On the Greatest

Thanks to Rich for the above
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Notables
Bugs Bunny is a cultural icon

According to NPR, Bugs has appeared in more films (both short and feature-length) than any other cartoon character and is the ninth most-portrayed film personality in the world

A Wild Hare (1940) received an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Short Film

Since his debut, Bugs only appeared only in color Merrie Melodies films

Bugs only appearance in a black-and-white Looney Tunes film is a cameo in Porky Pig’s Feat (1943)

Bugs did not star in a Looney Tunes film until that series made its complete conversion to only color cartoons (1944)

The first cartoon character honored on a U.S. postage stamp

On December 10, 1985, Bugs received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Ranked #1 in TV Guide’s 50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time (2002)

His stock…has never gone down…Bugs is the best example…of the smart-aleck American comic. He not only is a great cartoon character, he’s a great comedian. He was written well. He was drawn beautifully. He has thrilled and made many generations laugh. He is tops. (A TV Guide editor on CNN)

Bugs cartoons are listed 34 times on The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes list of cartoons

Bugs also received an Oscar nomination for Hiawatha’s Rabbit Hunt (1942)

Because Hiawatha’s Rabbit Hunt didn’t win, What’s Cookin’ Doc? (1944) spoofed the Academy in which Bugs demands a recount by claiming “sa-bo-TAH-gee”

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Knighty Knight Bugs (1958) with a medieval Bugs trades battling Yosemite Sam and his fire-breathing dragon (which has a cold), won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film

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Rabbit Fire, Rabbit Seasoning, and Duck! Rabbit, Duck! compose the “Rabbit Season/Duck Season” trilogy and are famous for originating the “historic” rivalry between Bugs and Daffy Duck

What’s Opera, Doc? (1957), casts Bugs and Elmer Fudd in a parody of Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, and the US Library of Congress (in 1992) deemed it “culturally significant”, thus selecting it for preservation in the National Film Registry

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Personal
Born July 27, 1940 in Brooklyn, New York below Ebbets Field (home of the Brooklyn Dodgers)

Characteristics include clever, trickster, flippant, and personable until you mess with me attitude (and this scene is one of my all-time favorites)
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A known traveler, but frequently making the wrong turn in Albuquerque

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Antagonists include Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Willoughby the Dog, Marvin the Martian, Beaky Buzzard, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig,Tasmanian Devil, Gossamer, Cecil Turtle, Witch Hazel, Rocky and Mugsy, Wile E. Coyote, the Crusher, Gremlin, Count Blood Count and a host of others

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Bugs’ carrot-chewing standing position, is based a Clark Gable scene with Claudette Colbert in a scene from It Happened One Night

Bugs occasionally communicates with the audience to explain something to the audience, such as

  • Be with you in a minute, folks!
  • Feisty, ain’t they?
  • That happens to him all during the picture, folks.
  • Gee, ain’t I a stinker?
  • Of course you know, this means war!

The origin of a classic Bugs Bunny line

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Background
Happy Rabbit, though different looking and a forerunner to Bugs, first appears in Porky’s Hare Hunt (1938)

Created by the animators and staff of Leon Schlesinger Productions (later Warner Bros. Cartoons) with staff including Tex Avery, Robert McKimson, and Mel Blanc

Mel Blanc originated the Bugs Bunny’s voice

Debuted in A Wild Hare (July 27, 1940) featuring Elmer Fudd and Bugs in a hunter-tormentor relationship

A Wild Hare also debuted Bugs’ most famous catchphrase: “What’s Up Doc?”

First use of Bugs Bunny’s name on-screen is in Elmer’s Pet Rabbit (1941)

“Bugs” Bunny (quotation marks only used, on and off, until 1944)

168 cartoon shorts, most of which were directed by Friz Freleng, Robert McKimson and Chuck Jones

Buckaroo Bugs was Bugs’ first film in the Looney Tunes series

Last Golden Age appearance in False Hare (1964)

12 episodes have been banned because of political correctness

An interview Martha Goldman Sigall (at age 92 in June 2009) who worked at Leon Schlesinger’s Studios in 1939 when the studio created Bugs Bunny

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Beyond Cartoons
In the fall of 1960, ABC debuted the prime-time television program The Bugs Bunny Show

The Bugs Bunny Show (through different formats and titles) appeared on network television for 40 years

Bugs featured in various network television specials in the 1970s and 80s

Films include Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Box Office Bunny, and Space Jam

Because of an equal-time agreement between Warner Brothers and Disney, Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse always appeared together in Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Who Framed Roger Rabbit introduced Bugs’ girlfriend, Lola Bunny (see a tribute)

Bugs has also appeared in numerous video games
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Memorable Lines
My favorite when referring to politicians

A few other … do you remember any of these?

