Video Release of the Cartoon (Video Studio, Video's Year of Release)
TA - Tex Avery / RC - Robert Clampett / FF - Friz Freleng
CJ - Chuck Jones / RM - Robert McKimson Directors not listed above are those who had directed three Bugs cartoons or fewer and will be credited in their respective shorts' synopses
Video titles in red are out of print. Titles in black or presented as entire ordering links are still in print. Links will go to the releases' respective product pages on Amazon. Since most out-of-print titles are offered either new or used by Amazon's individual sellers, order links are provided for most (just click on the video's release information). We also recommend eBay for your out-of-print needs. When you shop online for older videos, do take caution and know exactly what you are buying, as many sellers usually aren't sure what they're selling!
Shorts with the phrase PUBLIC DOMAIN in their synopses are (obviously enough) shorts that are in the public domain and can be found on many ultra-budget video releases produced by unheard-of fly-by-night companies. Since it would be futile to track down and list every single public domain video release, we have listed a very scant number of key releases to help point you in the right direction. A few public domain video releases use film prints that may be unintentionally missing scenes. We will do our best to note such edited versions.
All releases listed here are in the NTSC color format, the North American standard. All titles are VHS unless noted.
An ad appearing in the Spartanburg Herald-Journal in Spartanburg, SC on November 17, 1940.
An ad appearing in the Youngstown Vindicator in Youngstown, OH on September 24, 1944 at the time of the short's "Blue Ribbon" rerelease.
A Wild Hare (1940)TA
Tex Avery's Oscar-nominated classic that introduced a bald, wisping hunter to a gray, Brooklynese "wabbit." Features the first instances of both Bugs and Elmer's famous lines, not to mention Bugs's first "death" scene.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Skunk
Arthur Q. Bryan: Elmer Fudd
A cartoon whose historic significance makes it almost defy criticism. Even ignoring the fact that it was successful enough to launch a beloved 24-year-old film series and debuted one of American culture's most recognizable characters, the short still stands on its own as fully entertaining. Bugs's audience-winking self-awareness is a charming change of pace from the usual Warner protagonists of the time, while Elmer's stupidity is practically lovable thanks to his childlike naiveté and the iconic performance of Arthur Q. Bryan. The hunter's wonderfully sad nervous breakdown at the end makes the all-too-similar scene in the preceding Elmer's Candid Camera look ironically derivative and phony by comparison. If there could be any perceived flaw it's in the pacing, which is a bit on the casual side compared to not only subsequent Bugs/Elmer cartoons but also Tex Avery's later MGM work--but that's quibbling. This is nevertheless still easily one of Bugs's best.
NOTE: Almost all video releases of this short have contained the 1944 Blue Ribbon reissue print that retitles the film as "The Wild Hare" and alters one line of dialogue. Video releases marked with an asterisk contain the original 1940 print of the short.
An ad appearing in the Lawrence Journal-World in Lawrence, KS on January 4, 1941.
Elmer's Pet Rabbit (1941)CJ
Chuck Jones's first "official" Bugs short has Elmer window-shopping until he comes upon a rabbit inside a pet store window. Elmer decides to take him home, where the pet isn't too thrilled about having to sleep outside and eat vegetables. The first cartoon to use the name "Bugs Bunny," even though the character is still being tinkered with (particularly the voice).
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny
Arthur Q. Bryan: Elmer Fudd
"Provides plenty of laughs" (Film Daily, December 20, 1940)
"The cartoon is clever and has a number of laughs" (Motion Picture Daily, December 23, 1940)
"The rabbit is the most annoying beast in recent cartoons" (Boxoffice, December 28, 1940)
A Bugs Bunny cartoon by name only, this is a slow, sluggish, and practically joyless misstep in the evolution of the rabbit character. Jones makes Bugs out to be an annoying hypocrite more in line with Charlie Dog than anything seen in A Wild Hare, ultimately making this seem more like a follow-up to Elmer's Candid Camera with the prototypical Bugs. The short's pacing is painfully slow at times to the point where Bugs literally stops everything to have a snack and complain about his food (a scene that sounds infinitely funnier than it is). The character's indistinct "city slicker" voice completes the half-baked picture. Bryan's vocal performance as Elmer provides one of the only highlights.
An ad appearing in The Vancouver Sun in Vancouver, BC on July 23, 1941.
Tortoise Beats Hare (1941)TA
In a sort of reversal of roles, Bugs bullies Cecil Turtle into a race. But Cecil has a few tricks up his sleeve, as Bugs finds out every time he turns around. Features Bugs reading the opening credits aloud.
"Worthwhile" (Motion Picture Daily, April 3, 1941)
"Screwballish and funny...plenty of gags and laughs" (Boxoffice, April 5, 1941)
"Very funny" (Film Daily, April 9, 1941)
The fact that Bugs Bunny isn't the automatic "hero" doesn't detract from this Tex Avery classic. From Bugs reading the opening credits (and becoming outraged over the title) to Avery perfecting his "every time he turns around he sees the little guy" gag (by actually letting the audience in on the set-up from the start), the cartoon is a bold yet funny departure that ended up adding new depth to a character that sorely needed some. Bugs's reactions to Cecil's reappearances are hilarious as they go from bewilderment to downright anger in a sort of terrified groan (not to mention a moment where he pointlessly grabs the turtle's shell and hurls it away). Cecil himself is a unique character in that he's the adversary but not necessarily the "villain" of the cartoon, a pretty radical change of pace for theatrical cartoons that one way or another were still following a very black-and-white "good guy defeats bad guy" formula. Just another in the bag of innovations Avery would take with him when he leaves the studio for MGM by the end of the year.
An ad appearing in the Plattsburgh Daily Press in Plattsburgh, NY on June 25, 1941.
Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt (1941)FF
In this Oscar-nominated short, Bugs is reading about the mighty Indian hunter Hiawatha. Meanwhile, the puny Hiawatha is really out there hunting for rabbits, tripping over himself along the way. Friz Freleng's first Bugs short features the first instance of Bugs mistaking a boiling pot for a bathtub. Also the first Bugs cartoon written by Michael Maltese.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Hiawatha
"Very funny cartoon...Bugs Bunny gets better and funnier with every screen appearance" (Film Daily, June 19, 1941)
"What goes on is enough to keep them laughing from the first sketch to the last...extremely entertaining" (Motion Picture Daily, June 19, 1941)
Fairly solid first Bugs effort by Freleng, who attempted to follow the initial Tex Avery mold by pitting Bugs against a hunter. Hiawatha is a funny little character if perhaps on the indistinct side--he has a couple of choice lines and there is some great animation of him running and tripping over himself (the whole cartoon is beautifully animated). The short both starts and ends strong, with only a somewhat tiring middle slowing down the pace.
NOTE: Some video releases of this short have contained the 1944 Blue Ribbon reissue print that attaches a new title sequence onto the film. Video releases marked with an asterisk use the Blue Ribbon version, while releases without an asterisk have restored the titles from the original 1941 print of the short.
An ad appearing in The Calgary Herald in Calgary, AB on October 3, 1941.
The Heckling Hare (1941)TA
A dopey dog is out in the woods looking for rabbits. He finds one, who leads him through a brief underwater chase and off an unbelievably high cliff. This is the cartoon that cost Tex Avery his job at Warner Bros., as there were objections over the final gag, prompting the ending to ultimately be removed. The dog is unnamed, but it is generally considered to be Avery's Willoughby character.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny
Kent Rogers: Willoughby
Outrageous, hilarious film from Tex Avery and Michael Maltese. The action is getting faster, the gags are becoming more inspired, and Bugs is finally coming into his own as an aggressive, sympathetic, and intelligent character. Despite being one-dimensionally dim, Willoughy is nevertheless an entertaining villain, offering some cute asides ("Brought flowers.") and great wide-eyed facial expressions. The final falling gag is one of the more memorable sequences of the early Bugs cartoons. Truly one of Avery's best Warner shorts.
NOTE: When Turner Entertainment made a new video transfer of this short in 1996, they attempted to fix the rather abrupt ending with a new fade-out. In the process, they clipped Willoughby's final line. Video releases marked with an asterisk use this new print.
An ad appearing in the Mt. Adams Sun in Bingen, WA on May 1, 1942.
All This and Rabbit Stew (1941)TA
A slow-witted black hunter sings about how he's hoping to catch a rabbit. Bugs puzzles him with a large log and causes him to lose his clothes in an apparent high-stakes game of craps. One of the infamous "Censored 11" Warner Bros. cartoons. The hunter is unnamed on film, but he would later be referred to as Sambo during appearances in Dell's Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies comic books of the day, but it should be noted that such character depictions and names have never been considered canonical (it's also possible that the studio's release sheets for the cartoon refer to him by that name, but that cannot be confirmed at the moment).
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny
Danny Webb: Hunter
"Hilarious adventure...a riot of laughs for young and old" (Motion Picture Daily, September 8, 1941)
"About as mirth provoking as anything has any right to be" (Film Daily, September 12, 1941)
"Topflight ideas, gags and strong musical backgrounding...produce maximum laughter" (Variety, October 1, 1941)
Controversy aside, Avery's final complete Bugs picture is a decent effort. Bugs again is on the defensive as he's chased by another hunter. Some of the middle drags--including a very long sequence involving an apparently sentient group of bullets--and the craps-playing ending may seem a bit tasteless, but it does contain two essential Bugs moments: a genius frightened take in which all of Bugs's limbs leap from his body...and a log-rolling gag that would be repeated in numerous later shorts.
An ad appearing in the Eugene Register-Guard in Eugene, OR on May 22, 1943.
Wabbit Twouble (1941)RC
A temporarily portly Elmer drives out to Jellostone National Park for some "west and wewaxation," but instead comes across Bugs and an angry grizzly bear. In recent years there has been some question as to the true authorship of this short. Evidence suggests that Tex Avery did considerable work on it before being dismissed from the studio, allowing Bob Clampett to complete it once he inherited Avery's unit. Features credits written in Elmer's "dialect."
