Bugs Bunny is the iconic animated cartoon character that we’ve seen in several films and television shows over the last 75 years. He has been featured in more films than any other cartoon character and today, he is the ninth most-portrayed film character in history. He became very popular that even gained his own star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was even nominated for three Oscars and won one in 1958. And his show was one of the most top-rated shows on Saturday morning TV for almost thirty years. Let’s get to know more about everyone’s favoriteanthropomorphic bunny.
Bugs Bunny was created at Leon Schlesinger’s animation unit at the Warner Brother’s Studios. The unit is known for the famous animators such as Chuck Jones, FrizFreleng, Tex Avery, and Bob Clampett, and also the famous voice actor Mel Blanc. Bugs Bunny is the result of combined inspiration. Bugs Bunny got his name when his creator, Ben “Bugs” Hardaway’s fellow employee labeled his proposed rabbit character as “Bug’s Bunny”. From there, FrizFreleng developed Bug’s personality and Mel Blanc instilled him with a Brooklyn accent.
Bugs Bunny has an irreverent, shrewd, outspoken, and quick-witted personality. He loves to play practical jokes, eat carrots, and speak catchphrases such as “What a maroon!” “Of course, you know, this means war!” and of course his iconic line “What’s Up Doc?”
Chuck Jones was concerned that the audience might lose sympathy and interest for an aggressive protagonist if he always wins that is why he arranged Bugs Bunny to be cheated, bullied, or threatened by the antagonists while he’s minding his own business. Bugs isalso known for communicating with the audience by explaining the situation, clueing the story, or describing someone to the audience.
Creator and Director Tex Avery explained that he did not have a hard time in composing Bugs’ famous line “What’s up Doc?” because it is a common expression in Texas. The catchphrase received so much positive reaction that’s why it became a recurrent element in the show.
Debut and Appearances
Although Bugs first appeared in Porky’s Hare Hunt, the first official Bugs Bunny cartoon is considered to be A Wild Hare which was released on July 1940 and was directed by Tex Avery. It is the first film to feature Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny together. This was also the film where Mel Blanc first used Bugs’ famous catchphrase. The film received positive reviews and it even earned an Academy Award nomination in the category of Best Cartoon Short Subject.
Bugs Bunny has become quite the superstar. Aside from being a TV superstar, he is also a commercial model. He has been a pitchman for companies like Kool-Aid and Nike. He starred in a Nike commercial with Michael Jordan and called himself as “Hare Jordan” to promote the Air Jordan VII and VII. And that commercial led to a movie entitled Space Jam which featured Michael Jordan, Bugs Bunny, and the Looney Toons characters. Nike even released a mid-top Bugs Bunny version of the Air Jordan I and named it “Air Jordan Mid 1 Hare” as part of the 30th anniversary of the Jordan Brand in 2015.
Bugs Bunny is definitely the best example of the smart-aleck American comic because he is a remarkable cartoon character with a great sense of humor. Bugs made and will continue to make many more generations laugh.