Bugs: “What’s up, Doc?”
Fans: “Happy 75th Birthday Bugs, you wascally old wabbit!”
It has been 75 years since Bugs Bunny made his first ever official debut on July 27, 1940 in a “Merrie Melodies” cartoon called “A Wild Hare,” which saw a still unrefined Bugs being hunted by Elmer Fudd – a classic game the two would play for many years to come.
Directed by Tex Avery, animated by Virgil Ross, produced by Leon Schlesinger and with the voice of the iconic Mel Blanc who was Bugs’s voice till the end of his days, the “A Wild Hare,” received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Short. Later it was Chuck Jones who took over after Tex left and along with Isadore “Friz” Freleng and others, dominated the world of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies giving the world hours of side-splitting laughter with their creations.
But it was not until three years later, in 1943, that Bugs Bunny received his iconic carrot-chewing pose and voice and then in 1944 Warner Bros released The “Old Grey Hare,” another Bugs/Elmer cartoon that received a popularity vote for the greatest cartoon ever. Then came “What’s Opera, Doc,” the first animated short to enter the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry making Bugs Bunny official.
From World wars, to the Cold War, the move to cable and even to Netflix, Bugs Bunny is forever, an evergreen icon of generations of children who grew up watching his antics as he pulled a fast one over Elmer Fudd or Daffy Duck. We cannot imagine Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies without Bugs Bunny and all the other characters that make up the Warner Bros universe. In an interview once, Chuck Jones, the director of countless Bugs Bunny cartoons said, “I have come to know Bugs so well, that I no longer have to think about what he’s doing in any situation. I let the part of me that is Bugs come to the surface, knowing, with regret, that I can never match his marvellous confidence.”Today, more than seven decades after his appearance on the small screen, we remember good old Bugs and reminisce over some of his best cartoons. So here’s to many more years of pure, unadulterated joy… Happy 75th Bugs!
Here is a quick look at dear old Bugs through the ages: