It saddens me to think that the further we are from the 20th Century, the less prevalent the Looney Tunes will be. I remember growing up when pretty much every single day, we could watch a half-hour smattering of the old Warner Bros shorts that were nearly 50 years old even then. Even though some of the references were lost on me, the zany slapstick and wry wit of characters like Bugs Bunny transcended any and all time barriers. A world without Bugs would be a sad one indeed, and it’s with this in mind that video essayist kaptainkristian looks at Bugs’ origins and legacy.
Bugs Bunny, unlike most animated characters, doesn’t have a single defined origin, having been created, changed, modified, and molded over several years and many different directorial hands, each with their own distinct take on the character. Under Friz Freleng, Bugs would mind his own business and, when forced, react and own an adversary. Bob Clampett went a completely different direction, making Bugs a much less composed figure, often screwing up his retaliations or even instigating and being made the fool. And under Chuck Jones, perhaps the character’s most famous take, he’s the near-omnipotent trickster, a constantly cool and slyly malevolent force. Crazy how that changes.
But regardless of which version you favor, Bugs has become much more than simply collection of catch phrases and quirks, and he’s much more than just an emblem for the corporation of Warner Bros. As kaptainkristian points out, the difference between Bugs and Disney’s Mickey Mouse is more than just aesthetic; Mickey is a recognizable figure, but Bugs is a fully realized character. While Mickey’s iconic for marketing reasons, Bugs is an icon for comedic reasons. And who’d want to be Mickey when they could be Bugs?
Share some of your favorite Bugs Bunny moments/shorts in the comments below!
Image: Warner Bros