Every Bugs Bunny Ever: The Wabbit Who Came to Supper (1942)

2023 marks the 85th Anniversary of Bug Bunny’s first animated appearance in 1938’s “Porky’s Hare Hunt.” Debuting originally as Happy Rabbit, Bugs eventually became one of the most iconic animated characters of all time. In honor of the landmark anniversary, we’re discussing every animated appearance by Bugs Bunny. We’re big fans of Bugsy and we hope that you are, too.

Follow us on this massive journey where we discover and re-discover Every Bugs Bunny Ever.

The Wabbit Who Came to Supper (1942)
Directed by Friz Freleng
Written by Michael Maltese
Music by Carl W. Stalling
Animation by Richard Bickenbach

I have a big sentimental value attachment to “The Wabbit Who Came to Supper.” When I was a kid we didn’t have cable television, but VHS tapes were readily available and often cheap. Back then stores would sell cartoon compilation tapes filled with hours of animated shorts for dirt cheap (often times they were a dollar, two dollars tops). So my mom and dad would buy at least four of them and give them to me and my brother and sister, and we’d watch them for hours. I spent so many days watching random shorts from MGM and Warner.

Basically, it consisted of whatever was public domain at the time, as the “unofficial” compilation tapes were filled with public domain animated shorts. That’s basically how I familiarized myself with Popeye, and Felix the Cat, and how I fell in love with the Fleischer Brothers Superman series.

It’s also how I watched “The Wabbit Who Came to Supper,” since the short has been public domain for a very long time after the rights were not renewed by United Artists. The title of “The Wabbit Who Came to Supper” is a reference to the 1942 Warner Brothers film version of the Broadway comedy “The Man Who Came to Dinner.” In it an overbearing house-guest threatens to take over the lives of a small-town family. With this short, it’s basically the same premise with Bugs Bunny taking over the life of Elmer Fudd. The short begins with Bugs Bunny who is being chased by Elmer Fudd and his pack of hunting dogs.

Bugs has run out of hiding spots, and decides to try to outwit the dogs to survive. While Elmer is about to snatch the poor Wabbit, he receives a telegram from his Uncle Louie. Louie has given Elmer an inheritance of three million dollars. The only stipulation is that he absolutely cannot hurt animals. Elmer lets Bugs go without harm, but Bugs uses this opportunity to torment Elmer and camp out at his house. This begins the chaotic battle of wits between Elmer and Bugs, the mischievous Rabbit pushes Elmer as far as he can and keeps dangling the inheritance over his head. He makes himself comfortable by taking a long shower, singing off key to “Angel in Disguise,” and there’s a fun gag involving a shaver.

Mid-way there’s a twist in the story that’s even more relevant now than it was back then as Elmer is granted the inheritance but due to an obscene amount of taxes, he ends up owing the government two bucks. This prompts even more wacky shenanigans with Elmer chasing Bugs around the house, and Bugs diverts him with a hilarious “Happy New Year!” gag and a great scene involving being chased in to a basement (“Don’t go down there! It’s dark!”). This also has the distinction of being the first short where Bugs cross dresses, as Elmer walks in on him in the powder room prompting Bugs in ladies underwear to shriek in horror. This, as we know, would become a common practice for Bugs as a way to trick and or evade his enemies.

This is one of the few shorts where we once again meet “Fat Elmer” Fudd, who is not yet quite the hunter we know him as. As per this version he spends most of his time in a casual dress shirt and pants, and dons a bowler hat. The distinct red nose is gone oddly enough. I’m not really a fan of “Fat Elmer” Fudd, mainly because the character doesn’t need further elements that make him a villain. The rhotacism is unique enough for the Bugs Bunny foil. And yet again, the idea that he’s overweight never once plays in to any of the gags, nor does it contribute to the story.

I’ve never been too sure about the closing scene, as it ends with Elmer receiving an Easter basket filled to the brim with baby Bunnies, all of whom are copies of Bugs. I’m not sure what the whole point of it is, as the gag never really gels with the rest of the short. In either case, while the short itself is not entirely what I personally consider classic Bugs Bunny, it’s outweighed by its strong nostalgic value, and laying the groundwork for a lot of future gags that Bugs would implement throughout his film life.

Find out what we think are the BEST and WORST Bugs Bunny shorts of all time!