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A rabbit with some of the personality of Bugs, though looking very different, first appears in the cartoon short Porky's Hare Hunt, released on April 30, 1938. Co-directed by Ben "Bugs" Hardaway and an uncredited Cal Dalton (who was responsible for the initial design of the rabbit). This short has an almost identical plot to Tex Avery's 1937 cartoon Porky's Duck Hunt, which had introduced Daffy Duck.Porky Pig is again cast as a hunter tracking a silly prey who is more interested in driving his pursuer insane and less interested in escaping. Hare Hunt replaces the little black duck with a small white rabbit. The rabbit introduces himself with the odd expression "Jiggers, fellers," and Mel Blanc gave the character a voice and laugh much like those he would later use for Woody Woodpecker. Hare Huntalso gives its rabbit the famous Groucho Marx line, "Of course you realize, this means war!" The rabbit character was so popular with audiences that the Leon Schlesinger staff decided to use it again.
The rabbit returns in 1939's Prest-O Change-O, directed by Chuck Jones, where he is the pet rabbit of unseen character Sham-Fu the Magician. Two dogs, fleeing the local dogcatcher, enter his absent master's house. The rabbit harasses them, but is ultimately bested by the bigger of the two dogs.
The rabbit's third appearance comes in another 1939 cartoon, Hare-um Scare-um, directed by Dalton and Hardaway. This short—the first in which he is depicted as a gray bunny instead of a white one—is also notable as the rabbit's first singing role. Charlie Thorson, lead animator on the short, gave the character a name. He had written "Bugs' Bunny" on the model sheet that he drew for Hardaway. In promotional material for the short, including a surviving 1939 presskit, the name on the model sheet was altered to become the rabbit's own name: "Bugs" Bunny (quotation marks only used, on and off, until 1944).
In the 1970s, Mel Blanc stated that another proposed name for the character was "Happy Rabbit." In the actual cartoons and publicity, however, the name "Happy" only seems to have been used in reference to Bugs Hardaway. In Hare-um Scare-um, a newspaper headline reads, "Happy Hardaway".
In Chuck Jones' Elmer's Candid Camera (1940) the rabbit first meets Elmer Fudd. This time the rabbit looks more like the present-day Bugs, taller and with a similar face—but retaining the more primitive voice. Candid Camera's Elmer character design is also different: fatter and taller than the modern model, though Arthur Q. Bryan's character voice is already established.
A Wild Hare, directed by Tex Avery and released on July 27, 1940, is the first cartoon where both Elmer Fudd and Bugs are shown in their fully developed forms as hunter and tormentor, respectively. In this cartoon Mel Blanc first uses what would become Bugs' standard voice; this cartoon also marks the first time that Bugs uses his catchphrase, "What's up, Doc?" Animation historian Joe Adamson counts A Wild Hare as the first "official" Bugs Bunny short. The short was a huge success in theaters and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.
Immediately following on A Wild Hare, Bob Clampett's 1940 Patient Porky features a cameo appearance by Bugs, announcing to the audience that 750 rabbits have been born. The gag uses Bugs' Wild Hare visual design, but his goofier pre-Wild Hare voice characterization.
The second full-fledged role for the mature Bugs, Jones' 1941 short Elmer's Pet Rabbit, is the first to use the name Bugs Bunny on-screen: it appears in a title card, "featuring Bugs Bunny," at the start of the film. However, Bugs' voice in this cartoon is noticeably different, and his design was slightly altered as well. After Pet Rabbit, however, subsequent Bugs appearances returned to normal: the Wild Hare visual design returned, and Mel Blanc re-used the Wild Hare voice characterization.
By 1942, Bugs had become the number one star of Merrie Melodies. The series had originally been intended only for one-shot characters in shorts after several early attempts to introduce characters (Foxy, Goopy Geer and Piggy) failed under Harman–Ising. (In 1937, under Schlesinger, it had started introducing newer characters.) The 1942 short Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid shows a slight redesign of Bugs, with less-prominent front teeth and a rounder head. The character was reworked by Robert McKimson, then an animator in Robert Clampett's unit. The redesign at first was only used in the shorts created by Clampett's unit, but in time it would be taken up by the other directors, with Freleng and Frank Tashlin the first. When McKimson was himself promoted to director, he created yet another version, with more slanted eyes, longer teeth and a much larger mouth. He used this version until 1949 (as did Art Davis for the one Bugs Bunny cartoon he directed) when he started using the version he had designed for Clampett. Jones would come up with his own slight modification, and the voice had slight variations between the units. Bugs also made cameos in Tex Avery's final Warner Bros. short, Crazy Cruise.
