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The Bugs Bunny Show

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The Bugs Bunny Show Title Sequence

Title Sequence


Bugs and Daffy

The Bugs Bunny Show is a long-running American television anthology series hosted by Bugs Bunny, that was mainly composed of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons released by Warner Bros. between August 1, 1948 and the end of 1969, which were the cartoons released after the Associated Artists Productions reissues.

The show only aired post-1948 cartoons as the distribution to a.a.p. and Sunset went to other companies. However, Seven-Arts bought WB in 1969 allowing Sunset to air in WB syndications. The black-and-white films were not shown on this show.

The show originally debuted as a primetime half-hour program on ABC in 1960, featuring three theatrical Warner Bros. cartoons with new linking sequences produced by the Warner Bros. Cartoons staff.

After three seasons, The Bugs Bunny Show moved to Saturday mornings, where it remained in one format or another for nearly four decades. The show's title and length changed regularly over the years, as did the network: both ABC and CBS broadcast versions of The Bugs Bunny Show, as did Canadian network CBC Television (1969-1975) and local Canadian stations via syndication (1975-early 1980s). In 2000, the series, by then known as The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show, was canceled after the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies libraries became the exclusive property of the Cartoon Network family of cable TV networks.

Broadcast and format history

The Bugs Bunny Show in prime time

The original Bugs Bunny Show debuted on ABC prime time on October 11, 1960, airing on Tuesdays at 7:30 PM EST, under the sponsorship of General Foods (Post cereals, Tang, etc.). Newly produced linking segments were done for each episode by the Warner Bros. animation staff. Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng produced, directed, and created the storyboards for the earliest of these, with Robert McKimson later taking over the direction while Jones and Freleng continued producing and writing. [1] The wraparounds were produced in color, although the original broadcasts of the show were in black-and-white.

The show's theme song was "This Is It", written by Mack David and Jerry Livingston ("Overture/curtain, lights/this is it/the night of nights..."). The opening title sequence, animated by Freleng unit animator Gerry Chiniquy, [2] features Bugs and Daffy Duck performing the song in unison. For the final chorus, a lineup of Looney Tunes characters joins Bugs and Daffy onstage (Porky Pig, however, is absent from the procession).

The Bugs Bunny Show proved beneficial to the Warner Bros. staff, as it allowed the studio to remain open despite the shrinking market for theatrical animated shorts. [3] The final first-run episode of the original Bugs Bunny Show aired on August 7, 1962, [4] and the Warner Bros. animation studio closed the following spring. [3]

The move to Saturday mornings, 1962 – 1985

ABC began re-running The Bugs Bunny Show on Saturday mornings in August 1962. The series was rerun in color beginning in 1965, and remained on ABC until September 1968. At this point, the series switched to CBS, where it was combined with The Road Runner Show (which had aired on CBS since 1966) to create The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour. [5] The standard Bugs Bunny Show opening and the announcer's introduction of Bugs Bunny ("that Oscar winning rabbit!") were directly followed by the rabbit's saying, "...and also starring my fast feathered friend, the Road Runner", after which The Road Runner Show's theme was played. The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour combined re-edited bridging sequences from both shows to link the seven cartoons featured in each episode. The bridging sequences would be edited further in later versions of the Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour. [6]

In 1971, The Road Runner Show moved to ABC, and a reconstituted half-hour Bugs Bunny Show aired on CBS, featuring re-edited versions of the bridging sequences and a different grouping of cartoons. [5] In 1973, The Bugs Bunny Show returned to ABC for two seasons, only for CBS to re-acquire both shows and bring back The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour in 1975. [5] In 1976, Sylvester and Tweety were featured in their own Sylvester and Tweety Show for one year, necessitating the removal of most of the Tweety and/or Sylvester cartoons on Bugs Bunny/Road Runner that season. Also that year, a weekly half-hour prime-time edition of The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show briefly aired on CBS' Tuesday night schedule from April through June.

The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour became The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show in 1978 after CBS added another half-hour to the runtime. In 1981, a companion Sylvester & Tweety, Daffy, and Speedy Show was added to the CBS schedule, which included a number of later cartoons produced by a reestablished Warner Bros. Cartoons studio from 1967 to 1969. The following year, this new companion series was canceled, and its cartoons were incorporated into the The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show, which was broadcast as two separate hour-long programs on Saturday mornings. [5] In 1983, CBS returned the show to 90 minutes, the bridging sequences were dropped, and the show's opening titles were re-animated. The following year, the "This Is It" opening was jettisoned altogether; a new title sequence (created from clips of the cartoons) and new theme song (It's Cartoon Gold), composed by Steve Zuckerman with lyrics by John Klawitter, introduced the show.

