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Bugsy and Mugsy

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Bugsy and Mugsy is a 1957 animated short film in the Looney Tunes series produced by Warner Bros. Cartoons, Inc.

The film's plot features Bugs Bunny with Rocky and Mugsy in a remake of the 1950 Merrie Melodies short Stooge for a Mouse. Bugs discovers that two robbers are hiding out on the floor above him, and plays them off against each other.

Plot

This cartoon begins with a view of the outdoors — and Bugs Bunny's hole is visible. However, over it stands a sign presumably constructed by Bugs reading “Moved to Drier Quarters — Bugs Bunny”. The presence of the sign is justified by the fact that it is heavily raining.

Shortly, Bugs is seen under the floor of an empty house, commenting on the dryness, peace and quiet of it (“Dry as a bone. What more could a rabbit want?”) But Bugs is very soon disturbed, as a pair of fugitives from the law soon enter it, assuming it to be entirely abandoned (as it had been before Bugs entered and found it suitable for the drier quarters he desired). These criminals are Rocky and Mugsy, who have just robbed a highly guarded repository of plenty of gold, gems and silver worth an undisclosed sum. Rocky closes the open blinds and states that, although he's given the police “the slip,” they can't be allowed to know that he and Mugsy are hiding there; at least not from his point of view. (He tells Mugsy to “toin it on the radio,” and they hear the radio announcer saying that the police believe Rocky and Mugsy to have been the thieves, and nearly gets as far as mentioning where the police last saw them, before Rocky makes Mugsy “toin it off the radio”.)

Mugsy asks, “But that was some haul, wasn't it, boss?”

“Yeah,” Rocky answers. “All 14-carat.” And this is where he uncovers the stolen loot, and he and Mugsy stare at it.

The “carrot” part has aroused the interests of Bugsy, whose head pops out from under the floorboards. (He remains unseen by Rocky and Mugsy, only by the audience, throughout the picture.) He mistook the purity level of minerals for the vegetable that rabbits and hares are all too well known for fondness of. This is where Rocky makes a relatively small, and yet colossally damaging (to Mugsy and himself), mistake that leads to the comical turn of events to follow: he tells Mugsy to “get some shut-eye if we're gonna pull that big job tomorrow.” They certainly assume themselves to be alone in the house.

This alerts Bugs to the fact that he's dealing with seasoned robbers who have already lightened the wallets of several in the world and will do so with many, many more if not brought under control soon. He makes the very serious decision to teach them that crime cannot, does not, should not and will not pay.

First, he takes an old-fashioned telephone (very similar to the original model of Alexander Graham Bell) and slips one end next to Rocky's ear, keeping the other end in his own hole. (Face impassive, Rocky is sitting in the only chair and Mugsy is lying down on the couch with a goofy grin on his face.) Bugs whispers to Rocky that “you're crazy to trust your pal Mugsy with that suitcase of jewellery. Don't make me laugh!” Rocky sits bolt upright in the chair, but assuming he heard a random voice, shrugs and goes back to sleep. But Bugs won't let him. He snickers, “Look at 'im, just lyin' there pretending he's asleep. And all that time he's actually thinking. Not just that. He's gettin' ideas.” However, Bugs pulls the cord away from Rocky before he can see it. Assuming Bugs' words to be true, Rocky gets out of the chair, walks over to Mugsy and the sofa, and rudely awakens his partner by slapping him three times in the face (“That'll teach ya's to get ideas.”) Mugsy protests that he doesn't get ideas. However, Rocky, having been fooled by Bugsy, tells Mugsy to see to it that he doesn't. He storms away to leave Mugsy looking confused.

Next, Bugs glances out of his hole and, seeing that the two criminals are sound asleep, tiptoes out — carrying a giant battleaxe. This he places with extreme caution in Mugsy's right hand. Then he dives back under the floorboards, retrieves the old phone and informs Rocky that Mugsy isn't called “the Detroit Butcher for nothin'. Don't be fooled by dat smooth talk. He's prob'ly waitin' for you to fall asleep — then ... (effects a squashing sound) KER-RIECCKKK!” And Rocky, once again, thinks that Mugsy is actually out to maim him. He again sits up and notices the axe Mugsy is holding. However, rather than let it remain in Mugsy's clumsy hands for another second, Rocky seizes the weapon and slices one of the couch's arms cleanly almost in half. He then pronounces that “Your dirty scheme didn't work, did it? Now go back to sleep.” Mugsy merely chuckles that Rocky is “a million laughs,” thinking (wrongly) that he mutilated the sofa for fun.

Next, Bugs is shown in the attic of the old house with a screwdriver, preparing to unscrew the screws connecting the light over Rocky's head to the roof of the main room. The camera then turns back to Mugsy, who has suddenly awoken, but seeing his boss to be still in the chair, chuckles, “That Rocky,” again. Cut back to Bugs, who has now begun to unscrew the light. Mugsy sees the screws coming loose, and so, knowing that Rocky will blame him if the light falls on him, grabs his own screwdriver and a ladder and climbs up, tool in hand, intending to screw the light back in. But Bugs is too quick for the hulking accomplice, as he finishes with the last screw before Mugsy gets to it. Looking up, Rocky sees Mugsy on the ladder, thinking that HE unscrewed the light, so he tells him to “C'mere.” Mugsy does so, and when he does, he is kicked up high into the air by Rocky, who then screams: “NOW GO TO SLEEP!”

Next, Bugs switches Rocky's cigarette with a dynamite stick. Then he walks over to Mugsy and effects Rocky's voice, saying, “Hey, Mugsy, c'mere. Gimme a light.” Having clearly worked with Rocky for years, Mugsy walks over to his boss with a match and verbalizes how glad he is that “you're not mad at me no more.” He strikes the match and lights not a cigarette, but a stick of dynamite. The resulting explosion leaves them looking much the worse for wear; Mugsy moans, “Aw, now you're mad at me again!”

“Get in here,” Rocky snaps. Here, he shoves Mugsy into the next room (with many screams of protest from his partner), beats him up and ties his feet and hands together. The walls become knocked right through. Underfloor, Bugs "winces" pleasurably. "NOW GO TO SLEEP!!!" Rocky yells with great finality.

Next, Bugs saws a perfect circle around Rocky's chair, only letting him see the tool near the end. Bugs then slips it into Mugsy's hands — and slips back beneath the floor — just in time for Rocky to open the door to the next room, see it in Mugsy's possession and proclaim, “I dunno how ya's done it, BUT I KNOW YA'S DONE IT!!!!!!!!” He then beats Mugsy up some more, and storms out of the room.

Finally, Bugs pops out from under the floor, unties Mugsy and quickly pops a pair of entirely metallic roller skates to his feet. He then snatches a highly powerful magnet and drags it down with him. The skates feel the power of Bugsy's magnet; they skitter right to it; Mugsy is forced to stand up. For a split second, Rocky stares at Mugsy in complete bewilderment, then tells him to get off the skates; but the skates and, by extension, Mugsy, are controlled by the rogue underfloor magnet. Bugs drags the magnet several times towards Rocky so that Mugsy is forced to smash into him. Every time Mugsy skates into Rocky magnetically, his boss snarls, “Why you . . . (disparaging single word)!” and shoves him back. But Bugs simply drags the magnet over to Rocky again and again, thus necessitating multiple repeats of that cycle. Quite apart from the chaotic banging in that house, police cars suddenly pull up to it (a notice stating that the Public Health Department has condemned it is on the back of the building). A short time later, Rocky and Mugsy are in one of them; as it wails off, Rocky wonders out loud how the police knew where he and his partner were hiding. Mugsy begins protesting his innocence repeatedly, but Rocky doesn't believe him. He shoves Mugsy down to the floor and jumps up and down on him.

However, Mugsy was telling the truth. He was not the one who turned Rocky in — rather, Bugs disclosed their location. At the very end, he remarks, “Isn't it amazin' what you can do with a few electric bulbs and some wire?” And that was how he turned Rocky and Mugsy in: he ingeniously hooked up bulbs and wires to the building and configured them so that they flashed the words “ROCKY'S HIDEAWAY” and presumably found a modern telephone in the house by which he called the police and told them the location of the house that displayed his light pattern, and that it was what it said it was. Iris out.

Oddly, there are continual continuity errors in this short. In particular, Bugs' size changes; outside his hole, he is normal-sized, but inside, he is the size of a mouse (take the size of the magnet he's holding near the end of the short, for instance.

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