Woody Woodpecker is an animated cartoon character created by Walter Lantz. He first appeared in the 1940 Andy Panda cartoon, Knock Knock. But surprisingly, he stole the show and became Universal Studios' biggest cartoon star. Because of the success of the funny-looking woodpecker, Walter Lantz decided to give Woody his very own series of solo short films.
Why He's "A-A-A-Awesome" Now
- He was not only Walter Lantz's greatest megastar, but the official mascot of Universal Studios, as well.
- He was basically Walter Lantz's answer to creating a screwball-type character ala Daffy Duck with the wiseacre trickster traits from Bugs Bunny, plus a Mickey Mouse vibe to the character.
- As his popularity goes on and on, he received comic books, clothing, video games, feature films, and other television programs.
- 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.
- He has a steady relationship with his girlfriend, Winnie Woodpecker.
- His signature laugh is one of the greatest cartoon laughs in history.
- His iconic lines, most of them are from Brazil.
- Do you know what I did to the last guy that tried that? WHY I TORE HIM LIMB FROM LIMB!!!
- These people invent everything!
- Why you... (in Brazil it was translated of Fui tapeado! (I was cheated!)
- While he was a bit of an antagonistic character in the early shorts, Lantz softened him into a much more heroic character in the '50s, though the toning down of his antagonistic traits dated back as early as 1944 when James Culhane redesigned him to look cuter and more appealing (as pictured on the page) than his original early-1940s design.
- More than any other cartoon character, he starred in more than 150 theatrical cartoons.
- He was much more likable in 1944-1972, The New Woody Woodpecker Show, and Woody Woodpecker (2018).
- His catchphrase "Guess Who?" was tremendous.
- His popularity brings laughs to audiences all around the world, especially in the USA, Canada, and Brazil.
- He looks even more likeable and cute on the late 90s show.
- Unlike some people thinks, he's NOT a Karma Houdini, the most of the time he makes something wrong like breaking plates and revenging people, he gets punished.
Intentional Bad Qualities
- The United Artists studio did not like the character of Woody Woodpecker, thinking he was too intense. But ironically, it distributed only six Woody Woodpecker cartoons. Finally, in the early 1950s, Universal brought him back.
- Since his feature film was released in theaters in Brazil, it brought his popularity in Brazil nearly down to zero. However, it became a cult classic in the United States, as a direct-to-video release, despite being one of the weakest films of all time.
- He can be a bit of an unsympathetic jerk with towards the weak ones, especially with Wally Walrus.
- From the early 1950s to 1972, Woody's character design became a similar of the Road Runner's one from looney tunes cartoons, making him look more like a cheap version of that Warner Bros character bird, that he is much more famous and important of him.
- From always at the 1950s to 1972, although Woody is an adult character, he has an oddly kid-like appearance.
- From 1962-65, beginning with "Franken-Stymed", he lost most of his manic craziness in favor of becoming a bland, serious straight man, mainly due to Walter Lantz having to comply with TV show regulations of the 1960s and 70s, which caused his cartoons during his final years to go downhill as a result. Fortunately, he is still likable in those.
- His 1940-1943 and 1962-1972 incarnations were pretty bad, although still better than his movie counterpart.
- He somtimes doing a Multiple acts of criminal mischief (Espaicaly in the old films) somtimes without a reason.
- There are some moments of him that he can get really too dangerous and uneducational for children sometimes:
- In the 1950s episode "Born to Peck", Woody, since he was born from the egg, showed all his evil and violent nature, committing barbarism and taking the life of his poor innocent father.
- In the episode "The Woody Woodpecker Polka", Woody dresses as a female, even from a Sex Symbol as Gilda, of the movie with Rita Hayworth, he transformated so well that he is a real female, and this fact that Woody has transformed so well, makes it creepy, in fact that episode hid perverse sexual subbliminal messages, it was not suitable for children.
- In the episode "Real Gone Woody", they gave Woody a too human aspect, which is totally inappropriate.
- His live action counterpart is absolutely the worst of all his other reincarnations ever, there he not only hurts his enemies, many times even without a logical reason, he is exaggeratedly annoying, sadistic, violent and above all immature and unaware, much worse than the his first version of 1940-1943, he does not forgive his enemies, and he never gets a retribution for anything he did to them and in general, however in the end, the director of his movie Alex Zamm admitted that he was wrong as having mishandled and exaggerated the character, and he brought it back to his old '60-'72 personality!
Walter Lantz and movie pioneer George Pal were good friends. Woody Woodpecker cameos in nearly every film that Pal produced or directed—for example, during the 1966 sequence in The Time Machine (1960), a little girl drops her Woody Woodpecker doll as she goes into an air raid shelter. In Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze (1975), Grace Stafford cameos, carrying a Woody Woodpecker doll.
Obvious references to "The Woody Woodpecker Song" can be found in the work of at least two noted jazz innovators: specifically, Charlie Parker, a number of whose solos quote it in passing, and Wayne Shorter, whose 1961 composition "Look at the Birdie"—as heard on Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers' Roots & Herbs (recorded 1961, released 1970)—has been singled out by both composer/trumpeter David Weiss and Shorter biographer Michelle Mercer as an ingenious variation on the theme. In addition, a full-fledged cover of the song itself was recorded in 1986 by jazz trumpeter Woody Shaw for his 1987 release, Solid.
Woody was number 46 on TV Guide's list of the 50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time in 2002 and 2003. He came in at number 25 on Animal Planet's list of The 50 Greatest Movie Animals in 2004. The character has been referenced and spoofed on many later television programs, among them The Simpsons, American Dad!, South Park, The Fairly OddParents, Family Guy, Seinfeld, Robot Chicken, Three's Company, and Flash Toons.
Woody Woodpecker is the official mascot of Universal Studios. In 1998 and 1999, Woody appeared on the nose of the Williams Formula One Team, and in 2000, he became the official team mascot of the Honda Motorcycle Racing Team. A Woody Woodpecker balloon had been a staple of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from 1982 until 1996.
In Brazil the character is a hugely popular and iconic cartoon character.
- Woody Woodpecker's original creation was loosely based on a real-life acorn woodpecker that disturbed creator Walter Lantz and his wife Grace Stafford when they were on a honeymoon in June Lake, California in 1941 by drilling holes on the roof of the cabin they spent the night in. It was Grace who then suggested her husband Walter to make a cartoon about the aforementioned woodpecker, hence resulting to Woody's creation in the early-1940s.
- Woody's iconic signature laugh wasn't something new when the character was originally created in 1940. The laugh originated as early as 1938 from Bugs Bunny's early prototype Happy Rabbit whose personality was basically Daffy Duck but in a rabbit suit, which in return was based on a laugh voice actor Mel Blanc had been perfecting since his high school years.
- He has spawned several memes such as "F O O D", which are popular in several YTPs.