So, who really directed this one? The character design, timing, staging, background design, gags, and even coloring scream Tex Avery...and Bob Clampett would later credit Avery with designing the "fat Elmer" first used here. Clampett does contribute some, though: the sequence with Elmer being chased by the bear is fast-paced and has some fun manic character designs that would become synonymous with Clampett's work, even if ultimately the bit is a tad unnecessary. If there's any major flaw to the cartoon it's in Clampett's handling of Bugs; here he's heckling for mere heckling's sake and it doesn't really work. Elmer doesn't pose any threat or intrustion to Bugs whatsoever, making the situation a little hard to enjoy--it's more Daffy than Bugs. It's a generally funny cartoon, but Bugs's personality still needs some tweaking.
"Amusing and to-the-point...a neat little trailer" (Film Daily, April 2, 1942)
Still settling into Tex Avery's old unit, Bob Clampett rushes out a Bugs production that is a rousing, spirited spectacle, although one cannot help but question the extended Jolson parody, which sticks out like a sore thumb in its pointlessness (and let's be honest, it's also the sole reason why this hasn't become a go-to bonus feature on the various Looney Tunes DVD and Blu-ray releases). Just barely a year in the role and Blanc already has Bugs crooning in a delightful performance. Although Elmer seems wasted here, bonus points are due for a rare pairing of Bugs and Porky.
An ad appearing in The Georgetown Herald in Georgetown, ON on December 29, 1943.
Crazy Cruise (1942)TA/RC
Bugs makes a cameo at the end of this travelogue spoof, in which he helps a bunch of baby rabbits fend off a Japanese vulture. Tex Avery started production on this short before his dismissal from the studio, with Bob Clampett finishing it up after taking over Avery's unit. Neither director is credited on screen. The final theatrical cartoon Avery worked on that featured Bugs (although it is unknown which director had handled the specific scene).
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Tobacco Bug, Captain, The Sphinx, Eatimus abugus, Native, Giant Cannibal
Robert C. Bruce: Narrator
The final entry in Tex Avery's revolutionary series of travelogues--and sadly, he had done much better. The short suffers from the lack of a clear underlying thread, with the gags' locales jumping around wildly without context. The jokes seem a tad predictable, and one sorely misses the running gags that used to highlight these cartoons during the pre-Fudd "Elmer" era. The Bugs cameo at the end is a neat idea but hardly necessary. Without knowing how much Avery or Clampett were each responsible for it's hard to say what went wrong with this cartoon--either Avery had become fatigued with the concept, or Clampett simply didn't know what made Tex's shorts work in the first place.
An ad appearing in the Lawrence Journal-World in Lawrence, KS on June 15, 1942.
The Wabbit Who Came to Supper (1942)FF
While chasing after Bugs, Elmer learns that his Uncle Louie will leave him $3 million in his will...but only if he does not harm any animals, especially rabbits. Bugs decides to tempt him by barging into his home. Features the first known instance of Bugs cross-dressing.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Telegram Messenger, Deliveryman, Mailman
Arthur Q. Bryan: Elmer Fudd
Michael Maltese: Baby Rabbits
Sara Berner: Baby Rabbits
"Okay comedy for most accounts" (Variety, April 22, 1942)
"Clever and amusing" (Motion Picture Daily, April 28, 1942)
"Terribly funny...tremendously hilarious" (Film Daily, April 30, 1942)
Friz Freleng finally finds Bugs's inner heckler in this inventive cartoon. The director is already assuming we're familiar with the characters and their relationship, as a brief chase through the woods in the beginning is all the shorthand we need to know that Elmer is out hunting again. Displaying a great comic nasty streak, Bugs is downright hysterical as he mocks, taunts, and belittles Elmer throughout the short. The final chase through Elmer's house is one of the funniest and wildest of the early Bugs shorts. Bugs's fourth-wall-breaking hope of his fake death scene earning an Academy Award marks a bit of a turning point for the character, as he now sees himself as a legitimate movie star--and at this point, Bugs already had two nominations under his belt! It's also a somewhat prescient moment, as Freleng would eventually deliver Bugs his long-awaited Oscar sixteen years later.
An ad appearing in The Winona Republican-Herald in Winona, MN on August 19, 1942.
The Wacky Wabbit (1942)RC
Elmer is out looking for gold in the desert, where Bugs uses an old buffalo skull to his advantage. After scaring the tubby prospector, Bugs shows him exactly where there is some gold! The first Bugs cartoon written by Warren Foster.
"Good for lots of laughs" (Motion Picture Daily, May 11, 1942)
"A howl...fourteen-carrot entertainment" (Film Daily, May 21, 1942)
Bob Clampett is still trying to figure out what makes Bugs tick and misses the mark by making him out to be a bully...and it's really not all that funny. Bugs is needlessly mean, and Elmer doesn't deserve it--he's not after Bugs, nor does he pose any threat. Elmer is at his fattest here and though his design is funny, his size at times results in some clunky animation. Weak concept all around, punctuated by a hideous end gag.
An ad appearing in the Lawrence Journal-World in Lawrence, KS on July 25, 1942.
Hold the Lion, Please (1942)CJ
Out to prove that he is the king of the beasts, a tough-talking lion uses his spring-loaded claws to hunt Bugs. Features the only appearance of a "Mrs. Bugs Bunny." The first Bugs cartoon written by Tedd Pierce.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Monkey, Giraffe, Leo (roaring), Mrs. Bugs Bunny
Tedd Pierce: Leo
Tex Avery: Hippo
"Fair" (Film Daily, July 6, 1942)
Sluggish "early Jones" direction bogs down this otherwise ordinary short. The novelty of having a lion go after Bugs is a fun idea, but it doesn't go anywhere. Some of the gags are confusingly weird. The beautiful, fluid animation is way better than the story content.
An ad appearing in the Mt. Adams Sun in Bingen, WA on September 18, 1942.
Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid (1942)RC
A mama buzzard sends her kids out to find some hefty food, but one, Killer (perhaps better known as Beaky Buzzard), can't bring himself to do it...so his mother tells him to bring home a rabbit instead.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Little Buzzard
Kent Rogers: Beaky Buzzard, Little Buzzard
Sara Berner: Mama Buzzard, Little Buzzard
"Fairly amusing" (Motion Picture Daily, September 2, 1942)
"Smartly gagged with maximum of action" (Variety, September 2, 1942)
"Fair. The wacky rabbit slips up slightly on his material" (Boxoffice, September 5, 1942)
"Swell...loaded with solid laughs" (Film Daily, September 17, 1942)
Clampett finally makes everything work for Bugs: tight pacing, funny gags, and a new and excellent adversary. Beaky is clearly meant to be a star, and he is uniquely hilarious without (and this is key) stealing the spotlight from Bugs. One of Clampett's best Bugs shorts, and one of the truly excellent Bugs shorts of the decade.
An ad appearing in the Plattsburgh Daily Press in Plattsburgh, NY on September 18, 1942.
Fresh Hare (1942)FF
Elmer is a Mountie searching for public enemy Bugs Bunny in this snow-covered adventure. The musical minstrel ending is usually cut from television broadcasts.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny
Arthur Q. Bryan: Elmer Fudd
Weak entry with mostly pedestrian chase gags, while the snow provides little more than a unique background. The funniest gags are barely related to the central conflict, such as Bugs "stripping" Elmer of his medals and later making threats to a snowman Elmer. The ending with the minstrels is just gratuitous and set up with a gag that wasn't even that funny to begin with.
An ad appearing in The Daily Illini in Champaign, IL on January 7, 1943.
The Hare-Brained Hypnotist (1942)FF
Slim Elmer is back, and he has been boning up on hypnotism. After practicing on a bear, he finds that Bugs is a little harder to control. For revenge, Bugs hypnotizes Elmer to act like a rabbit, but it quickly becomes a reversal of roles.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny
Arthur Q. Bryan: Elmer Fudd
"First-class...the humor is excellent" (Film Daily, November 18, 1942)
"Michael Maltese's bright story makes this standout" (Variety, December 2, 1942)
Freleng finally perfects his version of the Bugs and Elmer dynamic, resulting in a very fine early effort. The role reversal half of the short doesn't quite resolve itself well, but it's an interesting experiment--one Freleng will explore again much later (with better results) in Hare Brush.
An ad appearing in The Winona Republican-Herald in Winona, MN on February 18, 1943.
Case of the Missing Hare (1942)CJ
When Bugs protests to Ala Bahma's nailing advertisements over his home, the magician humiliates him. Bugs decides to get even by crashing the magic act. First time Bugs (that is, the official true-blue Bugs, as opposed to the still-experimental one in Elmer's Pet Rabbit) says, "Of course you know, this means war!"
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Ala Bahma
"One of the better Bugs Bunny subjects...packed with chuckles" (Variety, January 6, 1943)
"Excellent...the fun is fast and loud" (Film Daily, January 7, 1943)
After a few dreary attempts, Chuck Jones finally nails not only Bugs's personality but also, for the director anyway, his role in the universe: to defend himself against and seek revenge on those who've wronged him. Ala Bahma is appropriately slimy and buffoonish, and Bugs's antics provide just enough catharsis. The stylized backgrounds and wonderful Jones-unit animation of the era add to the inventiveness of the short.
An ad appearing in The Winona Republican-Herald in Winona, MN on April 14, 1943.
Tortoise Wins by a Hare (1943)RC
Upset over the last outcome, Bugs challenges Cecil Turtle to a second race. This time, Bugs is able to learn why turtles are perfectly designed for racing and comes up with his own makeshift turtle shell. The end mass suicide gag is often missing from television. Speaking of which, this is also the cartoon with the "Adolph Hitler Commits Suicide" newspaper gag.
"A howl" (Film Daily, March 8, 1943)
"The film is not quite as funny as previous Bugs Bunny shorts" (Motion Picture Daily, March 8, 1943)
A Bob Clampett classic. Unit regulars Rod Scribner and Bob McKimson provide manic animation that fits perfectly with the tight pacing and fast action. And of course, one major highlight is Mel Blanc's vocal performance as Bugs, such as the wonderfully frantic monologue as he approaches the finish line and later his dumbfounded tirade against the rabbit thugs. If there is any one flaw it's in Clampett's handling of Bugs's personality, which still seems a bit tenuous. The director tries to recreate his outrage and demeanor from Tortoise Beats Hare, but a decided mean streak results in a far more conniving (and at times unlikable) character than in the previous film--although it does offer a great scene of Bugs interviewing Cecil in an absurdly phony old man disguise.
