Walter Lantz Productions
|Formerly||Universal Cartoon Studios (1928–1972)|
|Defunct||March 10, 1972|
1984 (Universal merger)
|Fate||Folded into Universal Studios|
|Successor||Universal Cartoon Studios|
100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, California, U.S.
Paul J. Smith
|Products||Woody Woodpecker and other Walter Lantz's cartoons|
Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
Walt Lantz ' Cartunes'
The studio was originally formed as Universal Cartoon Studios on the initiative of Universal movie mogul Carl Laemmle, who was tired of the continuous company politics he was dealing with concerning contracting cartoons outside animation studios. Walter Lantz, who was Laemmle's part-time chauffeur and a veteran of the John R. Bray Studios with considerable experience in all elements of animation production, was selected to run the department.
In 1935, the studio was severed from Universal and became Walter Lantz Studio under Lantz's direct control, and in 1939, renamed to Walter Lantz Productions. Lantz managed to gain the copyright for his characters. The cartoons continued to be distributed by Universal through 1947, changing to United Artists distribution in 1947–49, and by Universal again from 1950 to 1972.
The most prominent characters for the studio were Woody Woodpecker, Andy Panda, Chilly Willy, and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. The music-oriented Swing Symphony cartoons were another successful staple but ended after swing music's popularity faded after the end of World War II.
The company was succeeded by Universal Animation Studios and Amblimation until 1997, when it was closed. After Amblimation went defunct, Universal Animation Studios carried out the legacy of both companies.