Charlotte's Web (1973 film): Wikis


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Charlotte's Web

Charlotte's Web film poster
Directed by Charles A. Nichols
Iwao Takamoto
Produced by Joseph Barbera
William Hanna
Written by E. B. White (book)
Earl Hamner Jr.
Starring Debbie Reynolds
Paul Lynde
Henry Gibson
Music by Richard M. Sherman
Robert B. Sherman
Cinematography Dick Blundell
Ralph Migliori
Roy Wade
Dennis Weaver
Editing by Larry C. Cowan
Pat Foley
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) March 1, 1973
Running time 94 minutes
Country United States
Followed by Charlotte's Web 2: Wilbur's Great Adventure

Charlotte's Web is a 1973 animated film, based upon the 1952 children's book of the same name by E. B. White. The film, like the book, is about a pig who is saved from being slaughtered by an intelligent spider named Charlotte and was adapted into an animated musical film by Hanna-Barbera Productions and Sagittarius Productions in 1973. The film, distributed to theatres by Paramount Pictures on March 1, 1973, is the first of only three Hanna-Barbera features not based upon one of their famous television cartoonsHeidi's Song (1982) and Once Upon a Forest (1993) being the other two—and was a moderate critical and commercial success. The song score of lyrics and music was written by the Sherman Brothers, who had previously written music for family films like Mary Poppins (1964) The Jungle Book (1967) and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968). The film has found a devoted following over the years due to television and VHS; in 1994 the film surprised the marketplace by becoming one of the best selling titles of the year, 21 years after its first premiere. No other non-Disney musical animated feature has enjoyed such a remarkable comeback in popularity prompting a direct-to-video sequel, Charlotte's Web 2: Wilbur's Great Adventure, which Paramount released in the US on March 18, 2003 (Universal released the film internationally), followed by a live-action film version of E. B. White's original story, which was released on December 15, 2006.



A litter of pigs are born to the Arable farm. One is a runt so John Arable decides to "do away with it". However, when his daughter, Fern Arable, hears of the pig's fate she rescues him and tells her dad that it's absurd to kill it just because it's smaller than the others. She gets to raise him and names him "Wilbur". However, after only six weeks of raising him, John Arable tells Fern that it's time for him to be sold (his sibling were already sold). Fern sadly says good-bye as the young pig is sold down the street to her uncle, Homer Zuckerman. When Wilbur wants a play with a lamb, the lamb's father (known as a ram) says that sheep don't play with pigs because it's only a matter of time before they are turned into smoked bacon and ham. Wilbur starts crying saying that he doesn't want to die, but a voice from above tells him to "chin up". The next day she sings a song about "chinning up", and revels herself to be a spider named Charlotte. She saves Wilbur by writing messages in her web, hence the title. She eventually dies, and although 511 of her children leave the barn (she had 514), three of them stay. But as much as Wilbur loves them, they will never replace the memory of Charlotte.

Voice cast


After the studio decided to make the film, Joe Barbera visited E. B. White in Maine; White highlighted those parts of the book he did not want changed and those which were "subject to discussion."[1]

Barbera wrote that Debbie Reynolds called him and said that she was willing to join the project even without being paid.[1]


The film was released to theaters on March 1, 1973 by Paramount Pictures in the United States. It had a limited release on February 22, 1973 in New York City, and also released in West Germany on March 30, 1973, as well as August 11 in Sweden, and August 25 in Japan.


Rotten Tomatoes reported that the film has a 74% fresh rating.[2] Craig Butler of All-Movie Guide criticized the animation and the musical score, but called it a faithful adaptation, noting that, “no attempt has been made to soften the existential sadness at the story's core”.[3] Dan Jardine criticized the songs and the “Saturday morning cartoon quality” of the animation, but also says that Hamner “retains just enough of White’s elegant prose in the dialogue and narration to keep the film from being simply a painfully well-intended experiment.”[4] Christopher Null of stated that the animation is sometimes “downright bad,” but that E.B. White's classic fable needs little to make it come to life.[5] When it was reissued on DVD the film was awarded an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award.[6]


E.B. White's reaction

According to Gene Deitch, a director of animation and friend of E. B. White, the author's wife wrote the following words in a 1977 letter: "We have never ceased to regret that your version of "Charlotte's Web" never got made. The Hanna-Barbera version has never pleased either of us... a travesty..."[7] E.B. White himself wrote of the film: "The story is interrupted every few minutes so that somebody can sing a jolly song. I don't care much for jolly songs. The Blue Hill Fair, which I tried to report faithfully in the book, has become a Disney World, with 76 trombones. But that's what you get for getting embroiled in Hollywood."[8] White had previously turned down Disney when they offered to make a film based on Charlotte's Web.[9] According to the film's writer Earl Hamner Jr., E.B. White's wife (who sometimes offered advice and suggestions to the filmmakers) would have preferred using Mozart in the film rather than the music of the Sherman Brothers.[10]


