The Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Studio: Universal
Release Date: July 24, 2007
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 75
Running Time: 535 Minutes
MSRP: $39.98

Creator:

Walter Lantz

Cast:

Mel Blanc……….Woody Woodpecker (1940-1941)
Ben “Bugs” Hardaway……….Woody Woodpecker (1942-1949)
Grace Stafford……….Woody Woodpecker (1951-1952)

The show:

When one thinks of classic cartoon characters, the first to come to mind are usually Bugs Bunny or Mickey Mouse. But another name that deserves to be right up there is the star of this DVD collection: Woody Woodpecker.

This is not just a collection of classic cartoons, it’s a historical archive. As well as containing the first 45 Woody theatrical cartoons to DVD for the first time, we also get a highlight of creator Walter Lantz’s other work, including: Chilly Willy, Andy Panda, some miscellaneous shorts, and Lantz’ work with the Walt Disney-created Oswald The Lucky Rabbit. In fact when one looks at Oswald it’s easy to see that Mickey would be soon to follow. These Oswald cartoons dating back to the early 30’s are particularly interesting and filled with historical significance.


Oswald works with President Roosevelt on ways to end the Depression.

It’s fascinating to watch the evolution Woody over the first 12 years of his career that are covered here. From his early days as a cross-eyed psycho who would pester people just for the fun of it, through transformations that smooth out his more rough edges finally bringing us to the Woody that we know and love today. We also get to see the introduction of his first reoccurring nemesis Wally Walrus in The Beach Nut, 1944. Then in 1948, Woody’s second nemesis, Buzz Buzzard showed up in Wet Blanket Policy, who was far more vicious than anyone Woody had faced before. The really noteworthy thing about Woody, that sets him apart from his contemporaries, is that he was not always the “good guy” in his cartoons and often paid for his misdeeds.


Woody: 1940, 1947, 1952.

It should comes as no surprise to learn that not every cartoon in this collection is a gem. Woody had his ups and downs over the years, but even in the bad ones some entertaining value can be found leaving none of them completely awful.


The not so PC cartoons of the 30’s.

Walter Lantz was an animation pioneer and it is nice to see him finally getting some DVD recognition. Not only does this disc include 75 Lantz “cartunes,” but it also includes several documentaries old and new that tell his story in wonderful and entertaining detail. It also contains a few cartoons directed by fellow animation legend Tex Avery including Sh-h-h-h-h-h, the last theatrical cartoon he ever directed.


Woody laughs in the face of Hunger.

Disc One:

Woody Woodpecker

Knock Knock 1940
Wood Woodpecker, The Screwdriver, Pantry Panic 1941
The Hollywood Matador, Ace In The Hole,
The Loan Stranger 1942
The Screwball, The Dizzy Acrobat,
Ration Bored 1943
The Barber Of Seville, The Beach Nut, Ski For Two 1944
Chew-Chew Baby, Woody Dines Out 1945


Cartoon violence anyone?

Oswald The Lucky Rabbit

Hell’s Heels, Spooks 1930
Grandma’s Pet 1932
Confidence, Merry Old Soul 1933

Cartune Classics

King Klunk 1933
Toyland Premiere 1934
Hollywood Bowl 1938
Scrambled Eggs 1949
Hysterical Highspots In American History 1941


Clark Gable in Hollywood Bowl.

Disc Two:

Woody Woodpecker

The Dippy Diplomat, The Loose Nut 1945
Who’s Cookin’ Who?, Bathing Buddies, The Reckless Driver, Fair Weather Fiends 1946
Musical Moments From Chopin, Smoked Hams, The Coo-Coo Bird, Well Oiled, Solid Ivory, Woody The Giant Killer 1947
The Mad Hatter, Banquet Busters, Wacky-Bye Baby 1948

Andy Panda

Life Begins For Andy Panda 1939
Fish Fry 1944
Apple Andy 1946
The Bandmaster 1947
Scrappy Birthday 1949

Swing Symphonies

$21 A Day (Once A Month) 1941
Pass The Biscuits, Mirandy! 1943
The Greatest Man In Siam, Abou Ben Boogie 1944
The Pied Piper Of Basin Street 1945


In Pass The Biscuits, Mirandy! A bunch of hillbillies take on the Nazi’s with rock hard biscuits.

Disc Three:

Woody Woodpecker

Wet Blanket Policy, Wild And Woody 1948
Drooler’s Delight 1949
Puny Express, Sleep Happy, Wicket Wacky, Slingshot 6 7/8, The Redwood Sap, The Woody Woodpecker Polka, Destination Meatball 1951
Born To Peck, Stage Hoax, Woodpecker In The Rough, Scalp Treatment, The Great Who-Dood-It 1952

Chilly Willy

Chilly Willy 1953
I’m Cold 1954
The Legend Of Rockabye Point, Hot And Cold Penguin 1955
Room And Wrath 1956


Chilly Willy: 1953, 1956.

Cartune Classics

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy Of Company �B� 1941
Mother Goose On The Loose, Pigeon Patrol 1942
Crazy Mixed Up Pup, Sh-h-h-h-h-h 1955


Sh-h-h-h-h-h, Tex Avery’s last theatrical cartoon.

The DVD:

VIDEO: How does it look?
(Presented with a 1.33:1 full screen aspect ratio)

These cartoons look fantastic. Some of the older ones show a little age but nothing more than what’s to be expected.

AUDIO: How does it sound?
(Dolby Stereo)

The sound is really good too. All the music and dialogue sound great.

Extras:

Disc One

Walter, Woody And The World Of Animation: The documentary looks as if it were made some time in the late 70’s/early 80’s and is magnificent! Walter Lantz and Woody walk us through the early career and the creation of Woody Woodpecker. You also get to seem some early animation from Lantz that is must see.

Cartoonland Mysteries: In this vintage short Going Places from the 30’s, we are taken inside Walter Lantz studios to see how an Oswald The Lucky Rabbit cartoon is created from beginning to end. This is a wonderful piece of history right here.

Disc Two

Behind-The-Scenes with Walter Lantz: When The Woody Woodpecker Show went on the air in the late 50’s. It brought together three of the original theatrical cartoons along with an introductory behind-the-scenes bit with Walter Lantz that ran about 4 minutes long. These 6 bits are from episodes 1, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10. These are cute little bits that are very much directed towards children but are still worth watching.

Disc Three

The Woody Woodpecker Show TV Episode: Airing in 1964 this is a complete episode of The Woody Woodpecker Show. Interspersed with black and white footage of Walter Lantz and Woody preparing for a Halloween party, this episode contains three episodes: “Under The Counter Spy,” “Playful Pelican,” and “Spook-A-Nanny” which is the only Woody cartoon to be produced specifically for the TV show. It starts all of the classic Lantz created characters: Andy Panda, Chilly Willy, Wally Walrus, Buzz Buzzard et al. Since this show will probably never make it to DVD in it’s entirety, it’s nice to see one full episode here.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for
The Wood Woodpecker And Friends Classic Cartoon Collection
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE SHOW

10
THE VIDEO

8
THE AUDIO

8
THE EXTRAS

10
REPLAY VALUE

10
OVERALL
10
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

The Inside Pulse
If you’re an animation aficionado, then why are you even reading this? Go out and buy this right now! If you are unfamiliar with this wacky woodpecker and his friends, I highly recommend renting this and introducing yourself to a wonderful piece of animation history.