An ad appearing in The Milwaukee Journal in Milwaukee, WI on February 29, 1944.
In this parody of the Fleischer Superman shorts, Bugs uses super-charged carrots to turn into the "Rabbit of Tomorrow" and stop evil Texas rabbit hunter Cottontail Smith. Features the "bricka bracka firecracka..." chant.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Cottontail Smith, Observer in Crowd, Narrator, Horse, Texas Rabbit
Kent Rogers: Professor Canafrazz
Michael Maltese: Observer in Crowd
Tedd Pierce: Observer in Crowd
"Excellent" (Film Daily, April 21, 1943)
This short has it all: strong premise, funny villains, hilarious throwaway gags ("A rabbit?! Up here?!?"), and iconic dialogue...and all wrapped around a delightfully fresh and inspired spoof of another studio's cartoon series, yet! While others at the studio were still feeling their way around the bunny, Chuck Jones finally gets a grip on the Bugs character, immediately making him heroic (literally!) and in control, mostly. Bonus points are given for Kent Rogers's inspired performance as the milquetoasty Professor Canafrazz, which is essentially an impersonation of Richard Haydn from Ball of Fire. Perhaps the best of the director's wartime Bugs shorts.
An ad appearing in The Daily Illini in Champaign, IL on August 18, 1943.
Jack-Wabbit and the Beanstalk (1943)FF
When we find Bugs, he is already up the beanstalk and chopping away at the Giant's carrots. As he's caught, Bugs challenges the Giant to a duel. The Giant isn't worried about being outsmarted, "because I'm a moron!"
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Giant, Narrator, Air Raid Warden
"Amusing cartoon" (Motion Picture Daily, June 23, 1943)
"Plenty of horseplay coupled with bright action and mirth-provoking dialogue" (Film Daily, June 28, 1943)
Bugs's first fairy tale spoof is easily Freleng's funniest film with the character to date. The Giant is entertainingly nice and stupid, with the "dumb guy" jokes mixing well with the "really big guy" jokes. Highlights include the Giant circling the world as he paces off for the duel and Bugs's "street corner demonstration" as he escapes.
An ad appearing in the Niagara Falls Gazette in Niagara Falls, NY on October 23, 1943.
Wackiki Wabbit (1943)CJ
Two starving castaways (based on and voiced by storymen Tedd Pierce and Mike Maltese) sail to a seemingly deserted island, where they find a potential rabbit dinner.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny
Michael Maltese: Castaway
Tedd Pierce: Castaway
The antagonists are funny, the backgrounds are funny, the animation is funny, the gags are funny...but something is slightly amiss in the pacing. The middle drags a bit, but the short is generally a solid effort--and just three years in and we're already getting variations of Bugs's "What's up, Doc?" greeting via an island translation. Perhaps the most stylized of the Bugs shorts until the late 1950s.
An ad appearing in The East Hampton Star in East Hampton, NY on January 25, 1945.
Porky Pig's Feat (1943)
Bugs makes a cameo appearance at the end of this classic Frank Tashlin romp involving Daffy and Porky trying to skip out on a hotel bill. Bugs's only appearance in a black and white theatrical cartoon.
Mel Blanc: Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, Broken Arms Hotel Manager, Elevator Gambler
"Productive of a fair number of laughs" (Film Daily, July 22, 1943)
Easily one of Frank Tashlin's finest cartoons. It's a standard "sneak out of a place undetected" plot, but everything works. The timing is spot-on, the interaction of the characters is entertaining, the villain is nice and buffoonish while still posing a threat, and the comedy is mixed well with elements of suspense. And of course, many bonus points are due for not only the first meeting of Bugs and Daffy but also the historic moment of putting Bugs, Daffy, and Porky all in the same room together for the first time.
NOTE: This short has been colorized twice, once in 1968 and again in 1990. The original black-and-white version is in the public domain, but for some reason many public domain video releases use the 1968 version as well. For the videos listed below, titles without an asterisk include the original 1943 version, and titles with an asterisk include the 1990 version. The 1968 version has never been legitimately released on home video.
An ad appearing in the Edmonton Journal in Edmonton, AB on October 23, 1943.
A Corny Concerto (1943)RC
In this Fantasia spoof, Elmer introduces the works of Johann Strauss. Bugs and Porky star in the first act, "Tales from the Vienna Woods." The second act, "The Blue Danube," focuses on a little black duckling trying to join a swan family. The only Bugs Bunny short in which he does not have any dialogue, not to mention the only Bugs cartoon that does not feature the voice of Mel Blanc while he was alive.
Arthur Q. Bryan: Elmer Fudd
Robert Clampett: Singing Dog, Swan, Cygnets, Duckling
"A high old time for those who like animated entertainment" (Film Daily, November 17, 1943)
"Good musical direction by Carl W. Stalling and a pleasing fairy-tale story by Warren Foster make for a clever short" (Motion Picture Daily, November 18, 1943)
Clampett delivers big time with the first "all-star" short from the studio (Daffy is the only major character missing, despite the adamancy of a naive few who think the black duckling is him; it's not), offering not only an inspired Disney parody but also one of the director's only musical cartoons. The gags are tight, Bugs and Porky fit well into the first story without losing their personalities, and the Rob Scribner animation is perhaps the most beautiful ever produced for a Clampett cartoon. Elmer is especially a scream in his introductory pieces, while the second half--though not featuring any known characters--is a delightful vignette that could easily have become a one-shot on its own.
An ad appearing in The Winona Republican-Herald in Winona, MN on April 8, 1944.
Falling Hare (1943)RC
Bugs is at an air force base reading about gremlins when one actually shows up to sabotage a plane. The Gremlin traps Bugs inside and sets it off into the sky!
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Gremlin
"Amusing fare for the Bugs Bunny fans. Good 'blues' tonic for anybody" (Motion Picture Daily, September 23, 1943)
"There are plenty of laughs throughout" (Film Daily, October 1, 1943)
A sadistic mess that became a "classic" due in large part to its public domain status. Clampett seems to be getting perverse glee in seeing Bugs abused and harmed, and the Gremlin is too annoying and grating to be an entertaining adversary in a Cecil Turtle way. There's no point or wit to the violence done to Bugs, and the rabbit isn't allowed to deliver any comeuppance, making the whole ordeal tough to watch after a while--"stress tests" aren't funny in of themselves if there's no pay-off. The resolution is an unsatisfying cheat, nowhere near as inspired as those done in Tex Avery's MGM shorts like King-Size Canary. Considering the military setting and obvious wartime theme, the cartoon is more depressing than patriotic; animation's all-American hero is played as a gullible victim who can't fight back. The best of the wartime films create a sense of pride, hope, and optimism. This is the polar opposite. The Clampett crew does their usual fine job animating, but overall what a dumb, irritating cartoon.
An ad appearing in the Edmonton Journal in Edmonton, AB on March 30, 1944.
Little Red Riding Rabbit (1944)FF
A bobbysockin' Red is taking a rabbit to her grandmother..."ta HAVE!" But since Grandma is working at Lockheed, the Big Bad Wolf decides to take her place.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Bed Wolves
Bea Benaderet: Little Red Riding Hood
Billy Bletcher: Big Bad Wolf
"Adults will get as much of a bang...as the youngsters" (Film Daily, February 11, 1944)
Another excellent Bugs fairy tale spoof from Freleng. Highlights include Bugs leading the Wolf in a sing-along and Bugs ratting out his own hiding places. This is the period where the director's cartoons started becoming outrageously funny instead of just being well-produced, the start of a golden age for Freleng shorts. If it had been just, say, five years earlier, for example, a key running gag with Red could have been annoyingly mishandled, while Bugs is given a bit of a funny nasty streak without losing his status as a comic hero. Bea Benaderet shines as a blaring Red, while Billy Bletcher does his usual excellent job as the grumbly Big Bad Wolf.
An ad appearing in the Buffalo Courier-Express in Buffalo, NY on March 20, 1944.
What's Cookin' Doc? (1944)RC
It's Oscar time in Hollywood, and Bugs is expecting an award for Best Actor. When he loses to James Cagney, Bugs decides to show a clip from Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt to prove he deserves the award. Shall they give it to him?
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Hollywood Wolf, Oscar Presenter, Hiawatha, Audience Member, Booby Prize Statue
Robert C. Bruce: Narrator
"Productive of laughs galore" (Film Daily, February 11, 1944)
"The cartoon is up to the regular Bugs standard--a good cartoon comedy" (Motion Picture Daily, February 14, 1944)
Inspired idea of Bugs campaigning for his own Oscar makes this an early classic, not to mention one of the earliest shorts in which Bugs is regarded as a true-blue "movie star" (his impressions of contemporaries and his later "dramatic actor" take are hysterical). The extended use of real-life Oscar nominee Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt is not only curious but also tedious, going on much longer than needed (and not even depicting that funny of a scene from that short). The more suggestive gags are good as throwaways, and the use of actual (dubbed) awards footage is inventive.
An ad appearing in The Owosso Argus-Press in Owosso, MI on March 22, 1944.
Bugs Bunny and the Three Bears (1944)CJ
A starving Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and their son Junyer decide to reenact the story of "Goldilocks" in hope of feasting on a little girl. But since they were only able to make carrot soup instead of porridge, Bugs wanders into their home. The first appearance of Chuck Jones's Three Bears.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Papa Bear
Bea Benaderet: Mama Bear
Kent Rogers: Junyer Bear
Bugs almost takes a backseat as Chuck Jones introduces us to three extremely funny new characters (who will soon find cult fame in their own series of cartoons). The short isn't so much a parody of the fairy tale as it is a deconstruction of it, the cerebral counterpart to Tex Avery's zany spoofs over at MGM at the time. The character dynamic of Bugs dealing with the rapidly decaying relationship between Papa and Junyer--and then having to deflect Mama's sexual advances--is nothing short of ingenious. A standout production in Jones's still-evolving career.
