Bugs Bunny and the Three Bears
|Bugs Bunny and the Three Bears|
|Merrie Melodies (Bugs Bunny) series|
The title card of Bugs Bunny and the Three Bears.
|Directed by||Charles M. Jones|
|Produced by||Leon Schlesinger|
|Story by||Tedd Pierce|
|Voices by||Mel Blanc
|Music by||Carl W. Stalling|
|Animation by||Robert Cannon|
|Layouts by||Earl Klein|
|Backgrounds by||Robert Gribbroek|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures
The Vitaphone Corporation
|Release date(s)||February 26, 1944(USA)|
|Running time||7:22 (one reel)|
|Preceded by||Hare Force (1944)|
|Followed by||Hare Ribbin' (1944)|
Bugs Bunny and the Three Bears is a Warner Brothers Merrie Melodies theatrical cartoon short released in 1944, directed by Chuck Jones and written by Tedd Pierce. This short marks the first appearance of Jones' dysfunctional version of The Three Bears, and of course is a parody of the old fairy tale, Goldilocks and The Three Bears.
Mel Blanc provides the voices of Bugs and Papa Bear (for the latter using a raucous voice similar to Yosemite Sam only a little higher-pitched). Mama Bear is voiced by Bea Benaderet, while Kent Rogers voiced dim-witted Junior. Stan Freberg is often credited with voicing the character of Junyer Bear in this short, but Junyer was actually voiced by actor Kent Rogers. The cartoon was released four months before Rogers' death in the crash of a training flight at Pensacola, Florida, while he was in the military during World War II.
The Three Bears are hungry and want something to eat, and plan on luring Goldilocks to them with porridge. They find, however, that all they have is carrot soup, which would only be useful in bringing Bugs Bunny to them. A plot derived from that of the traditional Goldilocks and the Three Bears story unfolds, with Bugs Bunny as the unwitting guest in the home of the three bears. Bugs Bunny eats Junior's porridge and sleeps on his bed. Then he tells the mama bear she's beautiful and she stops Papa bear and Junior from attacking him. Then the Mama wants to know about him so he runs and sees lady bears(including one showering). He runs to his hole, but the Mama is in the hole. The cartoon fades out with Bugs Bunny screaming and running away from the hole.
Ma Bear starts out as an "elderly, unattractive figure with sagging breasts and a whiny voice". Bugs Bunny seduces her in order to escape Papa Bear. She is sexually objectified and loves the part. She plays the roles that she thinks Bugs wants her to play: "the happy hooker, the blonde bombshell (a la Veronica Lake), the bathtub beauty." All roles that Bugs himself has performed "as a tranvestite" in other animated shorts. 
Ma Bear successfully rescues Bugs and then continues her advances. Bugs has become the object of her desire, a sexual role rare for Bugs. In reaction, he runs into the distance screaming.
There is a clash between Ma Bear's unfeminine appearance and her sexual behavior. Her role as a mother stands in conflict with her role as a seductress. She can only occupy one role at the time. The contrast between the asexual role of the mother and that of the love interest to the male characters places this short in a patriarchal discourse, where a woman's role is only portrayed in two ways.
The sexual undercurrent of the film perhaps is playfully foreshadowed in the opening scene, in which an illustration on a wall calendar in the Three Bears' cottage mimics Paul Émile Chabas's 1912 painting "September Morn."
This cartoon is found on Volume 1 of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection.
- Sandler, Kevin S. (1998), "Notes to Pages 162-165", in Sandler, Kevin S., Reading the Rabbit: Explorations in Warner Bros. Animation, Rutgers University Press, ISBN 978-0813525389
- Sandler (1998), p. 244-245
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