Hare Brush

“Brudder, you got yourself a preposition.”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, Art Davis and Gerry Chiniquy; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Music by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on May 7, 1955.

Observe the E.J. building. HQ of Elmer J. Fudd the millionaire. (I hear he has a mansion AND a yacht.) He owns plenty of businesses too, so he’s done very well for himself. But owning all this takes a lot of pressure, and sooner or later, something’s gotta crack. Sadly, it was Elmer’s brain. Now, he thinks he’s a rabbit! He hops on all fours, eats carrots, and even makes the same noises rabbits make: Ehwhatsupdoc. This has his board members worried, and they decide he needs professional help.

They send him to the Fruit Cake Sanitorium. (It’s the best they can do with the lousy pay Elmer’s been giving them lately.) Now, I don’t know anywhere near close enough to be considered a psychiatrist, but is indulging in the patient’s delusions really how you want to start? Look at the guy. He’s even dressed like a rabbit now. (And if you know anything about what rabbit’s eat, you should be very concerned right about… now.) It’s then when Elmer notices another rabbit outside the window. He easily lures his fellow lagomorph inside with the promise of bushels of carrots.

Said rabbit is Bugs who is fooled into thinking Elmer J. Fudd the millionaire is one of his own. Since the window is now open, E.J.F. the M. bolts. (Probably to check on his mansion and his yacht.) Bugs finds the place comfortable enough. Comfy bed, plenty of carrots, a rabbit could really learn to love it here. Now the doctor enters. Getting a look at Bugs has him claiming this as the most severe case yet. (So tell me, “doc” whose name is on that M.D. in your office? And why do your pants keep changing color?) He assures “Mr. Fudd” that while there is nothing wrong with being a rabbit, being a millionaire is even better. (You’ll get a mansion and a yacht!)

Thanks to modern medicine and verbal conditioning, Bugs leaves the place as Elmer J. Fudd, Millionaire. He owns a… yeah I’m sick of that too. I apologize. It’s Wednesday, and that is the day when Mr. Fudd goes hunting. Bugsmer is all for it, and in the woods he finds the perfect target: Fudds Bunny. Let the chase begin! Bugsmer thinks he’s got the rabbit cornered in a cave, but it’s really a bear. Running for his life, Fudds tells him to play dead. Always works. Too well, for the bear decides to dig him a grave. And since they’re atop a cliff, down the hunter goes.

When hunter finally finds hunted, victory is most definitely assured. That’s when a man taps Bugsmer’s shoulder asking if he is Elmer J. and you know the rest. The hunter affirms that he is, and the man reveals himself to be here to take him away. Seems even millionaires aren’t immune to the certainties of life, and Mr. Fudd has a good number of back taxes to his name. Bugsmer is dragged away, leaving Fudds to his freedom in the forest. Which leads us to the biggest question: was this Elmer’s plan from the beginning? (Smart AND rich. You don’t see that combo much anymore.)

Favorite Part: When Elmer first sees Bugs outside and get his attention. Bugs asks if Elmer is trying to get his attention and when Elmer confirms, Bugs gives him the (hare) brush off. That’s probably the most human thing he’s ever done!

Personal Rating: 4. Wow, has Freleng and his unit improved since last time! Far more interesting story, plenty of time for Blanc and Bryan to imitate each other’s characters, a brilliant way to shake up the standard plot; you’d find it hard to believe that Friz ever disliked Elmer.

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