The Oscar-nominated ‘The Woody Woodpecker Song’ made its debut in “Wet Blanket Policy” (1948), and that’s why the cartoon has achieved a level of fame. But the rest of the cartoon is enjoyable; the late ‘40s Lantz shorts benefited from what you could arguably call other studios’ castoffs. Setting aside Bugs Hardaway’s flat delivery as Woody, the voice work is first rate; Buzz Buzzard was never better than when he was supplied with an evil growl by Lionel Stander.
And then there are the distinctive backgrounds of Fred Brunish. They’re far sketchier than you’d find at other studios but they always seem to work. Brunish always exhibits a good grasp of light, highlight and shade as well. Here are a few of his cityscapes from “Wet Blanket Policy.”
Brunish would occasionally work in a cross-promotion for the Lantz comics in his backgrounds. You can see it in the final drawing above. Whether he worked on the comics, I couldn’t tell you—it doesn’t appear he ever drew characters—but it wouldn’t have hurt his relationship with the boss.