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Happy Birthday, Bugs & Elmer
July 28, 2010 4:14 PM   Subscribe

Bugs Bunny just turned 70. So did Elmer Fudd. Their simultaneous debut came 70 years ago yesterday, in A Wild Hare. Be vewwy, vewwy quiet.... Previously: Tex Avery
posted by chavenet (59 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
* dons dress, kisses chavenet on the mouth, burrows away towards Albaquoique *
posted by everichon at 4:25 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]




Does anyone know how the project to update Bugs Bunny is going? I understand that part of the redo is to make Bugs more PC and less violent. Whatever - I love old Bugs (and old Tom and Jerry - though the black maid definitely needed a redo). Happy Birthday Bugs!
posted by helmutdog at 4:27 PM on July 28, 2010


And like Al Pacino, he won his only Oscar for one of his worst pieces of work.
posted by Joe Beese at 4:30 PM on July 28, 2010


Does anyone know how the project to update Bugs Bunny is going?

From what I have read, Bugs ain't looking all that hot for 70.
posted by hippybear at 4:34 PM on July 28, 2010


I never really liked Bugs Bunny. He was too much of a narcissistic sadist for me.

In the annals of cartoon rabbits, however, no one ranks worst than the Trix Rabbit. Walking around naked, unannounced into childrens' treehouses or school cafeterias, playing "games" to get a nibble of their tasty treats. Fuck that guy!
posted by Christ, what an asshole at 4:38 PM on July 28, 2010


I hate that short. Bugs Bunny is an ASSHOLE.
posted by granted at 4:39 PM on July 28, 2010


I love that short because Bugs Bunny is an asshole! :D
posted by brundlefly at 4:44 PM on July 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


The Old Grey Hare
posted by Mblue at 4:51 PM on July 28, 2010


........magic helmet.
posted by The Whelk at 4:53 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love how gingerly Bugs arranges Elmer's butt just before he kicks it and dances away en pointe. As great as Tex Avery's physical comedy was, my favorite iterations of Bugs Bunny are really the Chuck Jones cartoons, in particular the trifecta of Duck Season/Wabbit Season cartoons, and especially Rabbit Seasoning.

I don't know why anyone would try and either update or replicate the characters in these cartoons. They're such perfect engines of comic invention, that to change them in the slightest can only fail miserably.

Happy Birthday Bugs Bunny.
posted by wabbittwax at 4:58 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I hate that short. Bugs Bunny is an ASSHOLE.

He didn't give Elmer anything he didn't have coming. However, I constantly get this feeling about Jerry in Tom and Jerry cartoons. Half the time Tom's minding his own business and Jerry is like "Oh, ha ha, I'm going to drop a bowling ball on this stupid cat." WELL SCREW YOU JERRY YOU SOCIOPATHIC RODENT.

I liked how the opening lines for the two became their catchphrases. Never would have predicted that.
posted by Bobicus at 4:59 PM on July 28, 2010 [7 favorites]




I always loved the incongruity that a furry woodland creature had a thick New York accent (Blanc said it was a cross between Brooklyn and Bronx accents).
posted by octothorpe at 5:09 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


What I remember getting me most, as a kid, in Rabbit of Seville, was the dainty little "bush bush" of the beauty clay off Fudd's face in time to the music. Lookit that hand animation! Little subtle stuff like that makes the texture of the old WB shorts shine, and missing from a lot of modern animation.
posted by The Whelk at 5:14 PM on July 28, 2010


But this is the best Bugs cartoon and he's barely in it.

What a way to run a railroad!
posted by Turtles all the way down at 5:21 PM on July 28, 2010


Previously self-link, but rather relevant I think.
posted by cthuljew at 5:24 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Every morning my son watches The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the Disney Channel and I listen in from the kitchen. It's benign and banal and every morning I wonder what happened to Donald Duck. Wasn't Donald, and I know that my mind has a tendency to muddle him with Daffy, the unpredictable one? Wasn't he the impetus for a bunch of the Mickey misadventures in the 60s and 70s? The one who had the unrestrained ego that forced him to inject himself in the Mickey Mouse club theme ("Mickey Mouse, DONALD DUCK!, Mickey Mouse, DONALD DUCK!")? Now all the Mouse characters are the same, interchangeable little units devoid of any distinguishing personal quirks, all of them overly-polished hollow nostalgia-bearing statues with little relation to their previous incarnations.

