Woody Woodpecker through the years.note In order of appearance-top left is the original design, middle is the redesign, top right is his third design, bottom right is his fourth design, bottom left is his fifth design, and bottom middle is his sixth design.
In the late 1930s, Walter Lantz's then-prime series, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, was running out of gas. Besides the gradual decline of the series, he was facing competition from the Warner Bros. distributed cartoon studio operated by Leon Schlesinger—aka Termite Terrace, which was on the rise with stars like Daffy Duck (and eventually, Bugs Bunny), and the already widely popular Walt Disney was finding phenomenal success with his Grade-A lineup of short subjects as well as his recent feature length film. And on top of that, Lantz had just split his studio from directly working with Universal in order to remain independent from them save for distribution, leaving Lantz to have to front his own cash to make his cartoons. In order to keep his studio afloat, Walter Lantz quickly attempted to make successors to Oswald, among them being the character Andy Panda. While Andy was mildly popular, he wasn't the mega hit star Lantz needed badly. Fortunately, things were just about to get better.During this time, director, animator and writer Ben "Bugs" Hardaway, fresh off of working on Looney Tunes, arrived at Lantz's studio and began work there, and with his help, Lantz created a brand new star in an attempt to give his studio the kick in the pants it needed badly — initially appearing as the villain of the Andy Panda short Knock Knock in 1940 (with Andy himself playing a minor role compared to him), Woody Woodpecker was an instant success — being a hybrid of Classic Daffy Duck's troublemaking, eccentric and over the top persona with the wiseacre attitude of Bugs Bunny, and initially combined with the vocal talents of Mel Blanc, the character quickly earned his own series the following year, starting with 1941's "The Cracked Nut".However, the series got off to a rocky start, and it's easy to see why — in Walter Lantz and Alex Lovy's attempts to imitate the fast paced slapstick of directors like Tex Avery and Bob Clampett, they missed the mark — the gags were often very derivative and juvenile (particularly the abundance of wordplay humor), the timing was floaty and mushy, and the animation, due in part to bad inkers and lousy inbetween work, was some of the sloppiest of any cartoon from the Golden Age. Lovy's haphazard direction and even pacing often undermined many gags, and kept the series from establishing a true identity for itself—and after the first couple shorts, Mel Blanc was forced to step down from the role of the Woodpecker upon getting an exclusive contract to Warner Bros cartoons, prompting Lantz to replace him with other voice actors, eventually settling on Ben Hardaway for years. Fortunately, matters improved when Lovy quit the studio and James "Shamus" Culhane, an established Fleischer and Disney animator, took over directorial duties, and improved the shorts considerably over Lovy's—the animation and staging got notably better with the aid of animation greats such as Grim Natwick and Emery Hawkins (although the shorts were still hampered by sloppy inkers and bad inbetween work), Woody's characterization became clearer, and the gags and pacing were improved, with the series starting moving away from being a Looney Tunes clone to being more of a chase and slapstick cartoon in the vein of series like Tom and Jerry, resulting in classics like The Barber of Seville, Who's Cookin Who and Chew Chew Baby. Also of note is was Culhane often abandoning the traditional storybook like watercolor backgrounds of earlier shorts in favor of minimalist, flat colored backgrounds—a very unique concept for shorts of the time. The only genuine criticism of his works would be that Woody was more prone to acting like a Jerk Ass than he did in the past.Then the series then took another change in direction when ex-Disney veteran Dick Lundy arrived at Lantz, and starting with Bathing Buddies as his first Woody short, took over direction of the series from 1947 to 1949. While his cartoons lack the brutal comedy and richer personalities of the previous shorts, Lundy's shorts received a considerable upgrade not only in terms of animation and design, but also faster timing, resulting in classics like "Solid Ivory," "Smoked Hams", "Banquet Busters" and "Wet Blanket Policy." After the end of the 1940's and the brief shutdown and reopening of the Lantz studio between 1949 and 1951, Woody Woodpecker was gradually softened as a character to downplay his previous heckler persona and play up more childlike, heroic qualities in him instead (with in and out returns to his previous qualities, if in much subdued form). Despite these changes, the series stayed extremely popular among theatergoers.In fact, Woody was so popular among theatergoers that he managed to have a much longer track record than most theatrical cartoon series, his run lasting all the way up to 1972, straight into The Dark Age of Animation, about 30 years in work note although Lantz's studio briefly shut down in 1949 and reopened in 1950, lasting even after his competition had long since faded away and/or branched out to television — this is due to the fact that the Woody Woodpecker cartoons were made on much lower budgets than most animation studios worked with at the time to begin with, so the series had little problems adjusting to the rise of The Dark Age of Animation with rising production costs and the fallout of popularity with theatrical cartoons. It helped matters that the bird even had a hit TV series which debuted in the 1950s, guest-starring Walter Lantz in live action segments, running at the same time he was still appearing in theaters. In fact, Lantz claimed the reason he stopped making Woody shorts was not because they weren't popular, but rather because theatrical shorts had become completely unprofitable by that point!Woody also has a Motion Picture Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on 7000 Hollywood Boulevard. He's also starred in many comic books, including one story that was done by Pogo creator Walt Kelly. He's also