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This site provides news, reviews, commentaries, and previews of the world of anime and everything it inspires, such as live-action films, comics, music, art, and other weird things to enjoy and contemplate.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Bugs Bunny Turns 75-Year-Old

Watch His Animated Debut in 'A Wild Hare'

Bugs Bunny first appeared on July 27, 1940
[Source: Yahoo!TV] You’ve got to hand it to Bugs Bunny — he looks pretty good for 75. (Then again, he has been gray from the very beginning.)

Monday marks the iconic Looney Tunes wisecracker’s animated debut — opposite Elmer Fudd, no less — in the 1940 Warner Bros. short “The Wild Hare.”
 
The 7-minute cartoon features so many monumental firsts: the first time Bugs locked lips with an adversary, the first time he faked his own death and, of course, the first time he uttered those immortal words: “What’s up, doc?”
Original production layout drawing by Chuck Jones for his 1943 short cartoon, "Super Rabbit"
Original lobby card for the 1943 Chuck Jones directed "Super Rabbit"
Photostat of a Tex Avery model sheet of Bugs Bunny.
"The Evolution of Bugs Bunny" a hand-painted cel art edition by Chuck Jones
[Source: Time.com] Here’s how the world’s favorite cartoon rabbit came to be. Animator Chuck Jones gave credit to Tex Avery for the character, but Warner Bros. had made several rabbit cartoons in the studio’s earlier years. There were cutesy rabbits and wacky rabbits, but those rabbits aren’t Bugs. (One distinction, Jones explained, was that Bugs’ craziness always serves a purpose–in contrast to the unhinged Daffy Duck.)

The Wild Hare bunny is uncredited, though that changed before the year was up. Bugs was an instant star. By 1954, TIME noted that he was more popular than Mickey Mouse. (Mel Blanc, who voiced the character, later claimed that the name was his idea, saying that they were going to call the character Happy Rabbit, but that Blanc suggested naming him after animator Ben “Bugs” Hardaway. Alternatively, the name is sometimes traced to a sketch that designer Charles Thorson did on Hardaways’ request, with the caption “Bugs’ bunny”—as in, it was the bunny that Bugs had asked him to draw.)

Though Virgil Ross was the animator on A Wild Hare, Chuck Jones became one of the more famous hands behind the Bugs Bunny magic. In 1979, when The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie came out, TIME critic Richard Schickel noted that “it is possible that some day Animator Chuck Jones may come to be regarded as the American Bunuel” for the fact that Jones and the groundbreaking surrealist filmmaker so well understood the psychological underpinnings of comedy.

As these images from the late artist’s archives show, Bugs Bunny may have taken a long time to be born—but he sure has aged well.
Original production layout drawing by Chuck Jones for his 1943 short cartoon, "Super Rabbit"

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