking each other in the rump.
The 1962 storybook Walt Disney's Story Land: 55 Favorite Stories featured an adaptation of the cartoon called "Mrs. Cackle's Corn". In this version, Clara Cluck is telling the story. By 1962, Donald Duck was much too big of a star to take a bit part in a fairy tale, so they use Daniel Duck instead; they also substitute Patsy Pig for Peter Pig.
The short was one of the many featured in Donald Duck's 50th Birthday.