On July 27, 1940, Bugs Bunny made his official debut in A Wild Hare, as a wise-cracking, smart-aleck rabbit. Here are 5 little-known facts you didn't know about Bugs Bunny, who debuted 80 years ago today...
He First Appeared As An Extra In a Porky Pig Cartoon
The then-unnamed rabbit was created in 1938 for a cartoon starring Porky Pig called “Porky’s Duck Hunt” that was well-received. The name Bugs Bunny didn’t appear on the title card of the cartoon until 1941, following the success of “Elmer’s Pet Rabbit.”
His Mannerisms Were Inspired By Famous Actors
A number of famous people were combined to create Bugs, including silent stars Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. Bugs’ nonchalant, carrot-eating manner was inspired by a scene in It Happened One Night, when the fast-talking Clark Gable snacks on carrots while leaning on a fence. Groucho Marx used his cigar as a prop, and so does Bugs in the cartoons, even going so far as to borrow one of the comedian's lines, “'Of course, you know, this means war!” in 1953’s “Bully for Bugs.”
He Appeared in World War II Military Propaganda During World War II, instructional cartoons were made to educate American troops in areas such as protecting secrets, avoiding booby traps, and sanitation. Bugs made cameos in some of these cartoons. The main character was Private Snafu, whose voice was performed by Mel Blanc, who was Bugs Bunny’s voice. One of the writers was Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel). The cartoons were considered top secret and even workers who put together the animations at Warner Bros. were not allowed to see the finished product.
Bugs May Have Saved Mel Blanc’s Life Mel Blanc was in a serious car accident in 1961 when his Astin Martin collided with another vehicle along Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, which left him in a coma. He didn’t awaken until two weeks later when the doctor asked him, “Bugs Bunny, how are you doing today?” and Blanc replied in Bugs' voice, "What’s up Doc?” Later, the doctor would say of the incident,“It seemed like Bugs Bunny was trying to save his life.”
Bugs Bunny Is Used in Psychological Studies
In several psychological studies about false beliefs psychologists have shown patients fake advertising for Disney World featuring Bugs Bunny. According to the studies, a significant number of subjects claim to have gone to Disney World and met Bugs Bunny even though Bugs is a character from Warner Brothers and would never have appeared at a theme park owned by Disney.