Friday, July 27, 2007

An animated Friday, Part II

Serendipitously, today's Simpsons movie debut occurs on the 67th anniversary of the first Bugs Bunny short. In A Wild Hare, the irreverent rodent took his first starring role and an initial swipe at ongoing nemesis Elmer Fudd. Bugs set the precedent for all smart alecky cartoon characters to follow, and proved an enduring role model for yours truly.

I've always been more partial to the work of Tex Avery than that of Walt Disney — preferring clever slapstick to sap and schmaltz, which probably reveals a lot about my personality. I'll always admire Bugs' ability to draw giggles and guffaws as he tweaks the various authority figures who try to pull him out of or force him down that rabbit hole. Sometimes a well-placed wisecrack can dissipate a lot of menace.

I salute Bugs on this his birthday for teaching me the value of a keen wit and a strong sense of humor when doing battle against the absurd and the oppressive. Let's honor him by giving a figurative boot to all those real-life Elmer Fudds making our lives more difficult.

Here's how Wikipedia describes the screwy wabbit's debut:

Bugs Bunny first appeared in A Wild Hare which was directed by Tex Avery and released on July 27,1940. It was in this cartoon that he first emerged from his rabbit hole to ask Elmer Fudd, now a hunter, “What's up, Doc?" It was also the first meeting of the two characters. It is considered the first fully developed appearance of the character. Animation historian Joe Adamson counts A Wild Hare as the first "official" Bugs Bunny short. It is also the first cartoon where Mel Blanc uses the version of Bugs voice that would become the standard.
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