An ad appearing in The Winona Republican-Herald in Winona, MN on August 26, 1944.
Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips (1944)FF
Bugs washes up on an island somewhere in the Pacific. While admiring the tranquility, he is attacked by a Japanese soldier and a Sumo wrestler. Was later among eighty-one films from the year selected for preservation by the Library of Congress for reflecting the culture and preoccupations of Americans. Caused a minor media controversy after being released on home video in 1991.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Japanese Soldiers, Sumo Wrestler
Bea Benaderet: Island Rabbit
"Good entertainment" (Motion Picture Daily, May 9, 1944)
"Good fun...how he single-handedly exterminates the enemy makes for a laugh-filled few minutes of typical Bugs antics" (Film Daily, May 10, 1944)
It's extremely difficult to review this short so far removed from its original historical context, but even so, it's not all that funny. Bugs's one-liners to the Japanese soldiers--"Here's some scrap iron for Japan, Moto!", "Here ya are, Slant Eyes!"--are witless and as racist as anything in the notoriously meritless Tokio Jokio. The title promises a grand "Bugs Bunny goes to war!" short, but it just sort of middles about, with Bugs doing little in the way of action: merely dressing in drag and handing out grenades. For a prime example of a wartime Bugs film, and for all the hoopla and controversy surrounding it, seeing the all-American cartoon hero actually taking on the enemy should have been a wilder affair.
In his first of two cameo appearances in the black-and-white Private Snafu shorts produced especially for the Army-Navy Screen Magazine, Bugs briefly shows up while a walking, scheming gas cloud attacks Snafu's troop.
Mel Blanc: Private Snafu, Bugs Bunny, Captain, General, Sergeant, Gas Mask
Billy Bletcher: Gas Cloud
Beautifully staged and animated, the cartoon perfectly captures that delicate mixture of humor and suspense that defined the early Private Snafu entries. The anthropomorphic gas cloud is a menacing delight to watch both as it schemes and as it attacks Snafu.
An ad appearing in the Plattsburgh Press-Republican in Plattsburgh, NY on August 11, 1944.
Hare Ribbin' (1944)RC
A Russian dog is rabbit hunting, so Bugs leads him underwater for an extended chase. What will happen when the dog thinks he has actually cornered Bugs for a "rabbit sandwich?"
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Russian Dog (imitating Elmer Fudd)
Sammy Wolfe: Russian Dog
Thin premise, illogical underwater sequence, and disturbingly sadistic ending are made up marginally by relatively decent animation and the occasional throwaway gag (including the dog mimicking the classic Lifebuoy radio ad). The dog doesn't pose any real threat to Bugs, which makes the rabbit's tormenting of him a little unsympathetic (especially in the "director's cut" ending). Bugs as a mermaid is a fun idea, but it goes on much too long. Otherwise weak cartoon is saved by the likes of animators Scribner and McKimson.
NOTE: Two versions of this short exist. Video releases marked with an asterisk contain the original "director's cut" of the short.
An ad appearing in the Reading Eagle in Reading, PA on April 12, 1945.
Hare Force (1944)FF
A kindly old woman (an early version of Tweety's protector Granny) finds a frozen Bugs outside her door one night and takes him inside. Her jealous dog, Sylvester, isn't all too happy about the houseguest.
It's the classic "there's only room enough in this house for one of us" setup. Sylvester the dog is not merely a bully but a sympathetic character who feels slighted, which makes the conflict all the more realistic. Bugs is sharp and witty without being unlikable, and Freleng does a great job putting him on the defense. The final confrontation leads to a great, anarchistic surprise ending. Solid entertaining cartoon all around.
An ad appearing in The Evening Independent in Massillon, OH on July 25, 1945.
Buckaroo Bugs (1944)RC
The Masked Marauder is stealing carrots from victory gardens, so Brooklyn's own Red Hot Ryder is brought in to find the culprit. But since Red isn't very bright, he asks Bugs for help. The final Warner Bros. cartoon to credit producer Leon Schlesinger, and also the first of only two cartoons in the Bugs Bunny series to feature the classic "Porky Pig in a drum" end tag.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Red Hot Ryder, Pioneers, Porky Pig
Robert C. Bruce: Narrator, Pioneers
Bea Benaderet: Pioneer
"Right up to snuff with predecessors in this laugh series" (Film Daily, September 26, 1944)
"Many hilarious sequences ensue...although this cartoon is not up to usual standards" (Motion Picture Daily, October 6, 1944)
Ugly, lazy animation pervades this unfocused mess in which Bugs is miscast as a nasty villain, one typical of Clampett's more mean-spirited cartoons. Red Hot Ryder is far too stupid, leaving the audience with nobody to really root for. Ryder's horse is perhaps the most entertaining character, especially in a scene where Ryder accidentally leaps onto a hitching post and has the horse take off without him (the cartoon's biggest highlight). Easily one of Clampett's worst Bugs shorts.
A "grass is always greener" tale, but with very few laughs. Snafu has a great early meltdown and a couple of the gags involving the dogs are fun, but the short is otherwise bland. Even Bugs's cameo is pointless and lacks the joy of his appearance in Gas.
An ad appearing in The Calgary Herald in Calgary, AB on December 4, 1944.
The Old Grey Hare (1944)RC
A weepy Elmer is giving up his futile attempts at hunting Bugs, but God(!) shows him that he will one day catch the wabbit. In the year 2000, Old Man Fudd uses a "Buck Wogers" blaster to hunt Grandpappy Bugs, who then shows his rival their baby pictures.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, God
Arthur Q. Bryan: Elmer Fudd
"The short is a succession of laughs" (Film Daily, December 6, 1944)
One of the uberclassics of the 1940s Looney Tunes, chock full of great poses and hilarious gags ("Bing Crosby's horse hasn't come in yet!"). The baby sequence ranks among Clampett's most outstanding moments. Bugs's character is perfectly adapted into the different ages, and the fact that he uses the flashback as merely a very long setup to the final punchline is inspired; almost making the audience patsies alongside Elmer.
NOTE: When Turner Entertainment made a new video transfer of this short in 1996, they replaced the short's unique "That's all Folks!" end card with a generic one. Video releases marked with an asterisk use this new print.
"Plenty of guffaws and a good time for all" (Film Daily, January 2, 1945)
As much as Friz Freleng would later claim to have hated using Elmer Fudd, the director is able to refine the character in ways many of his colleagues were unable to. Freleng's Elmer is crafty and often poses a threat to Bugs, but thankfully the rabbit is a few steps ahead of the hunter at all times. It's a great dynamic, which makes Bugs's constant humiliation of Elmer all the more entertaining. The only major problem with the cartoon is that, apart from a high-diving scene and Elmer trying to recite Shakespeare, few of the gags are all that memorable.
"Laugh-getter" (Film Daily, February 7, 1945)
Essentially a variation of the "Droopy gimmick"--where a character pops up to antagonize another no matter how the latter tries to escape--the Pepe concept is a fresh one in the history of the studio; one that doesn't necessarily rely on a "good guy vs. bad guy" or "predator after food" dynamic. The fact that this one has a radical surprise ending is a novelty for the eventual series, but the idea is firmly in place with this short. The fake-out "Bugs" cameo is a nice touch (the cat even gets to utter "What's up, Doc?").
An ad appearing in the Ogdensburg Journal in Ogdensburg, NY on May 15, 1945.
Herr Meets Hare (1945)FF
Bugs misses that left turn at Albuquerque for the first time and winds up in Germany's Black Forest, where he performs Wagner in drag with Hermann Goering (yeah, twelve years before that other cartoon!) and dresses up as Hitler (and Stalin, for that matter).
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, News Reporter, Hermann Goering, Vulture, Adolf Hitler
"Bugs Bunny does it again" (Film Daily, March 1, 1945)
A more palatable wartime effort than Freleng's previous Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips, but it's still a tad on the mild side. In fact, it would have otherwise been a mere hunting picture if not for the added layer of using Goering. Bugs channeling Hitler via mud on the ear and nose provides a better caricature than most animated appearances by the Nazi himself...while the real Hitler being portrayed as a showman huckster (a phony, if you will) is a novel approach. With the war in its final months at this point (Hitler would be dead just three months after this short's "official" release date, while he was probably long dead by the time it made its way into the majority of theaters around the country), it's a shame there never was one truly excellent "Bugs Bunny at war" cartoon on par with Scrap Happy Daffy or MGM's Blitz Wolf.
*Not all copies of this video include this cartoon.
An ad appearing in The Winona Republican-Herald in Winona, MN on November 28, 1945.
The Unruly Hare (1945)
In the first of Frank Tashlin's two shorts starring Bugs, Elmer is a railroad engineer whose singing interrupts Bugs's reading.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny
Arthur Q. Bryan: Elmer Fudd
"Hilarious short" (Film Daily, March 1, 1945)
It's Frank Tashlin's first official crack at Bugs, and it's a winner! The plot is a little thin and the direction may not be as cinematic as in Tashlin's other shorts of the period, but the pacing is tight and the action keeps what little story there is moving along nicely. The character designs aren't nearly as revolutionary as Tashlin's take on, say, Daffy, but they nevertheless have a unique edge to them--looking like more refined versions of designs used in Clampett's shorts. Elmer comically switches back and forth between inept and sinister, and there is a real moment of suspense when Bugs challenges him to shoot him in the back. Bugs takes a hard fall at the end that is simultaneously unnecessary and ridiculous. This is a Bugs cartoon with some bite.
An ad appearing in The Calgary Herald in Calgary, AB on July 9, 1945.
Hare Trigger (1945)FF
Yosemite Sam appears for the first time as a train robber who holds up the mailcar, where Bugs is waiting. "Is this the end of Bugs Bunny? Will our hero be dashed to bits on the jagged rocks below?"
