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Little Red Riding Rabbit

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Little red riding rabbit title card
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Little Red Riding Rabbit is a 1944 Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies cartoon, directed by Friz Freleng, and starring Bugs Bunny. It's a sendup of the Little Red Riding Hood story, and the first time in which Mel Blanc receives a voice credit. This cartoon is ranked #39 in The 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field.

Plot

Little Red Riding Hood is depicted as a typical teenage girl from the 1940s, a "bobby soxer" with an extremely loud and grating voice (inspired by screen/radio comedienne Cass Daley, provided by Bea Benaderet). After she sings the first verse of Five O'Clock Whistle in the opening to establish this fact, Bugs Bunny pops out of her basket to ask where she's going. She replies that she's going to "bring a little bunny rabbit to my grandma's. Ta HAVE, see?

"With this part of the story set up, the wolf is now introduced. The wolf switches a "Shortcut to Grandma's" sign, so that Red has to go through a long mountain path, while the wolf uses the real shortcut---a few short steps to the house. Seeing a note on the door that Grandma isn't home (a Rosie the Riveter type who's working the "swing shift" at Lockheed), the wolf sneaks inside and dresses like Grandma---only to find that a bunch of other wolves are similarly dressed and waiting in the bed for Red! The wolf (voiced by Billy Bletcher) growls for the others to "COME ON! COME ON! take a powder---this is MY racket!" and the other wolves leave muttering to themselves, and then a small wolf leaves from under the pillow.

Once in bed, the wolf waits for Red to come to the door. But in a twist, the wolf isn't interested in eating Red, but rather the rabbit she brought with her. The wolf quickly shuffles Red out the door and tries looking for Bugs. Bugs, however, gets the better of the wolf and runs around the house, being 'chased' by the wolf. Along the way, Bugs subjects the wolf to the famous lots-of-doors in-and-out routine (which will be repeated in Buccaneer Bunny). The wolf, however, is constantly interrupted by Red, who continues asking the questions from the story, such as "That's an awfully big nose for you – ta HAVE." Towards the end of the cartoon,the wolf finally corners Bugs, but Bugs imitates the wolf's every action even when the wolf keeps telling Bugs to stop. After eluding the wolf by distracting him into singing Put On Your Old Gray Bonnet (With the Blue Ribbons on It), Bugs manages to get a glowing coal from the fireplace and sends the wolf to the ceiling by scorching his backside. When the wolf comes down, Bugs has a large shovelful of coals waiting to scorch the wolf.

However, the wolf manages to catch his feet on the ends of two benches just in time, doing the "splits", facing the camera. Instead of simply kicking one of the benches away, Bugs proceeds to dump heavy weights into the wolf's arms. After clearing out just about everything in the house (except the kitchen sink), Bugs is about to apply the coup de grace on the wolf---by placing an olive branch on top of the mass of junk and furniture the wolf is holding---when Red comes back in, bellowing "Hey, GRANDMA!" (by now, Red had already commented on the wolf's big eyes, ears and nose, and his sharp teeth, one wonders what she was planning to ask next).

By now, even Bugs has gotten sick of Red's interruptions, prompting himself to say, "I'll do it, but I'll probably hate myself in the morning." He descends the ladder, out of frame, there's a shuffling of the furniture... and now RED is the one desperately trying to avoid getting scorched (doing the "splits" in her dress, but modestly facing away from the camera), while Bugs and the wolf, arms around each other's shoulders, share a carrot and self-satisfied looks, and await the inevitable.

Later Appearances

  • Red returns as a guest character among the crowds cheering for the Looney Tunes' Toon Squad at the end of the basketball game in the 1996 movie Space Jam
  • In an episode of The Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries, ("It's a Plaid, Plaid, Plaid, Plaid World") Red appears as a character called "Myopia". Her voice, performed by Tress MacNeille, is just as shrill as the original, but now with a distinct Scottish burr. Her name is an ironic misnomer, as she suffers not from nearsightedness, but colorblindness.

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