72 years ago today, Looney Tunes' iconic cartoon character Bugs Bunny made his very first screen appearance. The Oscar-nominated short entitled 'Merrie Melodies: A Wild Hare' was the first glimpse of the now infamous rabbit we know and love today. It was also the first time we got to witness the frustrated hunter Elmer Fudd. Little did the creators know that the pair would go on to be one of the most famous cartoon routines in exsistence.
The birth of Bugs Bunny
The birth of Bugs actually started to come together back in 1937, when Warner Bros animation director Tex Avery created 'Porky's Duck Hunt'. This was in fact the birth of Daffy Duck and due to its phenomenal success in theatres, Warner Bros set out to make another animated hit; this time with director Ben "Bugs" Hardway.
Hardway remade 'Porky's Duck Hunt', but this time featured a rabbit as its main character and renamed it 'Porky's Hare Hunt'. Cartoonist Charlie Thorson came up with the first sketch of a grey-and-white rabbit with large buck teeth and labels the character "Bugs’ Bunny". However, it was trusted director Tex Avery who took the reigns once again and became the real father of Bugs Bunny with 'A Wild Hare'. Bugs is changed from a Daffy-like lunatic and instead becomes a witty, streetsmart know-it-all, that we've all learned to love.
Despite a variety of names thrown into the mix, with some claiming 'happy rabbit' and Tex suggesting 'Jack E Rabbit', it was Thorson's original 'Bugs Bunny' that stuck.
Did you know?
- Bugs is voiced by Mel Blanc - a regular voice actor for Warner Bros and dubbed 'the man of 1000 voices', he provided vocals for many of the Looney Tunes' creations.
- Since his first appearance, Bugs has gone on to appear in over 175 films, including Space Jam and Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
- He has been nominated for three Oscars and won in 1958 for 'Knighty Knight Bugs (opens in new tab)'.
- In 1985, he became the second cartoon character to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (Mickey Mouse was first).
- In 1976, when researchers polled Americans on their favorite characters, real and imaginary, Bugs came in second (behind none other than Abraham Lincoln!).
Do you think Bugs Bunny is the best cartoon character ever created? Let us know in the comments box below!