Saturday, 9 January 2016

Wally and Walter

There’s some wonderful subtle expression in Chew Chew Baby, a Walter Lantz cartoon released in early 1945. Boxoffice magazine’s review sums up the plot:
Very good. Forcibly evicted as a nonpaying guest by Wally Walrus, boarding house proprietor, Woody Woodpecker finds refuge in a discarded newspaper ad inserted by Wally. Object, matrimony. Masquerading as a siren, Woody visits Wally, greatly impressing him. However, Woody's disguise is soon discovered, and he is evicted again. "All's well that ends well." This ended well!
Woody calls Wally on the phone and pretends to be a sexy young vixen. His movements are exaggerated femininity, except when he gets indignant after Wally asks him if he’s refined.

There’s a great casual gag when Woody kisses Wally over the phone. The walrus is so distracted by what happens he unknowingly drops the phone into the soup he’s making.

Paul Smith and Grim Natwick get the rotating screen credits for animation. This is the last cartoon where Art Heinemann is credited with layouts.

Lantz acquired a reputation of being a guy who didn’t spend a lot on cartoons, Realistically, who poured money into their animation studios other than Walt Disney? It’s clear Lantz spent money on music rights and some pretty good radio talent to voice or sing in his cartoons. Most of them were never credited on screen, but the pages of Variety reveal some of them, along with the time frame of some of the Lantz productions. Lantz did his best to get his studio’s name in the trades. Note the misspelling of Jack Mather’s name. He was best known as the Cisco Kid on radio.

January 18, 1943
Purchase of Del Porter-Carl Hoefle song, 'Pass the Biscuits, Miranda,' [sic] for final Swing Symphony cartune of 1942-43 series was made Saturday by Walt Lantz Cartunes Studio. Del Porter, one of Spike Jones' City Slickers, will warble song

March 1, 1943
Edna Harris, radio's 'Aircraft Annie', will sing and yodel in the Walter Lantz cartoon, 'Pass the Biscuits, Mirandy'. Story is being edited by Ben Hardaway.

March 2, 1943
Walter Lantz Cartune Studios has signed Lou Mel Morgan trio, 'boogie-woogie' musical aggregation, for new series of cartoon shorts released via Universal. Cartoon characters will be sketched around members of the trio, with the musicians providing song and music background. First picture gets title of 'Ghost Town.'

April 8, 1943
James Culhane checks in at Universal today to become member of Walt Lantz Cartunes as a director, taking over production of new series of seven shorts.

April 9, 1943
Walter Lantz Cartunes studios is launching new series of swing symphonies for one reel releasing form via Universal. Initial subject will be 'The Boogie-Woogie Man Will Get You,' with theme song by Alberta Holiner. James Culhane directs, with Lou Mel Morgan trio signed for special musical numbers.

April 13, 1943
Cartoon producer Walter Lantz has signed songwriting team of Buddy Pepper and Inez James to write numbers for new series of cartoon swing symphonies.

June 16, 1943
Walt Lantz Cartunes has shipped out for Universal distribution two shorts carrying OWI recommendations, 'Canine Commandos' and 'Ration Bored.'

July 8, 1943
Walt Lantz Cartunes Studios will release two shorts during July, 'Pass the Biscuits, Mirandy' and 'Boogie Woogie Man Will Get You.'

July 9, 1943
Arthur Heinemann, formerly associated with Walt Disney and Leon Schlesinger, has joined Walter Lantz Cartoon Studios as art director. Louis Moss, erstwhile foreign editor at Columbia, also has affiliated himself with Lantz staff as cutter.

July 22, 1943
Navy Department has closed deal with Walt Lantz Cartunes Studios at Universal to produce a one reel tinter, 'Take Heed Mr. Tojo.' Motive behind tuner is to sell war bonds to U. S. Navy personnel.

September 9, 1943
Walt Lantz Cartunes have added extra shift of animators to turn out three sequences for Universal's Olsen and Johnson comedy, 'Crazy House.' Pieces will be live action-animated figure combo.

October 14, 1943
Walter Lantz, who just returned from Washington, where he has been in conference with Navy officials announced that he will produce a program of cartoons including a three-reel subject, 'Practical Surgery.'
Lantz has assigned Ben Hardaway to write script of 'Practical Surgery,' which Navy will use to instruct doctors on Navy requirements. Due to increased program producer has upped staff of artists and has jumped studio from 40-hour week to 48-hour week.

