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Bugs Bunny is an animated cartoon character. He is best known for his starring roles in the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of theatrical short films produced by Warner Bros. during the Golden Age of American Animation. His popularity during this era led to his becoming an American cultural icon, as well as a corporate mascot of the Warner Bros. company. He was originally voiced by Mel Blanc, but is now voiced by a variety of voice actors.

Bugs is an anthropomorphic gray hare, famous for his relaxed, passive personality, pronounced Mid-Atlantic accent (Blanc described the voice as being a mixture of Brooklyn and Bronx accents), depiction as a mischievous trickster, and his catchphrase "Eh, what's up, doc?" usually said while chewing a carrot.

Since his official debut in 1940's "A Wild Hare", Bugs has appeared in various short films, feature films, compilations, TV series, music records, comic books, video games, award shows, amusement park rides, and commercials. He has also appeared in more films (short and feature length) than any other cartoon character, is the ninth most-portrayed film personality in the world, and has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

When TV Guide compiled a list of the fifty greatest cartoon characters of all time as part of the magazine's 50th anniversary in 2002, Bugs Bunny was given the honor of Number One. In a CNN broadcast, a TV Guide editor talked about the group that created the list. The editor also explained why Bugs pulled top billing: "His stock...has never gone down...Bugs is the best example...of the smart-aleck American comic. He not only is a great cartoon character, he's a great comedian. He was written well. He was drawn beautifully. He has thrilled and made many generations laugh. He is tops."


History

(Look it up on Looney Tunes Wiki)



Personality and Catchphrases

"Some people call me cocky and brash, but actually I am just self-assured. I'm nonchalant, imperturbable, contemplative. I play it cool, but I can get hot under the collar. And above all I'm a very 'aware' character. I'm well aware that I am appearing in an animated cartoon... And sometimes I chomp on my carrot for the same reason that a stand-up comic chomps on his cigar. It saves me from rushing from the last joke to the next one too fast. And I sometimes don't act, I react. And I always treat the contest with my pursuers as 'fun and games.' When momentarily I appear to be cornered or in dire danger, and I scream, don't be consoined – it's actually a big put-on. Let's face it Doc. I've read the script, and I already know how it turns out. "

He is a cunning, charismatic, and smart rabbit. These personality traits are what gives him an advantage over his enemies, rivals, and opponents. He is also known for his famous catchphrase; "Eh, what's up, doc?", which he typically uses as a greeting to anyone he encounters (usually while munching a carrot). Bugs is characterized as being clever and capable of outsmarting anyone who antagonizes him, including Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Willoughby, Marvin the Martian, Beaky Buzzard, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, the Tasmanian Devil, Cecil Turtle, Witch Hazel, Rocky and Mugsy, Wile E. Coyote, The Crusher, The Gremlin, Count Bloodcount, and a whole bunch of others. Bugs almost always wins these contentions, a story pattern which recurs in Looney Tunes cartoons directed by Chuck Jones. Concerned that viewers would lose sympathy for an aggressive protagonist who always won, Jones arranged for Bugs to be bullied, cheated, or threatened by the antagonists while minding his own business, justifying his subsequent antics as retaliation or self-defense. He's also been known to break The 4th Wall by "communicating" with the audience, either by explaining the situation (e.g. "Be with you in a minute, folks!"), describing someone to the audience (e.g. "Feisty, ain't they?"), clueing in on the story (e.g. "That happens to him all during the picture, folks."), explaining that one of his antagonists' actions have pushed him to the breaking point ("Of course you know, this means war."), admitting his own deviousness toward his antagonists ("Gee, ain't I a stinker?"), etc.

When Bugs made his appearance, he promptly replaced Daffy Duck as the most popular Warner Bros. character. Daffy, jealous of his cartoon counterpart's ascension to fame, has on many occasions attempted to dethrone the rabbit. But he has never truly succeeded, always being outsmarted by the clever hare.

However, as time passed on, Bugs and Daffy's rivalry has turned friendlier in nature as the two usually hang out together in most cartoons and Bugs considers Daffy his best friend despite his faults, to which Daffy says the same thing.

