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YEAR OF THE PIG
THE GREATEST PORKERS IN POP CULTURE HISTORY

by Robert Berry
rberry@retrocrush.com

2007 is the Chinese Year of the Boar. It's a year of fertility that will be lucky for people giving birth during this time (unless you're in China and have a baby girl). What better way to honor this ancient and silly superstition than by paying tribute to the great pigs in pop culture history? I'd tell you that we spent a lot of time whittling it down to the Top 35 of all time, but frankly it's all we could do to even come up with 35. Pigs may be some of the tastiest animals ever made. No matter how cute some of them may be, you can't deny the mouth watering goodness of bacon. But aside from their culinary contributions to society, it's time we honor their importance as pop culture icons. Soooooooooooooooooeeeeeeeeeeey! Here we go!

35
GORDY
34
PIPPO
33
LORD OF THE FLIES
32
SALOMEY
31
PETUNIA PIG
 

Gordy was a pig movie from 1995 that had the misfortune of being released the same year as Babe. Babe could talk so most folks chose to ignore Gordy. Pippo is from the line of Hello Kitty crap from Sanrio, while Lord of the Flies may be the most severed pig head on a stick that inspired a classic novel since the little read "Charlotte Goes Nuts and Cuts Off Wilbur's Head and Puts It On A Stick". Salomey was the Yokum family's pet pig from the Li'l Abner comic strip, and first appeared in 1942. While the pants-free Petunia Pig has been Porky's gal pal since 1937.

 

30
RAZORBACK
29
PIGGLY WIGGLY
28
TONTON
27
HAMPTON J PIG
26
GUB GUB

Razorback was an '80s horror flick about a killer warthog and was directed by Russell Mulcahy who already had experiences directing scary pigs while working on Elton John music videos. Piggly Wiggly is the mascot of the same name supermarket chain which began back in 1919, while Tonton is one of the only pigs in an Asian cartoon to not be smothered with sweet and sour sauce. Hampton J. Pig was the baby equivalent of Porky in Tiny Toon Adventures, while Gub Gub is not only commong porn film dialogue, but the name of the pig from the original Dr. Doolittle novel.

 

25
PIGLING BLAND
24
SPANKY HAM
23
FREDDY
22
PETER PORKER
21
HEN-WEN

Despite the boring surname, Beatrix Potter's Pigling Bland is a fine pig indeed. He debuted in the "The Tale of Pigling Bland" where we were introduced to his family, which includes a sister named (I'm not making this up) "Suck-Suck". Spanky Ham is the feisty pig from Comedy Central's Drawn Together. Freddy The Pig, though largely forgotten by today's kids, starred in over 26 books between the late '20s and 50s. Peter Porker, The Amazing Spider-Ham is a fun parody from Marvel which debuted in 1987 and has still appears in new comics from time to time, while Hen Wen was a special pig from the Taryn Wanderer series of books (of which, Disney's The Black Cauldron remains one of the worst films they've ever made).

 

20
JODIE
19
FLUFFY
18
LINK HOGTHROB
17
PORCO ROSSO
16
PUMBA

Jodie was the spectral pig creature from The Amityville Horror that still nicer to look at than a scuzzy James Brolin. South Park's Cartman owned a pig named Fluffy who was the willing partner in a cross-breeding experiment with an elephant, while Pigs in Space captain Link Hogthrob has a name that porn stars would kill for. Porco Rosso is a fine Miyaziki film creation, while Pumba is the wildly popular Disney warthog from The Lion King and the co-star of his own show with buddy Timon.

 

15
THIS LITTLE PIGGY
14
ARTIE LANGE
13
HOGZILLA
12
OLIVIA
11
PINK FLOYD PIG

Though under immense competition from the piggy that had roast beef and the piggy that went to market, the piggy that stayed home is the one I can most webmasters can identify with (until they introduce that piggy that lived in the basement of their parent's home until they were evicted at 35). Howard Stern sidekick Artie Lange has one of the most disturbingly hilarious stories about dressing up in a pig suit you'll ever hope to hear (CLICK HERE and read the Mad TV section). Hogzilla was an amazing 1,000 pound hog that was killed and buried before anyone could eat him, while Olivia is the star of several beautifully illustrated children's books by Ian Falconer.  Though Olivia's only been around since 2000, she's already been featured on a US postage stamp. The giant inflatable pig was a staple at Pink Floyd concerts, and isn't used anymore so fans have to settle for Meatloaf as an opening act.

 

10
HAMM
9
NED BEATTY
8
BABE
7
NAPOLEON
6
ARNOLD ZIFFEL

Hamm, the talking piggy bank from the Toy Story films was brought to life with the brilliant voice work of John Ratzenberger. Ned Beatty's pig squeals in Deliverance remain one of the most accurate animal impersonations captured on film. George Miller's adaptation of "Babe" is one of the most charming movies ever made, and Napoleon from George Orwell's "Animal Farm" is clearly the coolest pig bad guy. Green Acres' Arnold Ziffel was perhaps the first trained pig to appear in TV or the movies.

 

5
MISS PIGGY
4
WILBUR
3
PIGLET
2
THREE LITTLE PIGS

Voiced by film director and voice of Yoda and Grover, Frank Oz, Miss Piggy may be the hottest pig to squeeze into a cocktail dress since Designing Women was canceled. I'd rank "Charlotte's Web" star Wilbur a bit higher if that '70s film wasn't such a poorly animated bore. Tbose Garth Williams illustrations are still some of the most beautiful drawings in a children's book ever published, next to Ernest Shepherd's gorgeous pictures of Piglet and the rest of the gang in the original Winnie The Pooh series (I still refuse to accept the horrible Disney incarnations of those immortal characters). The Three Little Pigs in their many incarnations have been shills for the brick industry since the late 1700s and have even inspired rock songs in their honor, which brings us to our number one pop culture pig of all time...

#1 PORKY PIG

First appearing in the short "I Haven't Got A Hat", Porky has been stuttering his way into our hearts since 1935 and is one of the earliest Warner Brothers characters (predating Bugs Bunny by nearly 5 years). Though most recall Mel Blanc's masterful voice work for Porky, it was Joe Dougherty, a real life stutterer, who originally portrayed the character. Mel later won the part in 1937 after Dougherty reportedly couldn't stutter on demand. Porky remains the gold standard for pigs everywhere, and is sorely due to appear in some new cartoons. Here's a handful of video clips to honor him with.

 
A PORKY BLOOPER WHERE HE SAYS "SON OF A BITCH" AFTER HITTING HIS THUMB

 
MEL BLANC ON THE JOHNNY CARSON SHOW


"PORK JAM" 

 

THAT'S ALL, FOLKS!

 

 

 

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