Looney Tunes Wiki

A Wild Hare

3,116pages on
this wiki
A Wild Hare
AWH Looney Tunes Titlecard
Directed By: Fred Avery
Produced By: Leon Schlesinger
Released: July 27, 1940
Series: Merrie Melodies
Voiced By: Mel Blanc
Arthur Q. Bryan
Starring: Bugs Bunny
Elmer Fudd
Preceded By: The Egg Collector
Succeeded By: Ghost Wanted
Bugs Bunny - (Ep07:44

Bugs Bunny - (Ep. 05) - The Wild Hare

A Wild Hare (re-released as The Wild Hare) is a 1940 Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies animated short film. It was produced by Leon Schlesinger Productions, directed by Tex Avery, and written by Rich Hogan. It was originally released on July 27, 1940. A Wild Hare is considered by many film historians to be the first "official" Bugs Bunny cartoon.[1][2]

The title is a play on "wild hair", the first of many puns between "hare" and "hair" that would appear in Bugs Bunny titles. The pun is carried further by a bar of I'm Just Wild About Harry playing in the underscore of the opening credits. Various directors at the Warner Bros. cartoon studio had been experimenting with cartoons focused on a hunter pursuing a rabbit since 1938, with varied approaches to the characters of both rabbit and hunter.[3]

A Wild Hare is noteworthy as the first true Bugs Bunny cartoon, as well as for settling on the classic voice and appearance of the hunter, Elmer Fudd.[2] Although the animators continued to experiment with Elmer's design for a few more years, his look here proved the basis for his finalized design.[4]

The design and character of Bugs Bunny would continue to be refined over the subsequent years, but the general appearance, voice, and personality of the character were established in this cartoon. The animator of this cartoon, Virgil Ross, gave his first-person account of the creation of the character's name and personality in an interview published in Animato! Magazine, #19 (1989).[5]

Bugs is unnamed in this short, but would be named for the first time in his next short, Elmer's Pet Rabbit, directed by Chuck Jones. The opening lines of both characters—"Be vewy, vewy quiet, I'm hunting wabbits" for Elmer, and "Eh, what's up Doc?" for the rabbit—would become catchphrases throughout the other shorts.



The first on-screen appearance of Bugs Bunny, from an unrestored version of the cartoon.

The basic plot of A Wild Hare, which centers on Elmer Fudd's hapless pursuit of the much smarter Bugs, would serve as a template for many subsequent cartoons. Elmer first approaches one of Bugs' holes, puts down a carrot, and hides behind a tree. Bugs' arm reaches out of the hole, feels around, and snatches the carrot. He reaches out again and finds the business end of Elmer's shotgun. His arm quickly pops back into the hole before returning to drop the eaten stub of Elmer's carrot before apologetically caressing the end of the barrel. Elmer shoves his gun into Bugs' hole, with a tug of war resulting in the barrel being bent into a pretzel.

Elmer frantically digs into the hole while Bugs emerges from a nearby hole with a carrot in his hand. He lifts Fudd's hat and raps the top of his head until Elmer notices, then chews his carrot a bit before delivering his definitive line, "What's up, Doc?" Elmer explains that he's hunting "wabbits", and Bugs chews his carrot while asking what a wabbit is. Bugs teases Elmer by displaying every aspect of Fudd's rabbit description until Elmer begins suspecting that Bugs is a rabbit, saying to the audience "You know, I beweive this fella is an R-A-B-B-I-T." Bugs draws Fudd close and says, "Listen, Doc, don't spread this around, but, uh... confidentially..." before yelling "I AM A 'WABBIT'!" (a variation of Mischa Auer's line "Confidentially, she stinks" from 1938's You Can't Take It with You, a then-well-known catchphrase used in other Warner Brothers cartoons).

Bugs hides behind a tree, then sneaks up behind Elmer, covers his eyes and asks "Guess who?" Elmer tries the names of contemporary screen beauties whose names exploited his accent ("Hedy Wamaw" for Hedy Lamarr, "Cawowe Wombawd" for Carole Lombard, (in the Blue Ribbon reissue, it's replaced by Barbara Stanwyk) "Wosemawy Wane" for Rosemary Lane, and "Owivia de Haviwand" for Olivia de Havilland) before he arrives at "Say, you wouldn't be that scwewy wabbit, would you?" Bugs responds "Hmm..... Could be!", kisses Elmer, and dives into a hole. Elmer sticks his head into the hole and gets another kiss from Bugs, so wet that Elmer needs to wipe his mouth for a bit before deciding to set a trap. Bugs puts a skunk in the trap and Elmer assumes that he's caught the rabbit. Fudd blindly grabs the skunk and carries it over to the watching Bugs to brag to the bunny about how he outsmarted him. As Elmer comprehends the situation, Bugs gives him a smooch on the nose. Fudd looks at the skunk, who winks and nudges Elmer while saying "Confidentially... uh, hmm, you know..." Fudd winces and gingerly sends the skunk on his way.


