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"I'm just a little old cartoonist, tryin' to make a buck."
A prominent animator and director of cartoons during The Silent Age of Animation, The Golden Age of Animation and The Dark Age of Animation, and was the creator of characters like Andy Panda, Chilly Willy, and most famous of all, Woody Woodpecker.
Incidentally, he and Walt Disney were great friends throughout their lives.
You can find more info on his cartoons, as well as a complete filmography of his work, here. An autobiography has also been published called "The Walter Lantz Story.", with a new one coming up called "Walter Lantz: Legends of Animation".
Works of Walter Lantz:
- Dinky Doodle: A series of silent comedies in the vein of Max Fleischer's "Out of the Inkwell" series and Walt Disney's Alice Comedies, starring Lantz himself alongside his characters.
- Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (1929-1943): After Oswald was taken from Disney, Lantz eventually got hold of Oswald from Charles Mintz. This character would promptly become Lantz's first successful character. He lasted for 143 shorts under Lantz's tenure, making him Lantz's second most successful star.
- Pooch the Pup (1932-1933): A short lived attempt at giving Lantz an alternative series to Oswald. Lasted for 13 shorts.
- Peterkin: A oneshot cartoon with a character designed by William Pogony.
- Cartune Classics (1934-1942, 1953-1957): A series of oneshot cartoons starring misc. characters.
- Meany, Miny and Moe (1936-1937): A 13 short series centered around a trio of monkeys that initially appeared in an Oswald short. This was one of many attempts Lantz made to find another star series.
- Nertsury Rhyme: 2 theatrical shorts from 1939.
- New Universal Cartoon (1938): Lasted for 16 shorts.
- Baby-Face Mouse
- Snuffy Skunk
- Jock and Jill: Apparently imitations of Harman and Ising's Bosko the Talk Ink Kid.
- Andy Panda (1939-1949): Lantz's successor to Oswald, only to be succeeded by Woody Woodpecker. Lasted for 24 shorts.
- Woody Woodpecker (1941-1972): Lantz's most famous character. He lasted for an impressive 195 cartoons.
- Swing Symphonies (1941-1945): A series of Animated Music Videos, themed around Boogie Woogie tunes. Lasted for 14 shorts.
- Musical Miniatures (1946-1948): An offshoot of Swing Symphonies, centered around classical music. Lasted for six shorts.
- Chilly Willy (1953-1972): Lantz's third most well known star, lasting for 50 shorts.
- Pepito Chickeeto (1957): A oneshot cartoon.
- Sugarfoot (1954): A recurring character of Lantz, managed to get two theatrical cartoons to himself.
- The Beary Family (1962-1972): Lasted for 28 shorts.
- Inspector Willoughby (1958-1965): Lasted for 17 shorts.
- Foolish Fables (1953-1955): Lasted for 3 shorts.
- Hickory, Dickory and Doc (1959-1962): Lasted for 8 shorts.
- Homer Pigeon (1942-1956): A character that popped up in three shorts.
- Lil' Eightball: A blackface character that was one of several attempts to give Lantz a new star. Only lasted for 3 shorts in 1939.
- Maggie And Sam (1955-1957): Lasted for 4 shorts.
- Maw and Paw (1953-1955): Lasted for 4 shorts.
- Windy and Breezy (1957-1959): Laste for 5 shorts.
- Cola-Cola Ads (1948-1953): Over the course of several years, Lantz cranked out 19 ads for the classic soft drink.
- The King of Jazz (1930): Lantz provided the opening segment for this movie.
- Boy Meets Dog (1938): A oneshot toothpaste ad (no kidding) based on the "Reg'lar Fellers" comic strip.
- The Amazing Recovery of Inbad The Ailer (1939): An industrial film made by Lantz for the World Fair, although it is now considered lost. An 18 page booklet with stills from the film are all that is known to exist of it today.
- Take Heed, Mr. Tojo: A Wartime Cartoon that was outsourced to Lantz by Warner Bros. It was the fourth entry of the short lived Seaman Hook' series.
- The Enemy Bacteria (1945): An instructional film made for the military.