Since Bugs' debut in A Wild Hare, he had appeared only in color Merrie Melodie cartoons (making him one of the few recurring characters created for that series in the Leon Schlesinger era prior to the full conversion to color), alongside Elmer predecessor Egghead, Inki, Sniffles, and Elmer himself. While he made a cameo appearance in the 1943 Porky and Daffy cartoon Porky Pig's Feat this was his only appearance in a black-and-white Looney Tune cartoon. He did not star in a cartoon in the Looney Tunes series until that series made its complete conversion to only color cartoons beginning with 1944 releases. Buckaroo Bugs was Bugs' first cartoon in the Looney Tunes series, and was also the last Warner Bros. cartoon to credit Leon Schlesinger.
Bugs' popularity soared during World War II because of his free and easy attitude, and began receiving special star billing in his cartoons by 1943. By that time Warner Bros. had become the most profitable cartoon studio in the United States. In company with cartoon studios such asDisney and Famous Studios, Warners put its characters against Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and the Japanese. The 1944 short Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips features Bugs at odds with a group of Japanese soldiers. This cartoon has since been pulled from distribution due to its racial stereotypes of Japanese people. He also faces off against Hermann Göring and Hitler in the 1945 short Herr Meets Hare, which introduced his well-known reference to Albuquerque as he mistakenly winds up in the Black Forest of 'Joimany' instead of Las Vegas, Nevada. Bugs also appeared in the 1942 two-minute U.S. war bonds commercial film Any Bonds Today, along with Porky and Elmer.
At the end of the 1943 short Super-Rabbit, Bugs appears wearing a United States Marine Corps dress blue uniform. As a result, the Marine Corps made Bugs an honorary Marine Master Sergeant. From 1943 to 1946, Bugs was the official mascot of Kingman Army Airfield, Kingman, Arizona, where thousands of aerial gunners were trained during World War II. Some notable trainees included Clark Gable and Charles Bronson. Bugs also served as the mascot for 530 Squadron of the 380th Bombardment Group, 5th Air Force, U.S. Air Force, which was attached to theRoyal Australian Air Force and operated out of Australia's Northern Territory from 1943 to 1945, flying B-24 Liberator bombers. Bugs riding an air delivered torpedo served as the squadron logo for Marine Torpedo/Bomber Squadron 242 in the Second World War.
In 1944, Bugs Bunny made a cameo appearance in Jasper Goes Hunting, a Puppetoons short produced by rival studio Paramount Pictures. In this cameo (animated by Robert McKimson, with Mel Blanc providing the voice), Bugs (after being threatened at gunpoint) pops out of a rabbit hole, saying his usual catchphrase; after hearing the orchestra play the wrong theme song, he realizes "Hey, I'm in the wrong picture!" and then goes back in the hole.
After World War II, Bugs continued to appear in numerous cartoon shorts in the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series, making his last appearance in the theatrical cartoons in 1964's False Hare. He was directed by Friz Freleng, Robert McKimson, Arthur Davis and Chuck Jones. The short Knighty Knight Bugs (1958), in which a medieval Bugs trades blows with Yosemite Sam and his fire-breathing dragon (which has a cold), won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1959. Three of Chuck Jones' Bugs Bunny shorts — Rabbit Fire, Rabbit Seasoning, and Duck! Rabbit, Duck! — comprise what is often referred to as the "Duck Season/Rabbit Season" trilogy. Jones' 1957 classic, What's Opera, Doc?, cast Bugs and Elmer in a parody of Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. It has been deemed "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry, the first cartoon short to receive this honor.
In the fall of 1960, ABC debuted the prime-time television program The Bugs Bunny Show. This show packaged many of the post-1948 Warners shorts with newly animated wraparounds. After two seasons, it was moved from its evening slot to reruns on Saturday mornings. The Bugs Bunny Show changed format and exact title frequently, but remained on network television for 40 years. The packaging was later completely different, with each short simply presented on its own, title and all, though some clips from the new bridging material were sometimes used as filler.
Bugs did not appear in any of the post-1964 Looney Tunes shorts produced by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises or Format Films, nor did he appear in the lone Looney Tunes production produced by Filmation. He would not appear in new material on-screen again until Bugs and Daffy's Carnival of the Animals aired in 1976.
After Mel Blanc died in 1989, Jeff Bergman, Greg Burson, Billy West, and Joe Alaskey became the new voices of Bugs Bunny and many of the other Looney Tunes, each taking turns doing Bugs' voice for various productions over the years.
