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Rabbit Seasoning is a 1951 Merrie Melodies cartoon, directed by Chuck Jones, and starring Bugs Bunny. It is the sequel to Rabbit Fire, and the second entry in the "Hunter's trilogy" directed by Jones and written by Michael Maltese (the only major difference in format between Rabbit Fire and Rabbit Seasoning is that the former takes place during the springtime, while the latter takes place in autumn. The third cartoon in the set, Duck! Rabbit, Duck!, takes place in the winter.) Produced by Edward Selzer for Warner Bros. Cartoons, Inc., the short was released to theaters on September 20, 1952 by Warner Bros. Pictures and is widely considered among Jones' best and most important films. In Jerry Beck's 1994 book, The 50 Greatest Cartoons, Rabbit Seasoning is listed at number thirty.
The cartoon finds Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck again arguing over which of them is "in season" (it is really Duck Season as Daffy says in the beginning), while a befuddled Elmer Fudd tries to figure out which animal is telling the truth. Between using sneaky plays-on-words, and dressing himself in women's clothing (including a Lana Turner-style sweater), Bugs manages to escape unscathed, while Daffy repeatedly has his beak blown: off, upside-down, or sideways, by Mr. Fudd.
Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny have "pronoun trouble" in this scene from Rabbit Seasoning. Rabbit Seasoning is most noted for an extended dialogue sequence in which Bugs' plays-on-words cause Daffy "pronoun trouble":
Bugs: It's true, Doc; I'm a rabbit alright. Would you like to shoot me now or wait 'til you get home?
Daffy: SHOOT HIM NOW! SHOOT HIM NOW!
Bugs: You keep outta this! He doesn't have to shoot you now!
Daffy: He does so have to shoot me now! [to Elmer] I demand that you shoot me now! [Elmer raises his gun. As Daffy sticks his tongue out at Bugs, he is shot. Daffy walks back over to Bugs, gunsmoke pouring out of his nostrils. He walks over to Bugs]. Let's run through that again.
Bugs: Okay. [deadpan] Would you like to shoot me now or wait till you get home.
Daffy:[similarly] Shoot him now, shoot him now.
Bugs: [as before] You keep outta this, he doesn't have to shoot you now.
Daffy Duck: [re-animated] HAH! That’s it! Hold it right there! [to audience] Pronoun trouble. [to Bugs] It's not "he doesn't have to shoot you now", it's "he doesn't have to shoot me now" [Pause] [angrily] Well, I say he does have to shoot me now!! [to Elmer] So shoot me now! [Elmer shoots Daffy again]
After another series of gags and tricks, the cartoon ends as Daffy exposes Bugs' attempt at distracting Elmer by cross-dressing, and Bugs asks Elmer if he would like to "shoot him here, or wait 'til you get home." Daffy, catching the argument before it starts (but missing the "him" referring to himself), tells Elmer to wait until he gets home, and the two go off to Elmer's lodge. One gunshot later, Daffy storms out the door back to Bugs, re-aligns his beak, and says his signature line: "You're dethpicable".
- DVD - Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 1, Disc One
Like Rabbit Fire and Duck! Rabbit, Duck!, all scenes of Daffy getting blasted by Elmer's shotgun were edited when aired on ABC, CBS, the syndicated and Fox network versions of The Merrie Melodies Show, and The WB. While ABC and WB replaced the actual shots of Elmer firing at Daffy's head with a still shot of Bugs Bunny looking off-screen (or, in the case of the end of Rabbit Seasoning, freeze-framed on the shot of the cabin when Elmer and Daffy go inside) and had the audio play normally, CBS and WB spliced out any and all scenes (both visual and audio) of Daffy getting shot.
Although there were a few cartoons released after this with the blue rings red background from the 1951-52 season, this cartoon was the first to be in the 1952-53 season, evident from the rings.
- A Salute to Chuck Jones
- Elmer Fudd's Comedy Capers
- Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 1
- Looney Tunes Platinum Collection: Volume 2
Rabbit Seasoning at SuperCartoons.net
Rabbit Seasoning at B99.TV