|Directed by||Dick Lundy|
|Produced by||Walter Lantz|
|Story by||Ben Hardaway|
|Music by||Darrell Calker|
|Animation by||Ed Love|
|Backgrounds by||Fred Brunish|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
Universal Pictures (reissue)
Drooler's Delight is the 32nd animated cartoon short subject in the Woody Woodpecker series. Released theatrically on March 25, 1949, the film was produced by Walter Lantz Productions and distributed by United Artists.
On a hot summer day, Woody hears a radio commercial for the latest thirst quencher, a 25-cent ice cream soda called the Drooler's Delight. Finding that he has exactly one quarter on him, he heads for the malt shop but draws the attention of the greedy Buzz Buzzard.
The two adversaries play a variety of sneaky tricks on each other to steal the quarter back and forth; the contest ends when Woody, disguised as a woman, leads Buzz on a chase that causes him to knock himself out against a wall. When Woody reaches the malt shop and orders his Drooler's Delight, he is surprised to find Buzz as the soda jerk. Buzz stuffs Woody into a glass and mixes him up with the ingredients. However, Woody drinks the whole thing down from inside the glass and gets the last laugh on Buzz.
End of an era
Drooler's Delight was the last Woody Woodpecker film released before the 1948-1950 shutdown, as well as the last from United Artists. It was also the final Woody short Dick Lundy completed as director, although he would direct segments of Puny Express before leaving the studio.
Drooler's Delight was also the last short to feature the second Woody design, which featured his top knot styled as a pileated woodpecker. In 1951, the next short, Puny Express (and those that followed for the next 21 years), would feature the third Woody design with a more refined top knot.
Finally, Drooler's Delight marked the swan song for Ben Hardaway as Woody's talking voice. Around the time the short was in production, Mel Blanc, who supplied Woody's laugh, filed a lawsuit against producer Walter Lantz. Though Blanc lost, he eventually settled out of court. Wanting to avoid any future retaliation from voice artists wanting to sue him, Lantz opted to find a new voice and definitive version of the laugh for his star woodpecker. As a result, Drooler's Delight became the final time that Lantz ever allowed Hardaway to voice Woody. Ironically, Hardaway and co-writer Heck Allen would never work at the Lantz studio again, although material they wrote was used in the first two 1951 Woody shorts. Hardaway soon retired, while Allen went back to MGM to restart his long collaboration with Tex Avery.
Woody's and Buzz's appearance
In Drooler's Delight Woody's top knot is pushed forward for an extended period of time in several scenes (more so than in previous entries), including the title card, thus making the character somewhat resemble his up-coming third design.
Buzz's appearance has changed too. He has become more streamlined with his "vest feathers" no longer drawn, and he does not have a five o'clock shadow on his lower jaw/beak anymore either. (The comics made at the time would follow suit, although Buzz's vest would always still be drawn.) An abridged version of Buzz from this short would be used for The New Woody Woodpecker Show.
Starting with Puny Express both characters would be redesign once again (with the comics following suit again).
Woody's size varies wildly in Drooler's Delight. In the beginning, he is "normal" height, but at the end he is small enough to be stuffed into an ice-cream glass. A similar discrepancy is seen in Bugsy and Mugsy with Bugs Bunny.
Drooler's Delight marked the final time the brown-colored wood plank background would be used (and the final time the 1944 title card animation, by Emery Hawkins, would be used as well). The following short Puny Express would use a red-colored wood plank background (with a new title card animation and the 'newer' version of Woody).
- Cooke, Jon, Komorowski, Thad, Shakarian, Pietro, and Tatay, Jack. "1949". The Walter Lantz Cartune Encyclopedia.