Ration Bored

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Ration Bored
Woody Woodpecker series
Directed by Co-directed:
Emery Hawkins
Milt Schaffer
Produced by Walter Lantz
Story by Ben Hardaway
Voices by Kent Rogers (uncredited)
Music by Darrell Calker
Animation by Bob Bentley
Additional animation:
Laverne Harding
Lester Kline
Paul J. Smith
Emery Hawkins
(all uncredited)
Backgrounds by Fred Brunish (uncredited)
Studio Walter Lantz Productions
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s)
  • July 26, 1943 (1943-07-26)
Color process Technicolor
Running time 6' 49"
Language English
Preceded by The Dizzy Acrobat
Followed by The Barber of Seville

Ration Bored is the ninth animated cartoon short subject in the Woody Woodpecker series. Released theatrically on July 26, 1943, the film was produced by Walter Lantz Productions and distributed by Universal Pictures.


While driving his car, Woody sees a sign that reads: "Conserve gas & tires. Is this trip really necessary?" Woody refers to himself as a "necessary evil" while changing his appearance briefly into a demonic version of itself with deranged eyes and speeds down the road after changing back again. While cresting a hill, he runs out of gas and rolls to the gas station below.

The gas attendant asks to see Woody's "ABC" book (see below), and Woody hands him an alphabet book. Insulted, the attendant grabs a hammer and knocks Woody's car into a salvage yard. Woody decides to steal gasoline from the wrecked vehicles in the lot. He unknowingly siphons gas from a parked police car.

A cop chases Woody around the salvage yard. They get caught up in stacks of tires, and Woody ends up riding the cop like an automobile out of the yard and into a large storage unit of gasoline Which ends up exploding and the two die.

In Heaven, the cop leaves the "Wing Rationing Board" with a small pair of wings. He starts chasing Woody again when he realizes that the wings Woody has received are much larger.

Woody's appearance[edit]

Walter Lantz had been criticized from the start that Woody's garish appearance was detrimental to the appeal of the burgeoning star. The addition of white gloves on Woody's hands (like those of cartoon counterparts Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny) marked the first notable attempt at giving the woodpecker a more streamlined character design. By the following film, The Barber of Seville, Woody's appearance would get a complete makeover, making Ration Bored the last Woody Woodpecker film featuring the original manic design.

Production notes[edit]

Ration Bored would be the last Woody Woodpecker "cartune" in the series to not use a standardized opening title sequence. It is also the only Woody Woodpecker entry to be directed by storyman Milt Schaffer and animator Emery Hawkins. They filled in for the previous series directors Walter Lantz and Alex Lovy; Lantz had stopped directing films for several years and Lovy had left the studio after working on The Dizzy Acrobat to serve in the war. With the next entry, The Barber of Seville, they would be replaced by veteran animator James "Shamus" Culhane as series director.[1]

Cultural references[edit]

Ration Bored is a spoof on army rationing. During World War II United States citizens were asked to conserve gasoline and rubber, as well as other items and food supplies. Decisions on rationing were made by a Ration Board, hence the punning title.

The gas station attendant refers to a ration book as an "ABC book". During the 1940s war ration, American automobiles were classified as either A, B, C, T, or X.

The ending title card asks viewers to buy war bonds.


  1. ^ Cooke, Jon, Komorowski, Thad, Shakarian, Pietro, and Tatay, Jack. "1943". The Walter Lantz Cartune Encyclopedia