Train tracks and 8 facts: Why you should watch "The Unruly Hare"

It's Bugs vs. Elmer as the train keeps on rollin'.

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Ah, the American railroad system. Prior to the internet, few inventions connected more people than the locomotive. The steam train symbolizes Westward expansion and is an important piece of United States history.

But would we have the same fond memories of conquering the frontier if Elmer Fudd had laid the tracks? Here we are, again, interrupting Bugs Bunny's relaxation, very nearly covering his home with train tracks. The poor guy can't catch a break, and here comes the "widicuwous" Fudd to shove bureaucracy down Bugs' rabbit hole.

We can't tie you to your couch with your eyeballs duct-taped open, but we can do our best to persuade you to glance at this cartoon. Here are eight reasons why "The Unruly Hare" is worth your time.

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1. A Rabbity Rarity

 

LOONEY TUNES and all related characters and elements are ™ of & © WBEI

If you're a big ol' Bugs fan, you'll probably expect a few of the same names to keep popping up in the opening credits. Mel Blanc, Carl Stalling, and either Friz Freleng or Chuck Jones. Those are the names we expect. However! "The Unruly Hare" features Frank Tashlin in the only Bugs short he is credited as director.

2. A Penultimate Performance

 

LOONEY TUNES and all related characters and elements are ™ of & © WBEI

How closely do you listen to the jingle at the beginning of these Merrie Melodies cartoons? Those of us with sharp ears will note that this is nearly the last time the 1941-'45 rendition of "Merrily We Roll Along" is used in the opening credits. That version of the tune would be retired in the next short, "Life with Feathers."

3. Hysterical Historical Precedent

 

LOONEY TUNES and all related characters and elements are ™ of & © WBEI

Like any media produced at the time, this toon has "wartime" all over it. One of the more telling pieces of trivia is the pinup drawings Bugs tricks Elmer Fudd with. The drawings are very reminiscent of those drawn by artist Alberto Vargas, who drew similar stuff for the benefit of U.S. troops.

4. A Lesson in Lyrics

 

LOONEY TUNES and all related characters and elements are ™ of & © WBEI

When Bugs Bunny swoons and asks Elmer Fudd, "Is you is, or is you ain't my baby?" he's not just being coy. Those are the words to an actual song written by Louis Jordan and Billy Austin and released by Jordan in 1943. The more you know!

5. A "Pre-Tasmanian" Devil

 

LOONEY TUNES and all related characters and elements are ™ of & © WBEI

A full nine years before Taz makes his debut, we see Bugs here going for a very similar cyclone effect. I'm no lawyer, but I think Taz might have a clear path to a copyright infringement payday.

6. First Impression

 

LOONEY TUNES and all related characters and elements are ™ of & © WBEI

Bugs trots out a caricature for show biz aficionados here when he says "Could be you, doc." This, for those of us not in the know, is a reference to comedian and actor Artie Auerbach, a regular on radio programs with Jack Benny and Abbott & Costello. A further trivia tidbit: Prior to his life in comedy, Auerbach was a press photographer and covered the Lindbergh Baby case!

7. Second Impression

 

LOONEY TUNES and all related characters and elements are ™ of & © WBEI

In addition to his time as a firefighter in this short, it's clear that Bugs has ambitions as an impressionist. His second impersonation comes when he says "Oh you and you're old gun, you're craaaaaaazy." This time, he's making a reference to vaudeville great Joe Besser, an admittedly lesser Stooge who came into the fold after Shemp died.

8. Third Impression

 

LOONEY TUNES and all related characters and elements are ™ of & © WBE

The third time's the most charming, as Bugs once more shows us how gifted he is with vocal facsimile. This one is a reference to famous musician and comedian Jerry Colonna, a regular on Bob Hope's radio shows. He was also the voice of the March Hare in Disney's Alice in Wonderland. That's a lot of hares!

8 great reasons to watch Hot Cross Bunny

 

Wherein Bugs Bunny matches wits with an evil genius.

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11 Comments

obectionoverruled 13 months ago
Mel Blanc was tremendously talented. He had to mouth his lines exactly in time with the cartoonists’ scripts and film. The only voice contortionist I can remember at Blanc’s level of perfection was comedian Rich Little. He could even meme Blanc perfectly. The ultimate component!
MrsPhilHarris 13 months ago
Great article and trivia! Good job METV.
Andybandit 13 months ago
Yet another Bugs Bunny Cartoon that I did not see.
justjeff 13 months ago
One of the rare times I'll have to admit that the MeTV writing staff did a good job on not only the article, but the historical trivia as well...

By the way, Looney Tunes loved to pepper their productions with then-current cultural references such as catch-phrasesfrom popular radio shows...

"Well now, I wouldn't say that"...Peavey, the druggist from "The Great Gildersleeve"
"Oh no you dont!...Oh, yes I do!"... Fibber McGee vs Teeni from "Fibber McGee and Molly"
"Ya wanna buy a duck?"... Joe Penner, radio comedian
"Greetings, Gate!"...Jerry Collona
cperrynaples justjeff 13 months ago
i always thought the Marx Brothers did "Why a duck?" which is a word pun on viaduct! There are many examples such as "In Alabama the tusks are looser/[Tuscaloosa]"...LOL!
cperrynaples justjeff 13 months ago
Also will add that "I wouldn't say that" is said by the draft board guy in "Yankee Doodle Daffy"!
justjeff cperrynaples 13 months ago
Yes, that was a Marx Brothers line, but Joe Penner was famous for saying "You wanna buy a duck? "Oh, you naaasssty man!" and "Don't never DO that!"...
justjeff cperrynaples 13 months ago
....but the catch-phrase originated on "The GreatGildersleeve"...
cperrynaples 13 months ago
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Runeshaper 13 months ago
Interesting! Lots of great references here.
cperrynaples 13 months ago
Actually if there were a lawsuit over 5, Bugs would win because he did it first! Bonus Question: What toon actually sang 4 in a short that has run on TIWM? Hint: This character rarely talks and only sang this one time! And he's not from Warner Brothers!
justjeff cperrynaples 13 months ago
Tom from Tom and Jerry... trying to woo a new female cat in the neighborhood - much to the consternation of Jerry...
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