October 25, 1943
Walter Lantz launches 'Barber of Seville,' based on the Rossini opera Thursday as next of his 'Cartunes' for Universal release.

October 27, 1943
Walter Lantz, producer of 'Cartunes' for Universal, will make short based upon song, 'Abou Ben Boogie,' rights to which he just purchased, for his Swing Symphony series. Number, with lyrics by Tot Seymour and music by Vee Lawnhurst, will be put out by Leeds Music Publishing Co.

October 28, 1943
Grim Natwick and Don Williams have joined Walter Lantz as animators.

November 4, 1943
Dick Lundy, formerly with Walt Disney, will direct technical training films which Walter Lantz, Universal cartoon producer, is to make for the U. S. Navy.

November 16, 1943
Walter Lantz will introduce a new character which he developed in his forthcoming cartoon, 'Beach Nut.' New member of Woody Woodpecker family will be known as Wally Walrus. Tuner which Universal releases starts shooting this week.

November 17, 1943
Tot Seymour and Vee Lawnhurst cleffed “Abou Ben Boogie” for a Walter Lantz “Cartune” at Universal.

November 18, 1943
Walter Lantz announced that his production schedule has hit a new high with four Cartunes ready to start shooting within the next six weeks. Newest addition to the Lantz lineup is 'Jungle Jive,' which will be ready for cameras in two weeks and will use for the first time cutout backgrounds instead of paintings —thus lending a third dimension aspect to animated pictures. Ben Hardaway and Milt Schaefer are prepping the next in the 'Woody Woodpecker' series, 'Beach Nut' for lensing next week. This will be followed by 'Abou Ben Boogie,' next in the 'Swing Symphony' series, which bows in new animated character, 'Camelia Camel.' Fourth subject is being prepped but is as yet untitled.

November 23, 1943
Walter Lantz, Universal Cartunes producer has signed Del Porter, of Spike Jones' band to write an original tune for his next 'Swing Symphony' pic.

November 24, 1943
Walter Lantz has signed Jack Maher [sic] as the voice of Wally Walrus, new cartoon character to make debut in 'Beach Nut,' one of the cartune producer's 'Woody Woodpecker' series for Universal.

November 30, 1943
Walter Lantz has purchased 'Water Lou, Drip! Drip! Drip!' from Del Porter and Carl Hoefle for a Cartune by the same name.

December 8, 1943
Walt Lantz has added two new subjects to his production sked at Universal. They are 'Snow Bird,' which will be a member of his “Woody Woodpecker” series, and 'Fish Fry' for his 'Andy Panda' group. Lantz has signed Jack Teagarden, trombonist, for 'Pied Piper.'

December 23, 1943
Walter Lantz has completed arrangemenls to make a new series of four training films for the Navy. He has finished work on first Navy series of eight and a ninth Cartune, 'Take Heed, Mr. Togo,' was shipped yesterday. Latter short is designed to encourage purchase of war bonds by Navy personnel.

January 21, 1944
Ben Hardaway, story editor for cartoon producer Walt Lantz, replaces Kent Rogers, away to the wars, as voice of Woody Woodpecker,' one of Lantz' characters in his Universal Cartunes.

January 27, 1944
Singer Pat Kay signed by Walter Lantz for “Abou Ben Boogie.”

February 15, 1944
Walt Lantz has set "Ski For Two" and "Screwball of Fire" as titles for next two Woody Woodpecker cartunes for Universal.

February 22, 1944
Webb Smith, with Disney for past eight years, joins Walt Lantz cartoon organization at Universal as writer. First assignment will be preparation of script for an Andy Panda Cartune. [Note: Smith went to work for George Pal on September 28th].

February 29, 1944
Walt Lantz adds "Chew Chew Baby" to his Woody Woodpecker cartune series at Universal, and “Sliphorn King of Polaroo" for the Swing Symphony series, with Jack Teagarden engaged in trombone soundtrack for latter subject.

March 10, 1944
Walt Lantz has signed Lee Sweetland, radio singer, to do two numbers for his "Chew Chew Baby" Cartune.

April 28, 1944
Construction will start in about three weeks on a new building, adjacent to Walter Lantz's present studio. Cartoonist is expanding into new edifice, where he will produce nothing but subjects for the Navy. Post-war plans call for artist to hold open new spot for his straight commercial films.

May 3, 1944
Hans Conreid [sic] and Jack Mather will speak for "Woody Woodpecker."

