Bunco Busters

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Bunco Busters
Directed byPaul J. Smith
Produced byWalter Lantz
StarringGrace Stafford
Dal McKennon
Music byClarence Wheeler
Animation byRobert Bentley
Herman R. Cohen
Gil Turner
Backgrounds byArt Landy
Color processTechnicolor
Distributed byUniversal International
Release date
  • November 21, 1955 (1955-11-21)
Running time
6' 08"
CountryUnited States

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.
  • In the "Tramp" ship from Hoboken, NJ, (full of hobos and tramps), Revive Us Again (William P. Mackay) was played instead of the usual maritime themes.


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 Archived 2008-07-23 at the Wayback Machine". The Walter Lantz Cartune Encyclopedia.

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