  1. "Chin Up"
  2. "I Can Talk!"
  3. "A Veritable Smorgasbord"
  4. "Zuckerman's Famous Pig"
  5. "We've Got Lots In Common"
  6. "Mother Earth and Father Time"
  7. "There Must Be Something More"
  8. "Deep In The Dark/Charlotte's Web"

"Zuckerman's Famous Pig"

"Zuckerman's Famous Pig" is the title given to Wilbur the pig hero which saves him from being slaughtered in the story Charlotte's Web. It is the theme of the finale song in the film. The song was composed and arranged in a barbershop quartet style by the Sherman Brothers, in keeping with the time and place of the story.[11] It was covered by the Brady Kids and was chosen for release on their first single taken from The Brady Bunch Phonographic Album by producer Jackie Mills.[12]


  1. ^ a b Barbera, Joseph (1994). My Life in 'toons: From Flatbrush to Bedrock in Under a Century. Atlanta, GA: Turner Publishing. pp. 228-29. ISBN 1-57036-042-1. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Butler, Craig. "Charlotte’s Web: Review". All-Movie Guide. Macrovision Corporation. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  4. ^ Jardine, Dan. "Charlotte's Web". Apollo Guide. Apollo Communications Ltd.. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  5. ^ Null, Christopher (2001). "Charlotte's Web (1973)". Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  6. ^ "Early School Years: Feature-Length Films". Oppenheim Toy Portfolio. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  7. ^ Deitch, Gene. How to Succeed in Animation: Chapter 27: A Tangled Web (p.3). 2001. Accessed on: September 27, 2008.
  8. ^ Burr, Ty. Bard of the barn. The Boston Globe. December 10, 2006. Accessed on: September 27, 2008.
  9. ^ Clark, Beverly Lyon (2003). Kiddie Lit: The Cultural Construction of Children's Literature in America. The Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 178. ISBN 0-8018-8170-6. 
  10. ^ Holleran, Scott (2006-12-22). "Interview: Earl Hamner". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-12-16. 
  11. ^ Richard Chigley Lynch, Movie Musicals on Record, ISBN 9780313265402, 
  12. ^ Kim Cooper, David Smay, Jake Austen, Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth, ISBN 9780922915699, 

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Charlotte's Web is a 1973 animated film, based upon the 1952 children's book of the same name by E. B. White. Paramont released a direct-to-video sequel, Charlotte's Web 2: Wilbur's Great Adventure, in the US on March 18, 2003 (Universal released the film internationally). A live-action film version of E. B. White's original story was released on December 15, 2006.

Directed by Charles A. Nichols and Iwao Takamoto. Written by E.B. White (book) and Earl Hamner Jr. (screenplay).
That humble radiant terrific book is now a humble radiant terrific movie. taglines


The Goose

  • [to Templeton] You'll worry alright when winter comes! If Wilbur is killed, and his trough stands empty, then you'll grow so thin we can look right through your stomach and see objects on the other side!


  • The goose was right! This fair is rat's paradise! Bye, bye my "humble" Wilbur! Fair thee will, Charlotte, you old schemer! This will be a night to remember!


  • [after Charlotte is gone] Charlotte? Charlotte?! CHARLOTTE!! [bows down and begins to cry]
  • I miss Fern!


Wilbur: (singing) Isn't it GREEEEAATT!/That I articulate?/Isn't it grand?/That you can understand?/I don't grunt/I don't oink/I don't even squeak or squawk/When I wanna say a-somethin', I open up and talk! I can talk! I can talk, talk, talk, I can...
Old Sheep: Why don't you keep it down?
Wilbur: I CAN TALK!

Wilbur: [to a lamb] Wanna play?
Lamb: [to older sheep] May I, papa?
Old Sheep: Certainly not. In the first place, you can't get out of your pen. In the second place, sheep do not play with pigs.
Wilbur: Why not?
Old Sheep: Oh, it's a matter of status. Sheep, for instance, are highly regarded by Zuckerman, because we furnish him with good quality wool. With pigs, on the other hand, it's just a matter of time.
Wilbur: Time to what?
Old Sheep: 'Til you're fat enough to kill.
Wilbur: What did you say?!
Old Sheep: Oh, everybody knows it. In the fall, you'll be turned into smoked bacon and ham. Just as soon as cold weather sets in... they'll kill you.

(Wilbur asks the Goose if she would like to play with him)
Goose: I'm no flibberty-ibberty-gibbit! I'm staying here and hatching my gosings!

Charlotte: Salutations.
Wilbur: Salu-what?
Charlotte: Salutations.
Wilbur: What are they? And where are you?
Charlotte: Salutations are greetings. It's my fancy way of saying hello.

