Peter and the Wolf is an animated short of the segment in Make Mine Music. The short was released in 1946 and produced by Walt Disney, with Sterling Holloway providing the voice of the narrator. It was reissued as a stand-alone short on September 14, 1955.
The musical tale of Peter, a small Russian boy who goes out to hunt a wolf, and almost bites off more than he can chew!
Each character is represented by a corresponding instrument in the orchestra:
- Peter (string quartet: violin, viola, cello, and double bass)
- Sasha (flute)
- Sonia (oboe)
- Ivan (clarinet)
- Peter's grandfather (bassoon)
- Misha, Yasha, and Vladimir (timpani)
- Wolf (French horn)
This version makes several changes to the original story, for example:
- During the character introduction, the pets are given names: "Sasha" the bird, "Sonia" the duck, and "Ivan" the cat.
- As the cartoon begins, Peter and his friends already know there is a wolf nearby and are preparing to catch him.
- The hunters get names at a later point in the story: "Misha", "Yasha", and "Vladimir".
- Peter daydreams of hunting and catching the wolf and exits the place carrying a wooden "popgun" rifle with the purpose of hunting the wolf down.
- At the end, in a complete reversal of the original (and to make the story more child-friendly), it turns out that the duck has not been eaten by the wolf. (The wolf is shown chasing the duck, who hides in a tree's trunk. The wolf attacks out of view, then returns in view with some of the duck's feathers in his mouth and licking his jaws. Peter, Ivan, and Sasha assume Sonia has been eaten. After the wolf has been caught, Sasha is shown mourning over Sonia. She comes out of the tree trunk at that point, and they are happily reunited.)
This version of Peter and the Wolf was featured in House of Mouse, and characters from it appeared in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and an audio recording of this version with expanded narration by Sterling Holloway was released on Disneyland Records (DQ-1242). On one of his television programs, Disney recalled how Prokofiev himself visited the Disney studio, eventually inspiring the making of this animated version. Disney used an actor to re-create how the composer sat at a piano and played the themes from the score.
- The opening scene of the story and a part of the wolf's first scene were used for the "Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow" montage in the Disney Sing-Along Songs volume Very Merry Christmas Songs.