|Cover of a vintage Walter Lantz
cartune coloring book.
A three-disc DVD compilation of Lantz shorts called the Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection was released on July 24, 2007 by Universal/MCA. The collection features a total of 75 Walter Lantz cartoons including the first 45 Woody Woodpecker cartoons (from Knock Knock to The Great Who-Dood-It) as well as a handful of Andy Panda and Chilly Willy cartoons, rarely-seen Swing Symphonies (Abou Ben Boogie and Pass the Biscuits Mirandy), and black and white Lantz shorts (Confidence and Hells Heels). A second volume was released in April 2008 including 45 more Woody Woodpecker shorts (from Termites from Mars to Jittery Jester) alongside several Lantz classics (The Poet and Peasant), rarities (She Done Him Right), and fan favorites (Half Baked Alaska). Click here to order volume one and click here to order volume two, both from Amazon.com. For further information see the official Woody Woodpecker website from Universal Home Video or check our DVD and video guide.
Where can I watch Walter Lantz cartoons on television?
Unfortunately, there is currently no place on television to watch these cartoons in the United States.
This website does not mention the New Woody Woodpecker Show that aired on Fox Kids. Why is this?
This website is primarily concerned with the classic theatrical cartoons released by the Walter Lantz Studio from 1929 to 1972. Therefore, we do not cover the New Woody Woodpecker Show. The program ran from 1999 to 2002 with 53 episodes produced, but most were never even broadcast in the United States. Notably, the show featured the classic 1955 Chilly Willy cartoon, The Legend of Rockabye Point, on one episode from the first season.
Where can I find Lantz-related merchandise?
For vintage merchandise, there is always plenty for auction on eBay.
Newer merchandise is much more difficult to find. The Universal Studios theme parks have a wide variety of merchandise featuring the Lantz characters, especially Woody Woodpecker and Chilly Willy, in their various gift shops. These include postcards, stuffed animals, figures, keychains, stationary, magnets, t-shirts, and more. In general, the theme parks are definitely your best source for new merchandise. Still, it's unfortunate and, indeed, inconvenient that one has to book a plane bound for California or Florida in order to buy these items.
|Oswald on the cover of the Universal Weekly from February 3, 1934. Courtesy of Del Walker.
In 2004-2005, Universal made an active effort to market Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in Japan. Subsequently, however, Disney acquired the character rights to Oswald in their famous 2006 Al Michaels deal with Universal (see the next question for further details). Since then, Disney has introduced a new line of merchandise featuring the character.
Who exactly owns Oswald the Lucky Rabbit?
The character of Oswald and the 26 Disney-produced Oswald cartoons are owned by the Walt Disney Company. This was the result of a deal between Disney and NBC Universal for the latter to secure sportscaster Al Michaels for NBC Sports in February 2006. Universal still owns the 26 Winkler Oswalds and the 140 Lantz Oswalds. Since the deal, they have released 11 Lantz Oswalds on the Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection DVD series in 2007-2008. The existing Disney Oswalds, meanwhile, have been released by Disney on the Walt Disney Treasures - The Adventures of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit DVD set that can be ordered from Amazon.com. It is uncertain whether the Winkler Oswalds will ever be released on DVD.
Are the Meany, Miny, and Moe cartoons available for purchase on DVD?
Unfortunately, the Meany, Miny, and Moe shorts have not been released officially on DVD from Universal/MCA. They were also never released on VHS or laserdisc.
However, there is one Meany, Miny, and Moe cartoon – 1937's House of Magic – that has fallen into the public domain. It is available on the DVD compilation Return of the 30's Characters from Thunderbean Animation. The disc also includes the 1932 Lantz Oswald Making Good as well as 1930s rarities from other animation studios. Click here to order it from Amazon.com.
|Are they on your family tree?
|A Castle Films ad for 8mm and 16mm cartoons.
Castle Films was a company that released the Lantz cartoon shorts to the home movie market in the form of 8mm and 16mm prints. Castle Films would sometimes retitle the cartoons (for example, 1944's Ski for Two was renamed Woody Plays Santa Claus). It is unknown why Castle Films would rename some cartoons and not others. If you have any idea, feel free to contact us.
Most of the black and white Lantz cartoons in circulation have "Oswald Rabbit" titles that are obviously not the originals. Do you know where they came from?
The "Oswald Rabbit" titles were used by a company called Guild/Firelight. During the early 1950s, the distributor released a large package of black and white Lantz cartoons to the television and home movie markets. The only black and white shorts excluded from the package were the first 26 Lantz releases (from Race Riot in 1929 to Henpecked in 1930).
Pierre Bear was a character who only appeared in one cartoon, After the Ball (1956). Despite the French name, Pierre had a distinctive Daws Butler Southern accent. When Castle Films got ahold of the Lantz library, they, for whatever reason, decided to give the character his own box art. Since Pierre had only appeared in one short, Castle decided to distribute the Windy and Breezy Bear cartoons under the Pierre Bear banner as well.
There are several shortened, silent, and retitled 16mm and 8mm prints of Lantz shorts from the mid-to-late 1930s floating around. All feature either Oswald or Meany, Miny, and Moe. When were these produced? Who distributed them? How many were reissued?
