|Hold the Lion, Please|
Hold the Lion, Please is a Merrie Melodies cartoon, first released on June 13, 1942, distributed by the Vitaphone Corporation and Warner Bros.. This skit is Bugs Bunny's tenth appearance and Chuck Jones' 39th Warner Bros. cartoon.
The title is an obvious play on the expression used by switchboard operators of the day, asking the caller to "hold the line." The Three Stooges made a short with a similar title, Hold That Lion, which also featured a renegade lion.
The short focuses on a lion named Leo who's trying to prove he's still "King of the Jungle" by hunting a small, defenseless animal. He chooses Bugs Bunny as his intended victim, but Leo soon finds out that, in a battle of wits, he's the defenseless one. However, Leo eventually gets Bugs under one paw while raising the other one, claws extended, and looking extremely angry; a truly frightened-looking Bugs could be facing his end.
Just then, Leo gets a phone call (on Bugs' phone) from his wife, a lioness named Hortense, and Leo's demeanor immediately goes from ferocious to meek. After a brief conversation, Leo tells Hortense he's on his way home. He apologizes to Bugs that he can't "stay and kill him," and dashes home to his wife. At first, Bugs makes fun of Leo for his submissiveness to his wife, but then we see that Bugs actually has someone to answer to as well: his own wife, Mrs. Bugs Bunny (according to a sign behind her), whose presence sends her husband sheepishly slinking back into their rabbit hole. Mrs. Bugs Bunny then shows the audience that she "wears the pants the family."
- VHS - Viddy-Oh! For Kids Cartoon Festivals: Bugs Bunny Cartoon Festival Featuring "Hold the Lion, Please" (damaged a.a.p. print, see "Damaged Print")
- VHS - Bugs Bunny Collection: Bugs Bunny on Parade
- Laserdisc - The Golden Age of Looney Tunes, Vol. 2, Side 2: Early Wabbits
- VHS - Looney Tunes: The Collectors Edition, Vol. 11: Wabbit Tales
- Mrs. Bunny's higher-pitched voice is similar to Tweety Bird's, minus the speech impediment.
- This is also the only time where Bugs is shown to be married, because he's mostly depicted as a bachelor after this--although he would eventually meet Lola Bunny in Space Jam, who became his primary love interest/girlfriend.
- It's never explained how Hortense knew Mr. and Mrs. Bugs Bunny's phone number--it's possible that she and Mrs. Bunny are friends.
- Bugs Bunny became shorter in Hold the Lion Please; Chuck Jones would continue to use this version of Bugs until A Feather in His Hare, where he used the modern Bugs perfected by Bob Clampett and Robert McKimson.
- Aside from Elmer's Pet Rabbit, this is the first Bugs Bunny short directed by Chuck Jones, as he appears in this cartoon with buck teeth, white gloves and his most famous Brooklyn accent.
- Unlike most other Bugs Bunny cartoons released from 1941 to 1944, the intro did not feature Bugs lying on top the WB shield.
- This is one of a handful of Bugs Bunny shorts that do not feature the words Bugs, Bunny, Rabbit/Wabbit, or Hare in the title.
- Tex Avery voices the Hippo, having recorded his lines before he left the studio.
- Leo the Lion would make three more appearances after this cartoon; Acrobatty Bunny (1946, albeit named "Nero"), The Lion's Busy (1950), and in Tweety's High Flying Adventure (2000).
The Cartoon Festivals print is a damaged a.a.p. print where the a.a.p. logo plays first, then the 1947-49 Blue Ribbon rings from Farm Frolics open, also notice the light blue borders. The 1939-40 version of Merrily We Roll Along plays instead of the 1941-45 version. The print then changes to another print that says "Hold The Lion, Please". This is a MGM/UA print and probably was hacked off by United Artists in the 1980s.
This print had aired on TBS, TNT and later Cartoon Network before 1995. This print no longer airs on TV and has been replaced with the 1995 dubbed version.
- Mel Blanc voiced Bugs Bunny, Monkey, Giraffe, Mrs. Bugs Bunny, Leo (roaring).
- Tedd Pierce voiced Leo the Lion.
- Tex Avery voiced the Hippo.