Every Bugs Bunny Ever: Mutiny on the Bunny (1950)

Mutiny on the Bunny (1950)
Directed by Friz Freleng
Written by Tedd Pierce
Animation by Gerry Chiniquy
Music by Carl Stalling

Friz Freleng’s “Mutiny on the Bunny” is another of Bugs Bunny’s sea faring adventures and they always manage to hit differently. There’s just something more inherently funny about Bugs Bunny out at sea that allows the writers to get a bit more creative. Meanwhile, we’re given yet another appearance by Yosemite Sam who plays the sea captain, and I couldn’t have asked for a better nemesis this time around. Yosemite Sam is one of my all time favorite nemeses for Bugs. Probably even more so than Elmer Fudd, now that I come to think about it.

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Every Bugs Bunny Ever: Hurdy-Gurdy-Hare (1950)

Hurdy-Gurdy Hare (1950)
Directed by Robert McKimson
Written by Warren Foster
Animation by JC Melendez
Music by Carl Stalling 

I love “Hurdy Gurdy Hare” because it doesn’t really follow the traditional formula for Bugs Bunny toons. It feels a lot like a callback to the Abbot and Costello show where there’s not a real plot line. There’s just a lot of stuff that happens and Bugs Bunny is at the forefront of it all. Seriously, a lot of stuff just happens with not a lot of the usual Bugs Bunny defending people or whatnot. It’s just Bugs trying to make a living and coming across a devious, greedy little monkey.

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Every Bugs Bunny Ever: Rabbit Hood (1949)

Rabbit Hood (1949)
Directed by Chuck Jones
Written by Michael Maltese
Animation by Ken Harris
Music by Carl Stalling

After the nastiness that was last week’s “Which is Witch” it’s nice to see Bugs Bunny return to the basics again. “Rabbit Hood” is one of my top ten Bugs Bunny shorts of all time. It’s a hilarious spoof of the Robin Hood tale that ranks up there with 1958’s “Robin Hood Daffy” in terms of hilarity and clever jokes. Oddly Bugs isn’t Robin Hood but he is falling prey to the fascism of the king who is desperate to snag Robin Hood at every turn. Now with the king’s property guarded, Bugs comes under attack by the Sheriff of Nottingham. When Bugs seeks a few carrots from the king’s garden, the two go at it, prompting a hysterical war between the pair.

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Every Bugs Bunny Ever: Which is Witch (1949)

Which Is Witch (1949)
Directed by Friz Freleng
Written by Tedd Pierce
Animation by Arthur Davis
Music by Carl Stalling

Like “All This and Rabbit Stew” and “Nips the Nips,” this one is strictly for hardcore Bugs Bunny completists. It’s not that “Which is Witch” is so unabashedly racist and filled with racial stereotypes. It’s that it’s so painfully unfunny. Even at his worst director Friz Freleng can pull out a few chuckles here and there, but “Which is Witch” trades good solid laughs and prime comedy in order to once again punch down and turn a gross racist caricature in for Bugs Bunny to use as a source of utter humiliation. When Cartoon Network was a big name in the animation medium, the network would hold annual weekend long marathons of Bugs Bunny shorts titled “June Bugs.”

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Every Bugs Bunny Ever: Frigid Hare (1949)

Frigid Hare (1949)
Directed by Chuck Jones
Written by Michael Maltese
Animation by Phil Monroe
Music by Carl Stalling

I think “Frigid Hare” is the point in Bugs Bunny’s career when he stopped being a mere foil or protagonist and started being something of a hero. When he finally steps up to defend a small penguin named “Playboy,” who–a very small cute penguin… from the wrath of an inuit. That’s the exact time Bugs started becoming something of a hero for the little guy. All of the other scenarios of Bugs giving in to his baser urges to be egomaniacal, or just plain antagonistic are a bar he’s just toppled. With “Frigid Hare” the animators and writers set a high bar with a short where we’d see him defending and fighting for other smaller animals in the near future.

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Every Bugs Bunny Ever: The Windblown Hare (1949)

The Windblown Hare (1949)
Directed by Bob McKimson
Written by Warren Foster
Animation by John Carey
Music by Carl Stalling

I am one that was never much of a fan of cartoons like “Rocky and Bullwinkle” or “George of the Jungle.” I always found those series to feel cheap and kind of dull so I was never a fan of their fractured fairy tales. Besides, Warner bros. always set the bar high when it came to taking fairy tales and distorting them for their own twisted purposes. “The Windblown Hare” is a hilarious take on the Three Pigs and Red Riding Hood, the first confrontation with the three pigs for Bugs and his second confrontation of Red Riding Hood’s universe. While not as funny as “Red Riding Rabbit,” this visitation to the latter’s world is small but hysterical as the writers take this whole dynamic and twist it up for some prime comedic material.

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Every Bugs Bunny Ever: The Grey Hounded Hare (1949)

The Grey Hounded Hare (1949)
Directed by Bob McKimson
Written by Warren Foster
Animation by John Carey
Music by Carl Stalling

“The Grey Hounded Hare” is one of those shorts that always played in the very middle of marathons on cable TV and it almost always made great background noise. That’s mainly because “The Grey Hounded Hare” isn’t really anything to write home about. When it comes to Bugs Bunny he’s done better, and the writers have found better ways to utilize his ongoing feud with dogs. The short by Bob McKimson is pretty much the repetition that these shorts are known for but without not too many laughs. Sure it’s clever and it’s high energy, which is always a plus. But the whole concept just kind of feels stale and forced. That’s punctuated by the fact that the short has no real foil for Bugs Bunny.

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