Bugs will usually try to placate the antagonist and avoid contention, but when a villain pushes him too far, Bugs may address the audience and invoke his catchphrase "Of course you realize this means war!" before he retaliates, and the retaliation will be devastating. This line was taken from Groucho Marx and others in the 1933 film Duck Soup and was also used in the 1935 Marx film A Night at the Opera. Bugs would pay homage to Groucho in other ways, such as occasionally adopting his stooped walk or leering eyebrow-raising (in Hair-Raising Hare, for example) or sometimes with a direct impersonation (as in Slick Hare).

Other directors, such as Friz Freleng, characterized Bugs as altruistic. When Bugs meets other successful characters (such as Cecil Turtle in Tortoise Beats Hare, or, in World War II, the Gremlin of Falling Hare), his overconfidence becomes a disadvantage. Most of Bugs' adversaries are extremely dim-witted, and Bugs is easily able to outwit and torment them, although on occasion they will manage to get the best of Bugs. Daffy Duck, who is arguably more intelligent but less clever, is unaffected by Bugs' usual schemes, which usually results in the two trying to outsmart the other with Bugs always triumphing in the end. However, there are only four antagonists that successfully defeats Bugs in the end of the cartoon, Cecil Turtle, the Gremlin from Falling Hare, the unnamed mouse from Rhapsody Rabbit, and the fly from Baton Bunny.

During the 1940s, Bugs started off immature and wild (similar to Daffy), but by the 1950s his personality matured and his attitude became more refined and less frenetic. Although often shown as highly clever, Bugs is never actually malicious, and only acts as such in self-defense against his aggressors.

The only exceptions where Bugs ever serves as an antagonist are the following: Elmer's Pet Rabbit, Wabbit Twouble, The Wacky Wabbit, Buckaroo Bugs, and Duck Amuck; Elmer's Pet Rabbit depicts him completely out-of-character with a more aggressive, selfish, arrogant, almost thuggish personality. Wabbit Twouble and The Wacky Wabbit depict him as a prankster harassing Elmer Fudd in the vein of early Daffy Duck/Porky Pig cartoons featuring the screwball Daffy as the tormentor. Buckaroo Bugs depicts him as a true villain, while Duck Amuck depicts him as far more sadistic than usual, as he becomes an animator and uses his newfound powers to torture Daffy.

Bugs Bunny's nonchalant carrot-chewing standing position, as explained by Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, and Bob Clampett, originated in a scene in the 1934 film It Happened One Night, in which Clark Gable's character leans against a fence, eating carrots rapidly and talking with his mouth full to Claudette Colbert's character. This scene was well known while the film was popular, and viewers at the time likely recognized Bugs Bunny's behavior as satire.

"What's up Doc?' is a very simple thing. It's only funny because it's in a situation. It was an all Bugs Bunny line. It wasn't funny. If you put it in human terms; you come home late one night from work, you walk up to the gate in the yard, you walk through the gate and up into the front room, the door is partly open and there's some guy shooting under your living room. So what do you do? You run if you have any sense, the least you can do is call the cops. But what if you come up and tap him on the shoulder and look over and say 'What's up Doc?' You're interested in what he's doing. That's ridiculous. That's not what you say at a time like that. So that's why it's funny, I think. In other words, it's asking a perfectly legitimate question in a perfectly illogical situation.""

The carrot-chewing scenes are generally followed by Bugs Bunny's most well-known catchphrase, "What's up, Doc?", which was written by director Tex Avery for his first Bugs Bunny short, 1940's A Wild Hare. Avery explained later that it was a common expression in his native Texas and that he did not think much of the phrase. When the short was first screened in theaters, the "What's up, Doc?" scene generated a tremendously positive audience reaction. As a result, the scene became a recurring element in subsequent films and cartoons. The phrase was sometimes modified for a situation. For example, Bugs says "What's up, dogs?" to the antagonists in A Hare Grows in Manhattan, "What's up, Duke?" to the knight in Knight-Mare Hare and "What's up, prune-face?" to the aged Elmer in The Old Grey Hare. He might also greet Daffy with "What's up, Duck?" He used one variation, "What's all the hub-bub, bub?" only once, in Falling Hare. Another variation is used in Looney Tunes: Back in Action when he greets a bubble gun-yielding Marvin The Martian saying "What's up, Darth?" (a reference to Darth Vader from the Star Wars film series).

