Bunco Busters

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Bunco Busters
Woody Woodpecker series
Directed by Paul J. Smith
Produced by Walter Lantz
Voices by Grace Stafford
Dal McKennon
Music by Clarence Wheeler
Animation by Robert Bentley
Herman R. Cohen
Gil Turner
Backgrounds by Art Landy
Studio Walter Lantz Productions
Distributed by Universal International
Release date(s)
  • November 21, 1955 (1955-11-21)
Color process Technicolor
Running time 6' 08"
Country United States
Language English
Preceded by Square Shootin' Square
Followed by The Tree Medic

Bunco Busters is the 64th animated cartoon short subject in the Woody Woodpecker series. Released theatrically on November 21, 1955, the film was produced by Walter Lantz Productions and distributed by Universal International.


Captain Haddock from the Bunco Squad (Dal McKennon) serves as narrator, telling the viewing audience about "The Case of the Gullible Woodpecker." Woody (Grace Stafford) inherits a fortune and Con-man Buzz Buzzard (McKennon) decides to use every trick he can to swindle him out of his new wealth (including using a phony treasure map). Woody gets it back in the end when Buzz crashes through the ceiling and lands in a filing cabinet in the office of Captain Haddock, who "closes the file" on the case.


  • The cartoon is based on the TV series Racket Squad, with Captain Haddock a parody of the show's Captain John Braddock in appearance and voice. Both characters smoke cigarettes, as Racket Squad was sponsored by Philip Morris.
  • The title Bunco Busters refers to the Bunco Squad, a specific group of policemen who investigate confidence swindles. The original "bunco" was a dishonest gambling game. It is believed "bunco" is a variant of "banco," from the Spanish word banca, a card game similar to Three-card Monte. The term evolved over time to mean any sort of swindling or fraud. Though the phrase "bunco busting" was originally used from the 1940s through the 1960s, this type of law enforcement is still common today.[citation needed]
  • Bunco Busters marked Buzz Buzzard's final appearance in a Woody theatrical "cartune" until 1969’s Tumble Weed Greed. He would eventually be replaced as Woody's main foil by Dapper Denver Dooley and Gabby Gator. This was also the final time that Woody has green eyes in the series.[1] He would not have them again until the cartoons for The New Woody Woodpecker Show appeared in 1999.


Bunco Busters contains one of the most memorable quotes in the Woody Woodpecker canon:

  • Captain Haddock: "If Woody had gone right to the police, this would never have happened." The phrase is repeated various times during the cartoon, until Woody tells him to shut up.


  1. ^ Cooke, Jon, Komorowski, Thad, Shakarian, Pietro, and Tatay, Jack. "1955". The Walter Lantz Cartune Encyclopedia.

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