“COME AND GET ME!”
Supervision by I. Freleng; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Gerry Chiniquy; Musical Direction by Carl Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on April 22, 1944.
Before I get to a personal story before I get to today’s post, I just want to remind you that war is awful. You know that already, I’m aware. Still, I just want it said that during times of war, we say and do things that we will come to regret. Things that are hurtful and we should be ashamed of, but still be strong enough to admit these bad things happened and not hide from our past.
Before I get to today’s post; a personal story about me and this short. It was just another high school day, another U.S. history class and one difference: a student teacher. He was going to talk about wartime propaganda and said he was going to show us this particular cartoon as an example. I’m a pretty introverted, shy, slightly misanthropic individual, so you better believe it was a big deal that I blurted out: “You’re so cool!”
He never played the cartoon. He didn’t say he changed his mind, he didn’t claim he couldn’t find it, he didn’t leave after that day so he had more chances. He just never brought it up again and never showed any cartoons in its place. I don’t remember his name. I don’t remember his face. All I know is I made a mistake: I told a man he was cool, when he was not. And I’ll never be able to apologize to him for my mix-up. If that man is you, I offer my sincerest apologies and hope you didn’t wind up passing on any genes to any unsuspecting offspring. Now let’s get to what you actually are here to read about:
START OF THE POST RIGHT HERE! Bugs is afloat in a crate somewhere in the Pacific. When he spots land, he gleefully heads on over. He comments on the peaceful serenity that surrounds him before reality bites hard. WWII is still in swing and this island is already occupied by hurtful, incorrect Japanese stereotypes. And since Bugs isn’t drawn in such a disrespectful manner, he must be on an opposing side. Shame this must happen, but war is war (is hell).
Bugs manages to fool a man by dressing as a Japanese general. The bowing commences, but give Freleng’s crew a small point for showing that our adversaries aren’t brain dead imbeciles, as the one onscreen very quickly realizes that this general before him is really Bugs Bunny. He even reveals the charade is up by spouting off his own “What’s up, doc?” Bugs takes off in nearby plane with the soldier right behind. But Bugs is fast, and lands and ties a rope to the other plane, stripping it of most of its body. And because it is war, he gives the parachuting man an anvil, sealing his fate.
Bugs happily marks his victory on a tree when he sees his next foe: a sumo wrestler. (I admit, I admire Bugs responding by painting another victory tally. That is bass.) The wrestling match goes about as well as you would think. We in the future know that Bugs can never win these kind of things with his “muscles” alone. He must dress as a geisha in order to get the drop on the big guy. (Since Bugs already has buckteeth, it’s only a smidgen less insulting than the rest of the cartoon.)
Two down, how many more to go? A whole lot of them judging by the boats being unloaded on the island. A brilliant plan must be wielded to get Bugs out of this predicament. A plan involving ice cream! That’s actually perfect as everyone loves ice cream! So Bugs gives the people frozen treats with real grenade filling! I mean, he sells them the stuff because he’s going to purchase a war bond. That’s my attempt of making some light of this scene, as Bugs lays down some downright nasty insults to the poor guys. Isn’t taking their lives enough? A lot of families are about to be changed forever. (And poor Mel. While I have no doubt he regretted saying these lines, I would like to see a quote from him saying that.)
What’s done is done. Bugs has killed a minimum of 62 soldiers who were just pawns in this horrible game, same as him. I understand that he is trying to bolster morale for his country, but I wish he never had to in the first place. Well, at least he can relax now, right? A quiet, peaceful island to forget the atrocities of the world is what everyone secretly desires, right? Big wrong. Bugs hates tranquility! (I believe it. You seen the adventures he has on a yearly basis?) He’s ecstatic to find an American ship in the water and calls for their attention.
Then he sees another local: a fetching doe that doesn’t seem too harassed by Bugs enthusiastically running after her. The short ends and we can exhale in relief knowing that this was as bad as things got in Bugs’s theatrical career.
*long heavy sigh* Some other month, perhaps.
Favorite Part: Bugs letting us know that he’s just waiting for the deserted island that will inevitably pop-up, because deserted island’s tend to pop-up in these kind of pictures. He’s that kind of savvy.
Personal Rating: 1. A few okay at best jokes can’t deliver enough merit for me to tell average viewers to hold their noses and muck their way through.