Every Bugs Bunny Ever: Any Bonds Today? (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.

Any Bonds Today? (1942)
Directed by Bob Clampett
Written by Bob Clampett
Music by Irving Berlin, Carl W. Stalling
Animation by Virgil Ross, Bob McKimson, etc.

The tall man with the high hat and the whiskers on his chin, Will soon be knocking at your door and you ought to be in, The tall man with the high hat will be coming down your way, Get your savings out when you hear him shout “Any bonds today?”

In 1942, the war effort was strong and America did whatever they could to promote patriotism and support for the armed forces during World War II. Among one of their tactics was to use one of the most popular cartoon characters of the time, Bugs Bunny, to promote the purchase of war bonds. In what is one of the most blatant uses of propaganda for the war, Warner implements the use of Bugs Bunny (a real testament to his popularity during this era) who appears in the ninety second musical short to encourage theater audiences to buy war bonds.

Berlin apparently wrote the tune for free at the “request” of Henry Morgenthau, Jr., then U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, to promote the Treasury Department’s defense bond and savings stamp drive, the National Defense Savings Program. War Bonds were like loans to the government where regular citizens would pay a certain amount of money for the bond, which would then go toward helping to fund war efforts and the Department of Defense. The bonds would eventually act as investments for some consumers. There really isn’t a premise to “Any Bonds Today?” as it wears its purpose right on its sleeve.

The announcer requests the theatrical audience’s attention, and Bugs pops out on center stage to sing “Any Bonds Today?” He does so with a back drop of American patriots, and dons various costumes including Uncle Sam, soldiers, and… well… this…

Yes, Bugs Bunny dons black face once again, mimicking the voice and performance of Al Jolson from “The Jazz Singer.” Along with Bugs, there are cameos from former Merrie Melodies mascot Porky Pig in military regalia, and “Fat Elmer” Fudd. The trio performs for a few seconds to the tune of Irving Berlin’s “Any Bonds Today?” Said song is a twist on Berlin’s song “The Yam” from the film “Carefree.” It’s a shame that Bugs and the group from Merrie Melodies are used in this fashion, as the short really holds no real significance to the Bugs Bunny library. It’s primarily just a promotional film for the American government and Bugs is used to promote support of the war much in the way many pop culture characters of the era were.

For what it’s worth the animation is very good, and the tune from Berlin is catchy considering it’s basically just a glorified commercial jingle. “Any Bonds Today?” lies within the middle ground of Bugs Bunny’s oeuvre. Despite being credited to Leon Schlesinger, it’s not Looney Tunes, nor Merrie Melodies. It’s also not technically a part of Bugs Bunny’s whole library, much in the way that say a Butterfingers commercial starring Bart Simpson isn’t really considered an episode of “The Simpsons” per se. It’s also not really considered canonical, despite featuring “Fat Elmer” Fudd and the actors Arthur Q. Bryan and Mel Blanc, respectively.

Currently in the Public Domain, “Any Bonds Today?” doesn’t pack in any considerable laughs or comedy, but you could definitely argue that it is an interesting artifact of Animation history, not to mention a clear example the art and influence of Propaganda films.

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