On this day in 1934, Disney's Silly Symphony short The Wise Little Hen was released. Because it marks the film debut of Donald Duck, June 9 is considered by Disney to be Donald's birthday.
The Wise Little Hen was loosely based on an old folk tale titled "The Little Red Hen." In that tale, a red hen asks for help from other farm animals to plant wheat. When no animal volunteers, the red hen does the planting herself. When her task is completed and she asks who will help her eat her bread ... every animal suddenly and eagerly volunteers! In the end, she chooses not to share her bread ... except with her own baby chicks.
The Wise Little Hen finds Donald Duck and his lazy friend Peter Pig avoiding farm work. When Mrs Hen (a.k.a. the wise little hen) asks for help in planting her corn, Donald and Peter pretend to have belly aches. Mrs. Hen and her baby chicks do all the work themselves. When it's time to harvest the corn ... the duo once again come down with belly aches! Yet, when all is finished and various types of corn delicacies are served, Donald and Peter are suddenly very hungry. Now on to them, Mrs. Hen does not invite them to partake in the feast! In the end, Mrs. Hen presents them with a bottle of "tasty Castor oil for tummy aches" instead of corn on the cob, muffins and corn bread. The short ends with Donald and Peter appropriately taking turns kicking each other in the backside!
Voice actor Clarence Nash voiced Donald (and he would continue to do so for more than 50 years). English voice actor Florence Gill was the singing voice of Mrs. Hen and Pinto Colvig (later the original voice of Goofy) voiced Peter Pig. The Wise Little Hen was animated by Art Babbitt, Dick Huemer, Dick Lundy and a new kid on the block by the name of Ward Kimball (who acted as an inbetweener). According to Disney, the short was directed by Wilfred Jackson (although some resources list Bert Gillett as the director).
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