Woody Woodpecker - July 1, 2014

It takes only one quick glance in the American Treasure Tour's Toy Box to realize that there is simply too much on sight to absorb, let alone to talk about.  The guides (most often the near-brilliant Neil, with occasional stand-ins when he is busy traveling the world panning for gold or pursuing any of a number of other eccentric interests) have to focus on only a few of the artifacts on display, which is why we at blog headquarters dedicate our time to a more in-depth look at the collection.

Back in November, we talked a little bit about Barney the Purple Dinosaur, as part of a series focusing on the stuffed animals scattered throughout the collection.  Today, we will focus on Woody Woodpecker.  Woody was "born" in 1940 by the Walter Lantz animation studios.  He starred in screwball comedies similar to characters Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck - in fact, he was originally voiced by Mel Blanc, just like his Warner Brothers counterparts.  Woody cartoons continued in production until 1972, when Lantz closed his studio, and appears only very rarely today.

QUESTION:  What is Woody Woodpecker's girlfriends' name?

a)  Wanda Woodpecker

b)  Winnie Woodpecker

c)  Cecil the Panda

d)  Winona Woodpecker

Answer Below

HISTORY TODAY:

Morse code was the only way for people to quickly communicate over long distances for decades.  For decades, it was only usable on land, using wire cables to connect people. Around 1900, radio technology allowed ships to communicate using Morse code.  In 1905, the German government adopted a code of three short "dots," three long "dashes," and three short "dots" to convey distress.  On this day three years later, Americans adopted this code - more familiarly known as "SOS" - as the universal request for help. 

Many Americans may not realize that ZIP codes have only been around for 51 years.  In fact, today is the anniversary of their introduction to the U.S. postal system.  "ZIP" is an acronym, too, standing for "Zone Improvement Plan."  They were initially created as a non-mandatory way to make mail delivery easier.  Four years later, 2nd and 3rd class mail required it, and the rest of the country soon followed suit.  Now, it's impossible to think of life without them!

BIRTHDAYS: 

Today, we celebrate the birth of French-born American film director William Wyler in 1902.  He started at the bottom, cleaning sets, and managed to move up in the industry fairly quickly.  The first film he directed was 1925's The Crook Buster.  From that forgettable beginning, he went on to make dozens of popular and award-winning movies.  His nickname was "90-Take Wyler" for the amount of times he made his actors film each scene to get it just right, Wyler got it.  His actors won many Academy Awards, and he received Best Picture awards for Mrs. Miniver in 1942, 1946's The Best Year's of Our Lives, and 1959's Ben-Hur.  

Few of the "Golden Age of Hollywood" actors remain, but one of the greats is Olivia de Havilland.  Celebrating her 98th birthday today, the star has won numerous awards for performances she gave in films starting in 1935 with A Midsummer Night's Dream and extending to 1979's The Fifth Musketeer, prior to her semi-retirement.  She also starred in Gone With the Wind and eight films opposite Errol Flynn.

QUOTE:  I married first, won the Oscar before Olivia did, and if I die first, she'll undoubtedly be livid because I beat her to it. - Joan Fontaine (de Havilland's sister, with whom she had a lifelong feud.  Fontaine passed away in 2013) 

Answer:  b)  Winnie Woodpecker.  Quite a coincidence they have the same last name!