is a fictional character who appears in the Looney Tunes
and Merrie Melodies
series of animated films produced by Leon Schlesinger Productions, which became Warner Bros. Cartoons in 1945. In 2002, he was named by TV Guide
as the greatest cartoon character of all time, an honor he shares with Mickey Mouse. Currently, he is the corporate mascot for Warner Brothers, especially its animated productions. Bugs starred in 163 shorts in the Golden Age of American animation, and made cameos in three others along with a few appearances in non-animated films.
According to Bugs Bunny: 50 Years and Only One Grey Hare
, he was "born" in 1940 in Brooklyn, New York, created by Tex Avery (who directed A Wild Hare
, Bugs Bunny's debut) and Robert McKimson (who created the definitive Bugs Bunny character design), among many others. According to Mel Blanc, the character's original voice actor, Bugs Bunny has a Flatbush accent, an equal blend of the Bronx and Brooklyn dialects (of the New York Accent). His catchphrase is a casual "Eh...what's up, doc?", usually said while chewing a carrot. His other popular phrases include "Of course you realize...this means war" and "Ain't I a stinker?" The unnamed, prototype Warner Bros. rabbit
Main article: Evolution of Bugs Bunny
An unnamed rabbit bearing some of the personality, if not physical characteristics of Bugs, first appeared in the cartoon short Porky's Hare Hunt
, released on April 30, 1938. Co-directed by Ben Hardaway and an uncredited Cal Dalton (who was responsible for the initial design of the rabbit), this short had a theme almost identical to that of the 1937 cartoon, Porky's Duck Hunt
(directed by Tex Avery), which had introduced Daffy Duck. Porky Pig was again cast as a hunter tracking another nutty prey who seemed less interested in escape than in driving his pursuer insane; this short replaced the black duck with a small white rabbit. The rabbit introduces himself with the odd expression "Jiggers, fellers", and Mel Blanc gave the rabbit nearly the voice and laugh that he would later use for Woody Woodpecker. This cartoon also features the famous Groucho Marx line that Bugs would use many times: "Of course you know, this means war!" The rabbit developed a following from the audience viewing this cartoon which inspired the Schlesinger staff to further develop the character.
First incarnation of the rabbit debuts in Porky's Hare Hunt
The rabbit's second appearance came in 1939's Prest-O Change-O
, directed by Chuck Jones, where he is the pet rabbit of unseen character Sham-Fu the Magician. Two dogs, fleeing the local dogcatcher, enter his absent master's house. The rabbit harasses them, but is ultimately bested by the bigger of the two dogs.
His third appearance was in another 1939 cartoon, Hare-um Scare-um
, directed by Dalton and Hardaway. This short, the first where he was depicted as a gray bunny instead of a white one, is also notable both for the rabbit's first singing role. Charlie Thorson, lead animator on the short, was the first to give the character a name. He had written "Bugs' Bunny" on the model sheet that he drew for Hardaway, implying that he considered the rabbit model sheet to be Hardaway's property. In promotional material for the short (such as a surviving 1939 presskit), the name on the model sheet was altered to become the rabbit's own name: "Bugs" Bunny (quotation marks only used at the very beginning), evidently named in honor of "Bugs" Hardaway.
In Chuck Jones' Elmer's Candid Camera
the rabbit first encounters Elmer Fudd. This rabbit has more of a physical resemblance to the present-day Bugs, being taller and having a more similar face. The voice for this rabbit, however, was not similar to the well-known Brooklyn-Bronx accent, but spoke in a rural drawl. In Robert Clampett's 1940 Patient Porky
, a similar rabbit appears to trick the audience into thinking that 750 rabbits have been born (however the design is of the earlier white rabbit).
In his later years, Mel Blanc stated that a proposed name was "Happy Rabbit". Ironically, the only time the name "Happy" was used was in reference to Bugs Hardaway. In the cartoon Hare-um Scare-um
, the newspaper headline reads, "Happy Hardaway".   Bugs Bunny emerges
The official debut of Bugs Bunny in A Wild Hare
Bugs Bunny's appearance in A Wild Hare
, directed by Tex Avery and released on July 27, 1940, is considered the first appearance of both Elmer and Bugs in their fully developed forms. It was in this cartoon that he first emerged from his rabbit hole to ask Elmer Fudd, now a hunter rather than a photographer, "What's up, Doc?" Animation historian Joe Adamson counts A Wild Hare
as the first "official" Bugs Bunny short. It is also the first cartoon where Mel Blanc uses a recognizable version of the voice of Bugs that would eventually become the standard.