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, Narrator
"Once more Bugs Bunny scores decisively as a laugh-provoker" (Film Daily, April 9, 1945)
Look out, world, here comes Yosemite Sam! What could have otherwise been merely a fine western spoof is made all the more excellent with the introduction of this pint-sized, hilarious villain. Bugs uses every western cliché to his advantage, including staging a fake shootout between Sam and a "sheriff" (ending with Sam doing a beautifully animated death scene) and luring Sam into a (live action) fistfight in the train's bar car. The whole thing results in a five-second fight scene on top of the train that parodies every western duke-out in history. The ending "cliffhanger" narration has become rightly iconic on its own.
An ad appearing in The Winona Republican-Herald in Winona, MN on February 13, 1946.
Hare Conditioned (1945)CJ
Bugs is working in the window of a department store, where the manager wants to move him into taxidermy.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Store Manager (one line), Porky Pig
Dick Nelson: Store Manager
"Excruciatingly funny" (Film Daily, August 13, 1945)
Nothing too revolutionary going on here, but the department store at least provides a unique setting for the chase gags. Bugs breaks the fourth wall (or is that fifth?) a little by confusing the Great Gildersleeve-sounding manager with the real Gildersleeve, allowing for a great moment in which the manager "practices" his impression. A back and forth through the various departments is a highlight, as is Bugs's climatic description of a horror novel he just read.
An ad appearing in the Philadelphia Inquirer in Philadelphia, PA on May 26, 1946.
Hare Tonic (1945)CJ
Elmer brings Bugs home from the market to make a stew. Once there, Bugs makes a phony radio announcement about a highly contagious disease known as "rabbititus." Terrified, Elmer tries to get rid of Bugs, but the house has been "quarantined." The first of two cartoons to use a "Bugs in a drum" end tag, with Bugs exclaiming, "And dat's the end!"
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny
Arthur Q. Bryan: Elmer Fudd
"Wonderful...rib-tickler" (Film Daily, November 2, 1945)
One of Chuck Jones's earliest psychological comedies, and it's pitch-perfect. Elmer is amusingly too dumb for his own good, and Bugs's ruses are ingenious in their simplicity (he puts on a beard and hat to abruptly become a "doctor"). Bugs is in complete control of the situation, yet he still has time to throw out the occasional hilarious aside ("Why don't ya pay yer water bill, Doc?"). The end "fake out" gag on the audience is priceless.
An ad appearing in The Daily Illini in Champaign, IL on March 6, 1946.
Baseball Bugs (1946)FF
In Friz Freleng's ultimate sports parody, Bugs is watching the shifty Gas-House Gorillas baseball team pummel the elderly Tea Totalers. When Bugs announces that he could beat the Gorillas all by himself, the team decides to take him up on the offer. The second and final cartoon to use the "Bugs in a drum" end tag.
One of the iconic Bugs cartoons of the decade, as if being perhaps the studio's finest sports spoof wasn't enough (only one more baseball cartoon would ever be attempted, 1954's Gone Batty). Everything works here, from the puns to Bugs pitching to himself (and knocking himself down each time!). The main Gas-House Gorilla is a comically fearsome figure; in fact, all of the supporting and incidental characters have their moments. What particularly makes this a spectacular comedy is that--absurdity aside--Bugs still plays within the confines and structure of baseball. Humor sometimes works best when one has to follow the rules.
An ad appearing in The Daily Illini in Champaign, IL on April 5, 1946.
Hare Remover (1946)
Elmer is a scientist who is trying to come up with a formula that will turn a normal person into a "deviwish fiend." Out of experimental animals, he decides to trap a rabbit. A sympathetic Bugs accompanies Elmer back to the lab, where they each think the other has been turned into a bear. Frank Tashlin's final Warner Bros. cartoon, even though the director goes uncredited.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Rover
Arthur Q. Bryan: Elmer Fudd
"Not up to its usual Bugs Bunny standard...nevertheless quite humorous" (Film Daily, March 15, 1946)
Tashlin left the studio while this short was still in production, and it certainly shows. Sloppy edits give it a somewhat disjointed feel and some of the mistaken identity sequence is poorly executed, but it is nevertheless a very funny cartoon. The "transformation" scenes are particularly delightful ("I think Spencer Tracy did it much better. Don't you, folks?"), while Elmer shines thoughout, especially during a moment of head-banging depression. Tish Tash ends his career at Warner on a high note.
An ad appearing in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Sarasota, FL on October 23, 1946.
Hair-Raising Hare (1946)CJ
"Did ya ever have the feeling you were being watched?" A Peter Lorre-esque mad scientist lures Bugs to his castle with a wind-up rabbit bombshell. Once there, Bugs has to escape the clutches of the scientist's "little friend," an orange, sneaker-wearing, hairy monster (later named Gossamer). "My stars...I bet you monsters meet the most innnteresting people..."
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Gossamer, Scientist, Doctor
The first "spooky" Bugs Bunny cartoon, the short would have been a classic on atmosphere alone. Gossamer is a truly frightening sight when he first appears, and the fluid animation from Jones's unit gives everything an eerie dreamlike quality (more so than in 1952's Water, Water Every Hare). Thankfully, though, the cartoon is also quite hysterical. The routine with Bugs as a manicurist will become famous in its own right, and Bugs packing suitcases (not his own) as he readies to flee the castle is a great absurdist moment. A classic Bugs cartoon and a classic Jones cartoon, capped with a perfect Tedd Pierce ending.
An ad appearing in the Ogdensburg Journal in Ogdensburg, NY on August 23, 1946.
Acrobatty Bunny (1946)RM
In Robert McKimson's first Bugs cartoon, the circus is in town, and the lion cage has been placed right over Bugs's hole. When Bugs goes upstairs to investigate all the noise, he leads the lion on a chase all around the big top.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Nero, Elephant
"Bugs is always good" (Film Daily, July 3, 1946)
McKimson continues to have a strong start as a director with his first Bugs short, which pits him against a large, fearsome opponent...a concept the director will revisit in a number of later cartoons. The lion is menacing and has a bit of a scary edge to him; not nearly as goofy as some of Bugs's other adversaries. The lion using an elephant to break into a cage is a classic gag later reused for Yosemite Sam, and Bugs dressing up in clown white to sing "Laugh, Clown, Laugh" is a weird but zany moment. Shorts as energetic as this one make McKimson's later, duller career all the more tragic.
An ad appearing in the Tupper Lake Free Press and Herald in Tupper Lake, NY on December 26, 1946.
Racketeer Rabbit (1946)FF
To escape the rain, Bugs moves into an old abandoned house. Meanwhile two gangsters (looking and sounding very much like Edward G. Robinson and Peter Lorre) are speeding away from the cops and decide to duck into the same house. Features the "Hide me, pal! Hide me!" routine.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Hugo
Dick Nelson: Rocky
"Excellent...a fast-moving piece of work" (Film Daily, September 27, 1946)
Outstanding gangster spoof, predating Bugs's conflicts with (the other) Rocky and Mugsy by about a decade. The gags targeting the genre clichés are hilarious ("It's curtains for you. Here."/"Aw, they're adorable."), and Bugs is in prime heckling form (even breaking the fourth wall to comment on a door-creaking sound effect, "Huh, sounds like Inner Sanctum."). One highlight is the elaborate finale in which Bugs hides Rocky in a trunk and then pretends to fight with himself as a police detective (including putting on a hat and badge as he changes character).
An ad appearing in the Plattsburgh Press-Republican in Plattsburgh, NY on September 28, 1946.
The Big Snooze (1946)RC
Elmer is fed up with having to deal with Bugs, so he tears up his Warner Bros. contract! Bugs tries to talk him out of it, but Elmer has made up his mind to retire and spend his days fishing. As Elmer takes a nap by the lake, Bugs decides to invade his dreams. Bob Clampett's final Warner Bros. cartoon. Includes redrawn animation from All This and Rabbit Stew.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd (whimpering), Wolf
Arthur Q. Bryan: Elmer Fudd
"A very clever and pleasing cartoon" (Film Daily, November 11, 1946)
After five rocky years with the rabbit, it's Bob Clampett's swan song at Warner, and he leaves the studio with an unquestionable classic. The story is inventive, the concept is inspired, the puns are too quick to groan about, and the animation by Clampett's crew is at its peak. Bugs is especially devious here, but thankfully not in the typically unnecessary Clampett way. One of the rabbit's best shorts of the decade.
An ad appearing in the Ogdensburg Journal in Ogdensburg, NY on April 12, 1947.
Rhapsody Rabbit (1946)FF
Friz Freleng's masterpiece has Bugs on stage playing Lizst's "Second Hungarian Rhapsody" on piano, that is until a mouse gets in the way. According to legend, a Technicolor-lab mix-up caused the short to be sent to MGM, where Hanna and Barbera were working on a very similar Tom and Jerry cartoon, The Cat Concerto. MGM rushed their cartoon through production and release in order for it to qualify for that year's Academy Awards, and they were able to get their short screened for the Academy before this one, convincing voting members that Warner Bros. had somehow copied off MGM.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Coughing Man
"Definitely one of the best...a sure-fire hit" (Film Daily, November 18, 1946)
Out of all of Friz Freleng's grand musical cartoons, this is the only one to star Bugs--and it is nothing short of perfection. The pace is tight, the timing is manic, the gags are fresh, and Bugs is his usual hilarious self under Freleng's direction. MGM's Cat Concerto is a boring, lifeless ordeal compared to this; one cannot wait for that one to end, while this one is almost over too soon. Bugs has a great nasty streak in him when he gets interrupted, and the conflict between him and the nondescript mouse is both absurd and inspired. The short is both fun to watch and fun to listen to, as the music is its own character, setting the pace for the action in a way only Freleng can do. Wonderful, wonderful cartoon that should have won the Oscar.
An ad appearing in The Morning Herald in Gloversville/Johnston, NY on February 8, 1947.
The Goofy Gophers (1947)
Bugs makes a surprise cameo at the end of this Arthur Davis cartoon, the first of only two times the director would work with Bugs. The first cartoon with Mac and Tosh, the Goofy Gophers, who try to distract a dog in order to get into a vegetable garden.