Final Saturday morning years, 1985 – 2000

CBS gave up the rights to broadcast the Warner Bros. cartoons following the 1984–85 season, and as a result, the show moved back to ABC, where it became The Bugs Bunny/Looney Tunes Comedy Hour. Cartoons featuring Tweety or Speedy Gonzales were not broadcast on ABC during the 1985–86 season. The following year, however, Tweety cartoons were added to the program, which was reduced to a half-hour and renamed The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show. [7] Beginning with its third season, The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show was expanded to a full hour, and the original "This Is It" theme was reintroduced, accompanied by a newly animated introductory sequence. [7] Another version of the "This Is It" opening sequence was done in 1992.

Though the program did not qualify for the educational/informational designation, it nonetheless remained on Saturday mornings after the new designation debuted in 1996, one of the few non-E/I programs to survive the rules changes. The program was often paired with ABC's in-house Schoolhouse Rock! shorts during this time.

The hour-long Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show remained on the air until 1999, when it was again reduced to a half-hour. In 2000, Warner Bros. made the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies film library exclusive to Cartoon Network, as it, along with parent Warner Bros., is owned by Time Warner. As a result, The Bugs Bunny Show ended its four-decade-long network run, one of the longest runs in the history of United States network television. [7]


See The Bugs Bunny Show Episodes


This show is credited for keeping the Warner Bros. cartoons made during the Golden Age of American animation a part of the American consciousness. Indeed, the show ran for more than four decades, and helped inspire animators, comedians, historians, and others who watched Saturday morning television.[8] The "This Is It" song's fame is such that it has been used elsewhere such as in the Canadian province of Ontario where it was used in a TV commercial promoting the various performing arts tourist attractions where artists of various disciplines sing separate lines of the song.

When Warner Bros. released its video series "Golden Jubilee", featuring the classic cartoons, the opening sequence shows the Tasmanian Devil maniacally riding a motorcycle down a city street, chased by a police car. He makes a sharp turn into a theater, where the rest of the Looney Tunes are performing to the Bugs Bunny Show tune.

Title sequences and some linking material from the original Bugs Bunny Show are included as bonus features on each volume of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVD collection. As the original color negatives were cut up by CBS and ABC to create later versions of the show, the linking sequences are presented on DVD using a combination of footage from both what's left of the color negatives (some of which were used in later incarnations, thus helping to preserve them) and the black-and-white ABC broadcast prints prepared in the early 1960s.

However, there is one rather unimpeachable voice who says that the shows do exist in complete form. Jerry Beck (who has done extensive research in the Warner Bros. cartoons) states that copies of the show are not lost; in fact, black-and-white negatives of all episodes are in the possession of Warner Bros. (and color negatives may exist in Europe). [9] He has been instrumental in the release of bridging material on the Golden Collection DVD's. For reasons unknown however, Warner Bros. is withholding the episodes for the time being; the decision to restore the series and release to the public entirely rests on them.


ABC and CBS heavily cut their cartoons in these Bugs Bunny Show incarnations, often for content. All violent scenes (especially the ones involving gunfire), as well as scenes involving ethnic stereotypes, and scenes involving dangerous acts that impressionable viewers could easily imitate are cut, e.g. in many shorts (especially the Road Runner cartoons) many scenes integral to the storylines are cut because they are too violent. Both channels' cuts are often done in a sloppy or abrupt way.

ABC also cut out scenes from Looney Tunes cartoons that are considered against the channel's Standards and Practices rules back in the 1980s and 1990s; e.g. ABC removed all mentions and references of mental diseases from cartoons such as Hare Brush and The Duxorcist.


International Broadcasts

  • It aired on Toggo from Super RTL in Germany.


  1. Maltin, Leonard (1980, rev. 1987). Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons. New York: Plume/Penguin Books. Pg. 274–275.
  2. McCorry, Kevin (2007). "The Bugs Bunny Show Page." Retrieved January 9, 2008.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Barrier, Michael (1999). Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in its Golden Age. New York: Oxford University Press. Pg. 562. ISBN 0-19-516729-5.
  4. The Bugs Bunny Show: A Tale of Two Kitties –
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 McCorry, Kevin (2007). "The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour Page." Retrieved January 9, 2008.
  6. Beck, Jerry and Will Friedwald, Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies: The Complete Illustrated Guide to the Warner Bros. Cartoons, Henry Holt, 1989
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 McCorry, Kevin (2007). "The Bugs Bunny/Tweety Show Page." Retrieved January 9, 2008.
  8. "Looney Tunes on Television", a website dedicated to the Looney Tunes television broadcast history, and maintained by Kevin McCorry and Jon Cooke.
  9. [1], which discusses the preservation of "The Bugs Bunny Show"

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