Bugs Bunny has been one of the most well-known cartoon characters of all time for nearly a quarter-century. Although Warner Bros. began including intelligent-talking rabbits in its cartoons as early as the 1930s, it wasn't until 1940 that the rogue we know and love first appeared on the screen.
Here are ten fun facts about the mischievous rabbit, who first appeared 75 years ago this week.
1. He debuted as an extra in a Porky Pig cartoon:
An unnamed rabbit was created in 1938 for a cartoon in which Porky Pig went hunting, but the true character would not appear for decades.
2. Bugs Bunny might not have existed if not for a time constraint:
In 1938, Warner Brothers wanted to make a cartoon as soon as possible. The previous year saw the release of Porky's Duck Hunt, which introduced Daffy Duck. Due to the tight deadline, Bob Clampett decided to re-use some of the jokes from Duck Hunt. When someone suggested dressing the duck in a rabbit suit, Porky's Hare Hunt was born.
Tex Avery, Bob Givens, and Mel Blanc collaborated for several years to create Bugs Bunny. He appeared in the 1940 film A Wild Hare.
3. His voice was originally intended to sound like Daffy Duck's:
Director Irwin Freling decided that the rabbit's voice would be similar to Daffy's because the duck was already well-known. Mel Blanc, who played Bugs in Looney Tunes, also voiced Daffy Duck, Tweety Bird, Speedy Gonzales, and Marvin the Martian.
4. His demeanor was influenced in part by Clark Gable:
Bugs' relaxed carrot-eating style was inspired by a scene in It Happened One Night in which the fast-talking Clark Gable munches on carrots while leaning against a fence. The character was also inspired by Groucho Marx.
5. The creators were concerned that he would appear to be a bully:
In a 1998 interview, director Chuck Jones explained, "It was critical that he be provoked because otherwise, he'd be a bully." "We didn't want him to be unpleasant; we wanted him to be pleasant."
6. He does lose to Elmer Fudd on occasion:
In What's Opera, Doc, a 1957 parody of Wagner's operas, Bugs loses his constant battle with bumbling hunter Elmer Fudd.
7. He appeared in military propaganda during WWII:
Bugs Bunny appears in a number of Private Snafu shorts, which are instructional cartoons intended to teach US military troops about topics like proper sanitation and not leaking American secrets. The films were classified information, and even Warner Bros. employees who worked on the animations were not permitted to see the finished product.
8. Bugs appear on Seinfeld:
When the Seinfeld gang goes to the opera in the fourth season, Jerry sings a portion of the theme song from The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour. "Bugs Bunny cartoons taught you everything you know about high culture," Elaine says.
9. Psychologists use him to study false memories:
In several psychological studies on false beliefs, scientists showed people fake advertisements for Disney World featuring Bugs Bunny. Despite the fact that a Warner Bros. character would never be on display at a Disney theme park, a significant number of subjects claimed to have visited Disney World and met Bugs.
10. Bugs Bunny has saved lives:
Blanc was in a serious car accident in 1961 that put him in a coma for several weeks. Eventually, a doctor tried to elicit a response from the unresponsive patient by asking him in Bugs' voice, "Bugs Bunny, how are you today?" "What's up, Doc?" Blanc asked in Bugs' voice. "It seemed like Bugs Bunny was trying to save his life," the doctor later said of the incident.