May 19, 1944
Walt Lantz signed Dick Lundy to direct his Cartunes.

May 23, 1944
King Cole Trio inked to record for a series of Walter Lantz cartoons immediately upon return from Oakland dates first week of June.

June 15, 1944
Walt Lantz currently has eight Cartunes in production, hitting the firm's production peak for the year. Cutting is finished on "Mousie Come Home" and "Poet and Peasant." Animating are "Who's Cookin' Who?" "Reckless Driver," "Fair-weather Fiends" and "Apple Andy." Being scripted is one other Andy Panda subject as yet untitled.

July 24, 1944
Jack Teagarden signed by Walter Lantz to provide trombone soundtrack for swing symphony cartune.

April 5, 1944
Walter Lantz yesterday began scoring on three cartoons, "Beach Nut," "Ski For Two" and "Slip Horn King of Polaroo."

August 9, 1944
Production starts today on the Walt Lantz cartoon, "Mousie Come Home."

August 22, 1944
Walter Lantz currently has seven Cartunes in various stages of production for Universal, representing producer's heaviest shooting slate since first of year. Subjects in work include "Chew Chew Baby," "Woody Dines Out” and "Dippy Diplomat," "Woody” Woodpecker" Cartunes; "Sliphorn King of Polaroo," a "Swing Symphony"; "Crow Crazy" and "Mousie Come Home," Andy Panda shorts; and untitled "Woody Woodpecker" subject.

August 28, 1944
Darryl Calker scoring on three Walt Lantz cartoons, "Enemy Bacteria," "Woody Dines Out" and "Crow Crazy."

August 29, 1944
Cartoon producer Walter Lantz is mapping plans to launch special unit for the production of commercial films after the war. Subsidiary will be formed for the purpose, with Lantz already having several manufacturers lined up to make commercial films. Deals are expected to be consummated when producer goes east next month. Lantz will continue to turn out his series of Cartunes for Universal, but will have his organization available for making the commercial pictures.

September 7, 1944
Walter Lantz eyeing possibilities of establishing cartoon studios in Mexico City.

September 8, 1944
Walter Lantz has borrowed five employes from other cartoon studios, under new Cartoon Producer's Association set-up for letting men on loanout during slack periods. Nino Carbe and Howard Dunn, background animators, have come from Disney and special effects animators Joseph Creaturo, Robert Bemiller and Sidney Pillet have gone over from Metro to work on "Enemy Bacteria."

September 12, 1944
Walt Lantz plans an all-star cartoon, based upon musical composition "Poet and Peasant." Top Lantz inker characters, "Woody Woodpecker," "Andy Panda," "Miss XTC," "Wally Walrus" and "Buck Beaver" will have top chores in cartoon.

October 17, 1944
Walter Lantz, producer of Cartune shorts for Universal, has closed deal with Ash ton B. Collins, eastern advertising agent, to make onereel cartoon for nontheatrical showings and promotion of electricity for group of 260 light and power companies. Collins left for New York yesterday after contracting for the film with Lantz. Latter assigns Ben Hardaway and Milton Schaffer to prepare script, with production planned for next spring.

October 27, 1944
Darrell Calker started scoring Walt Lantz' "Woody Dines Out" yesterday, conducting 25-piece orchestra.

October 31, 1944
Spike Jones and ork inked by Walter Lantz for a cartoon in the "Swing Symphony" series, to be released through Universal.

November 13, 1944
Wart Lantz today starts scoring his Andy Panda Cartune, "Crow Crazy," with orchestra of 25 conducted by Darrell Calker.

November 30, 1944
Walt Lantz has turned his cartoon studio completely over to production of shorts for Army and Navy, with his schedule of Universal Cartunes now three months in advance. Four government films are in various stages of work and Lantz has completed six films for Universal.

December 7, 1944
Chauncy Haines and Carl Bonowitz, organists, engaged by Walter Lantz to pre-score "Enemy Bacteria."

December 8, 1944
Walter Lantz, producing cartunes for Universal release, announces plans for making series of four reel abbreviated features to combine live action with new process of clay figure animation developed by the producer and Edward Nassour. Studio space on Sunset is being acquired for the new enterprise.

December 14, 1944
Paul Sprunk, trick cameraman, added to Walt Lantz's Cartune staff, with "Lend Lease" as his first chore.

December 15, 1944
Walt Lantz will fly to Mexico City by Pan-American Airways tonight to study possibilities of producing Cartunes there.