had an occasional game tie-in.In 1999, Universal wanted to cash in the character again, so thet tried to put together an all-new show for Woody Woodpecker and his friends, called The New Woody Woodpecker Show, and aired on Fox Kids until the block's demise in 2002. Woody was voiced by Billy West, and the shorts actually had some top talents working on it, including former Ren and Stimpy staff members Bob Jacques and Mike Fontanelli. The show was rife with censorship and Executive Meddling, as the former staff members can attest to. As a result, this revival was ultimately a failure (however the show still has its fan base), barely lasting around 50 episodes, some of which weren't even aired in the US, although the entire series is on Netflix, with certain episodes on Hulu.Despite this setback, his theatrical serials are still fondly remembered by classic animation fans and he is still the official mascot of Universal Studios to this day.note Though the position was stolen from him by An American Tail's Fievel from the late 1980s into the 1990s. He seems to have earned it back, though. While the series was in a state of hiatus since then, a new CG feature length Woody Woodpecker feature, made by the studio Illumination, is stated to be in the works. And as of October 2013, animator Bill Kopp, the creator of such shows as Eek! The Cat, is helming the project as director!His character trademark has always been his unique, skull-splitting laugh, supplied by legendary voice actor Mel Blanc (and later, Lantz's own wife), which is up there with iconic sounds like the Wilhelm Scream and the Super Mario Bros. theme, known and recognized even by people who haven't even seen any of the Woody Woodpecker cartoons.Thankfully, many of the early theatrical Woody Woodpecker shorts up to the late 1950's have been compiled into a two-volume set of DVD collections called The Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection: The Walter Lantz Archive which also has several other Universal cartoon character shorts thrown in, including Andy Panda, Chilly Willy and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (the post-Disney shorts done by Walter Lantz, anyway). The DVDs are also reasonably priced, which is a great alternative to more expensive sets like "Walt Disney Treasures" and "Looney Tunes Golden Collection". And don't try to cut even more corners hoping to get one of those mediocre public domain cartoon collections to get them. The only one of Woody's shorts you'll ever find in those is "Pantry Panic", which is the only Woody Woodpecker cartoon in the public domain to date.On a side note, Lantz told an apocryphal story that he got the idea for Woody from a real woodpecker that was pestering him and his wife when they were staying in a log cabin on their honeymoon. But its obvious that this was a fabricated story to draw attention from the fact that Woody was, so to speak, "inspired" by the likes of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. Another hole in the story is that Lantz's honeymoon didn't take place until a year after Woody's debut in "Knock Knock" took place!
Knock Knock (Alex Lovy - no onscreen credit / Andy Panda cartoon): Woody's debut, where he acts as the villain of the picture, harassing Poppa and Andy Panda. While technically an Andy Panda short, the amount of screentime Woody gets in contrast to the infant cub makes this a blatant pilot for his series. The ending is ripped almost wholesale from "Daffy Duck and Egghead"—no surprise, since the storyman for this short, Ben Hardaway, was a former Looney Tunes writer/director.
The Screwdriver: Woody's second solo outing, and a prime example of his early screwball days. The short is notable for Woody getting away with harassing a police officer and winding up getting the guy thrown in a mental home—especially strange for the time period, when Karma Houdinis, not to mention disrespect of authority figures, were strictly taboo in the film industry due to The Hays Code.
Pantry Panic: Only Woody Woodpecker cartoon in the Public Domain. A particularly violent short, with a starving Woody trying to cook a vagrant cat alive (although to be fair, said cat was trying to eat HIM as well...) The short also establishes Woody's role as a Big Eater, something that would expanded upon in later shorts.
$21 a Day (Once a Month): Swing Symphony Cartune. Not a Woody Woodpecker short, but he (or a toy of him) makes a cameo with Andy Panda and Snuffy Skunk.
1942 (All cartoons directed by Alex Lovy.)
The Hollywood Matador (co-directed by Lantz - no onscreen credit): Woody's first short where he is portrayed sympathetically. Kent Rogers voices Woody here.
The Dizzy Acrobat (Lovy/Lantz/Hardaway - no onscreen credit): First Woody Woodpecker short to be nominated for the Academy Award.
Ration Bored (Schaffer/Hawkins): First short where Woody dons his White Gloves. Last short to use the original Woody Woodpecker design. The animation slowly starts improving around this time, being a tad less mushy than the earlier shorts. Woody is presented as more rationalized (no pun intended) here than before, with him actually having a motive to go about his deeds (stealing gas in a time when it was heavily rationed), a step up from the mindless heckler he was in previous outings.
1944 (All cartoons directed by James Culhane.)
The Barber of Seville: Shamus Culhane's first Woody Woodpecker short. One of The 50 Greatest Cartoons. Also the last Woody with green eyes until 1947. Woody's jerk tendencies were played up considerably from here on out, with sheer determination replacing his previously nutty, haphazard nature. He also recieved a major design overhaul in this short, doing away with his original ghoulish look in favor of a more streamlined, slicker design.
The Beach Nut: Wally Walrus' debut. Ben Hardaway becomes Woody Woodpecker's voice actor from here on out.
Ski for Two: Co-starring Wally Walrus.
1945 (All cartoons directed by James Culhane)
Chew-Chew Baby: The first of Woody's recurring cross-dressing escapades. Culhane expands on Woody's character by showing a more cunning, selfish side of him. Co-starring Wally Walrus.
Woody Dines Out
The Dippy Diplomat: Co-starring Wally Walrus.
The Loose Nut: Co-starring Wally Walrus.
