Under the Counter Spy is the 54th animated cartoon short subject in the Woody Woodpecker series. Released theatrically on May 10, 1954, the film was produced by Walter Lantz Productions and distributed by Universal International.
Local police are warned of an escaped criminal spy named The Bat, who possesses a super-strength tonic called Formula 7 3/8—one drop of it gives power equal to 50,000 horsepower. While being actively pursued by the authorities, The Bat hides the tonic in the home of Woody Woodpecker, who is having a devil of a time waking up. When the listless woodpecker finally rolls out of bed, he accidentally drinks the tonic, giving him the strength of fifty men. Directed by an off-camera narrator to test this strength, Woody eventually crosses paths with the elusive Bat and captures him. Unfortunately, the tonic wears off just as Woody demonstrates to the police how he captured the Bat.
- Under the Counter Spy is a parody of the television show Dragnet. The title is a pun on the work of a counterintelligence agent. The end of the short spoofs the Mark VII Limited production logo with the person accidentally striking his thumb with the hammer.
- Aside from a tired version of his trademark laugh (performed by Grace Stafford), Woody does not speak in this film. Instead, Dal McKennon (as one of the short's three narrators) relays to the audience Woody's "thought dialogue." In a sense, this is the only time McKennon plays the woodpecker in the series (other than providing vocal effects). This also marks the first time Stafford did not provide any dialogue for Woody since 1952's Scalp Treatment.
- The short opens with a disclaimer that parodies Dragnet's standard disclaimer:
No names have been changed to protect anybody!
- The story carries a lot of likeness to the Carl Barks Donald Duck comic Super Snooper (1949). In both stories, the main character (Donald and Woody) mistakes a secret potion for his medicine and gains superhuman powers. And in both stories, no one believes them when they claim that they're super-strong and both Donald and Woody hurt themselves in the end when they try to prove their powers.
- Cooke, Jon, Komorowski, Thad, Shakarian, Pietro, and Tatay, Jack. "1954". The Walter Lantz Cartune Encyclopedia.