Bugs' second appearance in Jones' Elmer's Pet Rabbit
finally introduced the audience to the name Bugs Bunny, which up until then had only been used among the Termite Terrace employees. However, the rabbit here is absolutely identical to the one in Jones' earlier Elmer's Candid Camera
, both visually and vocally. 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. He would soon become the most prominent of the Looney Tunes characters as his calm, flippant insouciance endeared him to American audiences during and after World War II.
Bugs would appear in five more shorts during 1941: Tortoise Beats Hare
, directed by Tex Avery and featuring the first appearance of Cecil Turtle; Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt
, the first Bugs Bunny short to be directed by Friz Freleng; All This and Rabbit Stew
, directed by Avery and featuring a young African-American hunter as Bugs' antagonist; The Heckling Hare
, the final Bugs short Avery worked on before being fired and leaving for MGM; and Wabbit Twouble
, the first Bugs short directed by Robert Clampett. Wabbit Twouble
was also the first of five Bugs shorts to feature a chubbier remodel of Elmer Fudd, a short-lived attempt to have Fudd more closely resemble his voice actor, comedian Arthur Q. Bryan.  World War II
By 1942, Bugs had become the number one star of the Merrie Melodies
series, which had originally been intended only for one-shot characters in shorts after several early attempts to introduce characters failed under Harman-Ising, but had started introducing newer characters in 1937 under Schlesinger. Bugs' 1942 shorts included Friz Freleng's The Wabbit Who Came to Supper
, and the Robert Clampett shorts The Wacky Wabbit
and Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid
(which introduced Beaky Buzzard). Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid
also marks a slight redesign of Bugs, making his front teeth less prominent and his head rounder. The man responsible for this redesign was Robert McKimson, at the time working as an animator under Robert Clampett. The redesign at first was only used in the shorts created by Clampett's production team but in time, it would be adopted by the other directors. It was mainly used in Friz Freleng's unit at first; upon his promotion to director McKimson created yet another version with more slanted eyes and a much larger mouth, which he (and, for the one Bugs Bunny cartoon he directed, Art Davis) used until 1949, when he started using the version he had designed for Clampett. Jones would come up with his own slight modification, and the voice as well would vary mildly between the units.
Other 1942 Bugs shorts included Chuck Jones' Hold the Lion, Please
, Freleng's Fresh Hare
and The Hare-Brained Hypnotist
(which restored Elmer Fudd to his previous size), and Jones' Case of the Missing Hare
. He also made cameo appearances in Tex Avery's final Warner Bros. short, Crazy Cruise
, and starred in the two-minute United States war bonds commercial film Any Bonds Today
Bugs Bunny was popular during World War II because of his free and easy attitude, and began receiving special star billing in his cartoons by 1943. By that time, Warner Bros. was the most profitable cartoon studio in the United States. Like other cartoon studios, such as Disney and Famous Studios had been doing, Warners put Bugs in opposition to the period's biggest enemies: Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and the Japanese. The 1944 short Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips
features Bugs at odds with a group of Japanese soldiers. This cartoon has since been pulled from distribution due to its racial stereotypes.
Since Bugs' debut in A Wild Hare
, he had appeared only in color Merrie Melodie
cartoons (making him one of the few recurring characters created for that series in the Leon Schlesinger era prior to the full conversion to color, alongside Elmer's prototype Egghead, Inki, Sniffles, and Elmer himself - who was heard but not seen in the 1942 Looney Tunes
cartoon Nutty News
, and made his first formal appearance in that series in 1943's To Duck or Not To Duck
). While he did make a cameo appearance in the 1943 Porky and Daffy cartoon Porky Pig's Feat
marking his only appearance in a black-and-white Looney Tune
cartoon, he did not star in a cartoon in the Looney Tunes
series until that series made its complete conversion to only color cartoons beginning with 1944 releases. Buckaroo Bugs
was Bugs' first cartoon in the Looney Tunes
series, and was also the last WB cartoon to credit Leon Schlesinger.