Who's Cookin' Who? (Culhane): Semi-Remake of Pantry Panic. Like that short, this is a particularly violent cartoon, with some very painful gags used throughout. One of two shorts that feature a wolf antagonist that heckles Woody.
Bathing Buddies (Dick Lundy): Dick Lundy's directorial debut on the series. Co-starring Wally Walrus.
The Reckless Driver (Culhane): Similar plot to "The Screwdriver". Co-starring Wally Walrus.
Fair Weather Fiends (Culhane): Last Woody cartoon directed by Shamus Culhane. Second of two shorts with a wolf character that heckles Woody.
1947 (All cartoons directed by Dick Lundy.)
Musical Moments from Chopin: A Musical Miniature Cartune, starring both Woody Woodpecker and Andy Panda. Woody was redesigned again in this cartoon by Disney veteran Fred Moore, looking even softer than he did in the past. Second Woody cartoon to be nominated for the Academy Award.
Smoked Hams: Co-starring Wally Walrus.
The Coo Coo Bird: A rare solo Woody cartoon. This short is suspiciously similar in story to the 1941 Donald Duck short "Early to Bed".
Well Oiled: Co-starring Wally Walrus.
Solid Ivory: Solo Woody short, featuring him going up against an overprotective hen.
Woody the Giant Killer: Solo Woody short.
1948 (All cartoons directed by Dick Lundy.)
The Mad Hatter: Solo Woody short.
Banquet Busters: Co-stars Andy Panda and Wally Walrus.
Wacky-Bye Baby: Co-starring Wally Walrus.
Wet Blanket Policy: Debut of Buzz Buzzard. Academy Award nominee for Best Song, "The Woody Woodpecker Song".
Wild and Woody!
Drooler's Delight (Lundy): Last Lantz cartoon made before brief shutdown. Last short fully directed by Dick Lundy. Notable for being animated entirely by Ed Love. Co-starring Buzz Buzzard.
Destination Moon: Makes an appearance in a brief animated segment, explaining rocket propulsion. Here we get a glimpse at Woody's fourth redesign, making him punier and cuter than before.
1951 (All cartoons directed by Walter Lantz - no onscreen credit)
Puny Express (co-directed by Lundy / first appearance of the redesigned Buzz Buzzard, with reddish head, though a black Buzz Buzzard would still appear twice, in Buccaneer Woodpecker and Hot Noon (or 12 O'Clock For Sure)).
Slingshot 6 7/8
The Redwood Sap: Another remake of Pantry Panic.
The Woody Woodpecker Polka: The last theatrical cartoon appearances of Andy Panda and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, who makes a cameo. Last time Mel Blanc's original recording of the Woody Woodpecker laugh would be used. Lantz made this short in an attempt to make lightning strike twice, so to speak, by trying to replicate the success of The Woody Woodpecker Song with this shorts song. Unfortunately, it was not successful. Co-starring Wally Walrus.
Born to Peck (Lantz - no onscreen credit): One of the grimmest shorts in the series, featuring a elderly, dying Woody as he reminesces about his youth.
Stage Hoax (Lantz - no onscreen credit)
Woodpecker in the Rough (Lantz - no onscreen credit)
Scalp Treatment (Lantz - no onscreen credit)
The Great Who-Dood-It (Don Patterson)
Termites from Mars (Patterson)
What's Sweepin' (Patterson - Wally Walrus' final speaking appearance)
Buccaneer Woodpecker (Patterson)
Operation Sawdust (Patterson - Wally Walrus' final appearance in a classic-era cartoon)
Wrestling Wrecks (Patterson)
Belle Boys (Patterson)
Hypnotic Hick (Patterson): Only 3-D Woody Woodpecker cartoon.
Hot Noon (or 12 O'Clock For Sure) (Paul J. Smith)
Socko in Morocco (Patterson)
Alley to Bali (Patterson)
Under the Counter Spy (Patterson)
Hot Rod Huckster (Patterson)
Real Gone Woody (Smith): Winnie Woodpecker's sole appearance in a classic-era cartoon.
A Fine Feathered Frenzy (Patterson)
Convict Concerto (Patterson - no onscreen scredit)
Helter Shelter (Smith)
Witch Crafty (Smith)
Private Eye Pooch (Smith - Professor Dingledong's first appearance)
Bedtime Bedlam (Smith)
Square Shootin' Square (Smith - Dapper Denver Dooley's first appearance)
Bunco Busters (Smith - last cartoon with Woody designed with green eyes, and also Buzz Buzzard's last appearance until 1969's Tumble Weed Greed)
The Tree Medic (Lovy - first cartoon with Woody redesigned with black eyes, although he still has green eyes in the opening titles.)
After the Ball (Smith)
Get Lost (Smith) Knothead and Splinter's first appearances.
Chief Charlie Horse (Smith)
Woodpecker from Mars (Smith)
Calling All Cuckoos (Smith)
Niagara Fools (Smith)
Arts and Flowers (Smith)
Woody Meets Davy Crewcut (Lovy)
Red Riding Hoodlum (Smith)
Box Car Bandit (Smith)
The Unbearable Salesman (Smith)
International Woodpecker (Smith)
To Catch a Woodpecker (Lovy)
Round Trip to Mars (Smith)
Dopey Dick the Pink Whale (Smith)
Fodder and Son (Smith): Windy and Breezy's first and only Appearance in a Woody Woodpecker cartoon.