Bugs has made appearances in animated specials for network television, mostly composed of classic cartoons with bridging material added, including How Bugs Bunny Won the West, and The Bugs Bunny Mystery Special. Bugs Bunny's Bustin' Out All Over (1980) contained no vintage clips and featured the first new Bugs Bunny cartoons in 16 years. It opened with "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Bunny", which features a flashback of Bugs as a child thwarting a young Elmer Fudd, while its third and closing short was "Spaced Out Bunny", with Bugs being kidnapped by Marvin the Martian to be a playmate for Hugo, an Abominable Snowman-like character who previously appeared in the 1961 short The Abominable Snow Rabbit. A new Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner short filled out the half hour of this TV special. Compilation films included the independently produced Bugs Bunny: Superstar, using the vintage shorts then owned by United Artists; as well as Warner Bros. efforts The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie, The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie, Daffy Duck's Fantastic Island, Bugs Bunny's 3rd Movie: 1001 Rabbit Tales and Daffy Duck's Quackbusters. He also made guest appearances in episodes of the 1990s television program Tiny Toon Adventures as the principal of Acme Looniversity and the mentor of Babs and Buster Bunny, and would later make occasional guest cameos on spinoffsTaz-Mania and Animaniacs.
Bugs has had several comic book series over the years. Western Publishing had the license for all the Warner Brothers cartoons, and produced Bugs Bunny comics first for Dell Comics, then later for their own Gold Key Comics. Dell published 58 issues and several specials from 1952 to 1962. Gold Key continued for another 133 issues. DC Comics, the sister/subsidiary company of Warner Bros., has published several comics titles since 1994 that Bugs has appeared in. Notable among these was the 2000 four-issue miniseries Superman & Bugs Bunny, written byMark Evanier and drawn by Joe Staton. This depicted a crossover between DC's superheroes and the Warner cartoon characters.
Like SpongeBob SquarePants for Nickelodeon and Mickey Mouse for Disney, Bugs has served as the mascot for Warner Bros. and its various divisions. He and Mickey are the first cartoon characters to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In the 1988 animated/live action movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Bugs was shown as one of the inhabitants of Toontown. However, since the film was being produced by Disney, Warner Bros. would only allow the use of their biggest star if he got an equal amount of screen time as Disney's biggest star, Mickey Mouse. Because of this, both characters are always together in frame when onscreen. For the same reasons, Bugs never calls Mickey by his name, only referring to him as "Doc," while Mickey calls him "Bugs."
Bugs made an appearance in the 1990 drug prevention special Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue. This special is notable for being the first time that somebody other than Mel Blanc voiced Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. (In this special, both characters were voiced by Jeff Bergman.) Bugs was also featured in The Earth Day Special showing his displeasure on how man started mistreating the environment.
Bugs returned to the silver screen in Box Office Bunny in 1990 (1991 in the U.S.). This was the first Bugs Bunny cartoon short since 1964 to be released in theaters, and it was created for the Bugs Bunny 50th anniversary celebration. It was followed by (Blooper) Bunny, a short that was shelved from theaters, but later premiered on Cartoon Network in 1997 and has since gained a cult following among animation fans for its edgy humor.
In 1996, Bugs and other Looney Tunes characters appeared in the live-action/animated film, Space Jam. In the film, the Looney Tunes are in danger of being enslaved by a group of aliens. Due to the aliens' small stature, the Looney Tunes challenge the aliens to a basketball game, but the aliens (known as the Nerdlucks) steal the talent of the best NBA players such as Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing and become hulking, talented players known as the Monstars. Because of this, Bugs (voiced by Billy West) calls upon the help of the greatest basketball player in the world, Michael Jordan, who is initially reluctant to help due to his having retired from the NBA to play baseball for the MLB. The film also introduced the character of Lola Bunny. The film received mostly mixed to negative reviews from critics, but was a box office success grossing over $230 million worldwide. The success of Space Jam led to the development of another live-action/animated film, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, released in 2003 and directed by Joe Dante. Unlike Space Jam, Back in Action was a box-office bomb, but received more positive reviews from film critics. The film marked the first time Joe Alaskey provided Bugs' voice.
In 1997, Bugs appeared on a U.S. postage stamp, the first cartoon to be so honored, beating the iconic Mickey Mouse. The stamp is number seven on the list of the ten most popular U.S. stamps, as calculated by the number of stamps purchased but not used. The introduction of Bugs onto a stamp was controversial at the time, as it was seen as a step toward the 'commercialization' of stamp art. The postal service rejected many designs, and went with a postal-themed drawing. Avery Dennison printed the Bugs Bunny stamp sheet, which featured "a special ten-stamp design and was the first self-adhesive souvenir sheet issued by the U.S. Postal Service."