Among his most notable civilian shorts during this period are Bob Clampett's Tortoise Wins by a Hare
(the sequel to Tortoise Beats Hare
from 1941), A Corny Concerto
(a spoof of Disney's Fantasia), Falling Hare
, and What's Cookin' Doc?
; and Chuck Jones' Superman
, and Freleng's Little Red Riding Rabbit
. The 1944 short Bugs Bunny and the Three Bears
introduced Jones' The Three Bears characters.
In the cartoon Super-Rabbit
, Bugs was seen in the end wearing a USMC dress uniform. As a result, the United States Marine Corps made Bugs an honorary Marine Master Sergeant.
A scene from George Pal's Jasper Goes Hunting
From 1943-1946, Bugs was the official "mascot" of Kingman Army Air Field, Kingman, Arizona, where thousands of aerial gunners were trained during World War II. Some notable trainees included Clark Gable and Charles Bronson. Bugs also served as the mascot for 530 Squadron of the 380th Bombardment Group, 5th Air Force, USAF, which was attached to the Royal Australian Air Force and operated out of Australia's Northern Territory from 1943 to 1945, flying B-24 Liberator bombers.
In 1944, Bugs Bunny actually made a cameo appearance in Jasper Goes Hunting
, a short produced by rival studio Paramount Pictures. In this cameo (animated by Robert McKimson, with Mel Blanc providing the voice), Bugs pops out of a rabbit hole, saying his usual catchphrase; Bugs then says, "I must be in the wrong picture" and then goes back in the hole. He also appeared fleetingly in the 1947 Arthur Davis cartoon The Goofy Gophers
.  The post-war era
A scene from Bewitched Bunny
A slight variation of how the character was drawn in the 1950s can be seen in the frame from Bewitched Bunny
(1954). The inner pinkish parts of the ears have been reduced becoming more v-shaped at the top end and the ovalness of the eyes also replaced with a more top v shaped look. His cheeks protrude out more, and body is more compacted, when compared how he was drawn in the 1940s, arising to the distinct look of how he is drawn today.
Since then, Bugs has appeared in numerous cartoon shorts in the Looney Tunes
and Merrie Melodies
series, making his last appearance in the theatrical cartoons in 1964 with False Hare
. He was directed by Friz Freleng, Robert McKimson, Arthur Davis and Chuck Jones and appeared in feature films, including Who Framed Roger Rabbit
(which featured the first-ever meeting between Bugs and his box-office rival Mickey Mouse), Space Jam
(which co-starred Michael Jordan), and the 2003 movie Looney Tunes: Back in Action.
The Bugs Bunny short Knighty Knight Bugs
(1958), in which a medieval Bugs Bunny traded blows with Yosemite Sam and his fire-breathing dragon, won the Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons of 1958. Three of Chuck Jones' Bugs Bunny shorts--Rabbit Fire
, Rabbit Seasoning
, and Duck, Rabbit, Duck!
--- comprise what is often referred to as the "Duck Season/Rabbit Season" trilogy, and are considered among the director's best works. Jones' 1957 classic, What's Opera, Doc?
, features Bugs and Elmer parodying Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen
, and has been deemed "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. It was the first cartoon short to receive this honor.
Bugs appeared in the 1957 short Show Biz Bugs
with Daffy Duck, which features a controversial finish in which Daffy Duck, in an attempt to wow the (partisan) audience, did a dangerous magical act in which he (in sequence) drank gasoline, swallowed nitroglycerine, gunpowder, and uranium-238 (in a greenish solution), jumped up and down to "shake well", and finally swallowed a match that detonated the whole improbable mixture. That incident caused some TV stations, and in the 1990s the cable network TNT, to edit out the dangerous act, fearing that young kids might try to imitate it.
In the fall of 1960, The Bugs Bunny Show
, a television program which packaged many of the post-1948 Warners shorts with newly animated wraparounds, debuted on ABC. The show was originally aired in prime-time. After two seasons, it was moved to reruns on Saturday mornings. The Bugs Bunny Show
changed format and exact title frequently (the packaging was completely different, with each short simply presented on its own, title and all, though some clips from the new bridging material was used as filler), but it remained on network television for 40 years.  After the classic cartoon era
When Mel Blanc died in 1989, Jeff Bergman, Joe Alaskey and Billy West became the new voices to Bugs Bunny and the rest of the Looney Tunes
, taking turns doing the voices at various times.