Misguided Missile (Smith)
Watch the Birdie (Lovy)
Half Empty Saddles (Smith)
His Better Elf (Smith)
Everglade Raid (Smith): Gabby Gator's first appearance, as "All. I. Gator".
Tree’s a Crowd (Smith)
Jittery Jester (Smith)
Tomcat Combat (Smith-Inspector Seward Willoughby's first appearance in a Woody Woodpecker cartoon)
Log Jammed (Smith)
Panhandle Scandal (Lovy)
Woodpecker in the Moon (Lovy)
The Tee Bird (Smith - Dapper Denver Dooley's final appearance in a Woody Woodpecker cartune)
Romp in a Swamp (Smith – Gabby Gator, identified only as "A. I. G.")
Tropes Related to the Original Theatrical Cartoons:
Abandoned Mine: Woody once found one and decided to see if there was any gold left. An outlaw named Joe claimed the mine as his by writing his name on the Abandoned Mine sign. Woody got the gold but it was fool's gold and the assays officer threatened to shoot the next one to bring it. At least Woody had a good laugh by luring Joe into being the next one.
Abhorrent Admirer: Gorgeous Gal in A Fine Feathered Frenzy, a female crow who fell in love with the Woodpecker instantly. Woody on the other hand was turned off by her weight and age despite her riches and va va vavoom voice. Gorgeous Gal flirted, kissed him many times, chased after him and tried to seduce him wearing different outfits. Finally Gorgeous Gal trapped Woody and arranged for a priest to marry them.
Abnormal Ammo: In Wild and Woody, Woody's gun appears to be powered by gasoline, of all things.
Also, a can opener on a slingshot in Slingshot 6 7/8.
Animation Bump: The early shorts by Lantz and Lovy had very sloppy, off model prone animation. The animation improved to a degree when Shamus Culhane joined the studio, but his efforts were still undermined by bad inkers and sloppy inbetween work. The animation finally got up to par when Dick Lundy took over as the director, but then started to deteriorate again after the studio's temporary shutdown in 1949. The animation quality remained quite good under Lundy's replacement, Don Patterson, but grew steadily worse and worse when Patterson left and was replaced by Paul J. Smith and the returning Alex Lovy. Surprisingly enough the animation did improve near the end of the studio's life, when Smith recruited some better animators in 1971—72, but it was really too little, too late.
Annoying Laugh: His trademark happens to be one, actually. Although it's not the only laugh he's ever used.
Woody is rarely the true villain, especally in the later episodes which is the bulk of them. In spite of what Jerry Seinfeld thinks, he was rarely the instigator. He is like Bugs Bunny in that he always got the best of his enemies, but they almost always started the confrontation somehow. Where Woody differed from Bugs a bit was tht Woody went WAY more overboard with his revenge.
Art Evolution: Woody himself went through several redesigns as the series ran its course. For example, Woody's original design became a little softer starting with Ace in the Hole. His buck teeth began to disappear, as Lantz realized this feature was extraneous. In addition, the beak and feet colors became slightly brighter and more vibrant. He also does not have a big chin anymore. "Ration Bored" also tweaked his design a little by making his hands colored white, so they would read better. His full redesign came around in the short "The Barber of Seville" This design◊ was much more streamlined (just look at the The Coo Coo Bird title card!) and cuter looking than the previous one, and Woody even got gloves! Come the late 40's, Fred Moore from Disney briefly worked at Lantz and supplied Woody with a third, more handsome take◊ on his design. Yet another redesign◊ came around by the 1950's, this time streamlining Woody's design down to it's bare essence, and making him incredibly tiny as well.
Big Eater: Woody's desire to get a quick meal (usually on the cheap) is the source for many of the plots.
Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: In an issue of an old Woody Woodpecker comic, Woody goes with his niece and nephew over to Asia to film the abominable snowman. His camera is taken by a band of thieves using the legend of the snowman to scare people into giving them gift to appease them. And then the real deal come along and scares the band away.
Bizarre and Improbable Golf Game: Played straight at the beginning of The Loose Nut, in which Woody launches a golf ball...from a very high, thin mound of land.
Blatant Lies: Lantz's phony origin story for Woody, which was for a while perceived as fact.
Bloodless Carnage: Very prevelant in Pantry Panic (in which Woody and the cat he's fighting eat a moose near the end, and its carcass is shown onscreen - lots of bones and the moose's decapitated head) and Who's Cookin Who?.
Booby Trap: Pulled in the short Drooler's Delight, in which a cross-dressing Woody allows Buzz Buzzard to reach into the top of the dress...only to have a bear trap clamp down on his hand.
Born in the Theatre: In the short "Who's Cookin' Who?", at one point where Woody is deprived of food, he asks the audience if somebody could "please go up to the lobby and get me a candy bar?"
Also, an example appeared earlier in The Screwdriver, when Woody is quizzing the cop he is harassing:
Woody: "No coaching from the audience, please!"
The Cracked Nut ended with Woody sitting in the theater in which his own cartoon is being watched, commenting on the action and annoying the people next to him ( "I like cartoons! Do you like cartoons?")
Bragging Theme Tune: The opening song from his first solo cartoon, "Woody Woodpecker" AKA "The Cracked Nut". It appeared again in The Screwdriver and Hot Rod Huckster, in both instances with the lyrics adapted to car-driving.
Breakout Character: Woody actually got his start as the antagonist of the Andy Panda short "Knock Knock". Needless to say, he had so much more personality and charisma than the actual protagonists of the short that he quickly rose in popularity and inevitably got his own series soon after, and the rest is history.
Bull Seeing Red: In the short The Hollywood Matador, the bull flies off the handle when he sees Woody's (then) red hide.
Wrestling Wrecks plays with this, when Woody gets on the ring near the end of the short to fight Bulldozer. He dons bullfighter attire and swings a red cape before him, and he starts behaving like a true bull about to ram the cape (they even superimpose a bull image over him as he's rubbing his hand against the mat!).
Butt Monkey: Wally Walrus would more often than not wind up as this, with him being at the mercy of Woody's antics.
Canon Immigrants: Knothead and Splinter, Woody's nephew and niece respectively, originally appeared in an old Woody Woodpecker comic book for several issues, but were later brought into the cartoons as time went on.
Or rather, the early prototypes of Bugs Bunny from the shorts "Porky's Hare Hunt" and "Hare-Um Scare-Um", both of which were directed by Ben Hardaway. The rabbit in the shorts even uses a laugh almost identical to Woody's. (albiet lower pitched, even though Woody was initially voiced by the same guy who voiced those bunnies.)
Buzz Buzzard, a character director Dick Lundy added to the Woody cartoons shortly after his arrival at Lantz's studio, seems to be one of Ben Buzzard, a character Dick Lundy made for the short "The Flying Jalopy", a Donald Duck cartoon Lundy worked on when he was at Disney.
Cash Cow Franchise: Woody Woodpecker was this once upon a time, enough to have many comics and merchandising tie-ins. Nowadays, you'll be lucky to even see him outside of a mascot theme park costume or his DVD re-releases.
Chekhov's Gun: In Knock Knock, it starts with Andy Panda asking his dad if you can really catch a woodpecker by pouring salt on his tail.note This is a variation of the idea that salt can be used as bait for birds. Andy does try to do this on Woody twice early in the short, but Woody is too savvy to fall for it. The third time is the charm though, when Andy catches Woody laughing on the ground, and applies a big lump of salt on his tail that traps him in place.
Chick Magnet: He's had plenty of women, particularly human women fall for him instantly. In "Belle Boys" the beautiful French actress Ga Ga Gazoo tries to kiss him on the lips the second she meets him. A Mexican woman gives him two gigantic smooches in "Hot Noon (Or 12 O'Clock For Sure)." Princess Salami of "Socco in Morroco" kisses him only moments after they've met and the cartoon ends with the two making out.
With few exceptions such as his girlfriend Winnie Woopdecker this seems to work against his favor with other female animals though, with them becoming Abhorrent Admirers. Gorgeous Gal of "A Fine Feathered Frenzy" had a lovely voice but was an overweight and elderly dowager crow. When Gorgeous met Woody Woodpecker she batted her eyelashes, gave him a giant wink and clicked her heels in excitement. She wanted to make love to him right away even though he was not interested. She even offered to bathe with him! Eventually she got him to marry her with their honeymoon starting a second later. Woody also caught the fancy of a gigantic female pink octopus in "Alley To Bali" who kissed him on the cheek twice.
In the featurette, "Janie Get Your Gun" (with Ms. Meany appearing here as Calamity Jane), near the end of it, when Woody is carrying a train attached to Calamity Jane's hat at the wedding reception, he falls into a hole and somehow even though the train isn't attached to her dress, the dress still gets pulled off. She's left in her pink bloomers/pantalets and is mortified.
In "Witch Crafty", when the witch flies on her magical broom (which is not actually her own, but one she picked up by mistake from the factory) into a tree at one point, the broom is stuck there and she falls out of her purple mini dress (which also gets stuck and is left high on the tree). As she notices the audience getting a view at her pink corset/bustier and white bloomers or pantalets, she coyly attempts to cover up by grabbing some bushes and leaves the scene.
Woody's underwear exposured in "Wet Blanket Policy".
Comes Great Insanity: If you value your life, do not, under any circumstances, give Woody the position of a barber. He will go completely nuts with the position.
Cool and Unusual Punishment: In the end of the short Ace in the Hole after Woody ejects himself and the Sergeant who is chasing him from a plane, all but completely crippling the Sarge of the military airport that employed Woody at the time, he is forced to tediously shave all of the hair off a very, very long line of horses, one by one, under the threat of a shotgun aimed at him by his sarge.
Cross-Dressing Voices: Walter Lantz's wife, Grace Stafford Lantz, succeeded Mel Blanc and Ben Hardaway as Woody's voice actor. She claimed that she slipped in a recording of her own impression of Woody's voice around the time Walter Lantz was looking for Woody's new voice.
Department of Redundancy Department: When some of the older shorts were aired on TV in the 60's via the Woody Woodpecker show, extra dialogue was dubbed over by Grace Lantz to the shorts which read clearly visible, readable signs. (i.e. In the TV cut of the short The Loan Stranger, when we first see the Sympathy Loan Company the new Woody Woodpecker dialogue reads out the large, plainly visible words on the buildings signs.) Apparently this was so younger viewers watching the cartoons back then (and possibly not literate ones) would be able to understand the signs. Fortunately, the DVD collections use the unaltered prints.
Deranged Animation: Some bits of it sneaked into Culhane's shorts. "The Loose Nut" particularly features some in the ending where Woody sets off an explosive near the construction worker.
