Elmer’s Pet Rabbit

“That was weawwy, an awfuwwy good, weg of wamb.”

Supervision by Charles M. Jones; Story by Rich Hogan; Animation by Rudolf Larriva; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on Janurary 4, 1941.

The title should tell you all you need to know about the plot of the picture. Still, I feel compelled to ask: Do YOU know who Elmer’s pet rabbit is?

Your stupidity is astounding. Simply astounding.

It’s Bugs of course! But I must concede, that at the time of release, you probably wouldn’t know that. Not only was this only the second appearance of the fully fleshed out Bugs character, but it was the first time his name was given. And he sounds like Jimmy Stewart in this picture. (Wait. Why.) Not to mention the yellow gloves and lack of buck teeth. (I’ll chock this all up to puberty. Toons can have it too. You should have seen how Goofy was affected.)

(No. You shouldn’t)

All this talk and I’ve still yet to start my synopsis. As Elmer strolls down the street, something catches his eye. (And I wasn’t talking about the lingerie on display) It’s a rabbit! Such a cute animal! Quiet, lucky, coprophagic, it’s everything you want in a pet! The store seems to really trying their best to sell the one in the window, so he must be the best rabbit of all, right? (Well, yeah. But not to live with!) Elmer gives in and purchases the “wittle, gway, wabbit.” The bunny is not pleased to be named as such, and verbally makes it known. Could this be a mistake?

Even if it was a rather spur of the moment purchase, Elmer makes a great pen for his new pet. Really! There’s shelter, space to roam, and as many vegetables as one could eat. (Okay, that last one proves ignorance. Maybe why that’s why Bugs continuously protests eating them as he eats them? Starving is simply out of the question.) Still, no matter how nice you make a prison look, it still counts as a prison. Bugs is jealous of Elmer’s house. In fact, why not just go inside? Being a pet technically makes him part of the family. And families share.

Bugs barges in, turns on all the lights he can find, and starts a dance. Elmer is not amused and sends him back outside. If you think Bugs is going to listen, you must have… oh wait. You are the same person who thought Elmer was actually going to adopt someone outside his studio. Sorry.

Whatever you thought, Bugs heads right back in there. He even beats Fudd to the bathroom, insisting he wait his turn. Looks like he plans on being in there awhile, judging by that magazine. Really though, reading on the john is one of the most entertaining ways to spend one’s time. (Lord, do I need a girlfriend.) Elmer busts in and heads to his shower. He pays for the water, he gets first dibs, and he throws Bugs out. Even more crazy, when Bugs marches in again, Elmer throws him out a second time! (Betcha thought Elmer was going to be thrown out, right?)

Landing in the tub, (which has some water in it for the sake of the joke) Bugs decides to fake drowning. The cries for help summon his owner, who pulls the bunny out of the bathtub. Bugs is amazed and humbled. Despite all the problems he’s been causing, Elmer still cared enough to rescue the animal he paid 98 cents for. (Is there no greater love?) Bugs feels he deserves a kick in the rear for his behavior, and tells Elmer to do it. Takes some persuading, but Elmer gives in and delivers a very light kick. Quote Bugs: “Of course, you know this means war.” (Making this the first time he said that.)

Enough play, Bugs goes into the bedroom and takes over the bed. Elmer has had enough and goes in there. We don’t actually get to see what goes down, but I bet it’s cool. There’s lightning, and stars, and explosions showing that you can only cross a Fudd so many times! He chases the rabbit back outside where he is supposed to sleep, and heads back to what’s left of his bed. Need I mention who is waiting there for him?

*sigh* You’re really bad at this.

Favorite part: When Elmer first asks how Bugs likes his new home. “Frankly, old man, I don’t like it. It stinks.” It’s the “old man” that gets me. It really shouldn’t be as funny as I’m finding it.

Dog Gone People

“Why Wupewt, you’we pwastewed!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Warren Batchelder, George Grandpre, Ted Bonnicksen, and Tom Ray; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by William Butler; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on November 12, 1960.