- Reddy Made Magic (1946): An educational film featuring the Alabama Power Company character Reddy Kilowatt.
- Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein: The studio animated the opening cartoon for the film.
- Sioux City Sue (1946): Lantz contributed a brief animated segment to this otherwise live action feature.
- The Egg And I (1947): A promotional short made to promote Universal's 1947 feature The Egg And I. This short is currently lost.
- The Story of Human Energy (1947): An educational film produced by Lantz for the Corn Products Refining Company.
- Destination Moon (1950): At the request of George Pal, the films producer, Lantz contributed a brief animated segment starring the newly redesigned Woody Woodpecker, explaning rocket propulsion to the audience.
- Jungle Medics (1960): This short was made as a possible pilot for a TV series, although it did get a theatrical release.
- Space Mouse (1960): This short was the first animated appearance of a comic who was created for Lantz's comic books. Possible pilot for a TV series.
Tropes used in his works:
- Animated Anthology: Lantz's long lasting hit program The Woody Woodpecker Show.
- Art Evolution: The studio went through a fair amount of it. Their earliest work had a very rubbery, bizarre feel to it; Lantz began working with a hyper-cute style in about 1933, while the studio's other director, Bill Nolan kept with the original approach until his firing at the end of the following year, cementing Lantz's cutesy style as the one used by the studio. This lasted until 1938, when Lantz allowed a number of animators the chance of directing, leading the studio's cartoons in 1938-39 having a range of different styles. By the end of 1939 things had settled down to having Alex Lovy as the main director, and their cartoons became amateurishly drawn, misguided attempts at imitating the West-Coast animation style pioneered by Disney and Looney Tunes shorts, and suffered from mushy animation. Shamus Culhane tried to beef up the studios art quality with Disney-esque articulation, with varying degrees of success, but this was impeded by indifference from most of the artists, as well as sloppy inking and inbetween work. Dick Lundy managed to bring genuine, albeit budget constrained, Disney-quality animation to the studio during his tenure. From the 50's and onward, Lantz switched to a more conservative, stiffer art style for the rest of the studios life.
- Bowdlerize: When Lantz brought his cartoons to TV, a lot of them went through heavy editing to appease the censors--and some, like "Abou Ben Boogie" and "Scrub Me Mama with a Boogie Beat" were banned outright.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Meany, Miney and Moe, and Jock and Jill.
- Everything's Better with Penguins: Chilly Willy.
- Cute Kitten: The short "Baby Kittens".
- Long Runner: Lantz's studio was the longest surviving theatrical cartoon studio, thanks in part to Lantz being accustomed to working with low budget cartoons, and thus having no problem adjusting to the rise of the Dark Age. However, the studio finally gave up the ghost in 1972, as theatrical cartoons had become completely unprofitable by that point.
- Missing Episode: Universal claims that some of the negatives to the studios early 30's output have been lost.
- Ms. Fanservice: Some of his shorts demonstrated this, such as "Scrub Me Mama With a Boogie Beat", "Abou Ben Boogie" and "The Greatest Man in Siam".
- Off-Model: The early Lantz shorts were prone to shameless animation goofs.
- Public Domain Animation: A handful of his shorts have slipped into the Public Domain, most notably the Woody Woodpecker short "Pantry Panic", as well as "Scrub Me Mama With A Boogie Beat".
- Roger Rabbit Effect: Lantz started using this in his Dinky Doodle shorts, used again in the Oswald Rabbit short "Puppet Show", the ending of "100 Pygmies and Andy Panda", and used it again in the bridging segments of The Woody Woodpecker Show.
- Rotoscoping: Blatantly used at several points in "Just a Jitterbug".
- Stealth Pun: Later title cards in his cartoons featured Woody riding a horse, while carrying a large lance poking through the words "A Walter Lantz Production".
- Wartime Cartoon: Lantz did several of these, most notably "The Enemy Bacteria", as well as a Warner Bros. "Seaman Hook" short that was outsourced to his studio, the short being "Take Heed, Mr. Tojo". Even his mainstream theatrical shorts had some nods to the war going on, most notably "Ration Bored".