Deus ex Machina: The end of "Born to Peck" uses this; when Woody throws himself off a cliff due to his old age, the animator steps in and hastily paints a Fountain of Youth where Woody's grave would have been, which rejuvenates Woody back to normal.
Digital Destruction: The two DVD sets suffer from some nasty DVNR damage, terrible color correction issues, as well as some digital compression issues.
Diminishing Villain Threat: Buzz Buzzard was a genuine menace in his earliest appearances, intended to be the perfect foil for Woody's antics—but in the fifties, he quickly degenerated into a hapless foe for Woody (they're even co-workers in "Operation Sawdust" and "Belle Boys").
Disaster Dominoes: The ending of "The Beach Nut", where Wally Walrus ties Woody to an anchor and throws him at the sea. Thing is, the anchor's rope was tied to the pier and, after Woody was thrown, the weight of the anchor tore up the pier plank by plank, eventually destroying even the amusement park next to it.
Disney Death: Woody deliberately pulls this at the end of The Loan Stranger in order to get the Loan Shark who was harassing him throughout the short to tear up the loan out of sheer guilt: he placed a vase on his head before the loan shark punched him, and then pretended he had broken his skull.
Disproportionate Retribution: In The Dizzy Acrobat, a lion eats Woody's hot dog when Woody is looking away. Without a second thought, Woody gets back at him by putting the lion's tail into the hot dog buns, and tricks the lion to thinking that it's another hot dog—prompting the lion to bite his own tail off.
Every Car Is a Pinto: Woody has gone through several cars over the years, his earliest one being so unstable that it sometimes either blew itself out or, exploded if it so much as bumped into something like a lamp-post—going at not even five MPH no less.
Evil vs. Evil: Woody VS. the Cat in "Pantry Panic", and Woody VS. The Wolf in "Who's Cookin Who" and "Fair Weather Fiends".
Gag Dub: A poster on YouTube, who has also done several Looney Tunes gag dubs (no longer on Youtube, however) was apparently making a gag dub series using footage of the older Woody Woodpecker cartoons. For unknown reasons, he has ceased production of them for a long time now. Here is the trailer for it: 
Getting Crap Past the Radar: "The Screwdriver" has Woody openly mocking and harassing a police officer, as well as getting away with it in the end by having the cop thrown in the nuthouse. This is odd, considering The Hays Code rules explicitly forbid Karma Houdinis, particularly when it came to mocking the law.
Green Around the Gills: In "Socko in Morocco", when Woody and Buzz Buzzard are inhaling smoke from a bong (or a hookah), their faces turn green momentarily.
Halloween Special: The original Woody Woodpecker TV show had one-in fact, it was the ONLY episode of that series that was original material-everything else was just re-airings of Woody's earlier theatrical cartoons. If you're looking to find it, it's included as an extra on Vol. 1 of the Woody Woodpecker collection mentioned earlier.
History Marches On: The aforementioned phony story told by Walter Lantz of how he got the idea for Woody Woodpecker.
Inevitable Waterfall: The subject of Niagara Fools. Woody wants to go down the falls in a barrel. A officer tries to stop him, only to repeatedly end inside the barrel and take the trip numerous times.
The most ridiculous extreme is when Woody drives a truck full of barrels to do this, and the officer calls his companions to stop him. When they arrive, Woody dumps the barrels on them, so we have 20-30 officers going down the falls.
Main officer: Now, before we proceed: is there anyone here without a barrel?
Just for Pun: Every single title of each short used this trope.
Karma Houdini: Woody would more often than not get away with a lot of the trouble he causes without getting his proper comeuppance, especially in the case of The Screwdriver. Averted on occasion, however, in early shorts like Ace in the Hole and Ski For Two, and when Lundy takes over, the world finally begins to get the better of him—especially in Smoked Hams, when Wally Walrus delivered a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to Woody via his "Tit-fer-Tat" machine. By the late 1960s this trope became more and more averted. His last cartoon ever, Bye Bye Blackboard, ended with Woody being spanked.
Knife-Throwing Act: Happens at one point in The Dizzy Acrobat, while Woody is spending the day at a circus. Per Rule of Funny, he walks by the target unaware, and goes unscathed.
Large Ham: Woody loves the chenary's taste obviously.
Leitmotif: Parts of Woody's theme tune pop up throughout the cartoons. It even survived all the way up to The New Woody Woodpecker Show.
Long Runner: Woody first appeared in 1940 and new cartoons with the character were being made until Lantz shut down his studio in 1972, with a 30 year run. (Note that there was a hiatus between 1948-1950)
Loophole Abuse: In the short Ski For Two, Woody attempts to enter a lodge owned by Wally Walrus, only to be rejected due to the lodge only allowing those with reservations to stay there. So Woody promptly gives him lots of reservations...or rather, reservations Woody has made to other resorts and lodges. Wally is immediately on to Woody's sham and tosses him out right away.
Name's the Same: "Bats in the Belfry" is a name that is shared with a Harman And Ising oneshot cartoon from the 40's. "Hassle in a Castle" is also very similar to the Scooby-Doo cartoon episode "Hassle in the Castle".
Necessarily Evil: In the beginning of Ration Bored, Woody flat out admits that he is a necessary evil.
No Fourth Wall: As mentioned at the top of this page. In that same short, as if to drive the point home, he also did it again when he literally joins the audience that was watching the short.
Noodle Incident: In International Woodpecker, when Woody is telling Knothead and Splinter about the roles woodpeckers played in history. He suddenly lets slip something about France, and decides to leave that part aside. However, this is ultimately averted when the kids get curious and insist that he tells, and Woody does so.