Mel Blanc: Mac, Bugs Bunny, Dog
Stan Freberg: Tosh
"A definite laugh-getter with plenty of appeal" (Film Daily, March 10, 1947)
On the surface it's the classic "try to get past the guard" premise, but Davis's direction is just so quirky--and the new Goofy Gophers characters are just so unique and bizarre--that it's a refreshing take on the old plot. The guard dog is an amusing villain, pompous yet dim (Davis would refine the character to make him more Shakespearean for the series's next short, Two Gophers from Texas). If there is any one major stumble it's, ironically, with Bugs's star cameo; his voice is accidentally sped up too fast, almost beyond recognition.
An ad appearing in the San Juan Record in Monticello, UT on April 8, 1948.
A Hare Grows in Manhattan (1947)FF
Bugs recounts growing up in New York. Although it starts off as a conventional biography, it quickly changes to focus on Bugs's encounter with a group of tough Manhattan dogs (whose leader resembles Sylvester's occasional nemesis Spike). Features Bugs singing and dancing to "She's the Daughter of Rosie O'Grady."
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Dog Leader, Dogs
Bea Benaderet: Lola Beverly
Michael Maltese: Dog
Tedd Pierce: Dog
"One of the best yet, B.B. should top the laugh parade with this one" (Film Daily, April 25, 1947)
A strangely laid out--yet funny--cartoon. The short starts off with Bugs telling a reporter about his life, settling the audience in for a biopic spoof, but then almost immediately drops the concept to become a rather typical "Bugs vs. some big heavy" story. Freleng attempts to use the New York setting to his advantage (no doubt thanks to native Mike Maltese), but one gets the feeling he's as unfamiliar with the city as he was uncomfortable with the biography idea (Freleng will later have much better luck producing a "Bugs's life story" short with This Is a Life?). Ironically, the short's biggest highlight has nothing to do with either the Bugs biography framing or the dog conflict: Bugs's dance number. Very solid cartoon despite unfocused concept and odd ending.
An ad appearing in the Salt Lake Telegram in Salt Lake City, UT on April 30, 1947.
Rabbit Transit (1947)FF
It's Bugs vs. Cecil Turtle, round three! This time the secret lies in Cecil's jet-propelled shell, which Bugs promptly steals. Cecil's final animated appearance.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Cecil Turtle, Western Bunions Man, Mailman, Special Delivery Man
"Good for lots of chuckles" (Film Daily, June 3, 1947)
A fine but unimpressive finale to the "Bugs vs. Cecil" trilogy. Freleng has mellowed the concept a bit to make it less one-sided and more of a balanced conflict, with the two racers one-upping each other back and forth as opposed to Bugs being a constant dupe as he was in the first two cartoons. This is post-war Bugs; the cool, heckling, Mike Maltese-like wiseguy Bugs who is infinitely more confident squaring off against Cecil than in the past, making the gags aimed at the turtle quite cathartic. The short's strong ending is refreshing for the series without betraying its set dynamic.
An ad appearing in The Telegraph-Herald in Dubuque, IA on October 30, 1949.
Easter Yeggs (1947)RM
Bugs fills in for a weeping Easter Rabbit, during which time he comes across a mean little kid ("I wanna Easter egg! I wanna Easter egg!") and Elmer, who's hoping for some "Easter Wabbit stew."
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Easter Rabbit, Mean Little Kid
Arthur Q. Bryan: Elmer Fudd
The Easter Rabbit is cruel yet funny, Bugs's "Here's the Easter Rabbit" song is hysterical, the little kid is funny...heck, even Elmer is funny (let us pause for a moment to note that he wants to kill and eat the Easter Bunny!). There's a lot going on in this short, and still-new director McKimson makes it all work together. The writing is fairly sharp, while the animation is lively without being too crazy. Elmer's aside about never missing as long as he has his "Dick Twacy hat" is just weird and goofy, one of those odd touches that helps make this one a winner.
An ad appearing in The Altus Times-Democrat in Altus, OK on August 29, 1948.
Slick Hare (1947)FF
Elmer is a waiter at the Hollywood restaurant the Mocrumbo, where Humphrey Bogart wants some rabbit...or else. Fortunately for Elmer, Bugs is hanging out in a crate of carrots. Features the "Pick up pie!" routine.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Waiter, Bartender, Ray Milland
Arthur Q. Bryan: Elmer Fudd
Dave Barry: Humphrey Bogart
"Good" (Boxoffice, December 20, 1947)
"Very funny cartoon with B.B. as his usual witty self" (Film Daily, December 24, 1947)
It's a Bugs cartoon mixed with a "Hollywood celebrity caricature" cartoon, and it works wonderfully as both (or either). The celebrity "cameos" and their related gags hold up pretty well; the stars both look funny and act funny. Elmer has a great design throughout (utilizing that wonderful toothy "Freleng villain" look), and Bugs does a beautifully animated dance number. And of course, this short includes the hilarious bit in which Bugs--posing as a waiter--continually calls out orders for pies for Elmer to make...and then promptly hits Elmer in the face with said pies. One of the iconic Bugs cartoons of the 1940s.
An ad appearing in the Greensburg Daily Tribune in Greensburg, PA on April 9, 1948.
Gorilla My Dreams (1948)RM
Bugs is lost at sea again, this time inside a barrel heading toward a gorilla-filled jungle island, where Mrs. Gruesome Gorilla wants a baby. When she finds Bugs and takes him home, the "father" isn't too pleased, which leads to a chase all over the island.
An ugly, rat-like Bugs design and a humorlessly violent ending ruin what could otherwise have been Robert McKimson's first masterpiece. The gorilla is an impressive foe, and there is a real menace to his antagonism. A scene where he chases Bugs on a series of vines contains a great deal of panic and suspense. The gags, meanwhile, all work well (minus the ending), and McKimson finds a good balance between Bugs being heroic and a troublemaker. Sadly, the more violent gags are depicted too painfully; it's a fault of McKimson in this era, as he directed pain a little too realistically to be funny.
An ad appearing in the San Juan Record in Monticello, UT on October 28, 1948.
A Feather in His Hare (1948)CJ
A geeky Indian (who claims to be the Last Mohican...or is he?) is rabbit hunting and comes across Bugs, whose barber and pottery skills come in handy.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Indian (screaming), Baby Rabbits
Michael Maltese: Indian, Baby Rabbits
"Hilarious. Bugs Bunny is in top form" (Boxoffice, March 6, 1948)
Rather pedestrian effort from Jones; almost a step backward in the evolution of the director's skill (not surprisingly, it is believed that this cartoon was delayed in order to allow Rhapsody Rabbit to be completed and released first during the whole mess with MGM). The chase is labored, paced a little too leisurely for a late '40s Bugs short. The specific gags targeting the Indian's heritage are predictable and, worse, only mildly humorous. The animation saves it from being a total disaster, with two specific actions standing out: Bugs slinking into a teepee for a haircut like a reluctant teenager, and the Indian following Bugs's hopscotch tracks. Bugs making a clay pot from scratch to use as a weapon is a nice moment, but Jones will do a similar gag to much greater effect in next year's Rabbit Hood.
*Not all copies of this video include this cartoon.
An ad appearing in the Spartanburg Herald-Journal in Spartanburg, SC on October 10, 1948.
Rabbit Punch (1948)CJ
While watching a boxing match, Bugs starts heckling the bullying champion, Battling Magook. When Bugs asks why the champ doesn't pick on someone his own size, Magook decides to throw Bugs into the ring to see how he measures up. Features a fake film break gag.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Ring Announcer
Billy Bletcher: Battling Magook
"Good" (Boxoffice, May 1, 1948)
If handled by anyone else, this could have easily become merely a derivative copy of Baseball Bugs, but instead Jones delivers a classic that marks the start of a peak period for not only the director but also Bugs. The champ is an imposing foe, but in the usual Jones way that makes him all the more comical. Bugs isn't in full control in this outing, which allows for a wonderful give and take that utilizes some expert timing. The cartoon also deftly spoofs the conventions of boxing, even more so than Jones had done in 1943's To Duck or Not to Duck. The fake film break ending only adds to the short's increasing mania, and Jones executes it much better here than he did on 1942's My Favorite Duck. One of the all-time best 1940s Bugs Bunny cartoons.
An ad appearing in The Altus Times-Democrat in Altus, OK on December 5, 1948.
Buccaneer Bunny (1948)FF
Yosemite Sam is back as a pirate (Seagoin' Sam) burying his treasure, but Bugs gets in his way. Sam chases Bugs over to his ship, where Bugs leads Sam into a series of cannons and throws matches into the ship's powder room.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, Polly
"Plenty of laughter when the animation gets into its studied screwball stride" (Film Daily, June 14, 1948)
The year's first of two masterful Bugs/Sam outings adds a new pirate element to the villain's identity, one that would be associated with the character almost as much as his traditional western outlaw guise. Sam's personality is not only solidified with this short but also perfected, as he is both fearsome and gullible. A number of gags would become synonymous with Bugs and Sam's relationship, including the climactic scene outside of Sam's gun powder room. Not nearly as iconic but equally hysterical is Bugs's confrontation with (and then imitation of) Sam's parrot.
An ad appearing in the Warsaw Daily Union in Warsaw, IN on July 20, 1948.
Bugs Bunny Rides Again (1948)FF
It's Bugs vs. Yosemite Sam, Round III! Back in western outlaw gear, Sam enters a saloon and challenges anyone to come and tame him. Bugs aims to. Features a zany chase on horseback, the first appearance of the "Step over this line" gag, and the classic Bugs and Sam soft-shoe number.
"Tops" (Film Daily, July 14, 1948)
"Good" (Boxoffice, July 24, 1948)
The perfect Yosemite Sam cartoon, period. The specific gags regarding his size and intelligence--"I'm a-thinking, and my head hurts!"--are hilarious, the parodies of the cowboy movie genre are classic and hold up incredibly well over half a century later, and Friz Freleng's comic timing has never been sharper. Bugs is confident and rarely treats Sam as an actual threat, which is a wonderful match for a villain whose temper is meant to terrorize victims but instead just adds to his own buffoonish nature. Two sequences are triumphs: a dance number in which Bugs--ordered to "dance" via Sam's pistols--provides a few soft-shoe steps before turning it over to Sam himself, who gladly continues without missing a beat; and a daffy chase sequence that includes perhaps the most ingenious tunnel gag ever done in an animated cartoon (the expressions of Bugs's and Sam's respective horses are also priceless). One of Freleng's best.
