Warner Brothers saw fit to run a disclaimer before this little cartoon, explaining that the racial stereotypes contained herein “… were wrong then, and they are wrong now.” No argument from me, but I was expecting yellow, buck-toothed, narrow-headed, grinning, myopic “Japs,” and this is just about the Nazis. Frankly, I didn’t see any racial stereotyping of Germans. Were the Nazis militaristic in 1942? You betcha. Goose-stepping, seig-heiling, jackboot-wearing thugs, they were, and why apologize for showing them that way? You want to see racist WWII cartoons, look up the Looney Tunes “Tokio Jokio,” directed by (Cpl.) Norman McCabe, or the Merrie Melodies “Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips,” directed by Friz Freleng. There’s racism for you!
Anyway, this is a little fable of the Three Little Pigs up against a Nazi wolf with a toothbrush mustache. Gee, who could that be? The pig in the brick house has artillery in his yard and bristling from each window. The wolf has a mechanical huff-and-puffing machine. Naturally, it was made by the great Tex Avery right after his move to MGM from Termite Terrace at Warner Brothers.
There is always debate in my mind about who was the greatest Golden Age animator. Chuck Jones or Tex Avery? Mostly depends on what I’ve just seen. Jones was a classier, subtler dude, with titles like “What’s Opera, Doc?” and “One Froggy Night.” Avery was the wild man, whose trademark was breakneck action and exaggeration to the point of insanity. Who Framed Roger Rabbit owes more to him than to any other director. Also Jim Carrey’s The Mask.
This one works very well, though a lot of the gags are pretty corny. (When a house gets blown away a small sign says GONE WITH THE WIND, and a smaller sign says PRETTY CORNY JOKE, or something like that. It was nominated for best animated short, but lost to Donald Duck in Disney’s “Der Fuhrer’s Face.”