Showing posts with label Woody the woodpecker. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Woody the woodpecker. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Woody the Woodpecker is alive and well and destructive

We have heard that they are not often sighted and occur in pairs, the pileated woodpecker, the model for Woody the Woodpecker of our cartoon fame.  I remember laughing like silly when I watched Woody's antics.  Wikipedia offers this  "Woody Woodpecker cartoons were first broadcast on television in 1957 under the title The Woody Woodpecker Show, which featured Lantz cartoons bookended by new footage of Woody and live-action footage of Lantz. Woody has a motion picture star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on 7000 Hollywood Boulevard.

Woody Woodpecker is an animated cartoon character, an anthropomorphic acorn woodpecker who appeared in theatrical short films produced by the Walter Lantz animation studio and distributed by Universal Pictures. Though not the first of the screwball characters that became popular in the 1940s, Woody is perhaps the most indicative of the type.  Woody was created in 1940 by storyboard artist Ben "Bugs" Hardaway, who had previously laid the groundwork for two other screwball characters, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, at the Warner Bros. cartoon studio in the late 1930s. Woody's character and design would evolve over the years, from an insane bird with an unusually garish design to a more refined looking and acting character."

I remember the Woody Woodpecker Song, do you?   Actually he was one of my  favorite cartoons so I suppose I should honor his nemesis here in MN in our yard, but really. " In 1947, Woody got his own theme song when musicians George Tibbles and Ramey Idriss wrote "The Woody Woodpecker Song", making ample use of the character's famous laugh. Kay Kyser's 1948 recording of the song, with Harry Babbitt's laugh interrupting vocalist Gloria Wood, became one of the biggest hit singles of 1948 Other artists did covers, including Woody's original voice actor, Mel Blanc. Lantz first used "The Woody Woodpecker Song" in the 1948 short Wet Blanket Policy, and became the first and only song from an animated short subject to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Song; Lantz soon adopted the song as Woody's theme music, and due to the song's popularity, Woody Woodpecker fan clubs sprang up, theaters held "Woody" matinees, and boys got the "Woody Woodpecker" haircut.  Woody's wild days were numbered, however. In 1946, Lantz hired Disney veteran Dick Lundy to take over the direction chores for Woody's cartoons. Lundy made Woody more defensive; no longer did the bird go insane without a legitimate reason. "   Maybe our bird just  did not get the memo?

For a few weeks now, from our kitchen window, we have been watching this big guy land at the back yard bird feeder station and posts.  He is immense with a wingspan the size of a small hawk.  We will attempt to get better photos but for now, here is our destructive Woody.  Bird watchers think us  fortunate to have this guy, I am not so sure after today;  in this picture to the right of him you can see whitish stuff, that is the remnant of the post which he has just started to destroy yesterday, and has made great progress. The adjective "insane" seems to fit this character because if we don't get something done, he is going to take the  station down!  That white streak to the right of him is opened wood, on the  4   x 6 post which he has shredded away, huge shreds  and splinters of wood  are all over the ground below.   Check out the size of his beak!  He attacks with it, we have seen him go after a squirrel that he thought ventured too close. Here you see him moving the suet feeder and better exposing the destruction he has wreaked!  I can tell you I was not singing the Woody song today when I watched him, nor was I trying to mimic that Woody laugh, which I was quite good at in my childhood, driving my mother around the bend.  We have heard that people in this area disdain building homes of wood, fearing the woodpeckers will seek out pecking orders and with what he has done to the post you can imagine the fear of having your home pecked to death by a bird! 

Just so you can see for yourself his size, the right in this photo shows the bird feeder tube which is about  two feet long, it is to discourage squirrels as the seed doors shut down from their weight when they land there.  You can see Woody  is at least half the length of the tube, which  Jerry refilled after these photos.  We enjoy watching the birds and there used to be several other kinds of woodpeckers at the suet feeder but not lately. I mean would you want to take on this beak?