4 characters who beat Bugs Bunny at his own game

Even the wascawwy wabbit got outsmarted sometimes.

Image: Warner Bros.

Bugs Bunny owes his enduring appeal largely to his cleverness and ability to get out of even the direst of situations. Often, he's the one putting other characters in danger! No matter what the circumstance, we can usually take comfort knowing Bugs will surely find a way to escape. But what happens when he doesn't?

There are a few occasions where the craftiest rabbit ever drawn doesn't get the upper hand. Anytime he faces Cecil Turtle, Bugs can't win what seems like an easy race. A gremlin terrorizes Bugs in one memorable short. There’s even a cartoon in which Elmer Fudd has ultimate control!

Read more about the rare characters who bested Bugs Bunny below.

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1. Cecil Turtle


Cecil Turtle managed to one-up Bugs Bunny many times. Their pairing is inspired by the Aesop fable The Tortoise and the Hare which encourages that "slow and steady wins the race." The moral of Bugs and Cecil's outings, however, is less clear cut. Cecil wins the race each time out of trickery more than sheer determination — with hilarious results. These cartoons offer a rare glimpse of the always in-control Bugs Bunny getting outsmarted for a change.

2. A mischievous gremlin


Before becoming 1980s cult horror villains, gremlins faced off against Bugs Bunny! Or at least, one did. While relaxing at an Army airfield, Bugs reads that those small creatures called "gremlins" can wreak havoc on planes. Right on cue, a tiny, yellow, alien-looking man walks by. The gremlin pulls a series of pranks on Bugs, including conking him on the head and tricking him into jumping out of a plane. The rascally rabbit turns into the irate, confused and scared villain that he usually terrorizes.

3. Elmer the animator


Elmer Fudd fell victim to most of Bugs Bunny's antics. The hapless hunter was never able to get the better of his prey. Or was he? In What's Opera, Doc?, Elmer does eventually prevail though it brings him only sadness in the tragic, operatic end. One unique cartoon sees Elmer get the upper hand in a much different way. In Rabbit Rampage, Bugs gets continually picked on by an unseen animator. A paintbrush puts a rabbit hole in the sky, turns the world upside down and even changes Bugs into a horse. A zoom out at the end reveals Elmer as the artist saying, "I finawy got even wif dat scwewy wabbit."

4. A piano-playing mouse


The short Rhapsody Rabbit revolves around Bugs Bunny as a pretentious concert pianist. His performance is constantly interrupted, first by a coughing audience member, then by a phone ringing from inside the piano. Bugs carries on playing when a small mouse appears. Bugs does all he can to stop the mouse from messing with his performance to no avail. Eventually, the mouse gets the better of Bugs by masterfully playing the end of the piece on a tiny piano, leaving Bugs dejected. Interestingly, this exact plot was used in the Tom and Jerry cartoon The Cat Concerto, released just five months later. Both involve a mouse interrupting a piano concert with similar gags and both use "Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2" by Franz Liszt as the music.

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MarkSpeck 23 months ago
Would Christopher Columbus count? Remember, at the end of that cartoon, Bugs thinks he's discovered America, as he lands on the beach when the ship hits ground, only to discover that Columbus is already there, with a flag posted, and Bugs says, "You win, Chris! No use changing the history books for little ol' me!".
MarkSpeck 22 months ago
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Snickers 32 months ago
Don't remember Rabbit Rampage with Elmer getting the better of Bugs. I do remember the cartoon where Daffy is befuddled by an off camera animator who of course turns out to be Bugs.
JoeGuenther 40 months ago
Love the line. We do this to him all through the picture.