The opening of A Wild Hare, with Elmer Fudd wandering through the forest with a shotgun, a gun with later ends up in Bugs' face, seems like it has appeared from an alternate reality, and I say this as someone who grew up a Looney Toons fan. I'm actually shocked these days when I see the gunplay in the old WB cartoons. And then I'm angry at myself for being shocked because, somehow, this generation of squeaky clean kids entertainment has wormed its way into my brain and set up some kind of moral high ground alarm that fires off whenever anything offensive appears. It screams, "WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN." Sometimes it fires off when the kid isn't around and I'm watching prime time cable television.

And writing this, I realize, that I need to say fuck it, buy some of the old WB classics on DVD and sit down with my kid and watch some cartoons with sharp wit, actual character and proper mayhem.
posted by eyeballkid at 5:25 PM on July 28, 2010 [18 favorites]


Does anyone know how the project to update Bugs Bunny is going?

Thank God they've abandoned Loonatics. If you don't remember it, they tried to make the old WB characters XTREME!!!
posted by Sangermaine at 5:32 PM on July 28, 2010


...burrows away towards Albaquoique *

He was always headed to Pismo Beach, but took a wrong turn at Albaquoique. So, I guess you are right that he burrowed toward Albuquerque, but his ultimate destination was Pismo Beach.

/cartoon pendant
posted by marxchivist at 5:37 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hillbilly Hare. My favorite.
posted by wv kay in ga at 5:47 PM on July 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


He was always headed to Pismo Beach

except when he was going to Miami.
posted by Mblue at 5:47 PM on July 28, 2010


He also once mentioned PERTH AMBOY which made me LOOSE IT as a kid cause I LIVED THERE OMG.
posted by The Whelk at 5:54 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Daffy Duck decides he'd rather go back to Perth Amboy than hang around the Himalayas in "The Abominable Snow Rabbit"... I can't find a good quality clip of that though.
posted by wabbittwax at 6:08 PM on July 28, 2010


Can we get on with the Woody Woodpecker hate, now? Fuck me was that ever the bottom of the afterschool animated barrel.
posted by everichon at 6:34 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


And Merle Reagle's Sunday crossword was a tribute to Bugs. The long answers were pretty funny: Type of shoes Bug's prefers? Hutch puppies.
...never mind...
posted by dbmcd at 6:36 PM on July 28, 2010


So, if my math is correct, that means there's only 39,930 years to go before the copyright expires.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:37 PM on July 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


In "A Connecticut Rabbit in King Arthur's Court", there's a moment where Bugs becomes aware that there's a big mean scary dragon galumphing about and he remarks, "Something wicked this way went!"

Well, I'd just read the Ray Bradbury novel and I was blown away to see the book referenced in a Looney Tunes cartoon. I was so proud that I picked up on the reference: reading is awesome! You learn stuff!

Then when I read Macbeth, my head exploded all over again. OMG, Bugs was quoting SHAKESPEARE!

The thrill of making those connections was really formative for me. I wish modern cartoons had half that sophistication.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:38 PM on July 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


Bugs and Elmer are depression babies?

I wouldn't have guessed, but I suppose it makes sense. Happy Birthday!
posted by vhsiv at 6:40 PM on July 28, 2010


Remember when he tried to take that penguin home, and only after arrival at the south pole did he loin dat da penguin was from Hoboken?
posted by Mister_A at 6:41 PM on July 28, 2010


My name is Elmer J. Fudd, Millionaire. I own a mansion and a yacht.
posted by usonian at 6:42 PM on July 28, 2010


There's an RV which parks on the main street of Pismo Beach half the time I'm there with a big picture of Bugs Bunny on its back end. Nice to know he finally made it.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:47 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


In addition to "What's Opera Doc" linked above, you really can't overlook "The Rabbit of Seville".
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:52 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


CORRECTION:makes perfect sense.
posted by vhsiv at 6:54 PM on July 28, 2010


MetaFilter: cartoon pedant
posted by Joe Beese at 6:59 PM on July 28, 2010


GOOGLE WATER WATER EVERY HARE

(seriously I am having a hard time finding a non-sketchy full-length upload of that fabulous fever dream of a Bugs cartoon.
posted by Mister_A at 7:13 PM on July 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


