If this character were created today – would we name him…?

Back in November of 1940, this beloved children’s cartoon character first appeared in an Andy Panda short cartoon “Knock Knock”. While Universal and Walter Lanz disagreed on the marketability of a loud, screwball, tree tapping bird, Lanz eventually won out and the rest is history. The next time this screwball character appeared was in July of 1941 in the self-titled “Woody Woodpecker”.

While I am not an expert in the evolution of slang, it is fun to note that, not one, not two, but all three parts of Woody Woodpecker‘s name all refer to the-ah same part of ah ahem… a male’s anatomy. I’m not so sure if today, we’d name a a new creation the same way. What were they thinking…anyway? Well we can forgive the “woodpecker” part, as that is after all the name of a bird, named so because it “pecks” on wood! But, adding “Woody” as a first name? This did follow the habit of the “double letter name”, so popular in cartoons at the time, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, to name a few.

Woody Woodpecker cartoons began broadcasting on television in 1957 but his first appearance in comics preceded this by more than a dozen years – New Funnies #87 published in March of 1944.

Not leaving well enough alone with the name, in 1960 Dell published issue #60 of Woody Woodpecker. The cover artist credits remain unknown but he definitely created the impression that “Woody” sure knew how to use his- umm- “parts”.

This horsie is the best ride ever!

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