Tuesday 22 June 2021

Little Boy Blue, Starring Someone Else

Mash together Little Boy Blue, the Big Bad Wolf, Mary and her Little Lamb and a freelance scarecrow and what do you get? An Ub Iwerks ComiColor short. The second-to-last one, in fact.

Little Boy Blue (1936) has almost nothing to do with Little Boy Blue. We get to the plot about half-way through. The wolf kidnaps a sheep of the standard Iwerks design, and a scarecrow tries to rescue it. The scarecrow has its head ripped off in the fight, but a mounted ram head lands onto of him (!) and he butts the wolf out of the cartoon.

In the first half, we get a black sheep dancing because, well, it’s a musical cartoon. Then he decides to scare the other lambs by disguising himself as a wolf. He winks at the camera in case anyone watching isn’t in on the coming gag.

He frightens them all right. But they laugh after he reveals himself. The first time. The second time, they’re still afraid. Why? This cartoon is enough of a mess that it’s best not to think about it. The sheep doesn’t even get a comeuppance. He is scared by the wolf and runs away, never to appear again in the cartoon.

The same haystack you see in the above scene is used earlier in the cartoon. The Boy Blue and Mary designs are re-used from earlier ComiColors. Even the Philadelphia Exhibitor pointed out the sameness of the ending.

I like some of the anonymous background art at Iwerks. This old house is typical for an Iwerks fairy tale but it looks fine, other than this is taken from a beat-red public domain print.

The ComiColor shorts are on Thunderbean’s lengthy list of cartoons it has rights to restore. How long it’ll be until you see Little Boy Blue in real blue could be some time. But if the cartoons look as good as the remainer of Thunderbean’s stock, then the wait will be worth it.


  1. When they picked up the short for home release, Castle Films changed the title to The Big Bad Wolf, knowing who the real star of the cartoon was.

    1. Jonathan, I had a friend who owned the 50 foot, 8mm version of " The Big Bad Wolf " from Castle Films. My brothers and I usually collected the 200 ft. Universal Horror movie digests from Castle, but he collected Castle 8mm and Super 8 digests of many genres.