A Wild Hare ... is also the first cartoon where Mel Blanc uses a recognizable version of the voice of Bugs - WP

I can have fun without Bugs. But living without Mel Blanc isn't nearly as much fun. And where's the huge dedicated website celebrating his decades of work ... see how it is? *le sigh*

Listen/video
posted by Twang at 7:19 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Saying that Bugs Bunny is too much of a narcissistic sadist is like saying that Al Pacino in "Scarface" is too much of a raging psychopath or that Joe Pesci in "GoodFellas" is too much of a pain-delivering nutjob.

I don't understand how it is that Bugs Bunny is nowadays considered too violent or mean or chaotic for tender sensibilities, but that just reminds me that I was raised in a different era. I hated the Hanna-Barbera-influenced BB cartoons of the 1960s in which he started sounding like he was drugged out on Miltown and he started being the nicey-nice voice of reason with all of the other characters.
posted by blucevalo at 7:43 PM on July 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Remember when he tried to take that penguin home, and only after arrival at the south pole did he loin dat da penguin was from Hoboken?

HoBOKEN!! ewwhahhh....I'm die-YING!!
posted by 445supermag at 8:15 PM on July 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


in particular the trifecta of Duck Season/Wabbit Season cartoons

Those are red meat for English majors.
Daffy: Hah! That’s it! Hold it right there! [to audience] Pronoun trouble. [to Bugs] It's not "He doesn't have to shoot you now"; it's "He doesn't have to shoot me now."
[pause]
Daffy: [angrily] Well, I say he does have to shoot me now!! [to Elmer] So shoot me now!!!
posted by kirkaracha at 8:28 PM on July 28, 2010


He was too much of a narcissistic sadist for me.

Never! Bugs only acted WHEN PROVOKED! His entire motivation was to be left alone!

I am not down with the white-washing and banalyzing of these national treasures. Go make your own lame Nick-Toon and leave ours alone.

One of the best parts of Animaniacs was that it even more over "blu" at times than anything done by Jones, Clampett, or Avery.
posted by sourwookie at 8:58 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


One of the best parts of Animaniacs was that it even more over "blu" at times than anything done by Jones, Clampett, or Avery.

Animaniacs (the entire slew of characters) and the companion shows Pinky & The Brain and Freakazoid continue to rule my cartoon life. They were remarkable on SO many levels. Too bad those days are behind us.

And when oh when will they ever release the last Animaniacs DVD set? Quit holding out on us!
posted by hippybear at 9:04 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bugs only acted WHEN PROVOKED! His entire motivation was to be left alone!

"Of course you realize, dis means war."
posted by kirkaracha at 9:43 PM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I wish modern cartoons had half that sophistication.

Dude, I love them Warner Bros classics (GOOGLE BOB CLAMPETT!), but it'd be no effort at all to build a convincing case for the last 20 years as the Golden Age of the sophisticated cartoon. I mean, just for starters, The Simpsons had Thomas Pynchon as a guest star.
posted by gompa at 9:53 PM on July 28, 2010


I hate that short. Bugs Bunny is an ASSHOLE.

At least he's an entertaining asshole, a witty trickster.

You know who sucks? TWEETY BIRD. God I hate that smug yellow jerk.
posted by louche mustachio at 3:57 AM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hillbilly Hare. My favorite.

You made my week. It never even occurred to me I could find that on Youtube. So then I looked up my #2, Pete Puma. Now if I can just find that old "Aesop's Fables" from Rocky & Bullwinkle with the lion and the ape . . .
posted by yerfatma at 6:04 AM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Everything I know about classical music, I learned from Bugs Bunny. As a result, it made that scene from Apocalypse Now much funnier than intended.
posted by tommasz at 7:03 AM on July 29, 2010


Ah, nostalgia. I love those old cartoons.

My parents didn't let us watch TV until I was about 5 or so. Then one Saturday morning my mother, trying to sleep in, just said to us "go turn on the TV, there are these things called CARTOONS on and you can watch that and leave me alone for a bit."