You guys gotta show Easter Yeggs on and around Easter.
EricFuller 41 months ago
Cecil Turtle: Um. Ain't I a stinker?
SalIanni 41 months ago
There was also another occasion when Bugs is hypnotized to believe that he is Elmer by saying "I am Elmer Fudd, millionaire. I own a mansion and a yacht." In the same cartoon, Elmer turns into Bugs and it ends with Elmer smiling and eating a carrot. So there's another case where Bugs loses.
RickBrosh SalIanni 41 months ago
Yeah, I happened to think of that one myself, "Hare Brush".
MarkSpeck SalIanni 41 months ago
"I may be skrewy, but I'm not going to Alcatwaz!"
bnichols23 41 months ago
I always liked Falling Hare (#2), but apropos of nothing, my favorite wartime WB toon was Russian Rhapsody. "Nutzies is da craziest people!"
EricFuller bnichols23 41 months ago
We're the Kremlin.
biffycrow 42 months ago
How could the author of this story forget about the dopey hunting dog who got the best of Bugs Bunny in "Foxy by Proxy?" That's one cartoon where Bugs really got it in the end (LITERALLY!) LOL
idkwut2use 42 months ago
Love all those, especially the gremlin...!
WordsmithWorks 42 months ago
"I musta been doin' a hundred easy."
ncadams27 42 months ago
I remember the gremlin character. Bugs was reading about gremlins and bumps into one asking him if he is a gremlin. The gremlin shouts back “Well, I ain’t Wendell Wilkie” My young son thought this was hilarious, even though he had no clue who Wendell Wilkie was.
cperrynaples ncadams27 42 months ago
As I point out below, Wilkie was the Republican candidate for President in 1940! Bonus Question: what future TV star ran a mock campaign on radio that year?
cperrynaples cperrynaples 39 months ago
No one replied, so I'll give you the answer: It was Gracie Allen, George Burns' better half!
daDoctah 42 months ago
I seem to recall Bugs getting defeated (after a fashion) by none other than the Easter Bunny in the cartoon "Easter Yeggs", tricking him into taking over his duties because he claims his feet hurt. Granted, Bugs does manage to turn the tables in the end, but it looks pretty dicey for a while.

And in "Hare-Way to the Stars", the gumball machine full of martian "seeds" makes it back to earth with our hero and falls into a sewer, the water released expanding every seed into a full-grown martian monster.
cperrynaples daDoctah 42 months ago
Remember the bratty kid who said, "I want an Easter Egg!"? Bugs should have given him a raw egg in the face...LOL! "Run or you'll be up to your armpits in Martians!" At least Marvin got the bomb...LOL again!
JoeGuenther daDoctah 40 months ago
You'll give the Easter Bunny a bad name. I already got a bad name for the Easter Bunny.
Mob39 42 months ago
Love, love, love Bugs Bunny!! Fond memories of eating cereal and watching all the Saturday morning cartoons! Miss those days when the only thing I thought about where I would ride my bike & what game me & my friends would play. Those were the days!!
MrsPhilHarris Mob39 42 months ago
I agree. Good times!
Snickers MrsPhilHarris 32 months ago
Best of times.
Fluffy 42 months ago
Love the Saturday morning cartoon line up awesome jus like when I was a kid😆
Andybandit 42 months ago
I love the old cartoons that Metv is airing.
cperrynaples 42 months ago
2 badly dated jokes stick out from 2! First, when Bugs whispers "Could that be a Gremlin?", the Gremlin says, 'Well, it ain't Wendell Wilkie!", refering to FDR's opponent in 1940! Finally, when the plane stops inches from the ground, the Gremlin says, "Sorry folks, we ran out of gas!" to which Bugs responds, "Yeah, you know how it is with these A cards!" That's a reference to gas rationing during WW2 when A meant you could only drive to work or the store!
blackled cperrynaples 42 months ago
Thanks for that. I didn't know either of those things. I'm 50 now, but I remember wondering who the heck Wendell Willkie was when I was a kid watching Looney Toons!
justjeff blackled 42 months ago
As I've noted in other forums, Looney Tunes often dipped into popular culture for their gags...

Whether it was famous books coming to life at night (or famous brands in another cartoon), catch phrases from popular radio shows, spoofs of Sinatra and Crosby or Hollywood's elite - nothing was off limits.

In the 1950s television was spoofed (Jack Benny, The Honeymooners, Liberace) and so forth...
cperrynaples justjeff 42 months ago
Jack Benny actually voiced the mouse version of himself, proably out of loyalty to Mel Blanc! Among other things, Mel was the "voice" of the Maxwell, Benny's long-suffering violin teacher, and of course Cy the Mexican whose sister was Sue, "Si"?
justjeff cperrynaples 42 months ago
Very good! You're up on your Benny-Blanc trivia. Mel was also a plumber, a store clerk, a crook and a host of other oddball characters on the TV show. For our fellow readers: Mel's "voicing" of Jack Benny's Maxwell was mostly on Jack's *radio* show.

Blanc also played "the Happy Mailman" on the George Burns and Gracie Allen radio show. The voice Mel used is the mournful one he later used for Hardy Har Har (the unhappy hyena) in the Lippy the Lion cartoons... As the mailman, Mel's catchphrase was "and remember Mrs. Burns, keep smiling!"
JoeGuenther cperrynaples 40 months ago
You should check out episodes of Jack Benny's radio show on line. In one episode the play they are parodying the narrator Don Wilson mentions an obscure animal is heard. Jack than says We just wanted to see if Mel could make that animal sound. Hilarious. When Jack does Si,Say,Sue on radio Jack can't keep from laughing. Live radio was fun.
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