Posted ByGerry O. on May 05, 2002 at 08:10:51:
In Reply to: Woody Woodpecker posted byGary on May 04, 2002 at 22:43:25:
: I hope that this isn't too far off a JB topic..
: I read today a poem crediting Gracie Lantz as the voice of Woody Woodpecker and the originator of the laugh. I always thought it was Mel Blanc. In fact, isn't that Mel doing the woody laugh on the JB show where he place golf against phil at hillcrest?
: Anyone know?
Mel was the ORIGINAL voice of Woody in the 1940's...Those are the cartoons where Woody is rather grotesque looking, with a pointed head, crazy-looking eyes, long, straight beak and stubby legs. Mel was also responsible for originating Woody's crazy laugh. Lantz' cartoons were released through Universal, and at that time Mel was also under contract to Warner Bros. (for providing voices for "Looney Toons" and "Merrie Melodies" cartoons). Warners pointed out that Mel had an EXCLUSIVE contract with them to do voices ONLY for Warner Bros. cartoons (in addition to various radio work). As a result, Mel had to stop doing Woody's voice for Lantz.
Woody's voice was taken over by various males, and there is a stretch of Woody cartoons where he hardly talks at all (IF at all)!
Eventually Woody was redesigned to look cuter and less grotesque. When this happened, Lantz found that his wife Grace's version of Woody's voice and laugh would be a good fit for the "new" Woody.
However, Mel would still manage to sneak that wild laugh on various radio shows throughout the 1940's and 50's (including Jack's).