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Hare Tonic

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Hare Tonic Lobby Card
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Hare Tonic is a 1945 Warner Bros. cartoon in the Looney Tunes series, directed by Chuck Jones and written by Tedd Pierce. It stars Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd making this the first cartoon directed by Jones to co-star the two. Voice characterizations are by Mel Blanc and Arthur Q. Bryan, respectively.

The title is a play on "hair tonic", a type of patent medicine, reinforced by Bugs' portrayal of a fake doctor at one point in the picture. A bottle of "hare tonic" would appear as a prop in a 1946 cartoon, The Big Snooze.

Plot

Elmer Fudd has purchased Bugs Bunny at a local grocery store (with a sign visible in the window offering a special on "Fresh Hare") and is taking him home to make a meal. As he bounces along, he sings the tune of "Shortnin' Bread", substituting "Rabbit Stew". Bugs pops out of Elmer's basket, munching on a carrot that was in there with him, and asks, "Eh, whatcha got in the basket, doc?" Elmer replies, "I got me a wabbit! I'm gonna cook me a wabbit stew!" Bugs states his "love" of rabbit stew (though he is clearly a rabbit) and then begs to see Elmer's rabbit. When Elmer opens his basket and finds it empty (Bugs had quickly climbed out), Bugs pushes his nemesis into his own basket and then sings the tune Elmer had been singing — but then Elmer realizes he's been tricked, and so he re-reverses the switch. Foreshadowing pranks to come, Bugs tells the audience from inside the basket (à la Red Skelton's "mean widdle kid"), "He don't know me vewy well, do he?"

Once at home, Bugs easily secures his escape by distracting Elmer, tricking him into thinking the phone has rung. However, just as he's about to leave, he decides he'd rather stay and heckle his would-be devourer. Bugs effects a radio broadcast that warns of the dread disease "rabbititis", which is contracted from rabbits "sold within the last three days" and which causes people to see spots and have "delusions assuming the characteristics of rabbits", among other dubious symptoms. This frightens the gullible Elmer and he informs Bugs that he is free to leave. Bugs, however, points out a sign on the door that states that the house is "QUARANTINED DUE TO RABBITITIS" and that no one can enter or leave.

Hare Tonic
Bugs as "Dr. Killpatient", about to confuse Elmer again.
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Thus Bugs stays to torment Elmer, and many hijinks ensue, including Bugs posing as Elmer's shower faucets {"Gurgle, gurgle. Why don't ya' pay ya' water bill, Doc?"} and a doctor ("Dr. Killpatient", parodying Dr. Kildare), and pretending to be Elmer's reflection in the mirror (a scene inspired by the famous mirror scene in the Marx Brothers' film, Duck Soup). Finally, Elmer sees Bugs' game and chases him out of the house with a shotgun. But Bugs quickly halts the chase and, in an unusually lengthy breaking of the fourth wall, even by Bugs' standards, he convinces Elmer that members of the audience, the people who are watching the cartoon, are now afflicted with rabbititus (as in they're getting fuzzy, having long ears and a white, fluffy tail), which causes Elmer to flee back into his house in terror.

Then Bugs tells the audience that it was all just a gag and that they don't have rabbititus. He then says if they do have rabbititus, then red and yellow spots will appear, swirling. Bugs said that, Then, suddenly, everything would go black!' The screen Does go black, but what Bugs meant was that the cartoon would end. The cartoon ends and Bugs snickers right before he pops out of the Looney Tunes drum at the end of this cartoon.

Looney Tunes drum with Bugs Bunny

Bugs reappears from inside of the Looney Tunes drum (instead of Porky Pig), as he sometimes does at the end of Looney Tunes, munching a carrot and saying, "And dat's de end!" rather than the usual "That's All Folks!" of Warner cartoons (see illustration on the right).

This version of the Looney Tunes drum would be seen once more, in 1946's Baseball Bugs and was falsely used at the end of some television prints of the Daffy Duck cartoon, "The Up-Standing Sitter".

Notes

  • This cartoon marks one of the few times Bugs addresses Elmer by name, albeit in the guise of "Dr. Killpatient", who addresses him as "Mr. Fudd". Despite their frequent cinematic encounters, many of their cartoons are played as if they had never met before.
  • The Looney Tunes Show episode, Peel of Fortune has Bugs coming out of the WB shield, saying And that's the end. again instead of That's all Folks! at the end of the episode.

Availability

This cartoon is found on Volume 3 of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection.

Video

Hare TonicHare Tonic.mp4(08:20)
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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
1990 Box Office Bunny
1991 Blooper Bunny
1992 Invasion Of The Bunny Snatchers
2012 Daffy's Rhapsody

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