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Bugs Bunny
Bugs Bunny

Released by: Warner Bros.
First Appeared: 1938-40
Creator: Disputed
The most popular rabbit.
Welcome on the Bugs Bunny 's Spot...

Let introduce this friendly, funny and especially smart rabbit.

Bugs Bunny is this funny rabbit appearing in the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons, and is one of the most recognizable characters, real or imaginary, in the world. According to his biography, he was "born" in 1940 in Brooklyn, New York and the product of five fathers: Bob Clampett (who created a prototypical version of the character in 1938), Tex Avery (who developed Bugs' definitive personality in 1940), Robert McKimson (created the definitive Bugs Bunny character design), Chuck Jones, and Friz Freleng. But according to Mel Blanc, his voice actor, his accent is an equal blend of someone from the Bronx and someone from Brooklyn.

He is noted for his signature line of "Eh, what's up, doc?" and his feuds with Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Marvin the Martian, Daffy Duck, and even Wile E. Coyote, who usually takes on the Road Runner. Almost invariably, Bugs comes out the winner in these conflicts, because that is in his nature. This is especially obvious in films directed by Chuck Jones, who liked to pit "winners" against "losers". Worrying that audiences would lose sympathy for an aggressor who always won, Jones found the perfect way to make Bugs sympathetic in the films by having the antagonist repeatedly bully, cheat or threaten Bugs in some way. Thus offended, (usually three times) Bugs would often state "Of course, you realize this means war" (a line which Jones noted was taken from Groucho Marx) and the audience gives Bugs silent permission to inflict his havoc, having earned his right to retaliate and/or defend himself. Other directors like Friz Freleng had Bugs go out of his way to help others in trouble, again creating an acceptable circumstance for his mischief. When Bugs meets other characters who are also "winners", however, like Cecil the Turtle in Tortoise Beats Hare, or, in World War II, the Gremlin of Falling Hare, his record is rather dismal; his overconfidence tends to work against him. .

"Bugs" or "Bugsy" as a nickname means "crazy".

A suggested early influence

A number of animation historians believe Bugs to have been influenced by an earlier Disney character called Max Hare. Max, designed by Charlie Thorsen, first appeared in the Silly Symphony The Tortoise and the Hare, directed by Wilfred Jackson. The story was based on a fable by Aesop and cast Max against Toby Tortoise, and won the Academy Award for Animated Short Film for 1934. Max also appeared in the sequel Toby Tortoise Returns and the Mickey Mouse cartoon Mickey's Polo Team.

The only solid connection between Max and Bugs however is Charlie Thorsen. He was also responsible for the redesign of Bugs from a white to a gray rabbit for his third appearance Hare-um Scare-um (see below), thus the similarity in design.

Greatest cartoon character

In 2002, TV Guide compiled a list of the 50 greatest cartoon characters of all time as part of the magazine's 50th anniversary. Bugs Bunny was given the honor of number 1.

In a CNN broadcast on July 31, 2002, a TV Guide editor talked about how they went about creating the list. The editor also talked about Bugs being named the greatest toon character. As the editor explained: "his stock...has never gone down...Bugs is the best example...of the smart-alec American comic. He not only is a great cartoon character, he's a great comedian. He was written well. He was drawn beautifully. He has thrilled and made many generations laugh. He is tops."

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