Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Pileated Woodpecker


For my money,  the Pileated Woodpecker is the undisputed king of the woodlands--the coolest character  in the avian kingdom.  I swear, when I watch this modern-day Pterodactyl dive low, then listen to that unique prehistoric-sounding screech, I am transported back to the Mesozoic Era, crouching in a cave, questing for fire. You just know this forest funkster has roots that reach back to Jurassic Park!

Plus plenty of fans, too!  Cartoonist Walter Lanz was so captivated, he created a character named Woody Woodpecker.  Here’s Walter in his own words:

It was during Lantz's honeymoon with actress Grace (Gracie) Stafford in 1941 at a lakeside cottage that Lantz found the inspiration for his most famous character.

Photobucket"We kept hearing this knock, knock, knock on the roof," Lantz told The Times in 1992. "And I said to Gracie, 'What the hell is that?' So I went out and looked, and here's this woodpecker drilling holes in the shingles. And we had asbestos shingles, not wood. So, to show you how smart these woodpeckers are, they'd peck a hole in the asbestos shingles and put in an acorn. A worm would develop in the acorn, and a week later the woodpecker would come back, get the acorn and fly away, letting out this noisy scream as he flew away." 

Gracie Lantz later  suggested adapting the bird as   a cartoon character.

Now isn’t that impressive!  How many birds get their very own cartoon character, comic books and strips, TV show, and website?!  Sheesh! Such a star!! Next time he flies overhead,  I’ll have to ask for an autograph!

Listen to the call of the Pileated Woodpecker: 

Animated gif appears  occurs courtesy of the worldwide web home of the Pileated Woodpecker:

Full story of the incredible Walter Lanz: http://lantz.goldenagecartoons.com/

And don't forget to visit Woody Woodpecker's wonderful fully flash-animated website:

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