Woody Woodpecker (1941)
Woody is back! Probably one of the most unexpected and exciting news for the fans of classic cartoons arrived couple of weeks ago. The noted animation historian (and our hero) Jerry Beck announced in a radio interview a plan for the big DVD collection of Walter Lantz cartoons. This collection, tentatively scheduled for the release in July will contain the first 45 Woody Woodpecker cartoons, four Tex Avery's cartoons produced by Lantz, a selection of Swing Symphonies and several black & white "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit" and "Pooch the Pup" cartoons. Universal has neglected these cartoons for a long time, with just a handful of home-video releases (beside the Columbia House DVDs) and very little exposure on TV, at least in the United States.
To celebrate this surprising news, I present the screenshots from the second Woody Woodpecker cartoon, entitled just like its main character. This cartoon was released on 7/7/1941, eight months after Woody's first appearance in Andy Panda cartoon Knock Knock . This cartoon, like the subsequent few used the original Woody Woodpecker design by Alex Lovy. This "ugly", garish and funny design fits well with Woody's crazy, aggressive and psychotic character. Three years later, Emery Hawkins prepared the new, streamlined and more appealing design that was also easier to animate. The final major re-design happened in the early 50s. That design credited to La Verne Harding is used still today, for the merchandise, and also in "The New Woody Woodpecker Show", a new saturday morning series that was produced between 1999-2002.
Enjoy these high quality screenshots... we will present more Woody/Lantz cartoons here, in the near future. To read more about Woody Woodpecker and Walter Lantz cartoons in general, take a look at The Walter Lantz Cartune Encyclopedia . Also check out a good Wikipedia article about Woody.