Bugs Bunny turns 75
July 27th marks the anniversary of Bugs Bunny's official debut.
The iconic cartoon character first appeared in the Warner Bros. animated short film "A Wild Hare," directed by animator Tex Avery, on July 27th 1940. It was the first time the world heard the iconic catchphrase, "What's up, doc?"
Bugs was voiced, like most Looney Tunes characters, by Mel Blanc. It's said the rabbit's carrot-eating-habit is inspired by Clark Gable's performance in "It Happened One Night."
At this point, Bugs Bunny was still unnamed. It wasn't until a year later in Chuck Jones's short animation "Elmer's Pet Rabbit" that the name "Bugs" first appeared on-screen. Bugs was developed by animators Cal Dalton and Ben "Bugs" Hardaway -- the character was often referred as Bugs's Bunny.
The name stuck.
Bugs Bunny went on to become the most recognized cartoon character on the planet, rivaled only by Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse -- the two only shared screen time during the 1988 film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit."
He would go on to star in over a hundred seventy-five Merry Melody and Looney Tune animated shorts, receive three Oscar nominations, win one Academy Award, star in the 1960s prime-time animated series "The Bugs Bunny Show," various specials, co-star alongside Michael Jordan in the film
"Space Jam," a series of Looney Tune-inspired video games, and return to television with the rest of the Looney Tunes gang in the Cartoon Network series, "The Looney Tunes Show."
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Bugs Bunny has appeared in more films than any other cartoon character. It's no wonder we recognize his birthday on July 27th and seem to forget it's also the birthday of his original nemesis; Elmer Fudd.