Three Little Bops is a 1957 Looney Tunes cartoon directed by Friz Freleng, with voices by Stan Freberg and music by jazz composer/trumpeter Shorty Rogers. It's a takeoff on "The Three Little Pigs", told as a hip, jazzy musical.
A book shows the Three Little Pigs who used to play pipes and dance jigs. In the present day, the pigs now play modern instruments and perform as The Three Little Bops.
During a gig at the House of Straw, the Big Bad Wolf appears and proves he's friendly by stating that he wants to join the band. The Wolf happens to be terrible at playing his choice instrument (a trumpet) so the pigs, stating he's corny, throw him out. Feeling insulted, the Wolf retaliates by blowing down the straw house, forcing the pigs to go to the Dew Drop Inn, the House of Sticks.
Things go well (including the piano playing pig doing an imitation of Liberace's "I wish my brother George was here"), until the Wolf comes in and attempts to play his trumpet again. Like the pigs, the people watching also think the wolf's playing is corny, so they call for the pigs to throw the wolf ("square") out, which they do. Again, the Wolf retaliates by blowing down, or "dropping out," the Dew Drop Inn. The pigs then realize that in order to escape the Wolf's huff and puff, they'll go to the House of Bricks (built in 1776, according to a cornerstone).
For the pigs, the House of Bricks has a "No Wolves Allowed" rule, so when the Wolf tries to get in, he's punched in the face by a bouncer. The Wolf runs out of breath in trying to blow away the club, but realizes he can get in by disguising himself. He reenters in fur coat and ukulele with his rendition of the Charleston song (cut short by slipping on a strategically-placed banana peel). He returns in the disguise of a houseplant with his trumpet but gets blasted outside by a plunger shot from the double bass. For his third try, the Wolf shows up in drum major outfit playing a big bass drum to the tune of Don't give up the ship. A dart is shot into the drum, leaving him to exit in humiliation.
Finally, he shows up with a large cylinder of TNT and snaps, "I'll show those pigs that I'm not stuck! If I can't blow it down, I'll blow it up!" The fuse is blown out on his first try, so he steps back a bit and lights it from there. Unfortunately, he is too far away and his weapon explodes while he's carrying it to his target.
The narrator reveals that the explosion didn't send the Wolf to Heaven but down to "the other place", where his trumpet playing improves. When the pigs hear this, one of them proudly replies, "The Big Bad Wolf, he learned the rule: you gotta get hot to play real cool!" The Wolf's spirit then rises up through the floor and joins in for the final notes, prompting one of the pigs to alter their band's name to "The Three Little Bops Plus One."
Instrument credits are believed to be:
- Vocals - Stan Freberg (credited on the short)
- Saxophone - Pepper Adams (or possibly Jimmy Giuffre)
- Trumpet/flugelhorn - Shorty Rogers (credited on the short)
- Piano - Pete Jolly
- Guitar - Barney Kessel
- Bass - Red Callender (or possibly Red Mitchell)
- Drums - Stan Levey (or possibly Shelly Manne)
This is one of only two Warner Brothers cartoons to give on-screen credit to an actor other than Mel Blanc during the period of Blanc's exclusive contract with the studio. The other short is The Mouse That Jack Built, which credits the cast of The Jack Benny Program.
- The ABC airing of this cartoon cuts the scene after the House of Bricks is introduced where the Wolf looks into the front door and gets punched in the face by the bouncer.
- The Big Bad Wolf, who first appeared as Uncle Big Bad in The Turn-Tale Wolf, would appear in another two Golden Age cartoons: Now, Hare This and False Hare, also as Uncle Big Bad. This was his only Golden Age appearance in a Friz Freleng cartoon.
- This cartoon was included (in slightly edited form) as part of Friz Freleng's Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie. Presented as part of a fictitious awards show, it features brief "interviews" with both the Big Bad Wolf and the Three Little Pigs as they arrive at the theater during the awards pre-show.
- The Big Bad Wolf made an appearance in the 1983 film Daffy Duck's Fantastic Island. He was standing in the line where everybody is getting their wishes from the island's famous wishing well, but he was wearing shoes instead of showing his bare feet.
- The Three Little Pigs and The Big Bad Wolf make a cameo appearance on the bleachers watching the basketball playoff against the Monsters and the Toon Squad in Space Jam.
- This is one of the few Looney Tunes cartoons that:
- Runs the opening credits before showing the cartoon's title.
- Concludes without an end card (simply with "The End" superimposed over an iris-out).
- Does not feature the voice of Mel Blanc (when a character has speaking lines).
- Credits only one voice actor besides Mel Blanc (this short was the only one), and one of only two to credit a voice actor other than Blanc during his exclusive contract (the other was The Mouse That Jack Built, which credited all of the voices).
- Had music scored by someone other than Carl Stalling, Milt Franklyn, or William Lava (except for the Seely Six in 1958 using Hi-Q music).