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.
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.