Holy hell. My eyes were opened. Looney Tunes, MGM, Tex Avery and Chuck Jones and Friz Freling... the utter insanity of it all. Madness. Violence (in a good way) and humor (kid stuff, and adult stuff that I didn't actually get for years). Indoctrination into classical music, old movie stars, ancient in-jokes and all of it so fascinating that we couldn't WAIT until next weekend.

Now the only stuff on TV for kids to watch is blatant advertising, garbage wrapped in poor frame rates and cheap animation designed only to sell action figures. The old cartoons were meant to be entertainment, nothing more, despite the marketing machines they devolved in to.

I want my kid to have that same feeling I did. I'd love for him to discover the classic cartoons, but all we get today of the Looney Tunes of old are sanitized fragments of what was. They don't even retain the opening and closing credits (no wonder kids have no respect for copyright laws!) and how can you watch a Looney Tunes cartoon without the opening music, Bugs flying in on the WB logo, or the last scene where Porky finally manages to stutter his way through "that's all, folks!"? How?

If anyone knows where I can buy these - uncut, unedited, unadulterated in all their original, violent, unapologetic glory - let me know. MGM, WB, I want them. The old Disney ones I know I can find - I have the Mickey Mouse in Black and White set and would KILL for the Donald and Goofy collections - but I haven't ever been able to find the remainder anywhere I could be sure contained the original cartoons rather than the bowdlerized pap they are trying to pretend it always was.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:27 AM on July 29, 2010


Bugs was always to cock-sure for my liking, too much Moe, not enough Larry. There was much more humanity in Daffy, and with that humanity, grace.
posted by rtimmel at 7:57 AM on July 29, 2010


Bugs Bunny is an ASSHOLE.
posted by granted at 7:39 PM on July 28


*takes umbrage*


Oh, now wait just a cotton-pickin minute!

First of all, Bugs almost NEVER picks a fight (well, okay, Duck Amuck is a notable exception, but some would argue that Daffy had it coming for a while). He's usually in his rabbit hole, minding his own business, eating a carrot or something, and then someone--Elmer, Daffy, whoever--comes in and starts picking on him. He's defending himself from some jerk, not causing trouble.

Assholes upset the order of things. Bugs, contrary to popular opinion, defends the status quo. He just wants to put things back the way they were, and if someone faces his finely-honed sense of justice in the process, so be it. So Bugs winds up in Scotland by accident--he just wants directions to where he was headed, the La Brea Tar Pits! The stupid Scotsman won't help, and then tries to shoot him? Fine, let's teach him a lesson! Giovanni Jones thinks he's the only one who gets to make music? He deserves to face down Leopold Stokowski! The Three Little Pigs decide to pull housing fraud on Bugs in order to avoid the Big Bad Wolf? Fine--Bugs will help the Big Bad Wolf instead!

Bugs has a good heart. He's sympathetic to the childless (poor Mrs. Gruesome Gorilla!), helps the lost and defenseless, stands against politicians who discriminate, and defends the property rights of the American homeowner. He promotes non-traditonal methods of conflict resolution, and challenges gender-normativity. He's even stood in for the Easter Bunny! Yes, there have been unfortunate problems with racism and gender stereotyping in Bugs's past. But like all of us, he's trying to grow past that.

Bugs can be arrogant, sure (ask Cecil Turtle), but he's is not as asshole. He's a trickster figure who uses the full force of his abilities--master of disguise, semantic confusion, limited magical powers--to protect and defend, and to impart much needed-to-be-learned lessons. And just like other animal tricksters (Coyote, Aunt Nancy, Raven, the Signifying Monkey) he tends towards extremes, demonstrating behaviors that regular folk have to use in extrodinary circumstances in order to survive. Bugs simultaneously teaches what you should do, and also what you should not to do.

When I was very small, I thought that maybe Bugs Bunny was Br'er Rabbit's son. Now that I'm an adult, I firmly believe it, and that he's descended from trickster rabbits all the way from Kalulu.

Bugs Bunny isn't an asshole. As far as I'm concerned, he's a role model in the truest sense of the word, showing you the good and the bad of his personality and methods all at once.



*goes off to eat a carrot*
posted by magstheaxe at 9:00 AM on July 29, 2010 [12 favorites]


When I was in high school, there was a nation-wide competition known as the "Citizen Bee", where you were asked questions about US History, geography, current events, economy and all that.

