Friday, August 9, 2013

Woody's in a Peck of Trouble!

Today we have an item from the Whitman Tell-A Tale series of books. In this 1951 gem, we find Walter Lantz' Woody Woodpecker getting in and out of trouble with his usual aplomb. Beautiful artwork was a guarantee in Tell-A-Tale books, and there are no disappointments here. Artwork is supplied by Disney animators Riley Thomson and Sam Armstrong (backgrounds).


  1. I collect these Tell-A-Tale books. There's not a stinker in the bunch. I don't think I've seen this one on the inside. Thanks!

  2. KW: Yeah, there pretty special. I'll do some more at some point.

  3. Good one Mykal, I love Thomsons work! He animated on 'The Brave Little Tailor' and worked on Mickey's Sorcerer Apprentice sequence in Fantasia. He also directed one of my favorite shorts, 'The Nifty Nineties' which had just incredible animation by Fred Moore. Funny thing is, this book was published in 1951, but Thomson didn't work for Walter Lantz until way after the Disney strike that same year. By the way, the Al Coe/Les Kline animated 'Peck of trouble' Woody short from 1968 isn't as much fun and only bares some similarities with this classic book! It's a shame Thomson died at such a young age, different sources claim various dates for his death, he was either 47 or 55. I haven't been able to figure out what was the cause. Anyways, thanks for this Mykal!

    1. Incredible comment, Dave! Great info and thanks! I noticed the same thing about timing of Walter Lantz and Disney for Thomson.

  4. Edit: As we all know of course, the Disney strike was in 1941. Thomson started working for Lantz in 1957, so six years after Whitman published this Woody book.

  5. Dave: And what about those Armstrong backgrounds?

  6. Loving it! He did so many backgrounds on the early Disney classics and shorts. You can see him at work in the 1938 documentary 'How Walt Disney cartoons are made' on the making of 'Snow White':

  7. Hi there!

    You can find my Riley Thomson filmography and comicography at this link:

    As for Sam Armstrong, here are his animation credits:

    ARMSTRONG, Samuel (Sam) (3 Feb 1909-9 Jan 1976)

    Backgrounds: DISNEY 34-37 (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 37)

    Story: DISNEY 37 (Donald Duck 37-38 [Donald’s Ostrich 37, Donald’s Nephews 38])

    Sequence Director: DISNEY 38-41 (Fantasia 40 [Toccata and Fugue, Nutcracker Suite], Dumbo 41, Bambi 42)

    Layouts: WARNER BROS. 58 (Bugs Bunny 59 [Hare-Abian Nights], Pepe le Pew 59 [Really Scent])

    Re. his children's book credits, here they are:

    Alice in Wonderland (Cozy Corner Book #2074, WHITMAN, 1951) I: Samuel Armstrong, 24 pgs.

    Beany and His Magic Set (Tell-a-Tale #904, WHITMAN, 1953) S: Bob Clampett, P: Harvey Eisenberg, I: Samuel Armstrong.

    Disneyland on the Air (A Little Golden Book #D43, SIMON & SCHUSTER, 1955) S: Annie North Bedford [Jane Werner], I: Samuel Armstrong, 28 pgs.

    Donald Duck and the Mouseketeers (A Mickey Mouse Club Book #D55, SIMON & SCHUSTER, 1956) S: Annie North Bedford [Jane Werner], I: Samuel Armstrong, 24 pgs.

    Goofy and the Tiger Hunt (Tell-a-Tale #2555, WHITMAN, 1954) P: Dick Moores, C: Samuel Armstrong, 28 pgs. [Later editions numbered #2552]

    Goofy Movie Star (A Mickey Mouse Club Book #D52, 1956) S: Annie North Bedford [Jane Werner], I: Samuel Armstrong, 24 pgs.

    Jiminy Cricket, Fire Fighter (A Mickey Mouse Club Book #D50, SIMON & SCHUSTER, 1956) S: Annie North Bedford [Jane Werner], I: Samuel Armstrong, 24 pgs.

    Lady (A Little Golden Book #D42, SIMON & SCHUSTER, 1954) I: Samuel Armstrong, 28 pgs.

    Lady and the Tramp (A Little Golden Book #105-55, GOLDEN BOOKS, 1987) I: Samuel Armstrong, 24 pgs. [same contents as A Little Golden Book #D103, new cover art]

    Peter Pan (Cozy Corner Book #2415, WHITMAN, 1952) I: Samuel Armstrong, 24 pgs.

    Tom and Jerry and the Toy Circus (Tell-a-Tale #2509, WHITMAN, 1953) P: Tom Ray, C: Samuel Armstrong, 28 pgs.

    Tom and Jerry’s Merry Christmas (A Little Golden Book #197, SIMON & SCHUSTER, 1954) S: Peter Archer, P: Harvey Eisenberg, C: Samuel Armstrong, 28 pgs.

    Walt Disney’s American Folklore (WHITMAN, 1956) S: Betty Ren Wright, I: Samuel Armstrong and Sparky Moore [includes: Pecos Bill, Johnny Appleseed, Uncle Remus Stories, Casey at the Bat, Ichabod Crane, Davy Crockett, Mike Fink, and Hiawatha]

    Woody Woodpecker Shoots the Works (Tell-a-Tale #2439, WHITMAN, 1955) P: Frank McSavage, C: Sam Armstrong, 28 pgs.

    Woody Woodpecker’s Peck of Trouble (Tell-a-Tale #831, WHITMAN, 1951) S: Mabel Watts, P: Riley Thomson, C: Sam Armstrong, 28 pgs.


  8. I love these old books! The Tell-a-tales and Little Golden Books...Especially the Hanna Barbera ones by guys like Hawley Pratt, Al White and Mel Crawford. Like KW says, not a stinker in the bunch!

    I like all the cameos in this one: Oswald, Homer, Andy Panda. Even cute little Sammy Squirrel, who got a famous beat-down at the start of the first "Screwy Squirrel" cartoon.

    Looking forward to more of these!

    1. You're referring to the Sammy Squirrel from MGM. He had his own feature in the Tom & Jerry comic.

  9. Doug! So nice to hear from you. Since the response has been so positive on this Tell-A-Tale, all follow up with another! Thanks.

  10. Gorgeous stuff, Mykal! Follow up with all you want, great to see you're back!

  11. Jeff: And a pleasure to hear from you, my friend!

  12. "A Peck of Trouble" was also the title of a MARCH OF COMICS story starring Woody. No idea if they shared the same plot.


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