Minnie and I

Minnie and I

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Three Little Pigs Through the Years 1955- Present

The Three Little Pigs are some of my favorite characters and I'm happy to write this post. Before I go on, I want to state that the dates on this list are my best assumption for each particular era. While doing research, I found out that these pigs are very unique and to pin point the exact date for each costume debut isn't an easy task. In the late 80's and early 90's, the pigs didn't make many meet and greet appaerances, so they were rare caracters during this period and during this same period, new versions of their costume debuted. So if you happen to know more about them, please feel free to share with me your knowledge. Also, the dates I'll be presenting aren't incorrect, I'm certain that the dates I choose are the best dates for each era. It might be the correct date and if isn't, it will be off by one or two years only. Please consider this as an accurate source the pigs' history. Let's begin.

1955-1959: Ice Capades Pigs
The Ice Capades made Disney themed shows during the 50's. They created their own costumes of the characters for their shows. This includes the Three Little Pigs. For the opening of Disneyland, the Disney company borrowed the costumes from the Ice Capades; which also included the pigs. After opening day, Disneyland keep these costumes, so they can roam the park and greet guests.

These costumes were designed to be comfortable for the skater. The heads were designed after a real pig's head, instead of a cartoon pig. Their lower jaws are articulated, like a ventriloquist's dummy. The body suits were are a simple build and made to meet ice performance standards. One of the pigs, Practical Pig, wears shorts. The shorts that he wears give him the appearance the he is wearing diapers. Their eyes focus varies between pig, one looking forwards, the other looking to left and the other to the right. The Ice Capades pig costumes were used until 1959.

The Three Little Pigs, circa the 50's. credit

1959-1961: Lardy Pigs
The Disney company has redesigned the costumes, with updated bodies and new heads. The pigs got new bodies, with the added feature of having the zipper in the front. This feature gave the pigs the look of having a heavy seam right in the middle of their bodies. The heads are new, made of rubber and sculpted after their cartoon counterpart. All three pigs had the same expression with different eye positions. One looks to the right and the other to the left. Practical Pig starts to wear overalls. Sometimes the pigs would wear hats.

Fifer Pig at Disneyland, Early 60's. credit

Practical Pig and Fifer Pig at Disneyland, 1960. credit

Fiddler Pig, look into the pig's eyes, or not. Disneyland 1961. credit

1961-1969: Common Pigs
Around this time, the pigs have changed. Disneyland during this time created and designed their characters to have big heads. The pigs were part of this fad. Fifer and Fiddler Pig shared the same facial expressions while Practical Pig had a series look. Fiddler Pig had red attire with an red hat and black jacket, Fifer Pig had green attire with a green hat and black jacket and Practical Pig had blue overalls and green/teal shirt with a blue hat. This rendition of pigs had stuffed gloves for hands; because of the costume design's the performer inside has no control over the hands thus the hands just begging stuffed gloves and left hanging. Sometimes the pig's hands would be holding shovels and pail. The Paint Department at Disneyland would sometimes paint the pig's faces to have extra blush on the cheeks or have a beard shadow. Instead of having custom character shoes like the rest, the pigs would use tan or pink socks or tights and wear white sneakers, like Converse, as feet. To give the pigs more expressions, the performer would wiggle the pig's nose.

The Three Little Pigs at Disneyland, 1968. credit

1968-1990: Party Pigs
The pigs have been updated with added features and improvements from the previous design. All three pigs have the same head mold as before and have better head construction and paint job. They have a cleaner look. Fifer Pig has green pants, vest and hat and have a white shirt with a yellow bow tie. Fiddler Pig was a blue sailer outfit with a blue hat and red bow tie. Practical Pig has blue overalls with a blue and white striped shirt with a red polka dot bandana; the same fabric for his bandana would be later used for Minnie's dress. They still have the same feet design as before with different hands. The pigs hands are now molded with fixed gestures. The hands have rods on the inside so the performer has the ability to move the hands. The pig's hands were set in place with velcro and zippers inside the sleeve of the pig's shirt. Depending on the occasion, the pigs would change outfits and hats to match the occasion or event.

These versions of the pigs were used at Disneyland, Disney on Parade, Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland and Disney on Ice. The reason I call these pigs "Party Pigs" is because while doing research I found out that they were very popular during their time. The performers had a blast performing them and interacting with the audience and guests. They were all ways out meeting people, but now the pig characters are a rare sight.

The Popular Party Pigs at Disneyland, 70's. credit

The Three Little Pigs at Disney on Ice, 1990. video

1986-1996: Bobble- Head Pigs/ Pre-Modern Pigs
The pigs are now remodeled to become a standard mascot costume suit instead of the Big Head attire.   The pig's head are smaller with new expressions. Fifer and Fiddler Pig share the same facial expression while Practical Pig has the same features but with an angry expression. They got new bodies; Fifer Pig has green shirt and hat with yellow pants and blue bow tie, Fiddler Pig has a blue sailor shirt and hat with green pants and red bow tie and Practical Pig has a yellow shirt with blue striped hat and overalls and a red paisley bandana. They all wear the traditional "Mickey Moue" white gloves. They also have custom character shoes/feet and no longer wear the white sneakers.

This new pig design was created for a few reasons, one to update them from the Big Head design and to make the suit more comfortable for the performer. The pigs have a slender look. With this new look, the pigs have more movement and are able to performer better at shows and activities. Their earliest appearance was the Disney World 15th Anniversary televised special in 1986. After this the "Big Head" pigs were slowly disappearing and becoming rare characters to find. This version of the pigs was also used at Tokyo Disneyland and they were mainly seen at the One Man's Dream show, until the show's end in 1995.

The Pigs and the Wolf at Disney World, 90's. credit

1990- Present: Modern Pigs
These versions are an upgraded version of the previous ones. Same in appearance and attire, the Disney Character Department made them less tall and slender and more round and short. The heads kept their expression from before, the heads are now bigger and the costume's head now rests of the performer's shoulders. This upgraded designed of the pigs are more comfortable for the performer than the other ones.

The Pigs at Disney World, 2013. Kenny the Pirate

8 comments:

  1. The Pre-modern pigs we're introduced in 1985 when Disney on Ice: Sports Goofy started.

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  2. Excuse me, but the party pigs (the ones with larger heads) retired at TDL in 1992 and the modern pigs debuted at Disneyland in late 1989.

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    Replies
    1. what the source of the party pigs used last seen in 1992

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    2. Dude, you're wrong! I saw Modern Pigs at TDL in 1991 and 1992. Party Pigs retired at TDL in late 1990

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    3. Keanny, the Modern Pigs debuted at Disneyland in "One Man's Dream" in December 1989.

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  3. I like those pre-modern pigs and modern pigs. Because they're so pretty.

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