One fine day, Elmer gets a call from his boss. He’s asked to do a favor, and unlike most people, he’s genuinely happy to do some extra work for no pay. At least this way he can get into his boss’s good graces. I’m sure he has some, even if his name is Mr. Crabtree. Elmer is tasked with watching the boss’s dog. He doesn’t make the best impression, mistaking the beast for the man upon opening his door. (How long have you worked for this guy?) Actually, that IS a good thing as Rupert there thinks he IS a man. And Crabtree (who, if he isn’t wearing glasses, should really see a doctor about those cataracts) insists he be treated as such. (Which could potentially lead to horrible psychological scarring and years of therapy. Although, a sick part of me would love to see his reaction, should his owner decide to euthanize him. I’m not well.)

Elmer (Being voiced here by Hal Smith. I’m not quite sure if he’s doing a better job than Mel or not. No disrespect to your guy’s memories, but there was only ONE Arthur Q. Bryan.)  doesn’t really have a choice but to obey, because in whatever company he’s a part of, you get promoted or kicked to the curb. (I guess you aren’t allowed to keep your current position. They’re very productive at Idon’tknowwhatwedo Inc.) If Elmer does a good job, he might just make Vice President. With such a delicate task at mind, you’d think Fudd would be a little more careful about offending the dog. Instead, he offends him by turning the T.V. to “Classie”, serves dog food for dinner, and gets out a dog sized bed. Each time, Rupert threatens to leave, or he just straight up calls the boss. (Who probably can’t understand him anyway, but what I want to know is: if Rupert thinks he is a human, what does he think this whole staying with Elmer thing is? Grown men don’t have a lot of sleepovers, do they?)

Come the next morning, Elmer goes to make some breakfast. Rupert heard him gargling and decides to do the same. Because he can’t read, (I’m guessing that explains the next bit) he chooses some Bay rum instead, and being that he has a smaller body, it takes just that sip to get him drunk. Human or not, I don’t think Crabtree would approve of his dog drinking. (For all we know, he’s underage.) Elmer thinks that a drive would be good for the dog, but I guess the dog isn’t as think as we drunk he is, and he takes the wheel. It’s not too long before they are pulled over and arrested. Crabtree does bail the two out, and isn’t actually going to fire Elmer. He’s definitely going up in the company. By which I mean painting a flagpole on the building. Despite the drunk driving, Rupert gets the Vice President position. It pays to be the man’s best friend.

Favorite Part: Rupert at the wheel. A drunk, non-anthropomorphized, dog joyriding in a car that isn’t his. This, my friends is comedy.

Yankee Dood It

“How can I run my business without elves?”

Directed by Friz Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Gerry Chiniquy, Virgil Ross, and Art Davis; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on October 13, 1956.

Last of the shorts trying to teach. I promise. (Private Snafu doesn’t count. Those weren’t intended for anyone but soldiers)

We begin in Smurf Village. Or I guess right next door, as we look in a hollow tree that is close to the mushroom houses. Inside, we see elves. (Actually, it’d make sense that they would live in trees. It’s where they make their cookies) The leader looks an awful lot like Elmer, so let’s just call him what we all thought of: Elver.

