Bugs Bunny Facts
Bugs Bunny was created by the staff of Leon
Schlesinger Productions (later Warner Bros. Cartoons) and voiced originally by
the legendary "Man of a Thousand Voices,"
Since his debut, Bugs has appeared in various
short films, feature films, compilations, TV series, music records, comic books,
video games, award shows, amusement park rides and commercials. He has also
appeared in more films than any other cartoon character, is the ninth
most-portrayed film personality in the world, and has his own star on the
Hollywood Walk of Fame.
A Wild Hare, directed by Tex Avery and released
on July 27, 1940, is widely considered to be the first official Bugs Bunny
cartoon. It is the first film where both Elmer Fudd and Bugs (both redesigned by
Bob Givens) are shown in their fully developed forms as hunter and tormentor,
respectively; the first in which Mel Blanc uses what would become Bugs' standard
voice; and the first in which Bugs uses his catchphrase, "What's up, Doc?" A
Wild Hare was a huge success in theaters and received an Academy Award
nomination for Best Cartoon Short Subject.
The second full-fledged role for the mature
Bugs, Chuck Jones' Elmer's Pet Rabbit (1941), is the first to use Bugs' name
on-screen: it appears in a title card, "featuring Bugs Bunny," at the start of
the film (which was edited in following the success of A Wild Hare). However,
Bugs' voice in this cartoon is noticeably different, and his design was slightly
altered as well. After Pet Rabbit, however, subsequent Bugs appearances returned
to normal: the Wild Hare visual design returned, and Blanc re-used the Wild Hare
Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt (1941), directed by Friz
Freleng, became the second Bugs Bunny cartoon to receive an Academy Award
nomination. The fact that it didn't win the award was later spoofed somewhat in
What's Cookin' Doc? (1944), in which Bugs demands a recount (claiming to be a
victim of "sa-bo-TAH-gee") after losing the Oscar to Jimmy Cagney and presents a
clip from Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt to prove his point.
From the late 1970s through the 1980s, Bugs was
featured in various animated specials for network television, such as Bugs
Bunny's Thanksgiving Diet, Bugs Bunny's Looney Christmas Tales and Bugs Bunny's
Bustin' Out All Over. Bugs also starred in several compilation films during this
time, including the independently-produced documentary Bugs Bunny: Superstar
(1975), which featured the vintage cartoons then owned by United Artists; as
well as Warner Bros.' own efforts The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie (1979), The
Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie (1981), Bugs Bunny's 3rd Movie: 1001
Rabbit Tales (1982) and Daffy Duck's Quackbusters (1988).
In the 1988 animated/live action movie
Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Bugs appeared as one of the inhabitants of Toontown.
However, since the film was being produced by Disney, Warner Bros. would only
allow the use of their biggest star if he got an equal amount of screen time as
Disney's biggest star, Mickey Mouse. Because of this, both characters are always
together in frame when onscreen. Roger Rabbit was also one of the final
productions in which Mel Blanc voiced Bugs (as well as the other Looney Tunes
characters) before his death in 1989.
In 1996, Bugs and the other Looney Tunes
characters appeared in the live-action/animated film,
Jam, directed by Joe Pytka and starring
In 2011, Bugs Bunny and the rest of the Looney
Tunes gang returned to television in the Cartoon Network sitcom, The Looney
Tunes Show, with Jeff Bergman returning to voice both Bugs and Daffy Duck.