January 5, 1945
Walter Lantz is due back today from Mexico City where he looked into feasibility of producing his Cartune shorts for Universal in Mexican capital. Producer will go into immediate huddle with Universal distribution execs. His wife, Grace Stafford, accompanied him.

January 10, 1945
Inability to get material and personnel for the essential tasks will prevent the establishment in Mexico of film cartoon plants for the duration, according to Walter Lantz, producer of the moving graphics, who is just back from three weeks in Mexico City. Lantz made a survey of the situation under tentative plans of setting up a cartoonery there in association with Bruno Pagliai, prominent businessman and president of the Mexico City race track.
It is impossible to get film across the border under present allotment restrictions, says Lantz, and the impending new U. S. War Manpower regulations will preclude getting necessary technicians and key production personnel into Mexico from here.
Mexico itself has a wealth of artistic talent which could be employed under more favorable production conditions. Celluloid, movieolas and other material necessary for cartoon processing are practically impossible to obtain, Lantz explained.
The cartoon studio which Santiago Reachi has operated in Mexico City for nearly two years folded a week ago because of difficulties in getting material. Lantz has abandoned his plans for operating a plant there until after the war.

January 18, 1945
Walter Lantz has made arrangements for use of 65-piece Santa Ana Air Corps band for recording score of his feature, "Enemy Bacteria," produced for U. S. Navy. Recording started yesterday and will continue for three days.

January 19, 1945
Del Porter signed with Walt Lantz to write lyrics for an original tune lo be used in "Reddy Kilowatt," commercial Cartune Lantz is producing for an advertising agency.

January 23, 1945
Walter Tetley will do comedy renditions of two tunes for new Walt Lantz Cartune.

February 20, 1945
Darrell Calker supervising scoring for "Dizzy Diplomat," Walt Lantz Cartune.

February 28, 1945
Walter Tetley to record voice of Andy Panda for Walt Lantz.

March 6, 1945
Walt Lantz is revising his Cartune program for 1945-46 to concentrate on Andy Panda and Woody Woodpecker films. Latter shorts will be increased from five to nine, and the Andy Panda character will be combined with the Swing Symphony pictures for an additional four reels. Switch to emphasis upon the bird and bear comes as result of a survey by E. L. McEvoy, Universal short sales distribution chief, who has been huddling here with Lantz.

March 13, 1945
Del Porter will sing "Up Jumped the Devil In a White Nightgown" for the Walter Lantz Cartune, "Apple Andy," at Universal.

March 23, 1945
Nestor Paiva's villainous vocalizing will be heard in the next Walt Lantz "Woody Woodpecker" Cartune.

March 30, 1945
Walt Lantz turned over "Enemy Bacteria" to the U. S. Navy. Film, made in Technicolor, has been at work in the Universal Cartune producer's studio for a year.

April 25, 1945
Walt Lantz is preparing "An Idle Roomer," Woody Woodpecker cartune for Technicolor shooting.

May 1, 1945
Darrell Calker preparing score for "Mousie Come Home" and "Andy Panda" for Walt Lantz.

July 5, 1945
Walter Tetley will sing a tune in Walt Lantz's cartoon, "Reddy Kilowatt."

July 13, 1945
Davie Lurie has been promoted from film editor to production manager for Walt Lantz at the latter's Cartune studio. Lantz will be free to create ideas in collaboration with the story department, while Lurie handles the physical operation of the plant.

August 7, 1945
Walter Lantz making a series of special cartoon drawings for the National Safety Council.

August 17, 1945
Walter Lantz Productions, which turns out cartoons for Universal release, plans to expand organization just as soon as additional raw stock is forthcoming and more stage space is available. Company presently has total personnel of 55, but probably will double this number at least.
Besides making entertainment pictures, company will concentrate on educational and commercial field. Lantz feels this will open up limitless new market for his product. Because of strides made by Army and Navy In producing training and show-how films, producer expects many educational and industrial groups will become conscious of value of shorts specially designed for their particular purpose, and will establish new branch in his organization to care for these needs.

September 6, 1945
Completion of the Walter Lantz cartoon studio contract with the Government for 22 training films for the Navy was announced yesterday. Finish of job was observed at studio by a two-weeks shut down while entire personnel vacationed. Work resumed yesterday.

September 13, 1945
JOHN WALKER returned from duty with the Navy to resume his chores as animator with Walt Lantz' Cartune studio.