I was at the local level and my question was something like "what was the name of the German soldiers who were hired to fight in the Revolutionary War, and which side did they fight on?"

I had absolutely NO idea until I remembered Bunker Hill Bunny.

I came in second place and moved on to the state level.
posted by Lucinda at 9:26 AM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Bugs Bunny is absolutely amazing. "Gorilla My Dreams" - classic. Nobody comes close in terms of audacity, wise-cracking, and ingenuity. Happy Birthday, Bugs.
posted by davidmsc at 9:51 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Great comment, magstheaxe.
posted by brundlefly at 10:30 AM on July 29, 2010


Wasn't Donald, and I know that my mind has a tendency to muddle him with Daffy, the unpredictable one? Wasn't he the impetus for a bunch of the Mickey misadventures in the 60s and 70s?

All I know is he wasn't wearing pants.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:31 AM on July 29, 2010


I remember watcing an interview with - I belive - Friz Freleng or Chuck Jones where he was talking about how they wouldn't put a gag in a cartoon if it didn't make them laugh. Obviously there came a point where WB started recycling gags, but those first uses of the gag always had to make them laugh while they were writing them. Part of the way they would write, though, was they would go out into the parking lot and act out the parts themselves in front of each other. It included old crappy silent footage of them acting shit out in the lot.

and - I feel like it was probably chuck jones went to give an example of the type of gag that got them laughing and that they had to put in and then they showed the clip in its final form as he described it and it remains one of my favorite gags in the history of cartoons.

the gag in question. it is, in my humble opinion, about the finest minute of cartooning in history. every moment in it is funny, and with one or two predictable exceptions, it is mostly unconventionally and ingeniously funny. that one line about clean living is just... every cartoon should have that timeless genius for subtly digging at the status quo.
posted by shmegegge at 11:02 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


The original WB cartoonists with Chuck Jones had something called "Yes" Sessions, where everyone would announce whatever idea they had for a cartoon or a gag IN a cartoon, and you couldn't say no to anything, any idea had to go up on the board, when brainstorming a new toon, they'd pull gags and themes and half-ideas from the list and work on them until it was done.

This also works very well in other creative fields, moreso when you're collaborating. Everyone's ideas get equal time, good ideas expressed badly or with one good part could get expanded on and everyone gets a fair chance without being shut down.
posted by The Whelk at 3:50 PM on July 29, 2010


Yeah I do that with my staff at the agency, we call 'em "no edit" sessions. Very productive. Also fun!
posted by Mister_A at 7:51 PM on July 29, 2010


Now the only stuff on TV for kids to watch is blatant advertising, garbage wrapped in poor frame rates and cheap animation designed only to sell action figures. The old cartoons were meant to be entertainment, nothing more, despite the marketing machines they devolved in to.

There are exceptions since then, such as Samurai Jack and Avatar. You remember Ren & Stimpy before Nickelodeon? Ah, and the first 13 seasons of The Simpsons ...

Most of the old WB cartoons we all love were made as shorts to be shown before movies in theaters. So there's not the same kind of incentive to commercialize everything, and the audience was assumed to be largely adults, so it was goofy but not infantilized - you can tell when they started producing for television as the quality went down as did the target demographic age. Cartoons today are typically aimed squarely at children and are shown as series on television, so the quality isn't as important as quantity, sophistication and subtlety take a back seat to slapstick and moralizing, and budgets are smaller. Animators rotate through instead of sticking with the same company, or they outsource it. The time slot is usually the same as a sitcom, 30 minutes (interrupted with commercials). Even so, sometimes something good slips through.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:04 AM on July 30, 2010


BTW, most of the concentration as far as quality is in full-length animated features. WB was much better at the short form, but groups like Pixar and Aardman make some high quality, thoroughly entertaining animation. Most homes with kids have a pile of DVDs they watch over and over, mostly animated. Unfortunately, a lot of it tends to be the lesser Disney variety, but there's usually something worth watching in any random stack. It's different. Not much concentration on hand-drawn work anymore, but CGI is getting very good. It's not the same - no more Bugs - but there's an abundance of quality if you look around. It's not usually on television, but seems to me kids don't pay as much attention to tv as they used to ...
posted by krinklyfig at 12:17 AM on July 30, 2010


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