The Walter Lantz Cartune Encyclopedia: 1951


NOTE: In 1950, the Walter Lantz studio opened its doors once again. The first effort the studio put out was a brief sequence featuring Woody Woodpecker for the George Pal feature Destination Moon released on June 27, 1950 (see the Miscellaneous Cartunes page for further details). Lantz then renegotiated with Universal for seven cartoons to be released the following year, provided that they all feature Woody Woodpecker. Lantz and his crew immediately set to work on the new batch of shorts. It should be noted that two of these new films Puny Express and Sleep Happy were previously storyboarded by Ben Hardaway and Heck Allen during the United Artists period. In 1951, the new cartoons were finally released and became instant hits with audiences. They were so successful, in fact, that Universal comissioned six more shorts for the following year. Overall, 1951 marked the beginning of a new era for the Walter Lantz studio.


Puny Express

Puny Express

Release Date: 1/22/51
Direction: Walter Lantz (uncredited)
Story: Ben Hardaway and Heck Allen
Animation: Ray Abrams, Don Patterson, and La Verne Harding
Music: Clarence E. Wheeler
Sets: Fred Brunish

Notes:
  • Production Number: U-1
  • A Woody Woodpecker cartoon
  • First onscreen credit for Don Patterson at Lantz
  • The first musical score by Clarence E. Wheeler.
  • The first Walter Lantz cartoon to be released through Universal since 1947.
  • Grace Stafford, Lantz's wife and the future permanent voice of the woodpecker, provides Woody's trademark laugh for the first time in this cartoon. It can be heard at the beginning and end. Oddly, the original Mel Blanc Woody laugh can be heard at one point during the short as well.
  • When his studio reopened, Lantz felt that Woody ought to be streamlined again. Woody's top knot would now be pushed forward, his beak would curve up slighly, and he would also became shorter. Lantz felt that Woody's size played an important role in the films, as he observed that audiences were more inclined to empathize with the "little guy" over the "big bully."
    Video availability:
  • Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection, Vol. 1 (DVD; Universal/MCA)
  • Walter Lantz Presents: Wild and Woody (VHS; Universal/MCA)

  • Screen Shots (click to enlarge):





    Sleep Happy

    Sleep Happy

    Release Date: 3/26/51
    Direction: Walter Lantz (uncredited)
    Story: Ben Hardaway and Heck Allen
    Animation: Ray Abrams, Don Patterson, and La Verne Harding
    Music: Clarence E. Wheeler
    Sets: Fred Brunish

    Notes:
  • Production Number: U-2
  • A Woody Woodpecker cartoon
  • Last onscreen credits for Ben Hardaway and Heck Allen at Lantz
    Video availability:
  • Woody Woodpecker Favorites (DVD; Universal/MCA)
  • Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection, Vol. 1 (DVD; Universal/MCA)
  • Woody Woodpecker and Friends, Vol. 10 (TV print; DVD; Columbia House)
  • Woody Woodpecker and His Friends, Vol. 3 (VHS; Universal/MCA)
  • Woody Woodpecker and His Friends, Vol. 3 (Laserdisc; Universal/MCA)

  • Screen Shots (click to enlarge):





    Wicket Wacky

    Wicket Wacky

    Release Date: 5/28/51
    Direction: Walter Lantz (uncredited)
    Animation: Don Patterson, Ray Abrams, La Verne Harding, and Paul Smith
    Music: Clarence E. Wheeler
    Sets: Fred Brunish

    Notes:
  • Production Number: U-3
  • A Woody Woodpecker cartoon
  • Reissued as Wicky Wacky by Castle Films
  • First onscreen credit for Ray Abrams since his depature in 1937.
  • The gopher in this cartoon was identified on model sheets as "Goofy Gopher." He is identified onscreen as "J. Goofer Gopher."
  • Hidden Gags: In one scene, the gopher speaks to Woody in what many identify at first as gibberish. However, when slowed down, one can hear a man saying random phrases such as "Cohen is trying to call off the manager of a certain bank, who happens to be his landlord" or "Hello? What? What number do I want? Well, what numbers have ya got?" Later in the short, Woody confronts the gibberish-speaking gopher for a second time. Again, when slowed down we hear a man speaking a few more choice phrases including "Are you the bank?" or "This is not a telescope? It's a telephone?" The speaker is actually early 20th century comedian Joe Hayman performing the Cohen on the Telephone monologue. It was recorded in London in 1913 and is believed to be the first comedy monologue to sell a million copies. The entire record can be heard online at the Internet Archive's Audio Archive (note that Hayman's name is misspelled as "Hayden").
    Video availability:
  • Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection, Vol. 1 (DVD; Universal/MCA)
  • Woody Woodpecker and Friends, Vol. 6 (TV print; DVD; Columbia House)

