Fifer, Fiddler, and Practical Pig (better known as The Three Little Pigs) are the protagonists of the Silly Symphonies short of the same name. They are a trio of anthropomorphic pigs, best known for building houses of straw, sticks, and bricks, respectively. Fifer and Fiddler are named for their musical instruments of choice, while Practical is named for his logical and no-nonsense demeanor. The pigs are the constant targets of the Big Bad Wolf, who schemes to devour them.
Fifer Pig is the first to be introduced. He is named for his ability to play the flute. His home was built of straws and hay.
Fiddler Pig is the second to be introduced. He plays the fiddle, wears a sailor suit, and is responsible for building the house of sticks. Both Fifer and Fiddler are equally jolly, lazy, and cowardly. They believe that hard work should be disregarded, in favor of fun and games—even when said work is for their own protection. Foolhardy, they constantly downplay the wolf and other forest dangers, only to find themselves in grave peril due to their arrogance. This makes them easily susceptible to the wolf’s schemes. They are also incredibly stubborn, as they consistently refuse to adhere to Practical Pig’s advice. Fifer and Fiddler are nevertheless friendly and extroverted, becoming fast friends with Little Red Riding Hood, for instance. They can also be clever on occasion, as seen in Three Little Wolves where they trick the wolf and his sons into exposing their schemes to Practical Pig.
Practical Pig is the arguable leader of the pigs. He lives up to his name by being stern, serious, and the only pig with common sense. He loves to play (being a master piano player), but believes that hard work should be prioritized, with fun and games being put on the back-burner until afterward. Practical builds the brick house, the only house that can withstand the Big Bad Wolf’s huffs and puffs. When it comes to surviving the wolf’s attacks, it is Practical’s ingenuity that ultimately saves the day.
Following the destruction of the straw and stick houses at the hands of the Big Bad Wolf, Fifer and Fiddler moved to Practical’s brick house, where the trio have dwelled together ever since. They are each good friends with other inhabitants of the forest, including Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother.
In the original Three Little Pigs short, the pigs build their homes of hay, sticks, and bricks. Fifer and Fiddler put little effort into their homes, eventually opting to play music while taunting the infamous Big Bad Wolf. Practical warns them of the danger their carelessness may bring, but the pigs are unfazed. That is until the wolf appears and attacks. He huffs, puffs, and blows the hay and stick houses in, leaving Fifer and Fiddler vulnerable. The two pigs retreat to Practical Pig's brick home, which is impenetrable to the wolf’s huffing and puffing. The wolf resorts to various disguises, from a poor little sheep to a fuller brush man, but the pigs are not fooled. When the wolf tries to sneak in through the chimney, he is burned by Practical Pig and sent running. Now safe, the Three Little Pigs are able to dance and play, though Practical plays a prank on his roommates to further teach them a lesson.
In The Big Bad Wolf, where Fifer and Fiddler offer to escort Little Red Riding Hood through the dark woods, against the advice of Practical. There, they encounter Goldilocks the Fairy Queen, who turns out to be the Big Bad Wolf in disguise. Fifer and Fiddler run home and alert Practical of the danger, while Red Riding Hood is left to face the wolf at her grandma’s house. Before Red and her grandma can be eaten, Practical Pig is able to defeat the wolf. The friends then gather and celebrate their victory with a song and dance.
In Three Little Wolves, Practical Pig creates a Wolf Alarm to better protect himself and his brothers. Fifer and Fiddler don’t take the invention seriously, however, and use it to repeatedly prank Practical. Eventually, Fifer and Fiddler are captured by the Big Bad Wolf and his sons, but Practical thinks that their cries for help are another prank, and thus ignores them. Eventually, Practical comes to realize that his brothers are in danger, and manages to lure the wolf into his trap.
In The Practical Pig, the wolf disguises himself as a mermaid to lure Fifer and Fiddler into a lake, where they are captured. He then tries to lure in Practical but is instead captured and tortured by a lie detector to reveal Fifer and Fiddler’s whereabouts.
The Three Little Pigs returned to animation in a short based on their comic book stories, "L'il Bad Wolf", alongside Big Bad Wolf and his son. Practical Pig's name was also mentioned on a punch card in "Donald's Rocket Ruckus".
The Pigs made regular appearances in the animated series House of Mouse as guests at the titular club. In the second episode, they appeared as a backup jazz band for the Wolf, as Big Bad Wolf Daddy; the reason for this is that they are under a contract that says the Wolf will eat them unless they play for him. Later episodes, however, depicted the pigs in their original forms, and although they always appeared together, Practical was usually the only pig to speak.
They also appeared in Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse, in which they offered to build a home for the other guests when the club became snowed in. They also appeared in Mickey's House of Villains.
The pigs appear in the episode "No", where they borrow Mickey's house by collecting several pieces of it with construction vehicles. They later return the favor by rebuilding the home with even more stories and luxury. In the end, they join the other cast of guest characters in asking to join Mickey and Minnie for a movie, though they are politely turned away.
The pigs appear in the episode “The Big Good Wolf” as residents of Mickey’s neighborhood. When the Big Bad Wolf moves in, he destroys the straw and stick houses and tries to eat the pigs. They are rescued by Mickey, who later tries to reform the wolf. The wolf takes advantage of Mickey’s hospitality by accepting the mouse’s proposal to help everyone in town. During this, the wolf eats the townsfolk (including the pigs) and takes over Practical Pig’s brick house. Mickey eventually catches wind of the wolf’s scheme and rescues his friends. The pigs are then reinstated in their brick home.
In addition to the follow-up cartoons, the Pigs had a long career in the Silly Symphonies comic strip and Disney comic books. In Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #54 (printed in March 1945), the Pigs met and befriended the Big Bad Wolf's son, Li'l Bad Wolf, who, despite his name, would rather be friends with the pigs, much to his father's chagrin. They were also sometimes shown to be Junior Woodchucks.
Video game appearances
The scrapped versions of the pigs appear in this video game. The first pig Mickey meets in the game is Fifer, who is seen inside the Mean Street Cinema and gives Mickey a quest to help find his two brothers, who have gone missing.
Once the three are reunited, they return to their recording studio inside the Pig Family Treehouse in Ventureland, after which they ask Mickey to help them pay off a debt--which he can do either by listening to Practical and helping them make a new record album or by listening to Fifer's suggestion of having them play for The Usher at the Mean Street Cinema.
The pigs make occasional appearances as walkaround characters at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland. They have been part of the Disney character line-up since Disneyland’s opening in 1955.
The pigs were regulars in Disneyland's version of Fantasmic! from 1992-1994, riding the Mark Twain Riverboat until they were replaced by newer characters. They returned for a few special performances in May 2012.
They make vocal appearances during the Happy Hallowishes fireworks show, singing "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?"
The Three Little Pigs played a prominent role in 2019's Year of the Pig Chinese New Year celebrations.
They are usually found in World Bazaar and Toontown at Tokyo Disneyland.
- In animation, the Practical Pig has always shared voice actors with Goofy. In the original cartoons, the two characters were both voiced by Pinto Colvig. In the present day, the two characters are voiced by Bill Farmer. Tony Pope also voiced both Practical and Goofy, during his career.
- Pinto Colvig, the original voice of Practical, also voiced another iteration of the character in the 1943 Tex Avery MGM short One Ham's Family.
- "EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: See the easter eggs in new Mickey Mouse shorts at Disney+". New York Daily News. Retrieved on November 17, 2020.