NOTE: Two versions of this short exist. The reissue changes a line of Sam's dialogue to "And I ain't no namby pamby" in order to remove a reference to the recently assassinated Mahatma Gandhi. All home video releases so far have included the redubbed version of this cartoon.
*Not all copies of this video include this cartoon.
An ad appearing in the Vernal Express in Vernal, UT on October 20, 1948.
Haredevil Hare (1948)CJ
Bugs is a heroic test rabbit lured into a rocket and sent to the moon, where a nameless martian (later named Marvin the Martian) also lands so he can blow up the Earth. When Bugs steals the instrument of destruction, the canine martian reserves (K-9) are sent out to get it back. The last Bugs cartoon in the old "pre-'48" syndication/Turner package.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Marvin the Martian, K-9, Radio Commander, Mission Control
Predating the Moon landing by over two decades, Chuck Jones and Mike Maltese simultaneously anticipate and spoof the coming space race, with Bugs beating the first real-life mammal shot into space by a year. Nothing about the loose science depicted seems hokey or implausible (gags aside), allowing for a somewhat realistic backdrop for the zany conflict that unfolds. His voice and design are still a bit embryonic compared to what we all know and love, but Marvin the Martian shines in his debut cartoon, immediately becoming an unassuming and altogether terrifying foe for Bugs to deal with. The character deservedly becomes bigger than his cartoon career. Marvin's manner, delivery, and actions are inspired, and the introduction of K-9 as his sidekick is an added bonus. One of the most creative Bugs cartoons of the decade.
*Not all copies of this video include this cartoon.
An ad appearing in the Richmond County Journal in Rockingham, NC on March 24, 1949.
Hot Cross Bunny (1948)RM
At the Eureka Hospital Experimental Laboratory, a scientist hopes to put a chicken's brain into the body of a rabbit. The rabbit turns out to be Bugs, who thinks he's there to perform. Features Bugs's frantic Danny Kaye-styled "gyration" dance.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Scientist, Chicken
"Top fun" (Film Daily, September 28, 1948)
Still a few years shy of the blander cartoons that would define his career for the next decade-plus, director Robert McKimson delivers a solid and entertaining chase cartoon. The visuals leave a little something to be desired--Bugs is still quite rat-like at times and the size comparisons between Bugs and the doctor vary wildly--but decent use is made of the medical-center setting, most notably a scene where Bugs turns into an amateur chemist. The medical checkup jokes, meanwhile, are corny but harmless. The highlight of the short, though, is unquestionably the first act in which Bugs does a number of vaudeville routines (to the disgust of the doctors in the audience in a great still image), culminating in a wonderfully animated dance that produces quick close-ups of practically every part of the rabbit's anatomy (butt included). This is the first short to suggest that Bugs supposedly had some sort of celebrated stage career before his time at Warner Bros., which only further brings up the hilarious question of why scientists would use a supposedly popular entertainer for a brain-switching experiment.
An ad appearing in The Owosso Argus-Press in Owosso, MI on July 13, 1949.
Hare Splitter (1948)FF
Both Bugs and dopey rival Casbah are hoping to court Daisy Lou (sort of a prototypical version of the comics' Honey Bunny). When Daisy Lou goes out for the day, Bugs decides to play dress up in order to get rid of Casbah.
A rare 1940s misstep for Friz Freleng, who at least gets a point or two for making another rabbit the main antagonist (something attempted at no other time) and for a funny back-and-forth early on in which Bugs and Casbah try to one-up each other with gifts for Daisy Lou. Sadly, Bugs is a little too watered-down in this cartoon, which is all the stranger considering he's pursuing a female and the short was written by studio womanizer Tedd Pierce. Instead of Bugs invoking the leering charm of Groucho Marx he is instead portrayed as merely a funny, crafty Andy Hardy type. Casbah is a little too dumb for Bugs to match wits with, making for a quickly tiring conflict. Bugs posing as Daisy Lou for an extended period is one of his lamer uses of drag, to say nothing of a rather ugly moment where Casbah actually socks Bugs in the face (something being used for a punchline yet, no pun intended). Weak cartoon all around.
An ad appearing in the Ogdensburg Journal in Ogdensburg, NY on November 24, 1948.
A-Lad-in His Lamp (1948)RM
Bugs comes across Aladdin's lamp, where Smokey the Genie (voiced by Jim Backus) lives. Smokey sends Bugs to Baghdad, where a mad sultan chases Bugs to get the lamp.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Caliph Hassen Pheffer
Jim Backus: Smokey
Voiced by a pre-Magoo, pre-Gilligan's Island Jim Backus at the height of his radio career (in fact, this short preceded his first on-screen credit), Smokey the Genie steals the show. This, unfortunately, isn't necessarily a good thing, as Bugs is forced to take a bit of a backseat. One wouldn't mind if it wasn't for the fact that Smokey isn't really all that funny of a character; he's loud, annoying, and suffers from a rather hideous character design typical of Robert McKimson's human characters of the period. After a humorous early exchange between Bugs and Smokey as the rabbit thinks of something to wish for, the story quickly becomes a pretty generic chase cartoon, with Smokey becoming more of a hindrance in a frustrating sort of way (although the depictions of his in-lamp social life are amusing). For a much better take on the Aladdin story and a funnier interpretation of the genie, one should seek out the Fleischers' classic Popeye two-reeler Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp.
An ad for the cartoon (with the title completely mangled) appearing in The Blair Press in Blair, WI on January 27, 1949.
My Bunny Lies Over the Sea (1948)CJ
Bugs again misses Albuquerque and winds up in Scotland, where he sees an old lady being attacked by a monster. In actuality it was a kilt-wearing bagpipe player named McCrory, who challenges Bugs to a game of golf.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, McCrory
"Good. A clever cartoon" (Boxoffice, January 1, 1949)
Three years after first missing that left turn at Albuquerque in Friz Freleng's Herr Meets Hare, Chuck Jones and writer Mike Maltese use the one-off gag as the springboard to an entire hilarious series in which Bugs gets lost on vacation and meddles with the local culture. The Scotland setting is used well in terms of design and inspiration for gags, while McCrory is a funny blowhard of a villain. The golf match in the second half offers some inspired moments, from Bugs auctioning off his number of strokes to a delightful ramble of fictitious tournaments to show precedence for an otherwise illegal move. Essential Bugs Bunny cartoon.
An ad appearing in The Daily Illini in Champaign, IL on December 16, 1949.
Hare Do (1949)FF
After trying to track him with some rather useless army surplus gear, Elmer chases Bugs into a movie theater, where the usher sees Elmer as a bothersome "masher." "Excuse me, pardon me, pardon me, excuse me, beg ya pardon...."
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Usher
Arthur Q. Bryan: Elmer Fudd
"Very good" (Boxoffice, February 5, 1949)
The short is essentially a sequel to Stage Door Cartoon, only with a better setting (movie theater instead of vaudeville stage) and better use of said setting. Considering the number of cinema-set cartoons from the studio over the last two decades ever since Bosko's Picture Show, the specific gags spoofing the moviegoing experience are unique and refreshing. Bugs is a riot crawling back and forth down an aisle to get to his seat (including climbing onto a guy's head and seemingly over a lady's legs), while Elmer is nice and dopey if perhaps a bit more defanged than he was in Stage Door. Solid Bugs and Elmer effort.
An ad appearing in The Winona Republican-Herald in Winona, MN on October 15, 1949.
Mississippi Hare (1949)CJ
Bugs is accidentally plucked by cotton-pickers and winds up on a riverboat, where a short poker-playing Southerner named Colonel Shuffle causes a ruckus. Features Bugs's great "Camptown Races" tapdance number.
Thoroughly enjoyable effort from Chuck Jones, if perhaps a little slow and repetitious in the middle. Colonel Shuffle is a funny little character, but he's a bit too derivative of Yosemite Sam without the latter's ferocity (Shuffle would have a much more memorable turn in Jones's Charlie Dog short Dog Gone South). Some of the angles used are quite dynamic, and Bugs's tapdance is a marvelous piece of animation by Ken Harris (not Freleng stalwart Virgil Ross, as often misreported). Among the highlights is a hysterical scene in which Bugs laboriously makes change for Shuffle, who desperately needs a penny for a cup of water in order to put out a fire on his rear. One of Jones's classic Bugs shorts.
An ad appearing in the Spartanburg Herald-Journal in Spartanburg, SC on August 28, 1949.
Rebel Rabbit (1949)RM
Outraged by the high bounties on bears and foxes (and the rather low bounty on rabbits), Bugs decides to mail himself to Washington. Not finding any justice with the game commissioner, Bugs declares war on the United States: tying up the railroad, cutting Florida loose, and filling up the Grand Canyon.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Postmaster, Game Commissioner, Police Officer, Southern Senator
"Good" (Boxoffice, September 4, 1948)
"One of the best" (Film Daily, September 16, 1948)
"Bugs Bunny was here!" One of Robert McKimson's all-time great Bugs Bunny cartoons. Bugs's stunts are wonderfully absurd without merely falling back on a series of puns, and one truly sympathizes with him during his outbursts (even though his motivation is downright ridiculous). The animation coming from McKimson's unit still has some life to it, and the incidental characters have their moments ("Stop steaming up my glasses!"). All the mayhem is capped with a decent, funny resolution: Bugs gets what he wanted, but crime does not necessarily pay.
An ad appearing in the Plattsburgh Press-Republican in Plattsburgh, NY on September 14, 1949.
High Diving Hare (1949)FF
Bugs is a vaudeville barker advertising stunt-diver Fearless Freep, who just happens to be Yosemite Sam's idol. When Freep cannot show up, Sam forces Bugs to dive instead. But who goes up isn't necessarily who goes down....