  • Screen Shots (click to enlarge):





    Slingshot 6 7/8

    Slingshot 6 7/8

    Release Date: 7/23/51
    Direction: Walter Lantz (uncredited)
    Animation: Don Patterson, Ray Abrams, La Verne Harding, and Paul Smith
    Music: Clarence E. Wheeler
    Sets: Fred Brunish

    Notes:
  • Production Number: U-4
  • A Woody Woodpecker cartoon
  • Hidden Gags: As Woody first comes into the Western town, look for "Ray Abrams' Gun Shop", "Patterson's Mining Supplies", and "Ken's Coffee and Do-Nuts" (probably refers to animator Ken Southworth) in the background.
    Video availability:
  • Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection, Vol. 1 (DVD; Universal/MCA)
  • Woody Woodpecker and Friends, Vol. 8 (TV print; DVD; Columbia House)

  • Screen Shots (click to enlarge):





    The Redwood Sap

    The Redwood Sap

    Release Date: 10/1/51
    Direction: Walter Lantz (uncredited)
    Animation: Don Patterson, Ray Abrams, La Verne Harding, and Paul Smith
    Music: Clarence E. Wheeler
    Sets: Fred Brunish

    Notes:
  • Production Number: U-5
  • A Woody Woodpecker cartoon
    Video availability:
  • Woody Woodpecker Favorites (DVD; Universal/MCA)
  • Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection, Vol. 1 (DVD; Universal/MCA)
  • Woody Woodpecker and Friends, Vol. 2 (TV print; DVD; Columbia House)
  • Walter Lantz Presents: Woody Woodpecker: Collector's Edition, Vol. 1 (Scenes in wrong order; VHS; Universal/MCA)
  • Walter Lantz Presents: Woody Woodpecker: Collector's Edition (Scenes in wrong order; Laserdisc; Universal/MCA)

  • Screen Shots (click to enlarge):





    The Woody Woodpecker Polka

    The Woody Woodpecker Polka

    Release Date: 10/29/51
    Direction: Walter Lantz (uncredited)
    Animation: Don Patterson, Ray Abrams, La Verne Harding, and Paul Smith
    Music: Clarence E. Wheeler
    Sets: Fred Brunish
    The Woody Woodpecker Polka Sung By: The Starlighters

    Notes:
  • Production Number: U-6
  • A Woody Woodpecker cartoon
  • Reissued as The Gate Crasher by Castle Films.
  • The lyrics of the song The Woody Woodpecker Polka were written by Warren Foster and Tedd Pierce (music by Billy May).
  • Watch for cameos by the comic book versions of Oswald Rabbit, Andy Panda, Miranda Panda, and Charlie Chicken at the beginning of this one.
    Video availability:
  • Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection, Vol. 1 (DVD; Universal/MCA)
  • Woody Woodpecker and Friends, Vol. 10 (DVD; Columbia House)

  • Screen Shots (click to enlarge):





    Destination Meatball

    Destination Meatball

    Release Date: 12/24/51
    Direction: Walter Lantz (uncredited)
    Animation: Don Patterson, Ray Abrams, La Verne Harding, and Paul Smith
    Music: Clarence E. Wheeler
    Sets: Fred Brunish

    Notes:
  • Production Number: U-7
  • A Woody Woodpecker cartoon
  • Reissued as The Invisible Woody by Castle Films.
  • This cartoon's title is a play on the 1950 George Pal feature Destination Moon.
    Video availability:
  • Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection, Vol. 1 (DVD; Universal/MCA)

  • Screen Shots (click to enlarge):




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