Mel Blanc

Woody Woodpecker's Picnic

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Let's face it. Woody Woodpecker hath not a personality of great depth. His only interesting characteristic is his maniacal laugh, which was actually created in order to irritate Mel Blanc's middle school teachers years before the woodpecker character was even invented. Nonetheless, if anyone can bring this character to life in a new improved situation it would be Blanc, working in a recording studio in the early '60s for a series of children's albums. Some listeners may regard these projects as hack knock-offs, but, in reality, the cartoon audience had shifted to the small screen, the big studios were not putting up the animation budgets they used to, and a high-priced cartoon mouthpiece such as Blanc had almost priced himself out of the market. He threw himself into these album productions with zeal, and the results are surprising. In his cartoons, Woody Woodpecker would probably be too hyper to go on a picnic. This recording project calms him down and gives Blanc space to create havoc with four or five of his silly voices, working an entire cast of characters by himself like he used to do in the early days of his career when he did a local radio show with his wife. In a word, delightful. Take a letter opener and create a large gouge across side B. You won't regret it. It is the saga of "Sparky and the Talking Train," done by a the C-team, who was probably sent into the studio while Blanc was out to lunch.

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