Every Bugs Bunny Ever: A Feather in His Hare (1948)

A Feather in His Hare (1948)
Directed by Chuck Jones
Written by Michael Maltese
Music by Carl W. Stalling
Animation by Ken Harris

We’re so late in the game and we’re still doling out these hideous racial stereotypes for these Looney Tunes shorts. “A Feather in his Hare” reminded me a lot of “All This and Rabbit Stew” except this short elicits a ton of hideous Native American stereotypes without ever actually building an interesting villain. By now we’ve had Elmer, Yosemite Sam, and many more foils, and we’re still being fed this kind of muck. And it’s not just that “A Feather in His Hare” is awfully racist, but it’s awfully unfunny as well. It’s just a lot of exploring how many Native American stereotypes can be squeezed in to eight minutes, and none of it ever amounts to even a mild chuckle.

The set up involves the Native American villain going on a hunt for a bunny when he comes across Bugs. Bugs comes out of his hole to give the hunter a hard time and the two play a battle of wits. Every joke here is so obvious that it’s tough to even try to enjoy. Our Native American villain has a tattoo on his stomach that looks like a bullseye, he uses the “-um” suffix after every other word in his sentences, and he’s not even really given much of a name. I want to say it’s “Mo-hican,” but I’m not too certain. He’s identified by Bugs by a lot of other Native American nicknames and that’s about it. From there it’s a parade of racist gags that I just couldn’t really click in to.

There’s even kind of an ugly scene where the Native American villain tries to lure Bugs in to a barber shop trap, which is really just an excuse for him to scalp Bugs Bunny. Bugs tricks him into getting in to the chair and uses his hatchet to whack him over the head. He then takes the unconscious Native American villain and places him outside the teepee like a Cigar Store Indian statue. Yikes. Frankly I’m surprised they didn’t grab on to the other stereotypes like alcoholism. For Chuck Jones this is stale, and monotonous and one of the more infamous Bugs Bunny shorts that I was never aware ever existed.

I knew Bugs had a few shorts where he dealt with Native American villains, but I was never aware of “A Feather in His Hare.” This short was mostly kept off of television for a long time (known as the “Twelve Missing Hares”), even being excluded from the “June Bugs” 24 hour marathon for the Cartoon Network, back in the heyday. “A Feather In His Hare” even closes on a weak sight gag involving a weird placement of storks and babies when Mo-hican declares himself “last of mo-hi-cans!” After passing out from the sight Bugs also sees his own babies being carried by storks and passes out. It’s an awkward and abrupt finisher to a short that’s operating on fumes from the opening title card.

I’d place “A Feather in His Hare” alongside “All This and Rabbit Stew” and “Nips the Nips” in sheer awfulness in its unabashed racism, sure, but mainly for being so lazy and unfunny.

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