Rabbit’s Feat

“‘Rabbitus idioticus deliceeous’. Er, I believe that- that’s the scientific term.”

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x8b73uz

Directed by Chuck Jones; Animation by Ken Harris and Richard Thompson; Layouts and Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on June 4, 1960.

A Bugs/Wile E. picture that is light on the fun mechanical gags in order to focus more on the dialogue. Could that be because Michael Maltese was no longer writing for Chuck, having moved on to Hanna Barbera by this point?

That wily ole Wile E. He’s tracking rabbit to get himself something to munch.  He finds Bugs asleep in his crib, sucking his thumb. Let that be an indication of what’s to come. I think Chuck was trying to hearken back to Bugs’s wackier days, but to me, he just comes across as that little kid who thinks he’s the funniest thing on two legs and is in actually annoying and obnoxious, but you’re the adult so you have to pretend that he speaks in fluent comedy gold and you’ve got no choice but to encourage him, even though it would be doing the world a favor to tell him to shut his lips. Doesn’t mean Bugs is painful to listen to or watch, but I’m not finding myself laughing at his antics all that much.

Wile E. sets up a picnic and Bugs comes to join. Proving his intellect once again, Wile E. actually wanted this to happen, as he bundles Bugs in the blanket in order to transport him to the cooking pot. Once there, Chuck has Bugs dust off the old “screaming in agony to unnerve his tormentor” chestnut. Wile E. catches on fairly quick and then catches Bugs lounging outside the containment unit he is supposed to be in. Bugs responds in a way I never would have seen coming, no matter how much weed was injected into my veins: “Daddy! You’re back from Peru!”

Ties back to the kid again, who also thinks random is inherently funny. (Which it can be, but it takes skill to pull off and I’m still not sure how one can describe the proper method.) It is pretty funny, but it comes so far out of left field that I’m want to question, rather than giggle. (But I am smiling at Wile E.’s great poses. They make the picture.) Bugs is able to escape after Wile E. falls into the pot, failing an opportunity to lunge at him since Bugs ducked at the last second. Time to do some plotting.

In a very meta sense, Wile E. starts musing about gags that could feature in this cartoon, but don’t. Bugs slipping in behind him, and giving his two cents. Wile E. ultimately figures he’ll lace him some carrots full of dynamite. Bugs screams, scaring the coyote, and escapes again. Wile E. decides to settle on a gun. Bugs steps right up to him, and flips the gun barrel any way he pleases. Even at Wile E. But those brains, man. Wile E. doesn’t fall for it even when he didn’t see Bugs point it at him. He keeps pointing back to Bugs. Bugs responds by pulling away that little tip that determines which part of the gun is the front. Wile E. takes a gamble, and loses. (Brains and luck are not interchangeable terms.)

Wile E. throws an active grenade down Bugs’s hole, and blocks any possible exit. Bugs screams once more, causing the coyote to fly up and back down, just in time to catch the brunt of the explosion. He identifies himself as a vegetarian now. And reinstates the ‘Mud’ moniker.

Favorite Part: Wile E.’s line: “It is obvious, that is no ordinary rabbit.” Everyone should say this when introducing Bugs to new generations.

Personal Rating: 3. Bugs may be getting on my nerves a tad, but I know he’s just trying to mess with a predator. Still, I’d say this is the weakest of his co-starring with Wile E.

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