It has been 75 years since Bugs Bunny made his first appearance in “A Wild Hare,” and over the years, the character has won legions of fans thanks to his quick wit and his ability to think outside of the box when facing a difficult situation.
Unlike the previous cartoon rabbits that Warner Brothers’ directors like Ben “Bugs” Hardaway (not a coincidence, by the way) had come up with, Tex Avery and animator Virgil Ross toned down the typical zany nature of the era’s cartoon characters and replaced it with Bugs’ trademark guile and cunning.
Through constantly outsmarting his bald-headed “frenemy,” Elmer Fudd, helping an abandoned baby penguin to the other side of the world, and joining up with the greatest basketball player to ever live, Bugs Bunny has become a classic part of animated history. So, grab your family and relive all your childhood with some of Bugs Bunny’s best moments from his 75-year existence.
Believe it or not, there was once a time when baseball was the most popular sport in America. You know, back when people didn’t really have options. In “Baseball Bugs,” our favorite hare faces off against the over-sized Gas-house Gorillas when he takes his heckling a step too far. By breaking both the laws of physics and at least 15 baseball regulations, Bugs plays all nine positions and comes out at the end with a 96-95 victory and one hell of a catch.
Whenever I read old comic books, I usually hear the narration in the same, over-the-top delivery you’ll hear in the classic “Super Rabbit.” (To be honest, that’s mostly because I’m doing it myself; it’s more fun that way.) But if you thought that superhero storylines today were clichéd and campy (Clark really could’ve saved his dad from that tornado), you have no idea how far they’ve come. Even Bugs Bunny cracked a joke at the idea of a pair of glasses being a good way to hide a secret identity.
“Rabbit of Seville”
This classic cartoon predates every sitcom you’ve ever watched that decided to randomly throw in a musical episode to switch things up. In “Rabbit of Seville,” Bugs and Elmer Fudd take their never-ending chase to the next level in song.
“8 Ball Bunny”
Celebrity cameos aren’t a new concept, by any means. When “8 Ball Bunny” was released in 1950, Humphrey Bogart was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. So everyone in the audience immediately recognized him when he showed up in the same outfit from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and asked Bugs for some spare change. If you want to see how much times have changed, bet a millennial to see if they even know who the guy in the fedora is. I’m calling dibs on 20 percent.
“Knighty Knight Bugs”
Out of the hundreds of appearances that Bugs Bunny has made in the past 75 years, his work has only gotten one Oscar. In 1959, “Knighty Knight Bugs” won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short. Apparently, the Academy loved seeing Bugs take on Yosemite Sam and his pet dragon in medieval times. Who wants to start a petition for Game of Thrones to add magical rabbits to the story?
Professor Bunny at Acme Looniversity
Once you reach a certain level of success, it’s only right to give back to the next generation. So Bugs decided to pay back his dues as a professor at Acme Looniversity in Tiny Toon Adventures. When Buster Bunny was having trouble with a bully, Bugs steps in to teach his protégé some of his old tricks. Luckily, this was back when the recommended treatment for concussions was a few days rest or else Acme may have had a lawsuit on its hands.
His Hareness Meets His Airness
Although Michael Jordan may be the first person that comes to mind when people think of Space Jam, Bugs Bunny was the first name on the poster. So you could argue that he’s the real star of the classic sports movie. Plus we got to meet Lola Bunny, who may be the first person he kissed that wasn’t trying to kill him first.
“Hare-Way To the Stars”
Mankind didn’t take that giant leap onto the moon until 1969. But Bugs Bunny made it all the way to Mars in 1958 after accidentally catching a ride on a spaceship and a satellite. Instead of just saving his own skin, per usual, Bugs has to save the entire planet Earth after Marvin the Martian tries to make it go “ka-boom” with an “Illudium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulator,” aka a stick of dynamite.
In this episode where he takes on a world champion boxer, Bugs Bunny breaks everything from the fourth wall to all of boxing’s many rules. If Antonio Margarito can get banned for a year for loaded gloves, I’m pretty sure Bugs shouldn’t be able to put a horseshoe in his. Even if his opponent is six times his size.
“Bully for Bugs”
Because of his horrible navigation skills, I spent most of my life thinking that Albuquerque – or “Albacoikee” – was a made up destination. Then Breaking Bad happened. Once again, Bugs ends up in the wrong place at the worst possible time when he pops up in the middle of a bullfight. If you knew the darker side of bull fighting, you’d understand why this bull is probably so pissed off. But it was good to see that he’s become a functioning member of society in Space Jam.
“Bugs Bunny Rides Again”
Some of Bugs Bunny best moments came when he was making fun of the pop culture clichés of the time. We already mentioned Superman, so why not go after Westerns with the help of Yosemite Sam? It was so easy for Bugs to outsmart him and bring us the classic “I dare you to cross this line” moment that he almost felt guilty about it. (Notice we said almost.)
Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck have had a lot of time to try and outsmart each other. Of course, Bugs almost always wins, but probably the most classic and memorable running gag is the debate of whether it is duck season or rabbit season while Elmer Fudd decides who to shoot. This is also the easiest of Bugs’ tricks to use in real life.