Off Model: Very, very frequent in the pre-Shamus Culhane and Dick Lundy shorts, and even in those shorts the artists would sometimes take liberties with how they draw the characters time and time again. "The Screwball" notably has Woody with his buck teeth in one scene, even though that part of his design had been abandoned already.
In the opening of "Smoked Hams", Woody's pillows inexplicably dissapears for a few seconds!
Once an Episode: Here's a little challenge for you—try to find an episode of Woody Woodpecker where he (or someone else in his place) does not use his trademark laugh. And no, laughing in the opening titles does not count.
Paper-Thin Disguise: Used by Woody in shorts like "The Dippy Diplomat" and "The Woody Woodpecker Polka."
The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A story portrayed Wally Walrus as a "Billionaire Bubble Gum Baron" but Wally wasn't seen doing anything related to bubble gum. In fact, aside from the newspaper article where his job was stated, we never saw anything suggesting he wasn't an Idle Rich.
Please Wake Up: Done by the loan shark at the end of The Loan Stranger when he thinks that he killed Woody with a single punch.
Punny Name: Dr. Horace N. Buggy from Woody's first solo short.
Also, the ambassador Woody disguises himself as in "The Dippy Diplomat," Ivan Awfulitch.
Red Eyes, Take Warning: In the opening of Ration Bored, Woody dons this kind of look when informs the audience he is a "necessary evil".
Remake: Pantry Panic must have been a favorite of the studio, since it got remade—twice—as Who's Cookin Who? and The Redwood Sap.
Roger Rabbit Effect: Done in some of the live action segments of The Woody Woodpecker Show. There are only a handful of times where Walter Lantz and Woody are in the same shot however, and they never directly interact.
Running Gag: Pulled in Niagara Fools, in which the officer trying to stop Woody from going over keeps going over the falls himself by accident.
Schmuck Bait: In Woody Dines Out, Woody is lured into a taxidermist's shop under the impression that it's a place that serves food. (He saw the sign outside which read We Specialize in Stuffing Birds - he just didn't realize what kind of "stuffing" was done there.)
Screwy Squirrel: One of the earliest popular characters to employ this trope, actually.
Shared Universe: With Andy Panda and other Lantz characters. Andy even co stars with Woody in one short, "Musical Moments from Chopin".
Interestingly enough, and copyright issues aside, the Woody comics written and drawn by Freddy Milton are revealed to take place in not only the same universe, but the same city as Milton's own Gnuff comics (which were ran as a backup feature in the Scandinavian Woody Woodpecker magazine). Though Woody and the Gnuffs never met, and their shared universe was never mentioned in so many words, plot threads would occasionally run through both comics, on occasion the Gnuffs' car was seen driving past in the Woody stories, and certain supporting characters — most notably the Affably Evil J. P. Phrogg — appeared in both comics.
Shout-Out: In "The Screwball", the worm that resides in an apple Woody throws screams in a manner very similar to Joe E. "Big Mouth" Brown, a famous star of the time period.
Species Surname: The trope is in full effect with names like Woody Woodpecker, Winnie Woodpecker, Wally Walrus, and Buzz Buzzard.
Stairway to Heaven: Done in the end of Wild and Woody — Buzz Buzzard has just been crushed by a large object, and he arrives at a lobby with elevators to both heaven and hell with Woody as the doorman: one opens and the angelic operator says "Going up?" and Woody forces it closed, the other opens and the demonic operator says "GOING DOWN?!" and Woody gives Buzz Buzzard a kick in the rear forcing him into the elevator. This also happened earlier, at the end of the short Ration Bored.
Stock Footage: Footage from the short Wild and Woody was later recycled for the later short Puny Express, as well as three more future shorts.
The Twelve Principles of Animation: The early cartoons superficially tried to copy them, but the animators lacked the knowledge and skills to do so, resulting in very sloppy animation. Shamus Culhane upped the ante somewhat during his tenure, and Dick Lundy brought the real deal to the shorts during his tenure.
The Voiceless: Some of the later cartoons were done entirely in pantomime.
The Worst Seat in the House: Woody had a good seat during a baseball match. Until a guy wearing a huge hat takes the seat in front of him. Woody then asks the man to take the hat off, only to learn his hair is long enough for it. Woody then used a lawnmower to get rid of it and watch the game.
Through a Face Full of Fur: In "Alley To Bali", Woody turns brown after Buzz kisses him when he thought he was kissing the Balinese seductress; a man-eating plant goes from being green to turning brown after Buzz gets trapped in it and in addition to that reaction, the plant festers or wilts, freeing him; a gray gorilla turns the same color after kissing Buzz and sinks back down a pot; and a blue eyed female octopus (whose tentacles were mistaken by Woody and Buzz for the multiple arms of another Balinese seductress) kisses both Woody and Buzz with her giant red lips. She only turns from peach to brown after kissing Buzz on the lips however.
In "A Fine Feathered Frenzy" Woody Woodpecker thinks Gorgeous Gal is attractive after she convinces him to marry her on the phone just with her sexy voice alone. Once Woody spots her on top of an escalator he realizes that Gorgeous Gal is a fat old featherless white haired widow crow desperate to remarry. She thinks the Woodpecker is cute, winks at him and is eager to begin their romance. Woody's entire body turns white in fear and he passes out. Gorgeous doesn't take the hint, acts like she just won the jackpot and takes the escalator down ready for their first kiss while the lily white Woody is still out cold.