Bugs has also made appearances in animated specials for network television, mostly composed of classic cartoons with bridging material added, including How Bugs Bunny Won the West
, and The Bugs Bunny Mystery Special
. 1980's Bugs Bunny's Busting Out All Over
, however, contained no vintage clips and featured the first new Bugs Bunny cartoons in 16 years. It opened with "Portrait Of The Artist As a Young Bunny", which features a flashback of Bugs as a child thwarting a young Elmer Fudd, while its third and closing short was "Spaced Out Bunny", with Bugs being kidnapped by Marvin the Martian to be a playmate for Hugo, an Abominable Snowman-like character (a new Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner short filled out the half hour). Also, there have been various compilation films, including the independently produced Bugs Bunny: Superstar
(utilizing the vintage shorts then owned by United Artists), while Warner Bros. assembled The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie
, The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie
, Daffy Duck's Fantastic Island
, Bugs Bunny's 3rd Movie: 1001 Rabbit Tales
and Daffy Duck's Quackbusters
. He also made guest appearances in episodes of the 1990s television program Tiny Toon Adventures
as the principal of Acme Looniversity and the mentor of Babs and Buster Bunny, and would later make occasional guest cameos on spinoffs Taz-Mania
He appears in the beginning of Gremlins 2: The New Batch
, where he tries to ride the opening Warner Bros logo, but is interrupted by Daffy Duck.
Bugs has had several comic book series over the years. Western Publishing had the license for all the Warner Brothers cartoons, and produced Bugs Bunny comics first for Dell Comics, then later for their own Gold Key Comics. Dell published 58 issues and several specials from 1952 to 1962. Gold Key continued for another 133 issues. DC Comics, the sister/subsidiary company of Warner Bros., has published several comics titles since 1994 that Bugs has appeared in. Notable among these was the 2000 four-issue miniseries Superman & Bugs Bunny
, written by Mark Evanier and drawn by Joe Staton. This depicted a crossover between DC's superheroes and the Warner cartoon characters.
Bugs Bunny's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Like Mickey Mouse for The Walt Disney Company, Bugs has served as the mascot for Warner Bros. Studios and its various divisions. He and Mickey are the first cartoon characters to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In the 1988 animated/live action movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit
, Bugs is shown 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 Warner's 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. They appear in a scene where they are skydiving while Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) has no parachute, so Bugs offers him a "spare" which turns out to be a spare tire. They appear in the end as well, along with all the other toons. For the same reasons, Bugs never calls Mickey by his name, only referring to him as "Doc" (while Mickey calls him "Bugs").
Bugs Bunny came back to the silver screen in Box Office Bunny
in 1990. This was the first Bugs Bunny cartoon short since 1964 to be released to theaters, and it was created for the Bugs Bunny 50th anniversary celebration. It was followed in 1991 by (Blooper) Bunny
, a short that has gained a cult following among some animation fans for its edgy humor.
Bugs made an appearance in the 1990 drug prevention video Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue.
In 1997, Bugs appeared on a U.S. postage stamp, the first cartoon to be so honored, beating the iconic Mickey Mouse. The stamp is number seven on the list of the ten most popular U.S. stamps, as calculated by the number of stamps purchased but not used.
A younger version of Bugs is the main character of Baby Looney Tunes,
which debuted on Cartoon Network (United States) in 2002. In the action comedy Loonatics Unleashed
, his definite descendant Ace Bunny is the leader of the Loonatics team and seems to have inherited his ancestor's Brooklyn accent and comic wit. Lexi Bunny who is Lola Bunny's confirmed descendant seems to be his second in command and likely love interest. Danger Duck, a descendant of Daffy, has a similar relation with him to that between Bugs and Daffy - envy (jealousy in the extreme case) mixed with a grudging respect.
Bugs has appeared in numerous video games, including the Bugs Bunny's Crazy Castle
series, Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout
, Bugs Bunny: Rabbit Rampage
and the similar Bugs Bunny in Double Trouble
, Looney Tunes B-Ball
, Space Jam
, Looney Tunes Racing
, Looney Tunes: Space Race
, Bugs Bunny Lost in Time
, and its sequel, Bugs Bunny and Taz Time Busters
, and Looney Tunes: Back in Action
and the new video game Looney Tunes: Acme Arsenal
. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia