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. Most of his cartoons with Gabby Gator are some of the best cartoons of his from the later years. After being disappointed in 'Room and Bored' (despite Smedley) and particularly 'Robin Hoody Woody', 'Rocket Racket' was a nice return to the good but not great Woody Woodpecker cartoons. It's not one of Woody and Gabby's better pairings, with it being very formulaic of other Woody and Gabby cartoons and a bit repetitive in the action, but it is still better than most of the Woody Woodpecker cartoons that came out of this period.
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. He shares an enjoyable chemistry with Gabby.
Gabby has now grown on me as one of Woody's better later-years opponents. He is very funny and his personality is both interesting, being crafty but his tendency to be easily outwitted makes him not-so-clever, and endearing, and his dumbness is not overdone or too silly.
Voice acting is very good from both Grace Stafford and Daws Butler, to the extent that one cannot imagine anybody else playing these characters.
Jack Hannah's involvement has a lot to do with how successfully the cartoon comes off. His Woody Woodpecker cartoons are near-consistently among the best later cartoons, because Hannah does so well in making the characters as strong as possible, giving the cartoon a lively energy and the gags and humour are amusing, though it is formulaic and at times repetitive.
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. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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