Clever, but not what I meant. He’s just got done reading the roll call. Despite making it past the Z’s he decides now is the time to question where all the missing W’s are. (I think that’s what he’s looking for. He says it as “wouble u’s”) One little elf, (who we will call Joey. Joey the elf) knows where they went: to help the shoemaker. (Either that or Santa mistook them for his. Just naming all the jobs elves do, today) Elver is upset. That was over one hundred years ago. (No, they never explain how the shoemaker is still alive. It’s one of three options: 1. The shoemaker takes really good care of himself, and has surpassed the average human life expectancy. 2. Eating an elf every year makes you immortal. 3. Elver is exaggerating and is full of crap.) Joey is sent to go retrieve them. As he leaves, he is also reminded that the word “Rumplestilskin” is a magical word for elves and can save them from danger. The elves are indeed at the shoemakers. (From Keebler to cobbler.) The owner, (who I’m naming Sherm) really enjoys it. Mostly because he doesn’t have to pay them. (Slave labor is less wrong when you’ve got an entirely different species doing your work.) Joey arrives as a tiny glowing ball. (Since when can he do that? Is this another elf fact we’re learning today? While I’m on it, why do they have antennae?) Sherm smacks what he thinks is an insect (The antennae aren’t helping make it any easier) but finds it’s another elf. Joey wants his people back, but Sherm is hesitant. He’d have to hire humans then. And they’d probably want *gulp* payment! Or worse, breaks! He also says “Jehosophat” and it turns out this is another one of those magic words that affect elves. It slowly turns them into mice. Now spouting a tail, Joey begs for that word to not get spoken again. Sherm just so happens to have a Sylvester the cat around who is looking at Joey with great interest. The cat leaves and the phone rings. The caller asks for a Jehosophat. Now Joey has matching ears. Then, a telegram is delivered that Sherm reads out loud. It was a birthday greeting for a Jehosophat. That’s done it. Joey is now full on mouse and Sylvester is on the hunt. The new mouse runs into a giant hole. (Seriously, that thing is huge! Sylvester could just follow him in! And for that matter, who made it? They must have rodents of some kind around!) Despite the easier option, Sylvester tries to reach him with a coat hanger, but only nabs some exposed wires. Joey has forgotten the word that will help him and rushes to the phone book, as he at least remembers it was a name that started with R. He finds it just in time and is reverted back to normal. For some reason, this stops Sylvester from eating him. (I’m not an expert on house cats, but aren’t elves responsible for a good 45% of their diet?) Shem tells him to knock it off, and Elver decides to come see why he is still missing elves. (As long as he knows where they are, why does it matter if he has them back or not? We could learn so much about the Elf race, but no, instead we’re going to get another economics lesson.) Elver is here to tell how Sherm can run his business without elves. The main reason he can’t keep up the enslavement isn’t because it’s morally and ethically wrong, it’s just too old fashioned. According to Elver, older methods are destined to fail and must be modernized. (I get what he’s saying, but what if you have a really good way of making your product? One that doesn’t need upgrading.) If he buys better equipment with his profits, he can increase his production, and get an even bigger profit. But the cycle never ends, and he will have to keep using some of his gains to upgrade again and so on. (When, you put it that way, it just sounds depressing.) Nevertheless, Sherm is convinced and agrees to do it the modern way! Six months later, his shop is a much larger building, he has nicer clothes and his own office. Elver shows up again to check in on him. Sherm is doing quite well for himself. He only has one problem now: he needs a name for his new line of boots. Without any reason why, he dubs them “Jehosophat boots.” Turns out, tagging boot on the end of that word instantly turns an elf to a mouse. And Sherm still has Sylvester. Elver runs for his life from the cat, trying to remember the word that will save him, having forgotten it himself.

Well, it was an interesting experiment, but I’m not sure how well it worked or was received. Luckily, Friz would go back to directing comedy, which I feel is where he shined best.

Rabbit Rampage

All right, you’ve made your point. You’re the boss.

Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ben Washam; Layouts by Ernest Nordli; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Music by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released in 1955.

Do you remember “Duck Amuck?” It was a pretty well loved short. When someone creates something that the world loves, they can either leave it alone, satisfied that they made something wonderful and let fans cry for more, or they can try to capture lightning in a bottle twice and risk the chance of failing. I wouldn’t say this was a failure, but it really doens’t work with Bugs. But I’m getting ahead of myself. The script tells us we are to start in a classic woodland scene. The animator paints one, but adds Bugs’ hole in the sky. When Bugs sees just who is at the controls for this picture, he refuses to play along. (Don’t blink! When Bugs hits the ground, his leg disappears for a fraction of a second.) The artist stars putting picket signs in his hands. Bugs agrees to work with the artist, but now they are painting various hats on Bugs. (Making the top hat too big is quite clever.) Well, Bugs tried to be nice. Now to leave. But his hole is now upside down in the sky and he can’t get into it, as an anvil is tied to his tail. While he grumbles, his head is replaced with a jack o’ lantern. He requests a rabbit head. It’s tiny. Once it’s back to normal size though, it is without ears. Asking for some gets him human ears. He is given a horse’s tail next. When asking for it to be fixed, he is drawn as a horse. His contract states he is to be a rabbit. So the artist draws him as some fan’s Looney Tune OC. (Though to be fair, he looks better than anything I could draw) Then he is given some clones. His originality challenged, he puts his foot down. He refuses to move until the boss is notified of the artists shenanigans. Said artist calls his bluff, by drawing a train. With no other alternative, Bugs pulls out the “The End” card. Luckily the artist wasn’t Daffy. (That would have made this short bad.) It was Elmer, pleased to have finally gotten even. 