  • Don’t take life too seriously. You’ll never get out alive.
  • OOH! Look at four-legged airplane!
  • Carrots are devine… You get a dozen for a dime, It’s maaaa-gic!
  • Eeeeeeh, watch me paste that pathetic palooka with a powerful, pachydermous, percussionpitch.
  • Don’t think it hasn’t been a little slice of heaven…’cause it hasn’t!
  • Well, what did you expect in an opera? A happy ending?
  • Do you happen to know what the penalty is for shooting a fricaseeing rabbit without a fricaseeing rabbit license?
  • I wonder what the poor bunnies are doing this season?
  • Oh, well, we almost had a romantic ending!
  • My, I’ll bet you monsters lead innnnteresting lives.
  • Here I go with the timid little woodland creature bit again. It’s shameful, but…ehhh, it’s a living.
  • I bet you say that to all the wabbits.
  • For shame, doc. Hunting rabbits with an elephant gun. Why don’t you shoot yourself an elephant?
  • I know this defies the law of gravity, but I never studied law!
  • Eh, what’s up, doc?

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59 thoughts on “On the Greatest

  1. I enjoyed this post very much Frank. Perfect for Sat. Morn. I love the what’s Opera Doc And the Monster in a Can. Now I need to watch some Bugs with my coffee this morning! Cheers!

  2. Who would have thought a grey and white, wise-cracking, smart-aleck rabbit would become so popular. He must represent something important in us all.

    Thanks for the compilation, Frank.

  3. I loved when Bugs said “Albuquerque” and with Daffy Duck, the pair of them were hilarious. Thanks for posting the video of Martha Goldman Sigall, that was fascinating.

    Where do you find all these video’s, YouTube and all the information that goes with it? I enjoy the memory lane you bring us down.

    • Catherine,
      I have a couple of go-to sites regarding cartoons, plus what ever I can dig on my own. In terms of the videos, my memory sparks a lot of them, so I search with different term combinations.

  4. Great post! Bugs is #1 with me, too, Frank. He’s got a New York accent, he is very comfortable with his sexuality (whatever it is) and kissing his male co-stars on the lips. Also, he is rather fond of cross-dressing. He’s a diva through and through. “What’s Opera Doc?” is my all-time favorite Bugs cartoon and his cameo appearance in “Duck Amuck” — Daffy’s finest on-screen appearance is brilliant. If you have not seen that one, you must. Even though “Knighty Knight Bugs” won the Oscar, my favorite Bugs’ cartoons were those directed by Chuck Jones.

  5. bugs rules. no question. i’ve always felt that groucho was an inspiration for bugs. one of my favorite lines was from an episode that took place in a castle with a mad scientist. hare raising hare,” and after a bunch of shenanigans, bugs is about to leave. he says to the scientist, “and don’t think this hasn’t been a little slice of heaven… because it hasn’t.”

    http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/1062781/

    it’s at about 2:20 of the cartoon. have to warn you though that this site isn’t always safe for work. couldn’t find it on youtube. and thanks for this one. #1 damn right!

  6. Bugs Bunny – He was the wabbit I loved to hate. I was always rootin’ for his antagonists.

    I love Seinfeld. I can watch any episode over & over & still chuckle. I saw Seinfeld once a few years back when he performed at a local theatre. It was a great show.

  7. I do love Bugs! Funny that I don’t particularly remember any of the lines you shared, but then, it’s been a long time! I also didn’t know he went back to the 40′s! I bought a DVD of old cartoons for my granddaughters, hoping to watch them myself. You’ve revived an interest. LOL!

  8. Ah, that Bugs overture was funny. Seinfield is a cultural icon!
    Interesting historical facts on Bugs, Frank. I didn’t know that stuff. I remember Daniel & me saw “Bugs Bunny” in Queensland at a theme park. There were some precious times…

    Jamie Curtis had a seriously slender waist in that video clip. I love watching those oldies though. They were pretty serious in the gig though!

    I didn’t know where his carrot chewing stance came from. And loved the b/w clip this means war. Great post, Frank :)

    • Noeleen,
      BTW – that’s Jamie’s parents … thus the small waist is her mother (Janet Leigh). I found a lot of info on Bugs, and the one about the carrot was one of the most surprising. Glad you enjoyed the post.

      • It’s a great post, Frank. You put so much into your posts, clearly! That’s why they’re good value. And always interesting.

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