Several Chuck Jones shorts in the late 1940s and 1950s depict Bugs traveling via cross-country (and, in some cases, intercontinental) tunnel-digging, ending up in places as varied as Mexico (Bully for Bugs), The Himalayas (The Abominable Snow Rabbit) and Antarctica (Frigid Hare) all because he "shoulda taken that left toin at Albukoikee." He first utters that phrase in 1945's Herr Meets Hare, when he emerges in the Black Forest, a cartoon seldom seen today due to its blatantly topical subject matter. When Hermann Göring says to Bugs, "Zair is no Las Vegas in Chermany" and takes a potshot at Bugs, Bugs dives into his hole and says, "Joimany? YIPE!", as Bugs realizes he's behind enemy lines. The confused response to his "left toin" comment also followed a pattern. For example, when he tunnels into Scotland in My Bunny Lies over the Sea, while thinking he's heading for the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, California, it provides another chance for an ethnic stereotype: "Therrre's no La Brrrea Tarrr Pits in Scotland!" (to which Bugs responds, "Uh...what's up, Mac-doc?"). A couple of late-1950s/early 1960s shorts of this ilk also featured Daffy Duck travelling with Bugs ("Since when is Pismo Beach inside a cave?!").

Bugs Bunny has some similarities to figures from mythology and folklore, such as Br'er Rabbit, Nanabozho, or Anansi, and might be seen as a modern trickster (for example, he repeatedly uses cross-dressing mischievously). Unlike most cartoon characters, however, Bugs Bunny is rarely defeated in his own games of trickery. One exception to this is the short Hare Brush, in which Elmer Fudd ultimately carries the day at the end; however, critics note that in this short, Elmer and Bugs assume each other's personalities—through mental illness and hypnosis, respectively—and it is only by becoming Bugs that Elmer can win. However, Bugs was beaten at his own game. In the short Duck Amuck he torments Daffy Duck as the unseen animator, ending with his line, "Ain't I a stinker?" Bugs feels the same wrath of an unseen animator in the short Rabbit Rampage where he is in turn tormented by Elmer Fudd. At the end of the clip Elmer gleefully exclaims, 'Well, I finally got even with that scwewy wabbit!"

Bugs wears white gloves, which he is rarely seen without, although he may remove one and use it for slapping an opponent to predicate a duel. Another glove-less example is Long-Haired Hare, where Bugs pretends to be the famed conductor Leopold Stokowski and instructs opera star "Giovanni Jones" to sing and to hold a high note. As Giovanni Jones is turning red with the strain, Bugs slips his left hand out of its glove, leaving the glove hovering in the air in order to command Jones to continue to hold the high note. Bugs then nips down to the mail drop to order, and then to receive, a pair of ear defenders. Bugs puts on the ear defenders and then zips back into the amphitheater and reinserts his hand into his glove as singer Jones is writhing on the stage, still holding that same high note.

Bugs Bunny is also a master of disguise: he can wear any disguise that he wants to confuse his enemies: in Bowery Bugs he uses diverse disguises: fakir, gentleman, woman, baker and finally policeman. This ability of disguise makes Bugs famous because we can recognize him while at the same time realizing that his enemies are stumped. Bugs has a certain preference for the female disguise: Taz, Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam were fooled by this sexy bunny (woman) and in Hare Trimmed, Sam discovers the real face of "Granny" (Bugs's disguise) in the church where they attempt to get married. Bugs dressed as a female hunter, a temptress, the beautiful Brunhlide, a sexy lady and many others to fool Elmer Fudd and he also kissed him in his nose twice (Bugs and Elmer also happily got married in the end of "Rabbit of Seville"[Elmer as the bride and Bugs as the groom], as well as in "Bugs' Bonnets"). For all the gullible victims off all these disguises, however, for some reason, Daffy Duck and Cecil Turtle were among those who are never fooled.