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, Telegram Man
"Bugs Bunny is always funny and is in this, though the single gag in it is a little overplayed" (Boxoffice, May 14, 1949)
One of the finest Yosemite Sam cartoons has absolutely nothing to do with casting him as an outlaw or otherwise historical villain, as would become the norm for the series. The humor comes almost entirely from his character; his stubbornness in insisting that Bugs do the high-dive mixed with his continued gullibility. Each one of Sam's falls provides something new and unique in terms of setup and punchline, while one where Sam is literally racing a bucket of water to the bottom is delightfully animated. Bugs is in complete control, allowing for nothing but great reactions from Sam each time he's been duped ("I hate you."). Easily the funniest scene is a single fixed shot on the middle of the high-dive ladder as Sam continually climbs it only to fall due to some unknown off-camera trickery from Bugs; the viewers' minds are left to wonder of the possibilities, making us Bugs's accomplices in the process.
An ad appearing in the Ogdensburg Journal in Ogdensburg, NY on June 17, 1949.
Bowery Bugs (1949)
In the only Arthur Davis cartoon to star Bugs, the rabbit recounts the story of unlucky gambler Steve Brody. Brody needs a lucky rabbit's foot, but Bugs convinces him to instead see a psychic (Bugs again). The psychic tells Brody that he needs a mascot (Bugs, yet again), but things don't exactly work out as planned.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Old Timer, Saloon Owner, Gorilla
Billy Bletcher: Steve Brody
"Good" (Boxoffice, August 13, 1949)
After three years of paying his dues as director of the studio's "budget" unit, Art Davis finally gets to take a crack at Warner's star character (also allowing for a rare Davis cartoon to be processed in Technicolor, too). Sadly, what could have been an interesting new avenue in the rabbit's career under a new director only became this one short, as Davis's unit was already shut down by the time it was released. It is truly a shame, as Davis delivered well enough, bringing a bit more of an edge to Bugs than other directors had been giving him of late. Bugs is in his natural urban habitat, Brooklyn, doing what he does best: playing con man to a lout who would otherwise do him harm. Bugs isn't so much unaware of the threat Brody possesses (as Daffy was in Davis's The Stupor Salesman) as he just doesn't let it faze him; he toys with Brody, even when facing his fists. The character designs are funny (especially of those in the saloon), the incidental gags are nice and zany ("That's you, fathead!"), and Billy Bletcher is in fine form as Brody (in fact, apart from two further turns as Papa Bear, this would be his final voice work for Warners). Strangely, for all of the novelty hype this film gets as being Davis's only Bugs Bunny effort, it is ironically quite different from the rest of Davis's output, which always seemed to exist in a stylistic non-Warnery vacuum--not quite Clampett and not quite Tashlin. The pacing tends to come off as a bit tame at times, almost fitting right in with the wilder McKimson and Freleng films of the period. The short could have also used a stronger ending, as the "Bugs as everyone" gag in particular wore out its welcome quickly. It's disappointing to consider that there could have been wilder and funnier Bugs cartoons from Davis just on the horizon. If only.
An ad appearing in The Windsor Daily Star in Windsor, ON on April 11, 1950.
Long-Haired Hare (1949)CJ
Bugs's music-playing is bothering nearby opera singer Giovanni Jones, who keeps showing up to destroy our hero's instruments. Bugs retaliates by showing up at the singer's recital, using a "pen," liquid alum, and a Leopold Stokowski costume to disrupt the performance.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Giovanni Jones (screaming), Musicians, Conductor, Delivery Man
Nicolai Shutorov: Giovanni Jones
"Bugs Bunny delivers his full quota of wisecracks" (Boxoffice, July 30, 1949)
Pitch-perfect Bugs cartoon from Chuck Jones. The premise is simple--big guy humiliates Bugs, so Bugs gets even--and harkens back to Jones's Case of the Missing Hare, but every skill the director learned and fine-tuned over the last decade comes into play here. The gags are quicker, the character designs and poses are fun and cartoony (especially Giovanni's reactions to Bugs's music playing), and Bugs's coup de grace as a conductor is spectacular (Bugs even has time for a quick aside so he can mail-order a pair of earmuffs). One of the gold standards for Bugs Bunny shorts as the character moves into the 1950s. "Thank yoooou, Mr. Jones" indeed!
An ad appearing in the Pasco Tri-City Herald in Kennewick, WA on September 12, 1951.
Knights Must Fall (1949)FF
Bugs offends Sir Pantsalot when he disposes a carrot into his armor, so the knight challenges Bugs to a joust. Features a unique variation of the "That's the ol' pitchin' in there, boy..." baseball gag.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Sir Pantsalot, Joust Announcer, Program Vendor, Halftime Band
"Good" (Boxoffice, August 6, 1949)
Nothing too revolutionary going on here: just a solid Bugs short from Friz Freleng. Bugs has a great wiseguy streak in him, razzing the audience when they boo him. Bugs's donkey is fun to watch during the jousting scene, while there are some great anachronistic gags peppered throughout (including Bugs knocking on Pantsalot's helmet as if he was trying to get into a speakeasy). The specific jokes treating the joust like a modern-day sporting event--including the appearance of a program vendor and a halftime band--are a little familiar but still welcomed. Very good middle-of-the-road Bugs cartoon.
An ad appearing in The Star (Port St. Joe) in Port St. Joe, FL on August 11, 1950.
The Grey Hounded Hare (1949)RM
Bugs burrows his way onto a greyhound-racing track, where he bothers the #7 dog. When Bugs finds out that the dogs have to chase after a female (albeit mechanical) rabbit, Bugs decides to come to "her" rescue.
"Real imagination and humor" (Boxoffice, September 17, 1949)
Enjoyable outing from Robert McKimson that's full of energy (a quality that would be lacking in his 1950s productions). The dogs all have a nice realistic look to them, while the #7 dog is particularly fearsome. The puns and visual gags related to the dogs' names are corny but charming. Bugs is in fine form as a romantic hero (even if somewhat misguided), and the race announcer calling out the play-by-play as Bugs attacks each dog is a scream ("That hurt!").
An ad appearing in The Daily Illini in Champaign, IL on January 27, 1950.
The Windblown Hare (1949)RM
Bugs is put into the middle of the story of the Three Little Pigs, who, in an effort to avoid the Big Bad Wolf, sell Bugs the straw and stick houses. When each gets blown down by the wolf, Bugs fights back by dressing up as Little Red Riding Hood.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Big Bad Wolf, Bricks Little Pig, Straw Little Pig, Sticks Little Pig
Bea Benaderet: Grandma
"Very good" (Boxoffice, October 8, 1949)
Robert McKimson didn't direct nearly as many fairy tale spoofs as Freleng or Jones did, but when he did it usually resulted in a winner. The wolf is amusing as he alternates between being studious and aggressive (including some great animation as he kicks Grandma out of her house); he's not necessarily being evil, just extremely dedicated. The pigs are nice and nasty, and even Grandma's brief appearance is funny (she protests the idea of not being eaten by the wolf!). Bugs is perhaps the weakest link in the whole cartoon, as he's a bit too passive in the first half considering all he's going through; his defense is merely a "Now just a minute..." before his house is blown down. Even the final comeuppance he gives the pigs is a little unsatisfying. The ending would have been stronger had McKimson invoked the Bugs from Easter Yeggs in terms of reaction and response.
An ad appearing in The Owosso Argus-Press in Owosso, MI on July 5, 1950.
Frigid Hare (1949)CJ
"Miami Beach at last!" Not quite, as Bugs ends up in Antarctica, where he saves a little ice-cube-crying penguin (Playboy Penguin) from an Eskimo hunter. The innocuous last joke is often edited out of recent television broadcasts.
"As usual there are plenty of laughs in Bugs Bunny's antics" (Boxoffice, November 5, 1949)
Extremely charming, entertaining short. The middle drags a bit, and Bugs acts a little too passive considering he's not only the hero of the picture but also there to rescue another character (in fact, the central conflict gets resolved through no action on Bugs's part). What makes it all work, however, is that Bugs still acts like Bugs. He really wants no part of the penguin, yet he also won't rat him out to the Eskimo. He's a wiseguy with a heart without being a goody-two-shoes; Groucho with a soul and backbone. Playboy himself comes very close to stealing the show, but Chuck Jones is smart enough to keep the focus on Bugs playing the reluctant hero.
An ad appearing in the Ottawa Citizen in Ottawa, ON on April 7, 1950.
Which Is Witch (1949)FF
An African witch doctor, Dr. I.C. Spots, needs a rabbit for his brew, so he goes after Bugs. Due to some rather light African stereotypes, this short has not been seen on American television since 1992.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Dr. I.C. Spots
Disappointingly routine Bugs Bunny outing with rather sluggish pacing. The chase gags aren't very inspired, while the jungle setting and tribal gags don't seem to fit well. I.C. Spots is an interesting character, but he's more noisy than funny. The end river sequence with the alligator is fun but nevertheless feels tacked on. Like with most of the studio's "controversial" cartoons, its lack of television exposure is far more interesting than the short itself.
An ad appearing in The Winona Republican-Herald in Winona, MN on December 1, 1950.
Rabbit Hood (1949)CJ
Bugs is in Sherwood Forest, where he is caught stealing the king's carrots. The Sheriff of Nottingham attempts to bring Bugs to justice, but an oafish Little John keeps showing up to promise that Robin Hood will soon save him. Errol Flynn shows up as Robin Hood via footage from the 1938 film.
Mel Blanc: Bugs Bunny, Sheriff of Nottingham, Little John
Errol Flynn: Robin Hood
And the decade ends on a high note thanks to Chuck Jones and Mike Maltese. Extra kudos must be given to the Jones unit animators who are at the top of their game; some of the poses of Bugs seen throughout would become classic images in animation-art circles. The Sheriff and Little John depicted here are absurd, yet respectful, parodies that never break character in order to keep up with Bugs. Such anachronistic interpretations lead to some of the funniest moments in the film, such as Bugs talking the Sheriff into "buying" the King's royal garden for housing (leading to perhaps the most entertaining slow burn in cartoon history). Equally amazing is a double-whammy of gags in which Bugs poses as the King of England to continually "knight" the Sheriff by bashing him with his scepter...and then rushing off to bake and ice a cake from scratch (in the middle of the forest, yet!) just in time for the Sheriff to fall into. The use of Adventures of Robin Hood footage is inspired and makes for a wonderful surprise ending.