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Walter Lantz

Woody the Woodpecker

Download a sample list of available titles and additional research resources at UCLA in PDF format.

The work of renowned animator Walter Lantz is represented at the UCLA Film & Television Archive by his films and television commercials. This collection is complemented by Lantz' professional and business papers held at UCLA's Arts-Special Collections and Music Libraries.

Walter Lantz was born into an immigrant Italian family in New Rochelle, New York. A newspaper cartoonist during his teens, he became an animator with Gregory La Cava and then worked with the animation pioneers at Bray Studios. In the late twenties he moved to Hollywood, landing a job with Universal Pictures. In 1935 he started his own production company, striking a deal with Universal to provide cartoons on a regular basis. Five years later, Walter Lantz Productions became a completely independent company. Eventually, its activities expanded to other areas such as television and the merchandising of cartoon-related products.

Lantz created many popular cartoon characters, including the bird with the trademark laugh, Woody Woodpecker. UCLA Film & Television Archive holds more than twenty-five of Walter Lantz' cartoon shorts, spanning the early 1930s to the 1960s. Many of the titles from the 1940s feature the Woody Woodpecker character.

At Arts-Special Collections the Walter Lantz Archive (1940-1979) is available for research. It consists of 350 boxes, divided into three main areas. Part I contains animation cels and models, storyboards and backgrounds. Part II is devoted to production materials, including research materials and notes, scripts, treatments, storyboard sketches, cutting continuities and publicity materials (clippings, stills). Part III is a collection of comic books featuring Walter Lantz cartoon characters.

UCLA's Music Library holds the Walter Lantz Music Collection, containing scores, parts and detail sheets for Woody Woodpecker cartoons and various commercials. It also features popular sheet music for use as source material for productions.

To arrange onsite research viewing access, please contact the Archive Research and Study Center (ARSC).

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