In another short, Woody drinks some multi-colored beverage and this causes a side effect of him completely changing into rainbow colors as he hiccups.
Toothy Bird: More obvious in his early appearances when he had visible buck teeth, but he can still spawn a mean set of teeth if the situation calls for it.
Traumatic Haircut: Anytime Woody is involved as a barber, and even Woody has been on the receiving end of this occasionally.
Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Woody's original portrayal, but he got toned down as time went by, starting with Dick Lundy's rule upon taking the directorial reins that Woody cannot go crazy without being given a legitimate reason to, and being completely averted by Woody's flanderized portrayal from the 50's cartoons.
Verbal Tic: This one unnamed cop character who appears in the third Woody Woodpecker short The Screwdriver.. Said cop suffers from one particularly funny one in which he emphasizes greatly every single word he speaks at the end of each SENTENCE. (i.e. I'm lookin' for spee-ders.)
Villainous Breakdown: Woody goes through this in "Knock Knock" when Andy traps him in place by pouring salt on his tail.
Woody: "It works! They got me! Get me out of here! Let me out of here! Get me out of here, help! Help! Help!"
Villain Protagonist: Woody constantly veers in and out of this and being an Anti-Hero, depending on the short. Many shorts portrayed him as causing trouble for others around him, be it knowingly (stealing gas, heckling poppa panda by tearing holes in his roof, breaking into a hotel owned by Wally Walrus, etc.) or just out of carelessness or ignorance. However, he is rarely portrayed as malicious, and more mischievous and playful to his foes, and he rarely instigated the conflicts in the first place.
Vocal Dissonance: Occasionally, Woody's voice would inexplicably revert back to a non-sped up version of his voice.
Knock Knock: His very first line, in fact, is Mel Blanc's normal speaking voice!
Pantry Panic: The ending, when he says "Yeah, well, so am I..."
The Loan Stranger: When he fakes being killed by the Loan Shark.
This also happens with the earlier Lantz shorts that had Grace Lantz, Woody's third voice, add new dialogue to read signs.
Wartime Cartoon: Many of the 40's cartoons have references to home front conditions or the wartime rationing of that time period. Ration Bored also parodies wartime rationing that was going on with the U.S. at the time period the short was made. The title is even a pun on the Ration Board. The end of the short also asks the audience to buy war bonds. A running gag in some of these shorts is the slogan "Is this trip really necessary?"
Weaksauce Weakness: How Woody is defeated in Knock Knock; Andy Panda catches him cackling after smashing Poppa Panda through the roof, which gives him time to pour a lump of salt onto his tail, thus literally trapping him in place.
The eponymous insects from "Termites From Mars" can eat almost anything, with the sole exception of adhesive tape.
Wholesome Crossdresser: The Woody Woodpecker Polka. But that was not the first time he did it (Chew-Chew Baby) and wouldn't be the last (Stage Hoax, Real Gone Woody, Tumble Weed Greed).
With Lyrics: "The Woody Woodpecker Polka" is the classic theme "The Philadelphia Polka" with altered lyrics added. Became a minor breakout hit.
Your Size May Vary: Woody Woodpecker's height throughout the cartoons has never been very consistent.
Tropes Related to The New Woody Woodpecker Show:
Abhorrent Admirer: Woody gained these in classic cartoons like Gorgeous Gal in 'A Fine Feathered Frenzy' who was an old, fat, flirtatous featherless bird who couldn't stop trying to make love to her 'honey lamb.' There was also a gigantic boy crazy pink octopus in 'Alley to Bali' that had a tentacle around his neck and was hoping to press her gigantic red lips against his. The tradition continues in this new short 'Date With Destiny.' This time it's even worse because it's a male badger with a raspy voice that was struck with a cupid's arrow. "Hi ya buddy," said the badger who puckered his lips before the woodpecker while little pink hearts floated above his head. Woody who obviously didn't return the badger's kiss ran away into the night. The badger chased after him. He fares a little better when a speckle headed spring footed woodpecker falls for him in the short "Woody Watcher" but he was not attracted to her. She still grabs him and kisses him on the cheek several times.
Ascended Extra: Woody Woodpecker's girlfriend Winnie Woodpecker was only shown in one classic Woody Woodpecker cartoon called Real Gone Woody (And in a very one-dimensional role), but became a recurring character in the comics. It wasn't until this show that she became an active member of the series, with a personality similar in silliness to Woody, though showing a more developed sense of dignity.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: Due to Fox Kids Policies, Woody was not allowed to peck people on the head. However, they did manage to sneak in Woody pecking someones head once in a blue moon.
Never Trust a Trailer: There was a Cartoon Network trailer for The New Woody Woodpecker Show which consisted entirely of classic Woody Woodpecker cartoon clips, and thought that CN was going to put more classic toons on, a reverse of the trend which had seen classics dwindled to just Tom and Jerry. Instead, it turned out to be a modern revival of Woody.
Thirty Minutes or It's Free: One episode featured Woody trying to delay a pizza delivery so he could get the pizza for free. Despite Woody's tricks, Dooley managed to deliver it on time. The pizza was ruined but it was Woody's fault and Dooley replied that he guaranteed delivery, not satisfaction. Not having money to pay for the pizza, Woody had to work as a delivery boy to pay for the debt.