Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Size Matters?

Woody Woodpecker was remarkable in the hands of Paul J. Smith. He could change size throughout the cartoon just to accomodate a gag.

Take “Tree’s a Crowd” (1958), for example. Woody’s small enough to come out of a set of teeth.

No, wait. He’s the size of a human head.

But, at the end, he’s as tall as the rear end of a bus.

Could Bugs Bunny do that? Or Daffy Duck? Hardly! But they weren’t directed by Paul J. Smith.

Bob Bentley, Les Kline and Don Patterson receive animation credits.


  1. To be fair, the disregard for Woody's size started in the last UA cartoon before the 1949 shutdown, "Drooler's Delight", where the end gag requires Woody to be small enough to fit into an ice cream scoop. Paul J. Smith just took Dick Lundy's bad idea and made it a staple of the series in the 1950s, with "After the Ball" probably being the worst example.

  2. Michigan J. Frog is the only Warner Bros. character who could do it (that I know of), in his second appearance in "Another Froggy Evening". If I understand correctly, this was due to WB executives rather than Chuck Jones, though.

  3. JL, normally I'd blame Hardaway's shoe-horn gag syndrome but Lundy could have enlarged the glass and the gag would have worked. Maybe he tried and it didn't look good in layout.

  4. Yowp -- It actually would have been a better gag if Buzz had pulled out a gianormous woodpecker-sized ice cream scoop to grab the normal-sized Woody to put into the giant glass. But I suppose Lundy may have wanted the top of the glass to be at face level with Buzz for the very last bit, so they opted to shrink the glass and the title character. Still irks me a little, because it is a good end bit to the short (and if there's one thing Ben Hardaway had problems with over the years, it was good end gags).

  5. Don't forget that Ray Abrams animated Woody in the initial scene from this short.