Bugs addresses the audience at the end of the cartoon.

Bugs then offers to let Elmer have a free shot at him. After Elmer fires, Bugs fakes an elaborate death scene and plays dead, leaving Elmer sobbing (despite the fact that killing Bugs was presumably his intention all along). Bugs then sneaks up behind the despairing Fudd, kicks him in his rear, shoves a cigar into his mouth, and tiptoes away, ballet-style.

Finally, the frustrated Elmer, driven to distraction by the rabbit's antics, walks away sobbing about "wabbits, cawwots, guns", etc. Bugs asides to the audience, "Can ya imagine anybody acting like that? Ya know, I think the poor guy's screwy!" Bugs then begins to play his carrot like a fife, playing the tune "The Girl I Left Behind Me," and marches with one stiff leg towards his rabbit hole, as with the fifer in the painting, The Spirit of '76.


A Wild Hare08:17

A Wild Hare

Academy Award Nomination

A Wild Hare Lobby Card 5317

Original lobby card of the cartoon

The short was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons.[6] Another nominee was Puss Gets the Boot (the first Tom and Jerry cartoon), directed by William Hanna and produced by Rudolf Ising. Both nominations lost to The Milky Way, another MGM Rudolf Ising production.

1944 Blue Ribbon reissue

The Wild Hare

Blue Ribbon Re-Issue Titles

On June 17, 1944, Warner Bros re-released this cartoon as a Blue Ribbon Merrie Melodies. Many other cartoons were also reissued as well.

Changes in the Blue Ribbon

  • In the original version, when Bugs plays "Guess Who" with Elmer, Elmer's second answer was Carole Lombard. In the reissue prints released following Lombard's death in a plane crash, "Carole Lombard" was redubbed with "Barbara Stanwyck." to make sure no one is upset.
  • If you can you look close enough, you can see that before it says MCMXL (1940), it says MCMXLIV (The Blue Ribbon reissue was made in 1944). It quickly changes to MCMXL, with a big black outline (So that MCMXLIV cannot be seen anymore).

This and Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt were the only Bugs Bunny cartoons that ended up in the a.a.p. package to be reissued as Blue Ribbons. This is because WB started making theaters pay more to show Bugs Bunny cartoons (excluding reissues) than other WB cartoons. As a result, it would be more than another decade before another Bugs Bunny cartoon was reissued - by that point, the original credits remained on reissues to keep costs down, so if the date is on the credits then people would be confused though.

Also, Cartoon Network still airs the blue ribbon version with the "1995 turner" ending card.


For the restored version, the opening rings were completely replaced and the opening rings were borrowed from "A Gander at Mother Goose", albeit with the production number 9617 slapped in on the opening, hence why you see it not move during the opening.

Originally, the opening shield was the one seen on Ghost Wanted, and later on. The opening rings for the Wild Hare were the only one to have the then-new opening shield, and the MCMXXXX copyright. Subsquent cartoons after this one would have MCMXL as the copyright year instead.

Wild Hare on the radio

In a rare promotional broadcast, A Wild Hare was loosely adapted for the radio as a sketch performed by Arthur Q. Bryan and Mel Blanc on the April 11, 1941 edition of The Al Pearce Show. The sketch was followed by a scripted interview with Leon Schlesinger.[7]

Although the script is available for public online viewing, as of June 2010 no recording of the broadcast is known to exist.

What's up, Doc?

