Every Bugs Bunny Ever: Buccaneer Bunny (1948)

Buccaneer Bunny (1948)
Directed by Friz Freleng
Written by Michael Maltese
Music by Carl W. Stalling
Animation by Manuel Perez 

Yo, ho, ho, and a bottle of–Ma’s old fa-shioned ci-der! Ma’s old fa-shioned ci-der!

I have great sentimental value for “Buccaneer Bunny” as it’s one of the array of Bugs Bunny shorts that were often played during the Bugs and Daffy Show every Saturday morning when I was a kid. “Buccaneer Bunny” is edgy enough to still be hilarious but never crosses any lines. And we also get Yosemite Sam once again! That’s always a plus. Watching this short takes me back to when I was a child winding down from Saturday morning cartoons and greeting the early afternoon with the hour block on ABC Network. “Buccaneer Bunny” is still utterly hilarious and stands as one of the shorts from Bugs that hasn’t aged a bit.

Even with its stripped-down premise, the short is a masterclass in the excellent dynamic that Bugs and Yosemite Sam have together.

Not to mention Sam demonstrates his ability to be fit in to any setting, despite mainly being established as a violent cowboy and bandit from the old west. I’m happy that Sam evolves over time from the Western bandit to just an angry, ornery, and vicious villain who always lets his short temper get the best of him. He’s also driven virtually insane by the end of almost every confrontation that he has with Bugs, which is a plus. I’m disappointed that we haven’t seen Yosemite Sam since his 1945 debut in “Hare Trigger” as the character has a ton of potential that the writers hadn’t quite figured out.

For this short Sam is now a pirate, or more matter of factly, he’s “Sea-Goin’ Sam, the blood-thirstiest, shoot-’em-first-iest, doggone worst-iest buccaneer that ever sailed the Spanish main!” He is struggling to bury his chest of treasure in a hole. After it keeps being ejected much to his horror, he comes across Bugs who emerges from the hole draped in his gold and jewels. A chase ensues as Bugs hijacks his war ship, and Sam trying to re-claim it while also trying to kill him in the process. It’s a fun set up with a surprising amount of great gags crammed in. One of my all time favorites involves Sam jumping on a boat to get to Bugs, swimming to the deck of his boat to get his oars, swimming back to the boat, and then rowing to the boat to get on deck.

There’s also a great gag involving a squealing parrot, and the classic door gags Bugs is prone to stage when running from his enemies. Bugs also does a great Charles Laughton impersonation playing Captain Bligh from “Mutiny on the Bounty;” it’s a great bit of Hollywood satire that the Looney Tunes truly excel at. The animation and direction is absolutely top notch with a lot of the visual gags and comic timing really hitting well. The amount of material Bugs is able to derive from the cannons is hysterical, and I’ve always enjoyed how much the writers are able to derive from the whole Pirate and sea faring set up in the long run.

It’s too bad Sam has been gone for such a long time, but I am happy he returns to yet another gem with Bugs Bunny.

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