It is uncertain exactly how many of them were produced. Some examples of shorts distributed by the company include G-Man Oswald (excerpted from Case of the Lost Sheep (1935)), Elmer Catches Cold (Doctor Oswald (1935)), Home Run Oswald (Soft Ball Game (1936)), Oswald in Alaska (Alaska Sweepstakes (1936)), Oswald the Bug Charmer (Music Hath Charms (1936)), Remote Control (The Unpopular Mechanic (1936)), Fowl Play (Turkey Dinner (1936)), Oswald's Goofy Gopher (Gopher Trouble (1936)), Magic Gloves (House of Magic (1937)), Red Hot Tires (The Big Race (1937)), The Quints' Birthday (The Birthday Party (1937)), Skyscraper Antics (The Steel Workers (1937)), and Ship Wrecked (The Stevedores (1937)) among several others. Click here to download an image (395 KB) of some of the company's listings, courtesy of Mark Kausler, and click here to download another image (98 KB) of further listings, courtesy of Tom Stathes.
Is Smedley a dog or a polar bear?
Smedley is a DOG and not a polar bear. See our Chilly Willy page for more information.
|As you can see, Smedley hates being called a polar bear...
What are the lyrics to "The Woody Woodpecker Song"?
The Woody Woodpecker Song
Words and music by George F. Tibbles and Ramey Idriss
|It makes the other woodpeckers swoon...
|"Come Home, Father"
This gag occurs in three Lantz cartoons from the early 1930s: Broadway Folly (1930), Nature's Workshop (1933), and Monkey Wretches (1935). The routine is featured prominently as the running gag in the first of these three. Its exact origin is uncertain, though the "child searching for the alcoholic father" scenario was often used in various media related to the American temperance movement in the latter 19th and early 20th centuries. The concept appeared in popular melodramas of the day, including D.W. Griffith's 1909 Biograph short film What Drink Did. It was also the subject of at least two contemporary songs – Come Home, Father (also known as Father, Dear Father) written by Henry Clay Work in 1864 and Has Father Been Here? written by E.W. Locke and G.D. Russell in 1870. Notably, according to cultural historian Cole Johnson, during this time "women and children would have to enter a bar or saloon through a separate door – 'the family entrance' – and be served in a room in the rear."
Which cartoon features Oswald the Lucky Rabbit singing the German folk song Johnny Schmoker?
The cartoon in question is entitled The Fowl Ball (1930), directed by Walter Lantz and Bill Nolan.
Which cartoon features Woody Woodpecker skiing through the woods while singing a melody about the snow? What is the name of that melody?
The cartoon in question is entitled Ski for Two (1944), directed by Shamus Culhane. The melody that Woody sings is called The Sleigh (a la Russe), written in 1926 by Richard Kountz and Ivor Tchervanow.
Which cartoon involves the man and his dog getting each other's personalities due to the wrong injection of plasma?
The cartoon in question is entitled Crazy Mixed Up Pup (1955), directed by Tex Avery.
Which cartoon featured the line: "If Woody had gone straight to the police, this would never have happened."?
The cartoon in question is entitled Bunco Busters (1955), directed by Paul J. Smith.
Which cartoon involves Chilly Willy ordering a stack of hotcakes from Smedley with "more butter," "more syrup," etc.?
The cartoon in question is Half Baked Alaska (1965), directed by Sid Marcus.
Several Lantz filmographies list Sons of the Saddle, Song of the Caballero, Strange As It Seems, Fanny the Mule, To the Rescue, Foiled, A New Deal, S.O.S. Icicle, and Gold Dust Oswald as part of the studio's 1930-35 output. This website does not. Why is this?
Sons of the Saddle and Song of the Caballero are both live-action Universal Ken Maynard westerns from 1930. Strange As It Seems was a series of 39 live-action shorts from 1930-34 directed by Jerry Fairbanks among others. Foiled, A New Deal, and S.O.S. Icicle are all working titles for Let's Eat, Confidence, and Hot and Cold respectively. There is no such cartoon as To the Rescue – the same applies to Fanny the Mule and Gold Dust Oswald.
Who provided the voice of Woody?
Mel Blanc (the voice of hundreds of cartoon characters, including Bugs Bunny) provided the voice of Woody for the character's first three cartoons. After Blanc, Woody's voice was provided by Danny Webb from 1941 to 1942, Kent Rogers from 1942 to 1943, and Lantz storyman Ben Hardaway from 1944 to 1949. Blanc's laugh would continue to be used in the cartoons throughout the 1940s.
|Any similarities between Woody and a real woodpecker is strictly coincidental!
Actress Cherry Davis provided Woody's voice for his cameo appearance in the 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Billy West (voice of Stimpy on The Ren and Stimpy Show and Philip J. Fry on Futurama) supplied Woody's voice on Fox Kids' New Woody Woodpecker Show from 1999 to 2002.
What kind of woodpecker is Woody?
That's simple, he's a cartoon woodpecker.
Are there any Walter Lantz cartoons that you do not have?
Yes, there are a handful of Lantz titles that we still do not have. Click here for a complete list. If you have any of these films, please contact us.