  • Bugs's nonchalant carrot-chewing stance, as explained many years later by Chuck Jones, and again by Friz Freleng and Bob Clampett, comes from the movie It Happened One Night, from a scene where Peter Warne (played by Clark Gable) is leaning against a fence eating carrots more quickly than he is swallowing (as Bugs would later often do), giving instructions with his mouth full to Ellie Andrews (played by Claudette Colbert), during the hitch-hiking sequence. This scene was so famous at the time that most people immediately got the connection.[4][8]
  • The line, "What's up, Doc?", was added by director Tex Avery for this short. Avery explained later that it was a common expression in Texas where he was from, and he didn't think much of the phrase. But when this short was screened in theaters, the scene of Bugs calmly chewing a carrot, followed by the nonchalant "What's Up, Doc?", went against any 1940s audience's expectation of how a rabbit might react to a hunter and caused complete pandemonium in the audience, bringing down the house in every theater. Because of the overwhelming reaction, Bugs eats a carrot and utters some version of the phrase in almost every one of his cartoons after that, sometimes entirely out of context as compared to this original use.[9]


The short occurs (unrestored) in its entirety in two documentaries available as bonus material in the Looney Tunes Golden Collection series. One documentary is What's Up, Doc? A Salute to Bugs Bunny Part 1, which is available as a special feature on discs 3 and 4 of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 3, with the original title cards. The other documentary is Bugs Bunny: Superstar Part 1, which is available as a special feature on discs 1 and 2 of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 4 with the Blue Ribbon reissue titles and 'dubbed version' end title, although it has not been refurbished or released independently in that series. The most noticeable effect of this is that the backgrounds appear to be in muted, autumn-like tones (visible in the picture of Elmer and Bugs above), rather than the vibrant springtime colors the backgrounds were painted in (although this is mainly due to the age of the prints). An uncut, restored version appears on the Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Academy Awards Animation Collection - 15 Winners, 26 Nominees DVD, but did not surface on the Golden Collection series, despite being the debut for Bugs Bunny, Warner Bros.' most popular cartoon star. The restored version is also featured on the disc 1 of The Essential Bugs Bunny and on disc 1 of Looney Tunes Platinum Collection: Volume 2.[10][11]

