Chicken Little is a 1943 animated short created by Walt Disney Productions during World War II. Unlike the feature length film that would be released 62 years later, this short was based on the original tale and was meant to be used as war propaganda.
A Narrator explains the story of Chicken Little, starting with the roosters, chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese, who all live together in a farm yard. At first, they are happy and content knowing that their community is surrounded by a tall fence with a locked gate.
One day, a sneaky fox named Foxy Loxy comes to try and take all the birds. He decides that instead of attacking the birds by force, possibly because of the locked gate or the farmer's shotgun, he decides to read from a book about psychology. His findings help him decide that he must find an unintelligent chicken that he can use to influence the others. He decides to use Chicken Little, a small chick who does not do much except play with a yo-yo. Foxy Loxy takes a piece of blue painted wood and a cigar. He forms a small storm using the smoke from the cigar and throws the blue piece of wood over the fence. He whispers to Chicken Little that the sky is falling and that he must run for his life. Chicken Little hysterically tells the whole community that the sky is falling.
When all the chickens gather around and ask about what to do, the influential Cocky Locky, the supposed leader, convinces everyone that it is really just a hunk of wood. When the group dispatches, Chicken Little becomes depressed, still under the impression that the sky is falling. Meanwhile, Foxy Loxy continues to look through the psychology book and comes up with the idea to sneak into the community and whispers comments to the group of gossiping chickens that Cocky might be wrong, he tells the group of turkeys (who usually discuss the things wrong with the world) that Cocky might be dictating the situations and the ducks and geese that Cocky must be crazy. Soon, all of the birds agree that Cocky is no longer a good influence on them. Using more information from the group, he whispers to Chicken Little that he could be the new leader. After Chicken Little tries to proclaim himself leader, Foxy throws another piece of wood on Cocky (who was arguing with Chicken Little about the issue and asking for proof may convince him otherwise), which convinces all the birds to look up to Chicken Little for leadership. Foxy Loxy then whispers to Chicken Little to go to a nearby cave. Chicken Little buys into this and leads a frightened mob of chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese out of the community. Meanwhile, Foxy Loxy has been placing signs saying "TO THE CAVE." The birds follow the signs to the cave, where Foxy Loxy has them now trapped.
When the Narrator assures the audience of the typical happy ending of the birds that is to be expected, it is revealed that all of the birds have been eaten by Foxy Loxy, who warns the Narrator that he shouldn't believe everything he reads, all while smoking a cigar and playing with Chicken Little's yo-yo.
- Frank Graham as Narrator / Foxy Loxy / Chicken Little / Cocky Locky / Turkey Lurkey / Additional characters
- Clarence Nash as Ducks (quacking sounds only)
- Florence Gill as Hens (clucking sounds only)
World War II
According to Leonard Maltin's introduction to this short on the Walt Disney Treasures DVD Walt Disney On the Front Lines, Foxy Loxy was originally going to read out of Adolf Hitler's book Mein Kampf. This was changed to just a book simply entitled "Psychology"; however, the passages that Foxy reads are still from Mein Kampf.
Also, the graves of the birds were originally going to be marked with swastikas, but Walt Disney decided to change the graves to just wishbones and to replace Mein Kampf with a generic psychology book, all in an attempt to prevent the short from becoming dated after the war. Similarly, the ending was meant to have Foxy Loxy state that the story ended this way via Mein Kampf, but got changed for presumably the same reason why the birds graves and the book's cover got changed.
- Disneyland, episode #2.3: "Jiminy Cricket Presents Bongo"
- Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, episode #9.5: "Man Is His Own Worst Enemy"
- Good Morning, Mickey, episode #56
- The Ink and Paint Club, episode #1.56: "Wartime Disney"
- Walt Disney Home Video: Storybook Classics (VHS)
- Walt Disney Treasures: On the Front Lines (DVD)
- Walt Disney Treasures: Disney Rarities (DVD)
- Walt Disney Animation Collection: Classic Short Films: Volume 2: Three Little Pigs (DVD)
- Chicken Little makes a cameo appearance during the first "Smile, Darn Ya Smile" sequence in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
- At Walt Disney World's Downtown Disney Marketplace, Chicken Little can be spotted in the ceiling mural above the "Bird Room" in the World of Disney store, along with many other Disney birds and bugs.
- The chicken sounds from the panicking scene, were later reused in Lady and the Tramp where Tramp is chasing the chickens.
- The Netflix version of this cartoon as part of Walt Disney Animation Collection: Classic Short Films, Vol. 2: Three Little Pigs used the Silly Symphonies opening and closing titles instead of the "A Walt Disney Production" opening and closing titles, even though the cartoon was released 4 years after the Silly Symphonies ended in 1939.
Chicken Little (1943) at the Internet Movie Database