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Western Animation / Knock Knock (1940)

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"Guess who?"
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Knock Knock is a 1940 cartoon, released November 25 and produced and directed by Walter Lantz. While billed as an Andy Panda cartoon and starring both the eponymous cub and his father, the film is most notable as the debut of the studios biggest cartoon star, Woody Woodpecker.

The cartoon starts with Andy asking Poppa Panda if its possible to catch a bird by pouring salt on its tail, and Poppa tells him to not bother him while hes working (read: betting on horse races). Just by chance, a pecking noise starts rattling their door and bothers Poppa. After failing to find out whos knocking, he quickly discovers that the source of the noise is coming from a local woodpecker, who is pecking holes in his roof. Poppa investigates, and quickly comes face to face with a ghoulish looking woodpecker, who literally bursts onto the screen with a "Guess who?", honking Poppa's nose and cackling like a loon before he heads off to peck more holes. Poppa heads up to his roof with a shotgun, and begins to hunt after the bird, to no avail. Andy tries to help out by trying his trick of pouring salt on the woodpeckers tail, but the bird thwarts both of his attempts, first scaring Andy off, and then tricking Andy into pouring salt onto his beer mug, which he blows the foam off of into Andy's face. After a series of comedic antics, Poppa Panda catches Woody in his hat, but the bird is persistent and attempts to fly off with him in tow. Andy successfully shoots Woody out of the sky, and he and Poppa Panda crash back into the house. Woody, too busy cackling at Poppa's misfortune, is a sitting duck as Andy finally pours the salt on his tail, trapping him in place and leaving him panicking. Immediately, a van with two woodpeckers from the nuthouse shows up at the Panda residence to take Woody away. They talk about how they've after Woody for a while, and that he's crazy...but it quickly turns out that these birds are just as crazy as Woody!

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Tropes:

  • Annoying Laugh: Woody belts out his very first instance of his legendary rat-a-tat cackle after pinching Poppa Panda's nose.
  • Breakout Character: Lantz intentionally tried to invoke this with the cartoon, knowing the abrasive woodpecker would end up being a hit with audiences, and it worked, since Woody was immediately rewarded his own solo series the following year.
  • Grumpy Bear: Poppa Panda, who is rather ornery to both his son and Woody.
  • Motion Blur: Woody moves like this after the windup bird kisses him.
  • Noodle Incident: When Andy Panda realizes the source of the noise isn't coming from the door, but the roof, he tells Poppa Panda "Daddy, it's that woodpecker again!", implying that isn't the first time they've had to deal with Woody.
  • No Name Given: Despite being Woody's debut, he isn't named in the cartoon. He would get his name in his solo debut the following year.
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  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: Despite being billed as an Andy Panda cartoon, Woody is clearly the star of the picture.
  • Something Else Also Rises: Poppa Panda sends a windup toy bird (with a bomb built into it) to trick Woody, and he is so infatuated by it kissing him, that he launches off and drills through nearby trees and telephone poles with blinding speed.
  • Super Strength: Woody, despite being puny compared to the obese Poppa Panda, is able to carry the fully grown bear right into the air with him with little effort.
  • Villain Protagonist: Woody is the villain of the cartoon, pestering Andy and his dad for no reason at all.
  • Vocal Dissonance: For some reason, Woody's very first line of dialogue ("Guess Who?") is not sped up, and is spoken very calmly and low.

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