A Connecticut Rabbit in King Arthur’s Court (A.K.A. Bugs Bunny in King Arthur’s Court)

Never again do I take directions from Ray Bradbury.

Produced, Directed, and “Plagerized” by Chuck Jones; Music by Dean Elliot. A TV special released in 1978.

Bugs is on his way to Georgia for a peanut festival. But somehow, he has burrowed his way into medieval England. (Which he mistakes for Pittsburgh, due to all the smoke.) Said smoke is coming from a dragon which is being chased by Elmer as a knight. Finding the tracks leading to Bugs, he concludes that the dragon is a shapeshifter. He takes Bugs as a prisoner. They ride: to Camelot! But there aren’t any jovial singing knights here. Just the king and his knights. The king in fact looks a lot like Daffy. And Merlin looks an awful lot like Yosemite Sam. (Also, I think he stole Yen Sid’s hat and dyed it black.) Elmer offers up his catch to the king. Merlin suggests they kill the “dragon.” Not really caring about any of this, the king permits it. Bugs is set to be roasted, when he realizes that this all seems like some kind of Mark Twain story. He asks the varlet, (played by my pal Porky, who for some reason is having an even more difficult time speaking than usual) what day it is and finds that its the day that a solar eclipse happened. He demands to be set free, or he’ll blot out the sun. And boy is it ever an eclipse. One can even see the stars. The king is horrified and offers half his kingdom to the rabbit to undo his work. Bugs complies. Once gone, the king thanks Bugs and offers him something even better than half of his kingdom. A whole 32nd of it! Bugs declines and only asks that he be given a dragon. The king complies, Merlin is angry, and Fudd is convinced this was all a trick. So what did Bugs want with a dragon? He decided to open up his own armory, and uses the dragon’s flame to create steam, which in turn he uses to make electricity. Turns out Bugs was way ahead of all those types who needed to know how to train their dragons. They act just like any other animal. Feed them, and they’ll spend most of their time sleeping. (Yes, he alludes them to cats, but that sounds like pretty much every animal ever to me.) Being a rabbit, he specializes in armor for animals. Foxes, (why not?) Deer, (which he says can be outfitted for moose and elk as well. I should hope so. Since those ARE deer. Also antelope.) Tweety birds, (pratical) Mice, (it even has a little “S” on the chest. Wonder what that stands for) Cats, (to not play favorites, and besides it offers protection from dogs) Flies, (which Porky does point out is going to hamper the animal’s flying skills. Which will leave it as nothing more than a walk.) Roosters, (to prevent people from chopping off their heads. Everyone loves eating rooster meat) Rattlesnakes, (which don’t need armor, but hate being left out) and Porcupines. (Because it’s not like they have quills or anything. Also, he struggles to say it, while Porky has absolutely no problems) But his practice is put on hold, as Elmer finds his dragon and attacks. When Bugs goes to confront him, Elmer assumes Bugs is just in his rabbit form again and challenges him to a duel. Bugs and Porky versus Elmer and Merlin. And the king is loving every minute of it. They start off jousting. Bug’s lance is so long that he pole vaults over Elmer and chases Merlin into a moat. Charging again, he uses a magnet to remove Fudd’s armor, and he ends up chasing Merlin into the moat. Elmer fires an arrow, but Bug redirects it and it chases Elmer and Merlin into the moat. Then the two use a catapult, but Bugs launches the rock back with a spring and the two end up in the moat once more. (And Bugs calls Merlin out on using a cannon, seeing as gunpowder is yet to be invented.) As he leaves for a coffee break, he finds what he believes to be a carrot peeler. It’s really Excalibur and Bugs is recognized as the true king. Porky bows. Elmer and Merlin also bow to the true cartoon king. And the current king even willingly hands over his crown. (A duck as king really is ridiculous.) And so Bugs just adapts to living in a different century. All hail King Art-Hare! (The pun IS mightier than the sword!) 

