The far from unbearable origin of the bearskin rug
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 are a lot of fun to watch and more and also still like him a lot as a character. He is a lot of fun here and is never obnoxious or a jerk. He is suitably manic and while a pest (as he originally conceived to be) he is an annoyance to his opponent but comic joy for the viewer. Knothead and Splinter are very cute without being cloying and Charlie the bear is a character who is the butt of the laughs and takes them amusingly but one feels sorry for him too.
As to be expected from a Woody Woodpecker cartoon from the late 50s onward, 'The Unbearable Salesman' does suffer from weak animation quality, time and budget constraints started to show around this period. The drawing lacks refinement, the detail is static and simplistic and the colours are sometimes vibrant but often flat.
Woody's antics are typical, not exactly original and at times could have had sharper timing. Despite the setting, while the premise is fun and well done it is formulaic and doesn't have the inventiveness that 'Arts and Flowers', Woody from Mars' and particularly 'Niagara Fools'.
However, the music is bouncy, energetic and very lushly orchestrated, not only synchronising and fitting with the action very well but enhancing it. The whole cartoon goes at a snappy pace, especially in the second half.
There are some inventive moments here and the humorous elements are timed beautifully mostly and never less than amusing. Woody's antics, while lacking originality, are still fun to watch and have enough variety to stop them from being repetitive. The ending was a surprise and ends on an unusually sweet and soft note.
Voice acting from Daws Butler, June Foray and Grace Stafford is very fine. Stafford understands Woody more than her predecessors (even Mel Blanc) and although there is good reason why she was the most used of the voice actors to play the character she deserved much more credit than she did. Butler's voice for the bear is very distinctive, and Foray sounds adorable.
In conclusion, fun stuff and far from unbearable. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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