Bugs Bunny may also have some mystical potential. In Knight-Mare Hare he was able to return to his bunny form (after being transformed into a donkey) by removing his donkey form as if it were a suit. Merlin of Monroe (the wizard) was unable to do the same thing. Later Bugs Bunny defeated the Count Blood Count in a magical spell duel. However, the story was a dream and Bugs Bunny's victory over Count Blood Count was a result of his intellect, not innate magical power.


Rabbit or Hare?

The animators throughout Bugs' history have treated the terms rabbit and hare as synonymous. Taxonomically, they are not synonymous, being somewhat similar but observably different types of lagomorphs. Hares have much longer ears than rabbits, so Bugs might seem to be of the hare family, yet rabbits live in burrows, as Bugs is seen to do. Many more of the cartoon titles include the word "hare" rather than "rabbit," as "hare" lends itself easily to puns ("hair," "air," etc.).

Within the cartoons, although the term "hare" comes up sometimes, again typically as a pun—-for example, Bugs drinking "hare tonic" to "stop falling hare" or being doused with "hare restorer" to bring him back from invisibility—-Bugs as well as his antagonists most often refer to the character as a "rabbit." The word "bunny" is of no help in answering this question, as it is a synonym for both young hares and young rabbits. Coney is yet another term for rabbit, explaining Bugs' frequent fondness for Coney Island.

In Nike commercials with Michael Jordan, Bugs is referred to as "Hare Jordan."


Openings and Closings of Shorts

In the opening of many of the Bugs Bunny cartoons, the Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes irises contain Bugs Bunny's head after the Warner Bros. shield (generally from 1944 to 1945 and 1949 onward). Others have Bugs Bunny relaxing on top of the Warner Bros. shield: He chews on his carrot, looks angrily at the camera and pulls down the next logo (Merrie Melodies or Looney Tunes) like a window shade (generally on cartoons between 1945 until early 1949). Then he lifts it back up, to now be seen lying on his own name, which then fades into the title of the specific short. In some other cases, the title card sometimes fades to him, already on his name and chewing his carrot then fade to the name of the short.

At the finish of Hare Tonic and Baseball Bugs, Bugs breaks out of a drum (like Porky Pig) and says, "And dat's de end". Also, at the end of Box Office Bunny, right after Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd run out through the "That's All Folks!" sequence, Bugs later comes in through the rings and says, "And that's all, folks!". He did the ending for the last time at the end of Space Jam, but this time saying "Well, that's all, folks!".

Some old, damaged TV prints of pre-1948 shorts such as The Up-Standing Sitter had a print where Bugs Bunny came out of the drum, with the 1937-38 Merrie Melodies closing music, he didn't say anything albeit his mouth still moves (due to the dubbing over of the audio) and the music did not even finish.



Voice Actors

  • Mel Blanc - 1938 (Porky's Hare Hunt) – 1989 (Bugs Bunny's Wild World of Sports)
  • Jeff Bergman - Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue, Tiny Toon Adventures (Season 1-2), Box Office Bunny, Blooper Bunny, Invasion of the Bunny Snatchers, The Looney Tunes Show, Looney Tunes: Rabbits Run, New Looney Tunes, video games
  • Greg Burson - Tiny Toon Adventures (Season 2-3), Taz-Mania, Animaniacs, Carrotblanca, From Hare to Eternity
  • Billy West - Space Jam, Looney Tunes: Reality Check, Looney Tunes: Stranger Than Fiction, Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas, video games
  • Joe Alaskey - "Chasers Anonymous" (CN commercial), Tweety's High-Flying Adventure, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Hare and Loathing in Las Vegas, Daffy Duck for President, video games
  • Samuel Vincent - Baby Looney Tunes
  • Eric Bauza - Looney Tunes World of Mayhem, Looney Tunes Cartoons, Space Jam: A New Legacy
  • Daws Butler - Wideo Wabbit (celebrity impressions)
  • Mendi Segal - Bugs & Friends Sing The Beatles
  • Keith Scott - Australian Looney Tunes commercials
  • Eric Goldberg - Looney Tunes: Back in Action (one line)
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