|Fig. 1. Walter Lantz|
Winsor McCay's cartoon short, Gertie the Dinosaur, was the first animation Lantz had ever seen, earning his first break from a customer named Fred Kafka who financed Lantz's studies at the Art Students League. By 16, he was working in the animation department, under Gregory La Cava. He had a hand in the series Jerry On The Job, moving onto directing, animating and starring in his first cartoon series, Dinky Doodle. Walter Lantz's dedication and commitment to art was demonstrated at an early age, with his talent recognised at his job placement, where his art was displayed on the bulletin board.
It became known that, 'The cute, forest creatures represent the general style of the Lantz studio since 1935. They oppose the nuttiness of Woody and the doctor, both screwball characters who manifest the kind of humor that would dominate the Lantz universe throughout the 1940s. The energy of the cartoon was only enhanced by the jazzy musical score of Lantz's newly-acquired musical director Darrell Calker and the wacky voice characterizations of Mel Blanc. In theaters, the short proved to be a major hit with audiences and it cemented Woody Woodpecker as an established star at the Lantz studio' (Unknown, 2011).
Brian Lemay said, noting on his influence to the community, 'Lantz's typical output was serviceable but uninspired. He followed Walt Disney's lead and hosted "The Woody Woodpecker Show" on TV in the late 1950s, showing his young viewers how cartoons were made in fascinating weekly installments' (Lemay, 2011).
Walter Lantz received 4 'outstanding' awards throughout his life; receiving honour from Los Angeles City Council; receiving the Annie Award; a special Academy Award and a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, in chronological order, representing his own work, ability and dedication to art. The special Academy Award, honoured his influence globally which was displayed in his 'unique animated motion pictures' and demonstrates the level of contribution to 2D art.