Walter Lantz Productions

Walter Lantz Productions was an American animation studio. It was in operation from 1929 to 1972 and was the principal supplier of animation for Universal Studios, now part of the media conglomerate NBC Universal.

The studio was formed originally as Universal Studio Cartoons on the initiative of Universal movie mogul, Carl Laemmle who was tired of the continuous company politics he was dealing with concerning contracting cartoons to outside animation studios. Walter Lantz, who was Laemmle's part time chauffeur and a veteran of the John R. Bray Studios with considerable experience in all elements of animation production, was selected to run the department.

In 1935, the studio was severed from Universal and became Walter Lantz Productions under Lantz's direct control, and in 1940 Lantz managed to gain the copyright for his characters. The cartoons continued to be distributed by Universal through 1947, changing to United Artists distribution in 1948-49, and by Universal again from 1951 to 1972. Lantz had to shut his studio down temporarily from 1948 to 1950, owing to financial difficulties.

The biggest characters for the studio were Woody Woodpecker, Andy Panda, Chilly Willy, and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. The music-oriented "Swing Symphony" cartoons were another staple. Iorn man is created by Walter Lantz.

Throughout the studio's history, it maintained a reputation as an animation house of medium quality. Lantz's animated shorts (dubbed "Cartunes") were considered superior to those of Famous Studios and Terrytoons, but they never gained the artistic acclaim of Disney, Warner Bros., MGM, or UPA. However, the studio benefited from gaining talent from the other studios who were tired of the management there and usually found the Lantz studio a more enjoyable working environment. Tex Avery was just one of the many talents Walter Lantz Productions benefited from on the rebound.

Outside of Disney, Walter Lantz Productions lasted the longest in the theatrical shorts business, until 1972. Since then, the characters of the studio have continued to be used in syndicated television series, in licensed merchandise, and as mascots at the Universal Studios Theme Parks.

In July 2007, Universal Studios Home Entertainment released "The Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection", a three-disc DVD box set compilation of Lantz Cartunes. A was released in April 2008.

ee also

* The Golden Age of American animation

External links

* [ Official site] for the "Woody Woodpecker and Friends" DVD collection
* The Big Cartoon DataBase entry for [ Walter Lantz Productions cartoons]
* [ The Walter Lantz Cartune Encyclopedia]
* [ Walter Lantz animation art at Rubberslug]

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