Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cartoon a Day: The Wise Little Hen

The Wise Little Hen
Directed by Wilfred Jackson
Available on: Walt Disney Treasures - The Chronological Donald Vol. 1

If we're going to look at famous first appearances then we can't neglect "The Wise Little Hen," Donald Duck's first cartoon and one of his best.

This cartoon was part of the Silly Symphonies series and told the classic tale of a hen who tries to get her friends to help plant and harvest her corn. In this version the friends are Peter Pig and (ta-da) Donald Duck. They both fake belly aches to get out of the work, but are eager when she asks them to help eat the corn. But in the end, she presents them with a bottle of castor oil instead of corn on the cop, muffins and corn bread.

This short is significant not only because of the first appearance of Donald, but it's also a great animation milestone. It does have some moments where the animation is repetitive, as many early cartoons are, but other moments display some great artistry. The animation of Peter Pig and Donald Duck both show great attention to detail. The choreography of the animation to the music is also expertly done.

The short is more cute than funny but I never tire of this one. 74 years old and still a classic!

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