9 Hare-Brained Facts on Bugs Bunny’s 75th Birthday
What’s up, doc? Everyone’s favourite carrot munching cartoon rabbit, Bugs Bunny, turns 75 this week (July 27, 2015). To mark the occasion we dug deep into cartoon history to find nine facts you may not know about Bugs, from the origins of his unique name to his very real military career.
He’s named after Ben Hardaway – the director of many of his earliest on screen appearances – whose nickname was “Bugs.”
What did Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny, use during recording to mimic the sound of Bugs’ carrot chomping? Why, real carrots of course. This process was slightly complicated by the fact that Blanc was allergic to carrots – which led to a lot of chewing and then spitting in the recording studio.
Bugs’ carrot chomping was actually a parody of another very famous, and very real, Hollywood star – Clark Gable – who munches on one as he leans against a fence in the 1934 film It Happened One Night.
It’s also been reported that lobbies representing both celery and broccoli – you know, “Big Celery” and “Big Broccoli” – tried to persuade Warner Bros. to swap out Bugs’ carrot habit for one of these other veggie options. Of course, Warner Bros. declined.
The U.S. Marines actually welcomed Bugs into their ranks during the Second World War, after he donned their uniform in a 1943 cartoon. They literally made him a Master Sergeant. Keep an eye out the next time you see archival film footage of the allies landing at Iwo Jima. You may just see his ears sticking up above the throng of troops rushing the beach.
In a 1976 U.S. poll where people were asked to rank their favourite people, real or fake, Abraham Lincoln won. Bugs Bunny came in second.
In 1985 Bugs Bunny became the second animated character to receive a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, after Mickey Mouse. In 1997, however, he became the first to ever appear on a U.S. postage stamp. In 1994, a book by animation historian Jerry Beck ranked the Bugs Bunny cartoon What’s Up, Doc? as the greatest cartoon ever and, in 2002, Bugs solidified his spot in cartoon lore when he topped a TV Guide poll of greatest cartoon characters of all time.