Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bugs Bunny

Bugs Bunny is an American animated character created in 1938 at Leon Schlesinger Productions, later Warner Bros. Cartoons. Bugs is an anthropomorphic gray hare or rabbit and is famous for his flippant, insouciant personality and his portrayal as a trickster. He has primarily appeared in animated cartoons, most notably the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of theatrical short films. His popularity there led to his becoming a corporate mascot of the Warner Bros. company. Bugs has appeared in more films than any other cartoon character and is the ninth most portrayed film personality in the world.

According to Bugs Bunny: 50 Years and Only One Grey Hare, Bugs was born on July 27, 1940 in Brooklyn, New York in a warren under Ebbets Field, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers. In reality, he was created by many animators and staff, including Tex Avery, who directed A Wild Hare, Bugs' debut role, and Robert McKimson, who created the definitive "Bugs Bunny" character design. According to Mel Blanc, the character's original voice actor, Bugs has a Flatbush accent. Bugs has had numerous catchphrases, the most prominent being a casual "Eh... What's up, doc?", usually said while chewing a carrot.

A Wild Hare, directed by Tex Avery and released on July 27, 1940, is the first cartoon where both Elmer Fudd and Bugs are shown in their fully developed forms as hunter and tormentor. In this cartoon Mel Blanc first uses what would become Bugs' standard voice; this cartoon also marks the first time that Bugs uses his catchphrase, "What's up, Doc?" Animation historian Joe Adamson counts A Wild Hare as the first "official" Bugs Bunny short. The short was a huge success in theaters and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

Bugs's second appearance, in Jones' 1941 short Elmer's Pet Rabbit, introduces the audience to the name Bugs Bunny, which until then had only been used among the Termite Terrace employees. It was also the first short where he received billing under his now-famous name, but the card, "featuring Bugs Bunny", was just slapped on the end of the completed short's opening titles when A Wild Hare proved an unexpected success. However, Bugs' voice in this cartoon is noticibly different, and his design was slightly altered as well. For the next several cartoons produced afterwards, Bugs' original design and voice from A Wild Hare would be re-used.

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