The Woody Woodpecker Show
The same situation with the Rudy and Gogo Show and Looney Tunes on Nick. This doesn’t count as an actual show since it consists of various Woody Woodpecker short films. As well as various other Walter Lantz related cartoons that are sometimes associated with Woody. The TV series in general first aired on TV back in October 3rd, 1957 on the ABC channel. The success of this show expanded the production of the theatrical Woody Woodpecker short films 10 years longer than Warner Bros.’s Looney tunes and Disney’s own short films in comparison. Keep in mind that watching cartoons on TV was starting to become more common by this time cause more Americans are starting to own a TV set. And due to the theatrical cartoon business suffering at this point every cartoon studio was getting on with the idea of having their own cartoons being aired on TV. Walter Lantz’s company was among the many studios that released new and old short films on TV. So with that brief history aside let me talk about the openings of this show rather than the cartoon since I’m sure everyone here knows who Woody Woodpecker is.
The first intro was used for the show when it was new which depicts of Woody pecking the words of his own show on a tree, falls through the roof of a house, has a brief conversation with Walter Lantz himself, Mr. Lantz tells the viewers to enjoy the show, then Woody takes it from there by showing viewers one of his films off of a film projector. In between segments involve Woody either singing or telling the viewers that another short film is coming right up. This intro was made before the second to last one which I remember cause they used that intro more when I was a kid than the old one. Though I was surprised that there was an older intro that predates the one I’m use to seeing during the 90’s. Thanks to Youtube, I was finally able to see this intro for the first time ever.
The second intro is the one I know best as a kid which was made back in 1987 when it was decided to revised the show with a new intro but still feature old cartoons of Woody Woodpecker. Anyways the opening starts with woody pecking a hole through a black screen and quoted his famous catch phrase “Guess who!” He pulls the next scene towards the right where we see Buzz Buzzard up to no good as he’s spying with his binocular in front of his gas station looking for customers to rip off. He spots Woody Woodpecker driving in his car with Chilly Willy on the passenger side and Andy Panda & Inspector Willoughby riding in the back seat. The buzzard spreads out a pile of tacks on the road and sneaks away to wait for the car to receive some flat tires which it did. The car starts swerving and Inspector Willoughby is seen flying out of the car(he should have put on his seat belt). Buzz Buzzard starts rolling a couple of new tires while thinking of the money he’s going to get out of the Woodpecker, penguin, panda, and Inspector. However Inspector Willoughby caught wind of the buzzard’s scam and stops the bird dead on his tracks and starts beating the bird up and walks away after showing the buzzard that he and his friends aren’t doing business with a charlatan. Woody laughs at Buzz for getting what he deserves only to be grab by Gabby Gator. Gabby is then seen wearing a toque and carrying Woody in a pan. He shoves the woodpecker in his stove without removing his feathers and dreams about that roasted woodpecker he’s been meaning to have for sometime now. But then the unexpected happen, his stove turns into a canon(I kid you not) Gabby gets frighten and flees as Woody gets fired out of the canon instead of becoming gator food. Looking back at this part, I find it random but also funny for the stove to turn into a canon for no logical reason. Woody is hurled into the air and goes right through the window of Wally Walrus’s house where he bounces on Wally while he’s asleep. Wally wakes to see who intruded his home only to find Woody watching a random Woodpecker cartoon on the TV set. The bird even had time to cook up some popcorn, or was the popcorn prepared prior to Woody’s arrival. If so, Wally must have the habit of leaving unfinished popcorn in his house. The walrus grabs Woody by the neck and does a mannerism that suggest that he wants the woodpecker out of his house. Woody teases the walrus by honking his nose and flee only to stop by the front of a pet shop where he sees Chilly Willy trying to catch fish by swimming around in an aquarium. The penguin gets swoop out of the tank by Smedley the saint Bernard who doesn’t approve of the penguin stealing fish from a pet shop. Willy let’s go of the fish he caught and leaves. Then we see Buzz, Smedley, Andy, and the Inspector running to somewhere, willy notices that everyone is in a hurry for something so he grabs on to Smedley’s scarf in order to keep up with everyone. The last scene shows Woody pecking out the title of his show and the announcer says “The Woody Woodpecker Show!”. Ending with a still shot of Woody as a Knight with “A Walter Lantz Production” for the tagline.
The show aired on different channels overs the decades. One point it aired on NBC, syndication, Cartoon Network, and as of right now Canada’s Teletoon Retro. While not a commonly seen show in the US right now, it was the very show that introduced me to Woody Woodpecker, and I’m sure a lot of other people my age got familiar with the character the same way. During the past decade the only new material Woody had been in was an entirely original TV series called “The New Woody Woodpecker Show” which air on the now defunct Fox Kids. And there are plans for a CG movie coming soon, but I’ve yet to see if it’s going to be as good as the original cartoons. I’m more interested in seeing a Blu-ray release on the character’s short films which will happen eventually. Anyways that’s it for this article, please check out my next one on the Centipede game.