To Duck…. Or not to Duck

No rough stuff!

Supervision by Charles M. Jones; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Robert Cannon; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released in 1943.

Daffy is having a grand time flying as only he would up in the clouds, when he is nearly shot. This leaves an impact shaped like him in the cloud, much to his amusement. He screws around with this for a bit, but he is eventually hit and he goes down. After berating the dog who is retrieving him about not being gentle, (whose name is Laramore. A name I’ve never heard outside of this short) he is brought back to the one who shot him: Elmer. Elmer is pretty polite about things. He apologizes for killing Daffy at least. But he defends his actions as sport. Daffy quits faking (Oh come on. Were you really buying it?) and rightfully complains about what a bad example of sport it is. Elmer is armed to the teeth, and Daffy doesn’t have anything but a bullet-proof vest. (“How did that get there?”) He demands that Elmer and him fight in a real sport: boxing. There’s already a ring set up even. (Ducks love boxing you know. How else would there be a full house there already? Clearly, they just sit there constantly waiting for a fight. ) I love the referee at this match. If I didn’t know better, I’d say he’s voice by Tex Avery due to all the laughing he does when he is supposed to introduce Elmer. (“You can have him!”) He finally does get Elmer’s name out, and he is promptly booed by the audience. (To be fair, Laramore cheers for him but the ducks pelt him with projectiles.) When introducing Daffy however, he not only gives him a hug, but addresses him as “Daffy, (Good to his mother) Duck.” Daffy is promptly applauded by the audience. (To be fair, Laramore boos him, but the ducks pelt him with projectiles.) The ref. (who I’m calling Tubbs) begins listing all the moves that are not allowed. He even demonstrates them on Elmer. Daffy wants to be absolutely clear on things, so he repeats all of them on Elmer just so he knows they’re illegal. When the fight is ready to begin, the two are ordered to shake hands. Daffy tells Elmer to pick a hand, and Elmer picks the wrong hand. (There was nothing in it.) Daffy is willing to let him try again, and there is something in the other: a mallet that clobbers Elmer. Tubbs starts the match, but Elmer is already out and Daffy is declared the winner! (Definitely more fair. Daffy is looking out for all the animals that are unfairly killed) Elmer is a good loser. He doesn’t complain, but he does point out that he thought they weren’t supposed to use certain moves. The moves in question being, the ones he is now using on Daffy and Tubbs.

Cartoon Network Groovies

What’s all that racket?

You know what made Cartoon Network so much fun to watch, back in the day? Well, yes, having cartoons that I wanted to watch was nice, but they went out of their way to make the commercials a joy as well. It’s a network where the cartoons are in charge, so naturally, the cartoons would be working there. During a commercial break, we could see the toons working at their jobs, and interacting with each other. But my favorite thing they did was the groovies. Short music videos about the cartoons we loved and if we didn’t already love them, then these videos might encourage us to take another look. They were brilliant. Each one was different. (Even the ones that were based on the same series. “Dexter’s Laboratory”, and “The Powerpuff Girls”, each had more than one for their series. (Not that I mind. I love those shows.) Even a few shows you wouldn’t think would be popular enough to get one, got one. Like JabberJaw and Betty Boop. (I didn’t even know her shorts ever aired on that channel) Although there were some weird ones. There’s one based on “Ed, Edd and Eddy” where Sarah gives the titular boys a drink that shrinks them for her amusement. It’s a great song, but is that really related to the show? I never really watched it. Plus one based on “Courage the Cowardly Dog” that takes place somewhere not in Nowhere, Kansas, Eustace and Muriel look much younger, and they are having a party. This show, I did watch. And Eustace doesn’t seem like the type to allow that many people into his house without giving him something. But of course, the reason I’m talking about them here is because there were some based on “Looney Tunes”. And they get looked at more in-dept.

