Things You Never Knew About Bugs Bunny

Oct 15, 2020James Montalvo

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.

Image Credit: Getty Images/Warner Brothers/Michael Ochs Archive

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?

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons/Ancheta Wis (CC BY-SA 3.0)

HE ALSO HAD A DIFFERENT NAME

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.

Image Source: Getty Images/WireImage/Jaimie Trueblood
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HOW HE GOT HIS NAME

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

Image Source: Unsplash/Kelly Sikkema/For Illustrative Purpose

BUGS' FIRST APPEARANCE WAS AS AN EXTRA

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.

Image Source: YouTube/WatchMojo.com - Warner Bros. Animation/Porky's Hare Hunt

THEY JUST WANTED TO REPEAT THE SUCCESS OF DAFFY

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.

Image Source: Getty Images/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images/Lawrence K. Ho

THE GREAT MEL BLANC

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!

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

TAKING INSPIRATION FROM THE GREATS

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.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

CHOMPING ON CARROTS

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.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

CREATORS WERE WORRIED HE'D BE A BULLY

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.”

Image Source: Getty Images/LMPC via Getty Images

SO POPULAR

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.”

Image Source: Getty Images/LMPC via Getty Images

PSYCHOLOGISTS USE BUGS TO STUDY PEOPLE

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.

Image Source: Getty Images/LMPC via Getty Images

MEL BLAC ATE CARROTS WHILE RECORDING

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.

Image Source: Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives

PEOPLE THOUGHT MEL BLANC WAS ALLERGIC TO 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. 

Image Source: Unsplash/David Holifield/For Illustrative Purpose

HE WASN'T

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.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons/Alan Light

BUGS BUNNY KIND OF SAVE BLANC'S LIFE

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.”

Image Source: Getty Images/CBS via Getty Images

BUGS HAS A LOT OF FIRSTS

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.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

ANOTHER FIRST FOR BUGS

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.

Image Source: Unsplash/Cameron Barnes/For Illustrative Purpose

CHANGED THE MEANING OF A WORD

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. 

Image Source: YouTube/WatchMojo.com - Warner Bros./Space Jam

RECORD HOLDER

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.

Image Source: Getty Images/LMPC via Getty Images

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!

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