Avery Arable: Can I have a pig too, Pop?
John Arable: I only distribute pigs to early risers, Fern was up at daylight trying to rid the world of injustice. [Avery's frog escapes his jacket and jumps all over the breakfast table] Seems to me you've already got more wildlife than you can take care of, Avery.

(Wilbur is eyeing Charlotte's egg sack)
Charlotte: I'm versatile.
Wilbur: Does "versatile" mean "full of eggs"?
Charlotte: No it means I can change with ease from one thing to another.

[Templeton returns from his night of gluttony]
Templeton: [Hiccups] I'm back!
[Charlotte and Wilbur glare at him]
[Templeton hauls himself up and into the pen, revealing his overstuffed stomach]
Templeton: What a night! Never have I seen such leavings! Everything so well ripened, seasoned with the passage of time and the heat of the day... Oh it was rich, my friends, RICH!
Charlotte: You aught to be ashamed of yourself. It would serve you right if you had an acute attack of indigestion.
Templeton: [pats his gurgling stomach] My stomach can handle anything.
Wilbur: Templeton, if you weren't so dopey, you'd notice that Charlotte has made an egg sac.
[Templeton looks up at the sac and squints. He hiccups again and pats his belly sleepily.]
Templeton: [dryly] Hurray for Charlotte.
Wilbur: She's going to become a mother! For your information, there are five hundred and fourteen eggs in that peachy little sac!
Templeton: This has been a night...
[Templeton rolls over onto his full belly and drags himself across the pen to the crate, his stomach bubbling and gurgling the whole way. He hiccups once more and disappears.]

[Charlotte is looking for a new message to write in her web]
Lamb: How about "Pig Supreme"?
Charlotte: No good. It sounds like a rich dessert.
Goose: How about terrific, terrific, terrific?
Charlotte: Cut that down to one terrific and it will do nicely. I think terrific might impress Zuckerman.
Wilbur: But Charlotte, I'm not terrific.
Charlotte: You're terrific as far as I am concerned. Does anybody know how to spell it?
Goose: I think it's T, double-E double-R, double-R, double-I, double-F, double-I, double-C-C-C.
Charlotte: What kind of an acrobat do you think I am? It would take me all night to write that.
Old Sheep: I would advise you not to consult geese in matters of spelling. The word is spelled T-E-R-R-I-F-I-C.
The Goose: [firmly] I still think it's prettier spelled: T, double-E, double-R, double-R, double-I--
Charlotte: Please. Let me spell it my way.

[The family arrives at the farm to take Wilbur to the fair]
Homer Zuckerman: There he is!
Mr. Arable: That's some pig.
Lurvy: He's terrific.
Avery: He's radiant.
Mrs. Zuckerman: Well, he's clean anyway. That buttermilk certainly helped.

[After the goose's eggs have hatched]
Wilbur: Congratulations! How many are there?
Goose: There are seven.
Charlotte: Seven is a lucky number.
Goose: [proudly] Luck has nothing to do with it! It was good management and hard work.
Templeton: [looking at a solitary unhatched egg] Why didn't, uh, this one hatch?
The Goose: [gloomily] It's a dud, I guess.
Templeton: What are you going to do with it?
The Goose: [sternly] You can have it! Roll it away and add it to that nasty collection of yours! But be careful - a rotten egg can be a regular stink bomb!
Templeton: [patting the egg] I know what I'm doing. I handle stuff like this all the time. [rolls the egg away]

Wilbur: I haven't got you a gift for worth, Charlotte. But you saved me, and I would gladly give my life for you.
Charlotte: I'm sure you would.
Wilbur: Oh, won't it be wonderful to be back to the barn with the sheep and the geese, Charlotte?
Charlotte: I will not be going back to the barn.
Wilbur: Not going back? What are you talking about?
Charlotte: I'm done for, Wilbur. In a while, I'll be dead. I haven't strength enough to climb down to the crate.
Wilbur: Oh no! [sobbing]
Charlotte: Oh, come, come, now Wilbur. Let's not make another scene. Everybody loves a happy face. Chin up, remember?
Wilbur: But I can't stand it! I won't leave alone you here to die! I shall stay too!
Charlotte: Oh, don't be ridiculous, Wilbur. Zuckerman's on his way here right now. You'll be going home in a few minutes.
Wilbur: (recognizing the egg sac) Charlotte, where's Templeton?

Charlotte: I want to see the lay of the land.
Wilbur: What does it look like from up there, Charlotte?
Charlotte: There's a pig in the next pen, and he's enormous. I think I'll drop down and have a closer look. [to the pig] May I have your name, please?
Pig: No name, just call me "Uncle".
Charlotte: Are you a spring pig?
Uncle: Sure, what did you think I was, a spring chicken? [chuckles] That's a good one, huh, sister?[chuckles]
Charlotte: I've heard funnier ones. Glad to have met you. I must be going.

