Silly Symphony #45: The Wise Little Hen (Wilfred Jackson, 1934)

“The Wise Little Hen”

Introduction

The final Silly Symphony up for discussion revolves around the appearance of another Classic Disney creation – Donald Duck. This is indeed his first appearance and, despite Walt Disney focussing very-much on the First Animated Feature Film, you can see that he still could ensure characters had real emotion and, in Donald’s case, real attitude. There are slight differences in the first-appearance – a slightly longer beak for example – but on the whole, he is very much intact. A little of his attitude is clearly coming through – but this is not overt until his next film: Orphans Benefit.

Donald’s Future

Interestingly, though not here, Donald in The Band Concert shows him playing the song ‘Turkey in the Straw’ – a song used in Mickey’s debut: Steamboat Willie. As mentioned previously, Mickey’s ‘mean’ characteristics were almost erased – but it seems that Donald may have taken on his mean-streak and offered the Disney animators a chance to keep a certain meanness through a not-so main character. Without exploring every other Disney character, Goofy appeared first in a Mickey Mouse short: Mickey Revue but rather than named as ‘Goofy’, he was called Dippy Dawg. Pluto on the other hand appeared very early on in a Silly Symphony titled Just Dogs in 1932.

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