Thursday, August 16, 2007

Silence!

While the cartoons on the "Woody Woodpecker" DVD set are uneven (I think the Lantz studio's best work may have been outside their most famous series), they have a lot to offer up until the third disc, when, all of a sudden, Woody turns into a silent character. Starting with "Puny Express" and continuing through the rest of the early '50s Woody cartoons on the set, Woody never says anything, and neither does anybody else; the only "dialogue" is Woody's famous laugh.

This GAC Forums thread explains why. Lantz discovered that his cartoons weren't being shown overseas because it was too expensive to dub them into foreign languages, so for several years he made cartoons without dialogue, which could then be shown in any foreign markets. He abandoned this eventually, but it really is jarring to see a familiar character suddenly lose his voice, and I wonder what English-speaking audience thought of it.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I remember seeing those cartoons on television as a kid, and I assumed they were actually EARLIER Woody cartoons, like it was an older form of the character or something. Very peculiar.

Thad K said...

Woody starts talking again regularly in the '53 cartoons. They get chattier with each progressing season.