Wet Blanket Policy is the 29th animated cartoon short subject in the Woody Woodpecker series. Released theatrically on August 20, 1948, the film was produced by Walter Lantz Productions and distributed by United Artists.
Buzz Buzzard (Lionel Stander
) is looking for a fresh sucker
to swindle. Looking off in the distance, Buzz sees happy-go-lucky Woody Woodpecker, whistling down the street. The cunning buzzard quickly assembles a makeshift insurance office, and then greases the sidewalk, causing Woody to slide directly into office. Buzz then convinces Woody that he needs an insurance policy, with the fine print clearly stating that Buzz receives a lucrative payment should Woody accidentally die. The buzzard then actively tries his best to eliminate Woody.
"The Woody Woodpecker Song" and Buzz Buzzard
Wet Blanket Policy
is notable for several debuts. First, the film was the first appearance of Woody Woodpecker's theme song, "The Woody Woodpecker Song." Written by George Tibbles
and Ramey Idriess
, the song was performed by Kay Kyser
, with Gloria Wood
providing vocals and Harry Babbitt
chiming in with Woody's trademark laugh. The song was a smash hit, selling over 250,000 records within ten days of its release. Cashing in on the unexpected popularity, Walter Lantz
hastily inserted the tune into Wet Blanket Policy
, his latest film in production as the time (which explains why the action and music do not match up for the first minute of the film). As a result of including "The Woody Woodpecker Song" in Wet Blanket Policy
, the song became the first and only tune from an animated short subject to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song
. Lantz adopted the song as Woody's theme music from then on.
Secondly, Wet Blanket Policy prominently featured Woody's new adversary, Buzz Buzzard. Buzz proved to be a more popular foil for Woody than Wally Walrus, who appeared less frequently in Woody cartoons after this film. Buzz would appear with the famous woodpecker steadily until 1955's Bunco Busters, when he was replaced by Dapper Denver Dooley. Lionel Stander provided the voice of Buzz Buzzard for his first four appearances. When Stander was blacklisted in 1951, Dal McKennon stepped in as Buzz as well as Dooley.
- Cooke, Jon, Komorowski, Thad, Shakarian, Pietro, and Tatay, Jack. " 1948". The Walter Lantz Cartune Encyclopedia.