Despite countless close calls with the likes of Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Daffy Duck and Marvin the Martian, Bugs Bunny remains pretty spry, particularly for a 75-year-old.
It was on this day in 1940 that the wascally wabbit made his official debut, in the Warner Bros. “Merrie Melodies” short “A Wild Hare.” We say “official,” because an unnamed early version — let’s call him proto-Bugs — appeared some two years earlier in “Porky’s Hare Hunt,” where he was pursued by (you guessed it) Porky Pig.
Directed by Tex Avery, “A Wild Hare” pitted the fledgling Bugs against Elmer Fudd, who debuted in 1937, establishing a classic pairing that has stood the test of time, and introduced the catchphrase “Eh, what’s up, doc?”
As Time notes, Bugs was originally uncredited in the animated short, but that was quickly remedied, as he was an instant star. By 1954, he was bigger than Mickey Mouse.
Happy birthday, Bugs.
Merrie Melodies – A Wild Hare (1940) by Cartoonzof2006
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