Every Bugs Bunny Ever: Hare Do (1949)

Hare Do (1949)
Directed by Friz Freleng
Written by Tedd Pierce
Animation by Gerry Chiniquy
Music by Carl W. Stalling

In my head canon, since Bugs, the Coyote and Road Runner are in the same universe, and they all shop from ACME. Their prices depend on whether their devices will work, so while Coyote is buying junk, Elmer Fudd ends up buying high priced machinery to hunt for potential prey. Hence the machine that he’s seen carrying in the opening of the short which can best be explained as some kind of radar for prey that also includes a screen for them. The machine does work, but Bugs ends up catching on way too early for Elmer’s liking. I know, I know, Elmer points to it as “Awmy Surpwuss!” but who’s to say ACME doesn’t have that kind of department for hunters and predators?

Aw heck, I know that I’m overthinking the whole gag, but considering these shorts are all an established shared universe, am I grasping at straws, here? That’s just a bit of plot that I kind of liked building, as this time around Elmer is established as hunting not with his usual rifle, but a high tech radar machine. After being driven off a cliff by a seemingly non-threatening Bugs, Elmer chases Bugs in to the high way firing off rounds at him. This eventually leads them in to a ton of fun gags involving crowded theaters, with Bugs having to climb over rows of people constantly, and his fetching of a twenty cent carrot from a snack machine,

There is also some fun gags played with theater where Bugs calls the audience in and out, trampling Elmer at every turn, and just a lot of jokes built on the whole general idea of the theater. I was actually surprised that they didn’t do so much more as MGM usually seems to know how to create a stellar in-theater gag for the audience. In either case, this is mainly just Bugs and Elmer running around this theater, with Bugs outwitting him at every turn. I particularly love it when Bugs pretends to be an elderly woman and accuses Elmer of harassing her. Mel Blanc’s voice work is always on point.

One aspect that does hinder the short is the finale which is completely recycled from the funny “A Day at the Zoo” from 1939. One of my all time favorite Merrie Melodies, this short finds the narrator taking us through a zoo and warning time and time again for a bald child to stop teasing the animals. Said child walks off proclaiming “I’m a bad boy.” The grand finale “Hare Do” finds Bugs leading Elmer to sit on a perch with blacked out glasses. Elmer is then wheeled down a slope in to the gaping maw of a lion’s mouth. When Bugs opens the mouth Elmer exclaims “Gee I wonder if he made it!” Bugs grins “He Made it!”

It’s not as funny as the pay off in the aforementioned “A Day at the Zoo” but it’s clever. I like “Hare Do” even if it’s slim content. It fulfills the purpose of comedic antics between Elmer and Bugs with some really sharp shtick.

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