Woody Woodpecker (1943-1954)
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Woody Woodpecker is an American animated series of slapstick comedy short films created by Walter Lantz in 1941 and 1972, produced in Walter Lantz Productions and distributed by Universal Pictures.
Why It Rocks
- Like the franchises of The Land Before Time, Despicable Me and Little Audrey (of DreamWorks Animation), it's Universal animation in its purest form.
- It was Universal Studios' flagship franchise.
- Since his debut, when an Andy Panda cartoon, "Knock Knock", the funny-looking woodpecker, Woody, quickly stole the show, received the best loved popularity, and became not only Walter Lantz's greatest megastar, but the official mascot of Universal Studios, as well.
- As his popularity goes on and on, he received comic books, clothing, video games, television programs and feature films, and even a haircut named after him "The Woody Woodpecker Haircut" which was popular among young boys back in the 1940s.
- He had some feature film cameos, including George Pal's sci-fi classic, Destination Moon, Disney and Amblin's Oscar-winning masterpiece, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Son of the Mask.
- Woody's popularity that brings the laughs to audiences all around the world, especially the USA, Canada and Brazil.
- Brazil, by the way, showed an even greater interest in the character, even surpassing its popularity in the United States and having a better legacy. There were many products that were exclusive in Brazil even in years when there were no new Woody Woodpecker cartoons like in the 90s and 2000s, and several classic cartoons are often used as memes on the Brazilian internet. That is until 2017, since the feature film was released, his popularity in Brazil has brought down to zero.
- More than any other popular cartoon character (including Bugs Bunny, Popeye, Little Audrey, Heckle and Jeckle and Tom and Jerry), Woody starred in more than 150 theatrical cartoons.
- The theme song was catchy and totally hilarious.
- Similar to the very cute Little Audrey theme song, the jazzy version of the Woody Woodpecker theme song is wackier than ever was.
- Woody Woodpecker was the true king of the slapstick comedy cartoons, so he always outsmarts both Wally Walrus and his chief-adversary, Buzz Buzzard.
- Universal's got the right tool of slapstick comedy.
- The character of Woody Woodpecker was an all-American fine-feathered comedian.
- The New Woody Woodpecker Show and the 2018 web series of the same name both stayed true to the original material.
- Some bad shorts, including "The Coo-Coo Bird".
- The United Artists studio does not like the character of Woody Woodpecker, it thought Woody was too intense. But ironically, it distributed only six Woody Woodpecker cartoons. Finally, in the early 1950s, Universal decided to bring back Woody Woodpecker.
- During the mid-50s, the movie industry was suffering and losing money, meaning lower budgets for cartoons. By 1956, there were only seven animation producers in the short-subjects business, and by the end of the decade that number would dwindle to three. Walter Lantz and his distributor, Universal Pictures, knew that the only way to subsidize the rising costs of new shorts was to release their product to television. Norman Gluck, from Universal's short-subjects department, made a deal with the Leo Burnett Agency to release some older Lantz product on television. However, when The Woody Woodpecker Show debuted on ABC-TV on the afternoon of Thursday, October 3, 1957, this show became so successful. With the success of the TV program, Walter Lantz decided to return to his theatrical cartoon business.
- Since his feature film was released in theaters in Brazil, it bring his popularity in Brazil down to zero. However, it became poorly-received, due to Woody Woodpecker's extremely destructive personality which has been overly-exaggerated and his gross nature.
- In his earliest cartoons (1940-1943), Woody had a less appealing, more grotesque design. By 1944, his was quickly replaced by his more recognizable design, making him a lot more appealing and likable.
- The 1962-1972 shorts (or Seasons 5-6 by some fans) was not well-received due to it's low budget animation, not bringing the classic characters from the 1944-1961 shorts, the severe toning down of Woody Woodpecker's personality from a crazy yet likable screwball prankster into a bland, serious straight man as of "Franken-Stymed" (1961), and there is a lot of average/bad episodes, especially "Skinfolks", the worst offender. (although there´s some good episodes like "Crowning Pains" and the Sugarfoot epsiodes)
- The final short, "Bye Bye Blackboard", was not a good way to end the series.