L’Amour A Un Odeur: A remix featuring Pepe Le Pew and his various shorts. It’s my least favorite just because it feels the most rushed to me. The music is that classic faux French they put in all his shorts.

Wascally Wemix: As you’d expect, this is Elmer’s song. A bunch of his lines remixed. Bugs and Daffy feature prominently too. The music kinda dying near the end, keeps it from being higher on my favorites.

Pork Jam: AW YEAH! My pal Porky gets a remix, and it’s awesome. His lines mix with the music, never fail to put a smile on my face. It was my favorite as a kid. So, what could possibly top Porky?

Mars Forever: My favorite out of all the groovies. A recruitment video Marvin made to build up his troops. Best music in my opinion. Contains bits from all his shorts, plus “Rocket-Bye Baby.” A masterpiece if ever there was one.

 

In memory of my good friend, Abby the Dog. 2006-2017. While there are no shortage of great dogs, there was only one of you.

 

 

 

Bugs Bunny’s Bustin’ out all over

Naughty, you might like to know, is natural for little kids.

 Written, Produced, and Directed by Chuck Jones; Co-Director: Phil Monroe; Music by Dean Elliot. A T.V. special released in 1980.
Written, Produced, and Directed by Chuck Jones; Co-Director: Phil Monroe; Music by Dean Elliot. A T.V. special released in 1980.

With the summer solstice tomorrow, it seems like a perfect time to talk about this special. There are three new shorts never before seen in theaters!

“Portrait of the artist as a young Bunny”

It starts with school being let out for the summer. Bugs is as excited as the children, before remembering that he hasn’t been in school for years. Distracted by this, he crashes into a tree and has a flashback to his youth. Sort of like a sequel to “The old grey Hare.” (Or prequel if you prefer.) A young Bugs is excited for summer and so is a young Elmer Fudd. He asks for us to be very quiet, and Bugs asks why he should. What is in it for him? Flustered, Elmer tries to bribe him for his silence, which Bugs uses as a great segue to start asking us viewers for money. Later, Elmer ends up walking off a cliff. (Look at those flowers behind them. They are either at the top of a beanstalk or are really tiny) Bugs points out that gravity will be his undoing, but Elmer is immune. He hasn’t studied gravity yet. Bugs leaves a book about said subject out for him, and like all children during summer vacation, Elmer happily jumps into some learning fun. Now fully understanding the “gravity” of said situation, he falls through the air now when he walks off a cliff. Wile E. makes a cameo telling him to let an expert fall first. (I don’t know what he’s doing in this time period.) Bugs isn’t about to let a kid fall to his death though, and leaves a spring for Elmer to land on and propel him back to safety. While grateful, Elmer isn’t going to let that stand in his way of being a great hunter. But all too soon, Bugs has reduced him to tears. He decides that he has no other choice but to quit cold turkey. Bugs acts as an enabler and gets him to break his fast almost as fast as he started. Elmer returns with a rapid fire model of his pop gun and fires rounds upon rounds into Bugs. This crashes him into a tree again and he comes out of his stupor. Bugs figures that he and Elmer were the first to start chasing each other, wherupon he sees a baby coyote chasing a very fast egg.

“Spaced Out Bunny”

Bugs loves nature, but it doesn’t seem to love him. Flowers wilt, rocks roll, and a butterfly is ready to start something. Even the trees bark at him. (Dogwood) Luckily, Bugs’ luck changes when he spies a carrot just waiting to be eaten. He takes the bait, unaware that it was a tranquilizer carrot that was part of a trap concocted by a one Marvin the Martian. He is pleased with his capture saying that Hugo will love Bugs. (Hugo? Where have I heard that name before?) When Bugs comes to, he finds that he is no longer on Earth, and that he is not going back, lest he upset Hugo. Marvin caught him in the Himalaya’s. He is that very same abominable snowman Bugs and Daffy met. (Despite the fact he melted.) Bug’s is not happy to be in such a situation again, and tells Hugo that he doesn’t want a rabbit. He wants a robot. Marvin is a robot right? Not really. But Bugs has another idea of what he could be used for, and soon Hugo has a “Mickey Martian” watch all his own. (What a way to go. Marvin has no air, and is forced to be in pretty uncomfortable situation.) Bugs then asks Hugo if he is any good at throwing a Frisbee and challenges him to throw one to Earth. Hugo takes Marvin’s ship and gives it a good hurl towards the blue planet. Bugs is along for the ride, and makes it back home safely.

