Born to Peck is the 39th animated cartoon short subject in the Woody Woodpecker series. Released theatrically on February 25, 1952, the film was produced by Walter Lantz Productions and distributed by Universal International.
Woody is an elderly woodpecker who tries in vain to peck away at a tree. Unfortunately, his best years are behind him, and his beak is weak. Depressed, he begins to reminisce about his younger days when he was a little bird in the care of his father. It becomes apparent that from Day 1, Woody was a mischievous, rascally bird who made his hapless father's life a living nightmare.
After spending several minutes recalling his youth, a despondent Woody jumps over the side of a cliff in an effort to commit suicide. At the last minute, an offscreen cartoonist breaks the fourth wall, erases the grave Woody was bound for, and replaces it with a Fountain of Youth. Rejuvenated, Woody returns to the forest, ready to peck away at his first tree in years. Unfortunately, he chooses a petrified tree, which knocks him cold upon impact.
- There is no director's credit for this film. Lantz himself has claimed to have directed Born to Peck.
- Beginning with Born to Peck, the 1951 big band rendition of the Woody Woodpecker theme song was modified into a more jazzier version; this version would be used until The Great Who-Dood-It, when the theme (and intro) was shortened.
- There is no dialogue in this film. The vocal effects were recycled recordings archived from Wicket Wacky, Slingshot 6 7/8 and The Redwood Sap.
- Cooke, Jon, Komorowski, Thad, Shakarian, Pietro, and Tatay, Jack. "1952". The Walter Lantz Cartune Encyclopedia.