Release dateFebruary 24, 1939 (1939-02-24)
(USA) Music directorFrank Churchill, Paul Smith CastBilly Bletcher (Big Bad Wolf), Mary Moder (Fiddler Pig), Dorothy Compton (Fifer pig), Tommy Wiggins (Practical Pig), Tom Buchanan (little wolves), Ralph Hansell (little wolves) Similar moviesPaperman, Pacific Rim, Get a Horse!, Three Little Pigs, The Ugly Duckling, Mickey and the Beanstalk
The Practical Pig is a Silly Symphonies cartoon. It was released on February 24, 1939, and directed by Dick Rickard. It was the second-to-last Silly Symphony made, and the fourth and final cartoon starring The Three Pigs. Like its prequels, "The Practical Pig" incorporates the song "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?". Unlike the previous Three Little Pigs Silly Symphonies, this was released as a standalone "Three Little Pigs Cartoon", suggesting that they were to get their own series of cartoons.
Practical Pig is hard at work building a new anti-wolf contraption, this time a lie detector. His two brothers, Fiddler and Fifer Pig, find this funny and laugh; they then decide to go swimming, despite their brother's warning not to as the Wolf is lurking near the local pond. Oblivious to their danger, they are followed to the pond by the Big Bad Wolf, who disguises himself as a voluptuous mermaid to entice them, and then traps them in a net. While the Wolf plans to entrap Practical as well using a fake letter requesting help by his brothers, he tells his sons, the Three Little Wolves, not to eat until he captures Practical. They tell him that they'll wait until he returns with Practical, but as soon as he leaves, they prepare to bake Fiddler and Fifer into a pie.
The Wolf's messenger boy disguise is seen through when he blows the fake letter under Practical's door. Realizing his brothers have been captured, Practical sees an excellent chance to try out his new invention. The welcome mat then drops in beneath the Wolf's feet, and he falls into a pit below. He is next seen strapped into a chair in Practical's house, helpless against the technology of the resourceful. When interrogated by Practical about the whereabouts of his brothers, the Wolf first claims to have never heard of the two, and the lie detector goes into action; a needle on the machine's indicator points to "lie", two steam whistles blow in the manner of a wolf-whistle to signify the claim as such and the machine washes the Wolf's mouth out with soap. Then the Wolf claims to have not seen the two pigs, and gets a spanking from the lie detector. Lastly, he tries to fool the machine into thinking he and Practical are "pals" but the lie detector is able to detect this as a lie, and the Wolf ends up getting the works, with his mouth washed out, his butt being spanked, and his knuckles being whacked with rulers.
Back at the wolves' hideout, the Three Little Wolves are about to bake Fifer and Fiddler in the finished pork pie. The pigs remind the wolf boys about their father's warning and tell them they will be sorry when the Wolf returns, but they sarcastically concur with this and laugh. One of the wolves, though, realizes that they forgot to add pepper and sprinkles some onto the pie. However, the pepper shaker lid unexpectedly comes off and the pepper gets everywhere; thus resulting sneeze from the pigs is so strong that it blows the crust right off of the pie and into the wolves, splatting them against a back wall like glue. With their captors trapped, Fifer and Fiddler then escape and rush back to Practical's house.
Meanwhile, the lie detector punishes the Wolf harder and harder until he finally gives in and the machine's indicator points to "truth", with a mechanical bird tweeting and playing a harp at which point he tells the truth, "they're in the old... the old mill". He is then shot out of the house with a firecracker and seemingly explodes in the sky. Practical prepares to go save his brothers when Fiddler and Fifer burst in, slamming the door in his face. When confronted by their older brother on defying his orders, they play innocent and tell him that they didn't go swimming. But the lie detector springs into action, Fiddler and Fifer are flipped over and are spanked soundly. Practical tells them "Remember, this hurts me worse than it does you", but much to his chagrin, the machine takes him literally and also gives him a beating as the cartoon ends.