“Soup or Sonic”

To finish up our special, we have the continuing exploits of the Coyote and the Roadrunner. Wile E.’s schemes this time include riding many firecrackers, (the middle flies without him, he lights his tail, it flies off without him) throwing a Frisbee, (from Freleng Manufactures. That’s a really good joke.) using a giant sheet of flypaper, (and catching a giant fly-squito with teeth who wraps him up in it) and throwing an explosive tennis ball. (Which doesn’t seem clear on when it blows up, seeing as it hits several things and doesn’t go off. He is forced to hit several times to keep it away, but it ultimately lands next to the rest of them. Then it goes off.) Eventually, he chases the bird into a pipe that gets smaller as it goes along, and the two end up shrunk. He alerts his prey to this and the two run back to get bigger. The Roadrunner is soon back to normal. Wile E. isn’t so lucky. He doesn’t notice things are amiss, until he tries to dig into the giant bird’s leg. Unsure what to do next he holds up a sign, “You always wanted me to catch him, now what do I do?” (Can’t help but think this would be funnier if he hadn’t already pulled out the dining utensils. As if to suggest, he was only chasing the bird this whole time because we wanted him to.) 

The Wacky Wabbit

You chubby little rascal!

Supervision by Robert Clampett; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Sid Sutherland; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. Released in 1942

For the past two weeks, I’ve been able to connect the featured short with something appropriate for the time of year. Can I do it again? You bet! Elmer is in his fat phase again, just like how most of us are after the holidays. (But not me because I was dieting all of last year.)

Elmer is out in the desert. (My guess is it’s in California. Do you really care though?) He’s off prospecting for gold whilst singing “Oh, Susannah!” (No one sings that anymore though. Shame.) Bugs is there too, hiding under a bovine skull. He says hi to the the passing prospector, who politely says hi back. Not getting the reaction he wanted, Bugs tags along joining in the song. Eventually, Elmer catches on and freaks out. (I know I would be if I saw a singing skull with eyes still in the sockets) He quickly figures out it was just that “scwewey wabbit” and starts digging. (I love how he makes an “X” before digging in a completely different spot.) He drops an explosive down the hole, but it keeps popping back up. In desperation, he zips the hole up an hides. Being the nice guy he is, (*snicker*) Bugs returns him his T.N.T. Elmer cowers, but the stick was a dud. That doesn’t stop Bugs from shouting “BAM” anyway. Elmer grabs his gun but Bugs has exciting news: Gold has been found! Where is it? It’s his gold tooth. Elmer shows off his own before realizing the trick. He tries to dig Bugs out of his hole, but his pick axe has gotten stuck in the cliff wall behind him. Bugs uses this opportunity to cut Fudd’s clothes off, revealing his girdle. Seeing us laughing, Elmer scolds us saying that he’s sure plenty of us men wear one too. (Not me personally, but I love how calm he is about the whole thing.) Redressing, he leaps into the hole himself. Bugs buries him and walks off. (Notice that the shot has changed. They were in a canyon before, but now they appear to be out in the open.) Elmer escapes somehow and tells the wabbit his plans: he came for gold, and he’s going to get it. And Bugs definitely has some. Bugs is not willing to part with a piece of his body, so Elmer tackles him and wrestles it away. The short ends with him smiling at his success, unaware that the tooth he is holding is his. 

The Old Grey Hare

What’s up, Pruneface?

