Ration Bored is the ninth animated cartoon short subject in the Woody Woodpecker series. Released theatrically on July 26, 1943, the film was produced by Walter Lantz Productions and distributed by Universal Pictures. The film is set mostly in a salvage yard. It features Kent Rogers as the voice of Woody Woodpecker, even though he is uncredited in the film's title card.
While driving his car, Woody sees a sign that reads: "Conserve gas & tires. Is this trip really necessary?" Woody refers to himself as a "necessary evil" and speeds down the road. While cresting a hill, he runs out of gas and rolls to the gas station below.
The gas attendant asks to see Woody's "ABC" book (see below), and Woody hands him an alphabet book. Insulted, the attendant grabs a hammer and knocks Woody's car into a salvage yard. Woody decides to steal gasoline from the wrecked vehicles in the lot. He unknowingly siphons gas from a parked police car.
A cop chases Woody around the salvage yard. They get caught up in stacks of tires, and Woody ends up riding the cop like an automobile out of the yard and into a large storage unit of gasoline.
In heaven, the cop leaves the "Wing Rationing Board" with a small pair of wings. He starts chasing Woody again when he realizes that the wings Woody has received are much larger.
Walter Lantz had been criticized from the start that Woody's garish appearance was detrimental to the appeal of the burgeoning star. The addition of white gloves on Woody's hands (like those of cartoon counterparts Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny) marked the first notable attempt at giving the woodpecker a more streamlined character design. By the following film, The Barber of Seville, Woody's appearance would get a complete makeover, making Ration Bored the last Woody Woodpecker film featuring the original manic design.
- This film is a spoof on army rationing. During World War II United States citizens were asked to conserve gasoline and rubber, as well as other items and food supplies. Decisions on rationing were made by a Ration Board, hence the punning title.
- During the 1940s war ration, American automobiles were classified as either A, B, C, T, or X. This is why the attendant refers to the ration book as an ABC book.
- The card at the end of the film asks viewers to buy war bonds.
- Ration Bored would be the last Woody Woodpecker "cartune" in the series to not use a standardized opening title sequence.
- Ration Bored is also noted as a rare entry in the series where Woody gets himself killed by the time the film ends.
- Ration Bored is the only film in the Woody Woodpecker "cartune" series to be directed by storyman Milt Schaffer and animator Emery Hawkins. They filled in for the previous series directors Walter Lantz and Alex Lovy; Lantz had stopped directing films for several years and Lovy had left the studio after working on The Dizzy Acrobat to serve in the war. With the next entry, The Barber of Seville, they would be replaced by veteran animator James "Shamus" Culhane as series director.