Thursday, June 15, 2006

Bugs Bunny Evolution - Egg shaped head, Robert Givens design

This model sheet is drawn by Robert Givens and it shows the early, fairly generic egg-shaped headed Bugs Bunny. This rabbit was underplayed and definitely mischievious- real cocksure. This is long before he became Smug Bunny and didn't have to do anything to win in his 50s cartoons. In the 40s Bugs Bunny cartoons Bugs Bunny had to act and work to win not only over his opponents but to win over the audience as well. By the 50s, people had so come to love the character that the directors didn't have to have the rabbit do much in the cartoons anymore. He won by default.

I think the early Bugs cartoons are the best and showed his personality at its richest and most entertaining.

Elmer's Candid Camera by Chuck Jones is the first cartoon where Bugs really seems like Bugs. He doesn't quite have the voice yet, but he is basically underplayed. This is almost the exact same cartoon as Tex Avery's A Wild Hare, except that Elmer has a camera instead of a gun.

To see more images from Elmer's Candid Camera, go visit Marc Deckter's "Cool, Calm and Confident" post at the legendary DUCK WALK.

A Wild Hare - Tex Avery 1940

The same situation as Porky's Rabbit Hunt, but now Bugs is less manic than when he was first born.

He has an early version of the familiar voice, he says "What's Up Doc" for the first time but he still doesn't have his name.
There are many routines that became staples of his act. Tons of variations were done of them in later cartoons-to the point where Bob Clampett told me that Bugs became a formula, and he started to feel trapped.
Bugs fakes dying. This is a new kind of humor for cartoons. It's funny because it's so serious. It's animated by Bob McKimson. Clampett later lampooned all the situations from the classic Bugs Bunny shorts that he helped gag for Tex.
(for more images, GO HERE.)

Bugs is a fag. Is everybody mad now???