11:30 PM | Posted in
On this date in 1940, we were introduced to one of the iconic figures of American cartoon history. Bugs Bunny appeared in his first Merrie Melodies episode entitled, "A Wild Hare".

I was not around for this introduction of Bugs Bunny but I certainly remember watching this and many other episodes when Saturday morning cartoons were still cool and unsullied by crap.

The basic plot of A Wild Hare, which centers on Elmer Fudd's hopeless pursuit of the much smarter Bugs, would serve as a template for many subsequent cartoons. In addition, many of the specific gags and plot devices in this cartoon became part of the template for later Bugs/Elmer confrontations, with subsequent shorts repeating them or varying them for comic effect. Examples include Elmer failing to recognise Bugs as a rabbit, Bugs kissing Elmer,[6] and Bugs feigning death.

Finally, the frustrated Elmer driven to distraction by the rabbit's antics, walks away sobbing about "wabbits, cawwots, guns", etc. Bugs tells the audience, "Ya know, I think the poor guy's screwy!" Bugs then begins to play his carrot like a fife, playing the tune The Girl I Left Behind Me, and marches with one stiff leg towards his rabbit hole, as with the fifer in the painting, The Spirit of '76.