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There's no denying the truth that Bugs Bunny is one of the most popular and easily recognized cartoon characters ever made. If Disney has Mickey Mouse, Warner Bros. has Bugs. As the titular face of the Looney Toons, Bugs has been delivering laughs and gags for decades. Here are some facts about our favorite bunny that most folks don't know.
IS HE A RABBIT?
It's true folks! There is really a debate on whether our favorite sly, carrot-eating, fast-talking bunny is even a Rabbit. As it turns out, he's technically a Hare. What's the difference? Well, hare's are larger than rabbits, have longer hind legs and ears. Their fur also changes color as the season changes. A Hare is also incredibly fast. So you know, it's cartoons, so does it really matter?
Bugs Bunny was originally going to be called “Happy Rabbit”. As with cartoons and animation, several drafts come before the final product that we see on the tv screens. Bugs also used to be white instead of gray and they also had versions of him without the iconic buckteeth the Bugs we know has.
The iconic cartoon's name, Bugs Bunny, actually came from his animator. Back in 1938, at the Leon Schlesinger’s animation unit at Warner Brothers studios, animator Ben “Bugs” Hardaway was redesigning a new rabbit character. One of his fellow employees liked calling the drawing “Bug’s Bunny”. The name ended up sticking and the rest is history
Bugs wasn't always the front and center star that we've known him to be. He was a then-publicly unnamed cartoon rabbit that was created in 1938 for a cartoon sketch where Porky Pig went on a hunting trip. But during this time, Bugs was just a prototype, he wouldn't show up the way we know him for a couple more years.
If you haven't noticed, the early days of Warner's animation formula for success had a lot to do with repeating the same thing. With that, Bugs' inception came at a time where they wanted to bank on the popularity of Daffy Duck, ergo making something similar. Bugs' voice was intended to be something that sounded like Daffy's too. There was only one man who could do that job.
Mel Blanc is a Warner Bros. and Looney Toons legend. He's the talented voice actor behind the voices of Tweety Bird, Speedy Gonzales, and Marvin the Martian. As well as the voice behind more popular cartoon characters like Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, and then eventually, Bugs Bunny too!
Shaping a character to become more than just a sketch takes work. Creating Bugs was a challenge because animators needed to find inspiration from proven sources. So, they looked to Hollywood's greats like the silent film comedy legend, Charlie Chaplin, and physical comedy expert Groucho Marx.
One of the most iconic things about Bugs’ persona as a cartoon character, would be the way he casually and very cooly chomps on a carrot whenever talking to other cartoon characters. The carrot-eating habit was taken from "It Happened One Night," when the fast-talking Clark Gable snacks on carrots while leaning on a fence.
We've all seen a Bunny Cartoon, right? He usually plays pranks or gags on someone trying to hunt him. The animators wanted to make it clear that he wasn't a bully. “It was very important that he be provoked because otherwise, he’d be a bully,” director Chuck Jones said, “We didn’t want that. We wanted him to be a nice person.”
You know that a cartoon is extremely popular when even the most popular movies and tv shows start referencing it. Take for example Seinfeld, one of the most popular sitcoms ever. In the fourth season of the show, Jerry sings part of the theme song from The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour while he and the gang are headed to the Opera. Elaine appropriately tells him, “All your knowledge of high culture comes from Bugs Bunny cartoons.”
Here we're talking about specifically the study of false memories. Several psychological studies made use of fake advertisements for Disney World that features Bugs Bunny. As we know, Bugs is a Warner Bros. property, not a Disney one. Surprisingly, some people claimed to have gone to Disney and met Bugs there.
The great Mel Blanc was a true master of his craft. Can you imagine coming up with and performing the various voices that the gallery of Looney Toons has? For scenes wherein Bugs is seen eating carrots, Mel Blanc went full method and decided that he should be eating carrots as well. Here's another story about Blanc and carrots.
While recording his lines for Bugs Bunny, Blanc did indeed chew on carrots. But he would also spit them out. This started a silly Holywood rumor that Mel Blanc, the voice of the carrot-chomping Bugs Bunny, was allergic to carrots. People thought he was spitting them out because they were making him sick.
But both Blanc's autobiography entitled, That's Not All, Folks!, and former operations manager at Mel Blanc Studios, Chuck McKibben, explained that Blanc wasn’t allergic to carrots. The iconic voice actor was chewing on them to get his voice to where it needed to be and then spat it out so that he could keep recording his lines.
Mel Blanc sadly got into a car accident that left him in a coma back in 1961. He was completely unresponsive, until the doctor attending to the actor ask an unusual question. He asked the unconscious Blanc, “Bugs Bunny, how are you doing today?” Blanc replied using the voice of the cartoon character, “What’s up, Doc?” The doctor said, “It seemed like Bugs Bunny was trying to save his life.”
To put it lightly, Bugs Bunny is a global phenomenon. No, he's an icon. He and his Looney Toons have made generation upon generation of people laugh with their crazy antics. So it makes sense that Bugs, along with Mickey Mouse from Disney, became the first two animated animal characters to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Again, the iconic cartoon character is practically a piece of American History by now. As such, the beloved Looney Toon was also the first cartoon character to ever appear on a stamp. Yup, as in a postage stamp that one would buy to send your mail with. I bet younger folks have never done that.
Before Bugs Bunny rose to the heights of animated television and film greatness, there was this word: 'nimrod.' Back then, it used to refer to a person who was considered a mighty hunter. Derived from the Biblical character, Nimrod. Well, Bugs kept sarcastically calling Elmer Fudd nimrod, so now people use that to refer to someone less than, er, mighty.
Bugs' over 175 film and tv appearances is actually a record. It's the record for most appearances made by any animated character. From the Looney Toons to other Warner Brothers projects, to DC animated cross overs, Bugs has been in all of them. The most popular one in recent memory is, of course, the one with the basketball legend, Michael Jordan on Space Jam.
Do you know of any more bouncing bunny facts about our dearly beloved Bugs Bunny? Let us know in the comment section. If you enjoyed this then you're sure to have a good time reading the other stories we've written about on Amomedia. Go take a look and have a great time!