Bugs Bunny Is 75, And Now You Feel Like An Old
Here's your Pop Culture Milestone for the day: Today marks the 75th anniversary of the release of the very first Bugs Bunny cartoon, "A Wild Hare," directed by the great Tex Avery. Oh, sure, we could bore you with a lot of history, like Time Magazine does, about the disputed origins of the character's name:
Mel Blanc, who voiced the character, later claimed that the name was his idea, saying that they were going to call the character Happy Rabbit, but that Blanc suggested naming him after animator Ben “Bugs” Hardaway. Alternatively, the name is sometimes traced to a sketch that designer Charles Thorson did on Hardaways’ request, with the caption “Bugs’ bunny” -- as in, it was the bunny that Bugs had asked him to draw.
But instead we'd just like to share a few of our own favorite Bugs Things here, like this live performance of the Best Merrie Melodies cartoon ever -- hell, the best cartoon of any kind of all time -- "What's Opera, Doc?" Note that Elmer's shout of "SMOG!" is Mel Blanc's voice, dubbed in from the original.
Director Chuck Jones wrote about the enormous white horse in "What's Opera, Doc?" in one of his memoirs, Chuck Amuck: "Missing the great, pink, busty quality of the Wagnerian diva, we invested all the fat curves we owned in Brünnhilde's charger."
And of course, there's this important question from Wayne's World:
Also too, here is that original 1940 cartoon, "A Wild Hare," including the very first "What's up, Doc?" It is of course copyrighted and owned and all the IP stuff by Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.:
And just in case you missed it in the Nerdout this weekend, here's a terrific brief analysis, by film buff and video essayist Tony Zhou, of ultimate WB animator Chuck Jones' development as a film comedian. And if you already saw it, you know how good it is, so watch it again!
And finally, one last Bunny homage: Remember how Bugs would tunnel across the desert or through snow, one ear raised above the earth like a periscope? Turns out that sixty years after the heyday of the Warner studios at Termite Terrace, cartoon characters still navigate the same way:
>As a kid, we always preferred Bugs to Mickey Mouse (confession: and Daffy to Bugs; we're perverse that way). The Mouse was too conventional, too straitlaced. Bugs was a troublemaker, slow to anger, but when pushed too far, "Of course you realize, this means war." And we still love Bugs. Just don't talk to us about Space Jam, OK? Some things are best left unsaid.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.