Saturday, April 27, 2013

Walter Lantz's 114th Birth Anniversary

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz photo by D. Ramey Logan, 1990
contributed by WPPilot, Wikimedia Commons
                                                                                        Woody Woodpecker - The Screwball

The birthday of another birdman of sorts follows on the heels of  Audubon's birthday. Walter Lantz, creator of Woody Woodpecker, was born 114 years ago today. Probably the wildest, wackiest woodpecker ever conceived! An interesting story about the voice of WW is related in the Wikipedia article: "In 1950, Lantz held anonymous auditions. Grace, Lantz's wife, had offered to do Woody's voice; however, Lantz turned her down because Woody was a male character. Not discouraged in the least, Grace went about secretly making her own anonymous audition tape, and submitted it with the others for the studio to listen to. Not knowing whose voice was being heard, Lantz picked Grace's voice to do Woody Woodpecker. Grace supplied Woody's voice until the end of production in 1972, and also appeared in other non-Woody cartoons. At first, Grace voiced Woody without screen credit, because she thought that it would disappoint the children to know Woody Woodpecker was voiced by a woman. However, she soon came to enjoy being known as the voice of Woody Woodpecker, and allowed her name to be credited on the screen. Her version of Woody was cuter and friendlier than the manic Woody of the 1940s, and Lantz's artists redesigned the character to suit the new voice personality." I remember as a child, along with my friends, trying to imitate this unusual voice! Another interesting chapter in the annals of animation history. 

No comments:

Post a Comment