Woody Woodpecker was once the subject of a $100k lawsuit

"The Woody Woodpecker Song" was brought off the screen and into the courtroom in 1949.

The Everett Collection

Ho-ho-ho, ho, ho-ho-ho, ho

Oh, that's the Woody Woodpecker song

Ho-ho-ho, ho, ho-ho-ho, ho

Yeah, he's a-peckin' it all day long...

"The Woody Woodpecker Song" is pretty self-explanatory. Written in 1947, it was first used in a Woody Woodpecker short in 1948 and became one of the biggest hit singles of the year. It was the first, and thus far, the only song from an animated short to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song (which it lost to the Bob Hope flick The Paleface song "Buttons and Bows".)

However, just a year later, the song showed up somewhere even more unexpected — the courtroom.

In 1949, a lawsuit was brought in Akron, Ohio, by George Barrett and his wife. The suit alleged that their landlords had been trying to force out the couple from their apartment by, among other things, blaring "The Woody Woodpecker Song" at top volume for days at a time.

The lawsuit, according to the Akron Beacon Journal, said that the landlords had asked the Barretts to leave so that they could move into the apartment themselves. When the Barretts refused, the landlords began blocking in their automobiles, hiring local boys to leave garbage on the property... and committing warfare via Woodpecker.

The defendants "created a great clamor and noise" by playing the record "until said recording or record literally wore out," according to the lawsuit.

Even Walter Lantz, creator of Woody Woodpecker, could admit that the laugh was annoying in overkill. "People h-h-h-ha-ha at me in the market or drug store," Lantz said. "When I go for a haircut, the barber laughs. People call me up on the telephone and instead of saying hello, they laugh."

The landlords eventually cut off the Barretts' water, gas and electricity, and on top of the nonstop Woody Woodpecker Song, it finally drove them out of the apartment and into the courtroom where they sued for $10,000 in damages. In today's money, that's equivalent to over $127,000.

The judge ruled in favor of the Barretts, but to the tune of $216.50 — which included the money for their utilities being shut off, as well as $50 for "harassment". 

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44 Comments

CouchPotato19 8 months ago
What jerky dirt-bags those landlords were!! They really got off easy by an equally moronic judge!
DanDolgin 8 months ago
I remember Woody Woodpecker cartoons were shown for a time when I was child about 10 years old when Walter Lantz had a syndicated show on one of the independent TV stations in my area. It was around the mid 60's. I don't know when the cartoons were originally on the air. I didn't remember all Woody's friends' cartoons.
DanDolgin 8 months ago
Every time METV adds a new cartoon show on Saturdays Popeye is the first show to get cut in half. I thought to add in Woody they were would make Tom and Jerry 30 minutes along with Woody's show aw well. I didn't remember all Woody's friends' cartoons. I think the fans will watch Woody's Cartoons and not so much the other characters. If 2 out of the 3 original cartoon shows are going to remain a full hour it should be Popeye & Pals - and - Bugs Bunny & Friends
Robert 9 months ago
I Do Remember Woody Woodpecker When I Was
Real Young.

timothys71 9 months ago
Any Beach Boys fans out there? Their late-1960's album "Smiley Smile" includes an odd semi-instrumental piece (it does have some wordless vocals) called "Fall Breaks and Back to Winter (W. Woodpecker Symphony)", which actually features a squeeze box playing a snippet of the Woody Woodpecker theme and some "woodpecking" percussion effects.
PierreKhoury 9 months ago
Why don't you bring Huckleberry Hound & Quick Draw McGraw.
Moverfan PierreKhoury 9 months ago
Or maybe The Alvin Show (as in Alvin & The Chipmunks)--two of my favorites, Go Go Gophers and The Professor & Leonardo, were on there! (🎵Go, go, Gophers, watch 'em go, go, go..here comes the colonel with his sergeant...🎶)
Roger 9 months ago
when is sventoonie coming back on
ColleneGandy Roger 8 months ago
I hope never again. I find Sventoonie very dull.
JoeGuenther 9 months ago
My cable company Cablevision does not list Woody Woodpecker as starting on Sept 2. How do I record a show that's not listed in the dvr/cable guide?
Thahman103 JoeGuenther 9 months ago
I believe it has to be within 2 weeks for it to show on the DVR.
cperrynaples Thahman103 9 months ago
Yes, those guides aren't 100%! But sometimes there will be internal changes! For example, Frndly will NOT carry Ed Sullivan even though it runs on both MeTV & Catchy Comedy! I suspect it's a music rights issue!
LoveMETV22 cperrynaples 9 months ago
Think you summed it up with "internal" like Frndly carries Get Smart where as CC dropped it.
Also on the Weigel side (MeTV affiliates), cut in for local interest, news, I know last weekend some of the folks who watch Svengoolie were disappointed as different affiliates were airing football instead. So it's more likely the different broadcast groups and affiliates exercising their choice.
DanDolgin JoeGuenther 8 months ago
I have AT&T DirectTV stream. DirectTV is supposed to include METV, but it is not showing on my Channel list. I can watch METV using my antenna, but I can't record anything from the antenna connection.
PhilK 9 months ago
Yeah, he's a-peckin' it all day long...

That's not right.
top_cat_james_1 9 months ago
Thought this was going to be about the Mel Blanc lawsuit.
Bricat2001 9 months ago


heres one version i found as an example, i didn't know that a lot of people covered it back then
Load previous comments
RobertK cperrynaples 9 months ago
Ish Kabibble had a "Beatles Haircut" long before the Beatles!
Bricat2001 RobertK 9 months ago
the hair looks more like Dennis the menace or moe
Kramden62 Bricat2001 9 months ago
Here's the video of the Baja Marimba Band's version:
https://youtu.be/U5F5U0zABUs

(Britcat, if you know how to put that video on this page I would appreciate it. I *just don't* know how to do that. I'm sure the other readers will enjoy that video if it's posted here.)
Bricat2001 Kramden62 9 months ago


heres the Baja Marimba band version

on the METV app below the text box, there will be 3 icons, one is for emojis, the second one is for youtube photos and the third one is for photos. you just tap on the youtube icon and you can paste the URL into the box and then the video would show up in the comments section (im not sure if its different on the website or not 😅) i hope this helps😄
Peter_Falk_Fan 9 months ago
"Ha ha ha HA ha." Looks like the Barretts got the last laugh.
$216.50 is equivalent to $2,780.76 in today's money.
justjeff 9 months ago
$128,441.60 is the correct amount. I know inflation has been troubling and the dollar's buying power shrinks from year-to-year, but c'mon MeTV writers... $127 million???

Your math is as bad as your grammar and spelling!
cperrynaples justjeff 9 months ago
Yep and they think Gunsmoke ended in 1973 when we KNOW it's 1975!
cperrynaples cperrynaples 9 months ago
PS Check the copyright on the final episode! It's MCMLXXV NOT MCMLXXIII!
cperrynaples cperrynaples 9 months ago
They redid the math, but they won't admit that Gunsmoke ended in 1975 NOT 1973!
soonersjlg cperrynaples 9 months ago
I wonder what Woody the Woodpecker is replacing?
Bricat2001 soonersjlg 9 months ago
the universal cartoons not rwplacing anything, the popeye cartoons and the MGM stuff are now bundled into one, each lasting 30 min
DanDolgin soonersjlg 8 months ago
Both Popeye & Pals - and - Tom & Jerry (MGM) are cut down to 30 minutes each. The new schedule starts on Sat. Sept 2nd
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