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This is What A Woody Woodpecker Radio Show Would Have Sounded Like

Randy Riddle has uncovered an extremely rare bit of Hollywood cartoon history: an an audition for a children’s radio series based on Walter Lantz’s creations like Woody Woodpecker and Andy Panda.

Listen to it now:

The half-hour pilot, titled “Sally in Hollywoodland,” was recorded June 3, 1947, but apparently never went beyond this single test episode. Highlights include a creepy-sounding Woody at noraml recording speed, as well as performances by Billy Bletcher and a young June Foray. Had the show gone into production, it would have been the first time the Lantz characters appeared on air.

The show features Norma Jean Nilsson voicing the human protagonist Sally, Theodore Von Eltz as Woody Woodpecker, Billy Bletcher as Wilbur the Wolf, June Foray as Oswald the Rabbit, Sarah Brenner as Andy Panda, and Herb Lytton as Wally Walrus.

(Thanks, Eric Wilson)

  • Mike

    Actually, there was a Woody Woodpecker radio series. It was produced by Dave Cavanaugh, of Capitol Records, in association with Walter Lantz and ran on over 300 stations via the Mutual network in the 1953-54 season. According to BROADCASTING magazine, Mel Blanc starred. No recordings of this series are known to survive,

    • I’ll note that one possible reason for the viability of of the 50’s series over the 40’s attempt was that by the 50’s the broadcast of pre-recorded (“transcribed”) programs had become acceptable to the ears of sponsors and audiences, making the dodge of speeding up WW’s voice technically feasible. In 1947 live radio still ruled.

    • Don Lee

      I have a “Mutual” promo 78rpm record of Mel Blanc as Woody Woodpecker, in a special picture sleeve, containing excerpts from the show.

  • Some recordings of the Woody Woodpecker show apparently do survive; a pal gave me an audio tape of an Armed Forces Radio (I think) interview with Mel Blanc containing a portion of one. Mel is both the host (in his own voice) and Woody (speeded up,) and also does the announcing…”Mutual presents the Woody Woodpecker Show, starring Mel Blanc…Hey, that’s me!…and the famous star of Walter Lantz’s cartoons, Woody Woodpecker himself…Ha-h-h-HAAA-ha!”

  • John McWhorter

    Sara BERNER, actually, right?