Every Bugs Bunny Ever: Easter Yeggs (1947)

Easter Yeggs (1947)
Directed by Robert McKimson
Written by Warren Foster
Music by Carl W. Stalling
Animation by Charles McKimson

The 500th animated short released from Warner Bros., “Easter Yeggs” is so much funnier than I remember it being, as I always typically found it kind of obnoxious in the past. Recently it’s earned a place in the tops list mainly for the fact that it’s so chaotic, and delights in delivering so many funny gags. To make things more interesting, “Easter Yeggs” has three villains, all of whom are scheming to make Bugs’ life difficult, and it amounts to a hilarious challenge for the character. One of the earliest holiday themed shorts from Bugs, it’s only a drop in the bucket of a long line of Warner animated shorts that took myths, legends, and fairytales and distorted them for the sake of comedy and or chaos.

It’s not at all a new thing for animation to skew or satirize these famous stories, but Looney Tunes was always very good at it, that I’m surprised there was never really a short co-starring Santa, or involving Halloween. For “Easter Yeggs” it’s the Easter Rabbit, and his reluctance to fulfill his duties. After exhaustingly submitting his duties, he happens to come across Bugs who he talks in to fulfilling his duties as the Easter Rabbit. Although Bugs finds the whole task silly, he indulges the Easter Rabbit, who is mainly just lazy and anxious to put his work on someone else.

From there Bug comes across a nightmarish child with a bowl cut who not only demands Easter Eggs from Bugs but proceeds to torment him by biting him. From there in a still hysterical sequence of events, they twirl around getting in to a wrestling match where the “Dead End Kid” proceeds to massacre Bugs. I also can’t help but crack up when the Dead End Kid frames Bugs screaming “he bwoke my widdle arm!” Retreating, Bugs is unlucky enough to come to the door of Elmer Fudd who is there to trap and kill the Easter Rabbit. Bugs is in a rotten mood though and takes his anger out of Elmer who drops all his charade and gives chase to Bugs.

The jokes are delivered almost rapid fire with some fun sight gags and some great wordplay. The short opens with Bugs reading the book “How to Multiply” and he refers to Easter eggs as “Technicolor Hand Fruit.” In Bugs’ second encounter with the Easter Rabbit, the Easter Rabbit explains “You’ll give the Easter Rabbit a bad name,” prompting Bugs to angrily reply, “I already have a bad name for the Easter Rabbit!” Elmer’s brief appearance and small set up amounts to some big laughs, and he helps balance out the menace of the Dead End Kid (he gives off a hilarious similar vibe to the “Do the Roar!” kid from “Shrek”) and the Lazy Easter Rabbit working against Bugs at every turn.

Elmer is just is so very funny in this short, making Bugs’ life so much worse than it already is. It’s bad enough he contends with a rotten kid, and the lazy Easter Rabbit, but Elmer is just relentless once he’s inserted in to the short. It’s too bad Elmer is the only villain who gets a return slip from “Easter Yeggs.” Despite being hilarious in his appearance, I think the Dead End Kid and the lazy Easter Rabbit had a ton of comeback potential. Oddly enough “Easter Yeggs” also includes a subtle re-design of Bugs by McKimson. McKimson gave Bugs some very small aesthetic changes that he’d be using for his own Bugs Bunny shorts in the future.

The changes are very subtle to where they’re almost impossible to notice, but it’s interesting how Bugs is still fully evolving, and never actually settles on one definitive design. Even this late in the game. Nevertheless everything pretty much wraps up with Bugs getting his revenge, and is just a classic bit of hilarity that gives a typically lovable holiday character a cynical, albeit clever, tint.

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