October 4, 1945
Walter Lantz Cartunes studio is preparing a Christmas short for showing to GI's overseas with all the characters featured in the inkers. Title is "Woody Woodpecker's Xmas Follies."

October 9, 1945
Walt Lantz will produce "Woody's Birthday Party" as Cartune honoring the fifth anniversary of the inker character. Various stars of the Lantz Cartunes will appear in the short.

December 3, 1945
New York, Dec. 2.—Plan for production of a series of three-reel featurettes combining live action and Cartunes and with "big name" personalities in the cast were announced today by Walter Lantz, Universal Cartunes producer, on his arrival here from Hollywood.
Lantz said the first of the series will go into production early in 1946. In preparation are two stories, "Rip Van Winkle" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Lantz will confer here with E. L. McEvoy, Universal short subject sales manager, and also with various manufacturers and other groups interested in the educational pix field.

December 4, 1945
New York, Dec. 3.—After conferring with Universal prexy Nate Blumberg, Walter Lantz announced today he will produce 13 cartoons for company on the 1946 program. Lantz also announced he will produce four commercially-sponsored cartoons at the studio but without a Universal tie-up.

December 5, 1945
Cartoonist Walter Lantz is huddling with Universal execs at the h.o. this week on plans to make a series of three-reelers that would combine animation and live action. With the extra-long running time of most current features, Lantz believes that exhibs running dual bills would welcome such featurettes and wants an okay to use Universal talent for the live part of the pix.
Cartoonist did several such films for the Navy during the war. Present plans call for one featurette to be made with the Andrews Sisters and several others to be made with name bands, which, according to Lantz, should provide one of the first innovations in the presentation of bands via movies in some time. He will produce 13 regular cartoons to be released by U in 1946.
Lantz is also currently working on four commercially-sponsored educational cartoons in both 16mm. and 35-mm. color for distribution to schools, colleges, clubs, etc. Films have no tie-in with Universal and any exhibition in commercial theatres will be handled by the sponsor or his distributor. Backed by the electric power companies of New York, the John Deer Co., National Carbon and Shell Oil, the films contain only institutional advertising and have no out-and-out plugs for the sponsors.

Unfortunately, the whole animation industry got caught in a cost squeeze after the war. MGM and Warners eliminated units. Columbia shut down. George Pal got out of shorts. Republic’s marriage with cartoons was short and didn’t even survive the cost-saving limited animation of subcontractor Impossible Productions. Lantz was hit, too. He laid off Shamus Culhane (Culhane it was because Dick Lundy had a family to support). He tried switching distributors but never fulfilled his original contact. Then he shut down his studio for over a year at a time when his cartoons never looked better. He opened again but despite some good artists, and even the later presence of Tex Avery and Mike Maltese, things were never the same.


  1. I believe Verne Harding did the shots with Wally and Don Williams did the shots of Woody on the phone.
    Williams does another great scene of Wally dancing around his home. Not only does it feature Williams' trademarks, such as foreshortening feet and chunky characters, but the layout is also impressive, as rooms come and go without any regard to logic. It works though.

  2. Spekaing of music, it's well known (Thad Komorowski, as most of us including you Yowp know, as you psoted on his blog*, certainly knows THIS for a fact) that Darrell Calker's score wound up in the Beany and Cecil cartolon from 1960** Cecil Meets Cecilia.

    *"What About Thad" for those not familiar.

    **First shown on TV in 1962 but originally made for foreign, or at least overseas theatrical markets. Great cartoon that also makes use of a few other fam ilair cartoon themes.

    (REWIRTTEN as I found the 1944 reference referring, in the trade,to production and not, as I thought, to a mention of the actual RELEASE date, which WAS correctly stated here as 1945.)SC

  3. The Lantz animation 1944-49 was fine -- if there were any problems, it was Ben Hardaway's stories, which often couldn't figure out a strong or logical end gag and just wrapped up the short with a weak or oddball finish.

  4. "producer of the moving graphics" is a new one to me.

  5. 1/14/16 Wrote:
    Wally accidentally dropping the phone into his soup pot was always funny to me. The big lug at the time didn't know of course until later on that "Clementine" was Woody in drag out for his food supply.
    And this flirting exchange between Woody and Wally:
    "You're A Bad Boy!"
    "No, I'm Not."
    "Yes You Are".
    "No I'm Not." (and so on for a few seconds until Woody's Clementine disguise is blown.)