Wilbur: Is it true what the old sheep says?! Is that awful thing true?!
Goose: It's a dirty-irty trick, but it's true.
Wilbur: I don't want to die! I want to stay here in my warm munre pile! And breathe the beautiful air, and lie in the beautiful sun...
Old Sheep: You're certinally making a beautiful noise.
Wilbur: I DON'T WANNA DIE! I DON'T WANNA DIE![sobbing]
Charlotte: Quiet Wilbur! Now, chin up!
Wilbur: Who said that?
Charlotte: Do you want a friend?
Wilbur: Yes, I want a friend. But I want to live too.
Charlotte: Well, chin up. I'll be your friend and I'll try to save your life. I've been watching you and I like you.
Wilbur: I can't see you. What do you mean "chin up"?
Charlotte: Now go to sleep. You'll see me in the morning, and I'll explain everything then.
Narrator: Wilbur's stomach was empty, and his mind was full. And when your stomach is empty and your mind is full, it's always hard to sleep. But sleep and Wilbur finally found each other.

Wilbur: Templeton, pay attention!
Templeton: What kind of monkeyshine is this?
Wilbur: Listen to me! Charlotte has only a short time to live. She can't go home with us. It's absolutely necessary that I take her egg sac with me. You're the only that can reach it.
Templeton: [yawns] So, it's old Templeton to the rescue again, is it?
Wilbur: Templeton, hurry up!

Avery: Why isn't that gossling with his mother?
[Jeffrey runs to Wilbur]
Fern: Because he likes Wilbur.
Avery: Shrimping little thing.
[Jeffrey oinks at Avery]
Avery: Sounds more like a pig than a gossling.
[Jeffrey oinks]
Avery: Wow! Look at that big spider! I'm going to catch it for my collection!
Fern: Avery, you leave that spider alone!
Avery: That's a fine spider, and I'm going to catch it--
[Jeffrey and Wilbur run up at Avery]
Avery: [after being lifted up by Wilbur] What's the matter with you Wilbur?
Fern: He doesn't like you in there, now get out!
[Wilbur throws Avery, destroying the rotten egg]
Fern: What have you done Avery?!
Avery: Oh, Good night! What a stink!
[both run away]

Lurvy: That's some pig!
Homer Zuckerman: He's teriffic.
Lurvy: Yeah, he's a wonderful pig. You'll get some extra good ham and bacon when it comes time to kill that pig.
[Wilbur gasps and faints]
Jeffrey: Charlotte! Look at Wilbur!
[The goose runs away and honks in horror]
Charlotte: Templeton, please! Can you revive Wilbur, please?
[Templeton comes up to Wilbur and bites his tail]
Wilbur: Charlotte, they're going to kill me! I don't want to die!


  • There must be something more to us than you and me
    It must be tangled up somehow with destiny
    I used to think the sum of one and one was two
    But we add up to more, me and you
    • "There Must be Something More"
  • Isn't it great
    That I articulate?
    Isn't it grand
    That you can understand?
    • "I Can Talk"
  • Oh, we've got lots in common where it really counts
    Where it really counts we've got large amounts
    What we look like doesn't count an ounce
    We've got lots in common where it really counts
    • "We've Got Lots in Common" (Wilbur)
  • You're born to swim, and me to spin, but we both love this world we're in
    We share the sun, the earth, the sky, and that's the reason why
    • "We've Got Lots in Common" (Charlotte)
  • Fragile and magical shadows
    Silently start to appear
    Lovely and lyrical
    Silvery miracle
    Charlotte's web
    • "Charlotte's Web"
  • Sometimes when somebody loves you
    Miracles somehow appear
    And there in the warp and the woof is the proof of it
    Charlotte's web
    • "Charlotte's Web"
  • How very special are we
    For just a moment to be
    Part of life's eternal rhyme
    How very special are we
    To have on our family tree
    Mother Earth and Father Time
    • "Mother Earth and Father Time"
  • He's some pig
    Some pig
    Some terrific, radiant, humble pig
    He is some pig
    • "Zuckerman's Famous Pig"


Henry Gibson Wilbur
Debbie Reynolds Charlotte A. Cavatica
Paul Lynde Templeton
Agnes Moorehead The Goose
Pamelyn Ferdin Fern Arable
Bob Holt Homor Zuckerman
Joan Gerber Edith Zuckerman/Mrs. Fussy
John Stephenson John Arable
Don Messick Jeffrey
Rex Allen Narrator
Martha Scott Mrs. Arable
Herb Vigran Lurvy
Dave Madden Ram

See also

External links

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