 Direction by Robert Clampett; Animation by Robert McKimson; Story by Michael Sasanoff; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. Released in 1944
Direction by Robert Clampett; Animation by Robert McKimson; Story by Michael Sasanoff; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. Released in 1944

Here’s your final entry of 2016. Everyone has already said that this year sucked. They’re right. I’d go more into it, but this blog is for Looney Tunes and Looney Tunes related things. So, let’s just agree that the year was crap, we’ll hope the next will be better and around this time next year, we’ll be saying the exact same things. Now then, with time constantly moving on, why not talk about a short that shows just that?

Elmer is crying. It’s only been four years since he started, but he’s already given up hope ever succeeding in getting Bugs. A voice tells him to keep trying. It’s never explicitly stated, but it’s kinda obvious that it’s God. (And he’s voiced by Mel. Don’t you think it would have been a bit more clever if he was voiced by Arthur Q. Bryan?) Elmer agrees that he should keep trying, but how long will it take? So God allows Elmer to look into the future to see how things will turn out. This means one of two things: either he’ll succeed, or die trying. It seems that things will come to an end in 2000 A.D. (Which is odd, I was alive by that point and I don’t recall any of this. But then, I had just discovered Cable T.V. and it was hard to pry me away.) A lot has changed. (And I don’t just mean appearance wise) The horse Bing Crosby bet on still hasn’t come in, and Smellivision replaced Television. (The paper that Fudd is reading says that Carl Stalling doesn’t think it will catch on. Guess he was right) And Elmer is now toting a “Buck Wogers Wightning Qwick Wabbit Kiwwer.” There’s no way he can lose! All we need now is Bugs. Luckily, he pops up not too long afterwards. He’s looking pretty good for being 54 years older. (All that time has passed and I only can see one grey hare.) Sure he’s aged somewhat, (less teeth, glasses, and a beard) but he still has enough strength to strangle Elmer before hobbling away. (Seems like he’s got lumbago too) Elmer fires his new weapon, and wouldn’t you know it: he shoots Bugs. He can’t believe it either. He begins reminiscing and gives Fudd a present. A photo album! It shows all their good times together, including the first time they ever met. That happened when they were babies. Even though Fudd’s picture is labeled with him being “only 3 and a 1/2 years old.” (They just couldn’t resist making that joke again. It really should say “seconds” instead of years. Wouldn’t it be funnier to think that the very first thing Elmer did after being born was go hunting?) Either way, we see this flashback. Elmer is crawling along with a pop gun and looks into a small rabbit hole. Bug’s pops up and babbles some baby talk while drinking carrot juice. (Luckily there is a subtitle for those of us older than the age of 1. But then they both start talking in English. I guess we’re just seeing things from their point of view?) They begin their first chase of many. (They stop briefly to take a nap) When they resume, Bugs is able to get away. (This proves that no matter how many times Bugs is called a “rabbit” he is really a hare, as young rabbits are born naked and helpless, whereas hares are not.) Needing to match his prey’s speed, Elmer gets a stroller and drives after the leveret. (That’s the term for a baby hare, folks.) Miming a cop, (that includes miming a motorcycle too. Something proto-Bugs did once. Leading me to believe he is Bug’s father) he pulls Fudd over and berates him for speeding. After he leaves Fudd crying in his carriage, (I think that’s a real baby cry too. Way to be authentic, Bob.) the flashback ends and we go back to the two seniors. (This is the only Bugs Bunny short where Bugs doesn’t appear once as his modern self) Elmer is devastated that he has killed his oldest and dearest friend, while Bugs starts digging his own grave. He tells Elmer to smile while he does it. (Doesn’t every dying person say that? And wouldn’t they be offended if the person they were talking to actually did?) Elmer is so distraught that he doesn’t notice Bugs switching places with him, until the rabbit (I mean hare) buries him alive. (So there’s God’s answer: Elmer is never going to win.) Elmer is unhappy, but he takes some solace in the fact that he is rid of Bugs forever. Bugs comes back to give him some parting gifts: a goodbye kiss, and a lit firecracker. (Don’t worry. Bob may use actual crying of children for sound effects, but he draws the line at blowing up the elderly. But that doesn’t stop it from rattling the “That’s All Folks!” end card once it does blow.)