A younger version of Bugs is the main character of Baby Looney Tunes, which debuted on Cartoon Network in 2002. In the action comedy Loonatics Unleashed, his definite descendant Ace Bunny is the leader of the Loonatics team and seems to have inherited his ancestor's Brooklyn accent and comic wit. Strangely, Bugs was one of the few Looney Tunes characters who never appeared in the 2003 Duck Dodgers series.
Bugs has appeared in numerous video games, including the Bugs Bunny's Crazy Castle series, Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout, Bugs Bunny: Rabbit Rampage and the similar Bugs Bunny in Double Trouble, Looney Tunes B-Ball, Space Jam, Looney Tunes Racing, Looney Tunes: Space Race, Bugs Bunny Lost in Time, and its sequel, Bugs Bunny and Taz Time Busters, and Looney Tunes: Acme Arsenal.
In 2011, Bugs Bunny and the rest of the Looney Tunes gang returned to television in the Cartoon Network sitcom, The Looney Tunes Show, with Jeff Bergman returning to voice both Bugs and Daffy Duck. This series also features the characters singing original songs as well. A large difference between Bugs and Daffy's friendship in the show is that, whereas Bugs would hardly mind Daffy's flaws in the original cartoons, in the show Bugs is often and openly annoyed at Daffy's antics, sometimes to the point of aggression when Daffy becomes too obnoxious. He also dates Lola Bunny in the show, although at first he finds her to be "crazy" and a bit too talkative but then falls in love with her again in the rest of the episodes. Unlike the original cartoons, Bugs lives in a regular home, which he shares with Daffy. However, in one episode, his old home (a hole in the ground) was seen. Bugs' income comes from having invented the carrot peeler.
On August 13, 2010, Warner Bros. Pictures announced that they were planning a live-action/CG-animated combo feature film based on the Looney Tunes character.[
|“||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 [sic] – 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.||”|
Bugs Bunny is characterized as being clever and capable of outsmarting anyone who antagonizes him, including Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Willoughby the Dog, Marvin the Martian, Beaky Buzzard, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tasmanian Devil, Cecil Turtle, Witch Hazel, Rocky and Mugsy, Wile E. Coyote, the Crusher, Gremlin, Count Blood Count and a host of others. Bugs almost always wins these conflicts, a plot pattern which recurs in Looney Tunes films 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 fourth 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."), etc.
Bugs will usually try to placate the antagonist and avoid conflict, but when an antagonist 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' antagonists are extremely dim-witted, and Bugs is easily able to outwit and torment them, though 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 three antagonists that successfully defeated Bugs in the end of the cartoon, such as the Gremlin from Falling Hare, the unnamed mouse from Rhapsody Rabbit, and the fly from Baton Bunny.
During the 1940s, Bugs starts off immature and wild, but starting in the 1950s his personality matured and his attitude was more refined. Though often shown as highly clever, Bugs is never actually malicious, and only acts as such in self-defense against his aggressors; the only two cartoons where Bugs ever served as an antagonist were Buckaroo Bugs and Duck Amuck; the latter cartoon depicts him as far more sadistic than usual, as he becomes the animator and abuses his newfound divine 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 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.
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, 1940s 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 lightsaber-wielding Marvin the Martian saying "What's up, Darth?"
Several Chuck Jones shorts in the late 1940s and 1950s depict Bugs travelling via cross-country (and, in some cases, intercontinental) tunnel-digging, ending up in places as varied as Mexico (Bully for Bugs, 1953), the Himalayas (The Abominable Snow Rabbit, 1960) and Antarctica(Frigid Hare, 1949) all because he "shoulda taken that left toin at Albukoikee." He first utters that phrase in Herr Meets Hare (1945), 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, "There 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 1948'sMy 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 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!"
Although it was usually Porky Pig who brought the WB cartoons to a close with his stuttering, "That's all, folks!", Bugs would occasionally appear, bursting through a drum just as Porky did, but munching a carrot and saying in his Bronx-Brooklyn accent, "And dat's de end!"
The name "Bugs" or "Bugsy" as an old-fashioned nickname means "crazy" (or "loopy"). Several famous people from the first half of the twentieth century had that nickname, like famous gangster, Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, who disliked the nickname. It is now out of fashion as a nickname, but survives in 1950s–1960s expressions like "you're bugging me", as in "you're driving me crazy".
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 the episode 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. For all the gullible victims of all these disguises, however, for some reason, Daffy Duck and Cecil Turtle are 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.
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.) although Elmer Fudd has always referred to Bugs as a "wabbit".
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.
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 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 that's the end". Also, at the end ofBox Office Bunny, right after Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd run out through the Looney Tunes "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!".
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