Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Bugs

Seventy years ago today, Bugs Bunny made his first appearance in "A Wild Hare". You would have trouble recognizing him if you only knew his later appearances. He looked much more rabbit-like. He was being hunted by a character known as "Egghead" although his real name, according to an earlier cartoon, was "Elmer Fudd".

Bugs was not the first Looney Toons rabbit. A white rabbit had appeared in a couple of shorts starting with a Porky Pig one, and Pinhead/Elmer Fudd had tried to photograph a gray rabbit. It was not until the July 27, 1940 cartoon that Bugs began sounding like himself. Mel Blanc who did the voice said that he wanted the rabbit to sound tough. The two toughest-sounding accents he knew were Bronx and Brooklyn so he used a combination for Bugs.

The two characters evolved quickly and were pretty much fully fleshed out within a year or so.

The only real changes to Bugs came after Chuck Jones took over. Bugs grew taller and thinner but kept his voice and character.

Just as Micky Mouse defined Disney for generations, Bugs Bunny became the symbol of Warner Brothers.

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