Was very fond of Woody Woodpecker and his cartoons as a child. Still get much enjoyment out of them now as a young adult, even if there are more interesting in personality cartoon characters and better overall cartoons.
That is in no way knocking Woody, because many of his cartoons (primarily the earlier ones of the 40s to the early 50s, once Paul J. Smith took over in the late 50s onwards the cartoons became very hit and miss) are a lot of fun to watch and more and also still like him a lot as a character. This review for 'Gabby's Diner' is going to be very similarly worded to my one for the previous Woody/Gabby Gator cartoon 'Southern Fried Hospitality' but what worked so well and didn't quite work so well is exactly the same here than in that cartoon.
Here, Woody is fun and is a pest without being too obnoxious, and while he is not the insanely manic character of the 40s-early 50s efforts he is closer to that to the toned down subdued persona of most of the later cartoons.
Gabby Gator doesn't always work for me, he has not always been interesting and his dumbness can be overdone, but here he's funny and his less-than-clever personality is endearing this time and doesn't go overboard with the silliness. He works really well with Woody and one of Woody's better conflicts for a while, and distinctively and reliably voiced by Daws Butler. Grace Stafford as always does a great job.
Jack Hannah's involvement has something to do with it perhaps. He does such a great job with making the characters as strong as possible, while providing some of the funniest and most imaginatively gags of any Woody Woodpecker cartoons in a long time. While the animation is still a bit simple and rushed-looking in the drawings (low budgets and time constraints being the reasons), the colours and attention to detail are vastly improved from most Woody Woodpecker cartoons from this period being much more vibrant and meticulous.
The story is very predictable and could have done with a little more variety but the energetic pacing helps make it involving. The music is bouncy, energetic and very lushly orchestrated, not only synchronising and fitting with the action very well but enhancing it.
Overall, another surprisingly good later Woody Woodpecker cartoon. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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