Monday, July 27, 2015

I Didn't Know

Today is Bugs Bunny's 75th birthday. On July 27th, 1940, a subversive rabbit who did not yet have a name, burst onto the scene in a short cartoon named "The Wild Hare". It's often been said that Walt Disney wanted to capture the family market while Warner Brothers wanted everyone else. Bugs, named for the original director of his movies, Ben "Bugs" Hardaway, was the subversive, wise-cracking character that Mickey wasn't, and, in fairness, couldn't be. Voice actor extraordinaire, Mel Blanc, decided the rabbit would have a faintly Brooklyn accent in homage to the caricature of the tough Brooklyn male, always in trouble and always one step ahead of any authority figure. In 1954, he was America's favorite cartoon character and won an Oscar in 1964 for "Knight-Knight Bugs".

He appeared in more than 170 shorts over the next 30 years and starred with Michael Jordan in "Space Jam". (Do not ask my opinion on the rumored sequel to that movie.) Steven Spielberg resurrected the whole Looney Toons gang with "Tiny Toon Adventures", which ran from 1990 to 1995. It was cute, but it never caught on the way the original cast did. "The Bugs Bunny Road Runner Hour" was a staple at our house on Saturday mornings. Dad would come in from the fields or the barn or wherever he was at 11:00 a.m. to spend an hour laughing at the antics of Elmer and Daffy and the Devil and Wile E. Coyote.

There are so many, many shorts with eminently quotable lines, but if you ask anyone, myself included, what their favorite Looney Toons short would be, it has to be this one, "What's Opera, Doc?"

"Oh Brunhilde, you're so wuv-wy."

"Yes, I know it. I can't help it."

"Oh Brunhilde, be-ee my love."

I can't tell you how many times those three lines get sung, even now.

Why isn't this a national holiday? Seriously.

Beverage:  Water


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