Bugs Bunny

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By DonaldJennings

Bugs Bunny is a cartoon rabbit created in Warner Brothers’ Looney Tunes animation short film series. One of the most prominent stars of the so-called golden era of American animation (1928-19c. 1960, Bugs Bunny is still a beloved cartoon character.

Bugs Bunny was created at Leon Schlesinger’s animation unit at Warner Brothers studios. The unit was nicknamed “Termite Terrace” due to its sparse accommodations on the Warner lot. It also boasted some of animation’s top names, such as Tex Avery and Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett and Friz Freleng. Mel Blanc, a renowned voice artist, and Carl Stalling, a musician. Combination of inspiration was what made Bugs Bunny. Inadvertently, Animator Ben (“Bugs”) Hardaway christened him after his sketch of a rabbit character was called “Bugs’s Bunny”. Robert McKimson created the model sheet, Freleng developed Bugs’ personality, Avery, Jones and Blanc added refinements and Blanc gave him his Brooklynese wisdom. Although Embryonic versions were published in Warner cartoons in 1938, Bugs’s familiar appearance was only revealed in A Wild Hare (1940).

Bugs Bunny is Walt Disney’s most beloved cartoon character. Bugs is not Mickey Mouse’s simple, everyday persona. He is smart, funny, shrewd and outspoken. The classic Bugs cartoons include Hare Tonic (1945), The Big Snooze (46), Buccaneer bunny (1948), Mississippi Hare (49), Mutiny On the Bunny(50), and What’s up, Doc? (1950), The Rabbit of Seville (50), and The Knighty-Knight Bugs (58). What’s Opera, Doc? (1957)–An animated masterpiece that cast Bugs, Elmer Fudd, and Siegfried in the roles of Brunhild (in a hilariously modified adaptation of Richard Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelung). This cartoon short was the first to be inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.

Warner Brothers stopped producing cartoon shorts for theatres back in 1963. However, Bugs Bunny continued his appearances in television commercials as well as feature-length compilations containing classic shorts like The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie (1981), and 1,001 Rabbit Tales (82). In the feature film Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, he was again seen. (1988), Space Jam 1996, and Space Jam: A Legacy 2021. Commercial products heavily feature his likeness.

The cartoonist, on the other hand, satirizes types and groups with humor. Although William Hogarth had many predecessors, it was his social humors and portrayals of human foibles against which later cartoons were judged. Honore Daumier predicted the balloon-enclosed speech of the 20th century cartoon by including text to accompany his cartoons that indicated the characters’ thoughts. Hogarth’s engravings, and Daumier’s lithographs were complete documentations of the London and Paris of their time.

Thomas Rowlandson ridiculed the absurd behavior of many social types, including Dr. Syntax, which is believed to be the grandfather of later comic strips, was lampooned by Thomas Rowlandson. Rowlandson was closely followed by George Cruikshank. This was a whole dynasty made up of Punch artists, who humoristically commented on the passing of Edward Lear and Thomas Nast.

The 20th century saw the rise of the single-panel gag or one-liner, as well as the pictorial joke that isn’t accompanied by words. A wide range of drawing styles was created. The New Yorker magazine’s influence spread to other publications around the world. Charles Addams and Saul Steinberg were the new cartoonists. William Hamilton was from the United States, Gerard Hoffnung, Fougasse and Anton were from England.