Additional Credits



  1. Barrier, Michael (2003), Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in Its Golden Age, Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-516729-0
  2. 2.0 2.1 Adamson, Joe (1990). Bugs Bunny: 50 Years and Only One Grey Hare. New York: Henry Holt. ISBN 978-0-8050-1190-6
  3. Blanc, Mel; Bashe, Philip (1988). That's Not All, Folks!. Warner Books. ISBN 0-446-39089-5 (Softcover), ISBN 0-446-51244-3 (Hardcover)
  4. 4.0 4.1 A Wild Hare trivia at the Internet Movie Database.
  5. "Termite Terrace Tenancy: Virgil Ross remembers".
  6. 1940 academy awards. Retrieved on 2007-09-20.
  7. Original script. Al Pearce Show. (April 11, 1942). Archived from the original on 30 July 2010. Retrieved on June 26, 2010.
  8. It Happened One Night film review by Tim Dirks,
  9. Adamson, Joe (1975). Tex Avery: King of Cartoons, New York: De Capo Press. Template:OCLC
  10. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  11. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
Preceded by
Elmer's Candid Camera
Bugs Bunny Cartoons
Succeeded by
Elmer's Pet Rabbit
Bugs Bunny Cartoons
1938 Porky's Hare Hunt
1939 Prest-O Change-OHare-um Scare-um
1940 Elmer's Candid CameraA Wild Hare
1941 Elmer's Pet RabbitTortoise Beats HareHiawatha's Rabbit HuntThe Heckling HareAll This and Rabbit StewWabbit Twouble
1942 The Wabbit Who Came to SupperThe Wacky WabbitHold the Lion, PleaseBugs Bunny Gets the BoidFresh HareThe Hare-Brained HypnotistCase of the Missing Hare
1943 Tortoise Wins by a HareSuper-RabbitJack-Wabbit and the BeanstalkWackiki WabbitFalling Hare
1944 Little Red Riding RabbitWhat's Cookin' Doc?Bugs Bunny and the Three BearsBugs Bunny Nips the NipsHare Ribbin'Hare ForceBuckaroo BugsThe Old Grey HareStage Door Cartoon
1945 Herr Meets HareThe Unruly HareHare TriggerHare ConditionedHare Tonic
1946 Baseball BugsHare RemoverHair-Raising HareAcrobatty BunnyRacketeer RabbitThe Big SnoozeRhapsody Rabbit
1947 Rabbit TransitA Hare Grows in ManhattanEaster YeggsSlick Hare
1948 Gorilla My DreamsA Feather in His HareRabbit PunchBuccaneer BunnyBugs Bunny Rides AgainHaredevil HareHot Cross BunnyHare SplitterA-Lad-In His LampMy Bunny Lies Over The Sea
1949 Hare DoMississippi HareRebel RabbitHigh Diving HareBowery BugsLong-Haired HareKnights Must FallThe Grey Hounded HareThe Windblown HareFrigid HareWhich Is WitchRabbit Hood
1950 Hurdy-Gurdy HareMutiny On The BunnyHomeless HareBig House BunnyWhat's Up Doc?8 Ball BunnyHillbilly HareBunker Hill BunnyBushy HareRabbit of Seville
1951 Hare We GoRabbit Every MondayBunny HuggedThe Fair-Haired HareRabbit FireFrench RarebitHis Hare-Raising TaleBallot Box BunnyBig Top Bunny
1952 Operation: RabbitFoxy by Proxy14 Carrot RabbitWater, Water Every HareThe Hasty HareOily HareRabbit SeasoningRabbit's KinHare Lift
1953 Forward March HareUp-Swept HareSouthern Fried RabbitHare TrimmedBully For BugsLumber Jack-RabbitDuck! Rabbit! Duck!Robot Rabbit
1954 Captain HareblowerBugs and ThugsNo Parking HareDevil May HareBewitched BunnyYankee Doodle BugsBaby Buggy Bunny
1955 Beanstalk BunnySahara HareHare BrushRabbit RampageThis Is A Life?Hyde and HareKnight-Mare HareRoman Legion-Hare
1956 Bugs' BonnetsBroom-Stick BunnyRabbitson CrusoeNapoleon Bunny-PartBarbary Coast BunnyHalf-Fare HareA Star is BoredWideo WabbitTo Hare Is Human
1957 Ali Baba BunnyBedevilled RabbitPiker's PeakWhat's Opera, Doc?Bugsy and MugsyShow Biz BugsRabbit Romeo
1958 Hare-less WolfHare-Way To The StarsNow Hare ThisKnightly Knight BugsPre-Hysterical Hare
1959 Baton BunnyHare-Abian NightsApes of WrathBackwoods BunnyWild and Woolly HareBonanza BunnyA Witch's Tangled HarePeople Are Bunny
1960 Horse HarePerson to BunnyRabbit's FeatFrom Hare to HeirLighter Than Hare
1961 The Abominable Snow RabbitCompressed HarePrince Violent
1962 Wet HareBill of HareShishkabugs
1963 Devil's Feud CakeThe Million HareHare-Breadth HurryThe UnmentionablesMad as a Mars HareTransylvania 6-5000
1964 Dumb PatrolDr. Devil and Mr. HareThe Iceman DuckethFalse Hare
1979 Bugs Bunny's Christmas CarolThe Fright Before Christmas
1980 Portrait of the Artist as a Young BunnySpaced Out Bunny
1990 Box Office Bunny
1991 Blooper Bunny
1992 Invasion Of The Bunny Snatchers
1995 Carrotblanca
1996 From Hare To Eternity
2004 Daffy Duck for PresidentHare and Loathing In Las Vegas
Elmer Fudd Cartoons
1940 Elmer's Candid CameraConfederate HoneyThe Hardship of Miles StandishA Wild HareGood Night Elmer
1941 Elmer's Pet RabbitWabbit Twouble
1942 The Wabbit Who Came to SupperAny Bonds Today?The Wacky WabbitNutty NewsFresh HareThe Hare-Brained Hypnotist
1943 To Duck or Not to DuckA Corny ConcertoAn Itch in Time
1944 The Old Grey HareThe Stupid CupidStage Door Cartoon
1945 The Unruly HareHare Tonic
1946 Hare RemoverThe Big Snooze
1947 Easter YeggsA Pest in the HouseSlick Hare
1948 What Makes Daffy Duck?Back Alley Op-RoarKit For Cat
1949 Wise QuackersHare DoEach Dawn I Crow
1950 What's Up Doc?Rabbit of Seville
1951 Rabbit Fire
1952 Rabbit Seasoning
1953 Up-Swept HareAnt PastedDuck! Rabbit! Duck!Robot Rabbit
1954 Design for LeavingQuack Shot
1955 Pests for GuestsBeanstalk BunnyHare BrushRabbit RampageThis Is A Life?Heir-Conditioned
1956 Bugs' BonnetsA Star is BoredYankee Dood ItWideo Wabbit
1957 What's Opera, Doc?Rabbit Romeo
1958 Don't Axe MePre-Hysterical Hare
1959 A Mutt in a Rut
1960 Person to BunnyDog Gone People
1961 What's My Lion?
1962 Crow's Feat
1980 Portrait of the Artist as a Young Bunny
1990 Box Office Bunny
1991 Blooper Bunny
1992 Invasion Of The Bunny Snatchers
2012 Daffy's Rhapsody

Around Wikia's network

Random Wiki