Merrie Melodies – A Wild Hare (1940) by Cartoonzof2006

It’s one of those spit take moments. How can Bugs Bunny possibly be 75 years old? Today marks the first appearance of both Bugs Bunny and his arch nemesis Elmer Fudd in the Merry Melodies short called A Wild Hare, making their debut in 1940 – and in full three-strip Technicolor, no less. It wasn’t a Warner Bros. property back then – it was produced by Leon Schlesinger Studios, who wouldn’t sell his studio and the Bugs Bunny character to Warner Brothers until 1944.

The first “true” appearance of Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. Elmer is a dimwitted hunter, “wooking for wabbits.” Bugs is clever, smooth-talking character, who confuses Elmer with double-talk and misdirection. Elmer is no match for the wascally wabbit, even when he thinks Bugs is dead. Mel Blanc provides the voices, and Tex Avery directs.

According to Chase Craig, who was a member of Tex Avery’s cartoon unit and later wrote and drew the first Bugs Bunny comic Sunday pages and the first Bugs comic book; “Bugs was not the creation of any one man but rather represented the creative talents of perhaps five or six directors and many cartoon-writers. In those days the stories were often the work of a group who suggested various gags, bounced them around and finalized them in a joint story conference.”

Bugs is generally acknowledged to be one of the three most recognizable cartoon characters in the world, right behind Mickey Mouse and Superman.

And to think – he’s 75 years old and has only one gray hare.

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