Bully for Bugs

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Bully for Bugs
Looney Tunes (Bugs Bunny) series
Bully For Bugs Lobby Card.PNG
Lobby card
Directed by Charles M. Jones
Produced by Edward Selzer
Story by Michael Maltese
Voices by Mel Blanc
Music by Carl Stalling
Animation by Ken Harris
Lloyd Vaughan
Ben Washam
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date(s) August 8, 1953 (1953-08-08)
(USA premiere)
Color process Technicolor
Running time 7:11

Bully for Bugs is a 1953 Warner Brothers Looney Tunes theatrical cartoon short. It was directed by Chuck Jones and written by Michael Maltese.

Synopsis[edit]

Bugs performs the now immortal Slap Dance to the tune of "Las Chiapanecas" on a confused Toro.

On his way to the Coachella Valley for the "big carrot festival, therein," Bugs Bunny gets lost, and wanders into a bullring in the middle of a bullfight between Toro the bull and a very nervous matador. Bugs famously declares he "shoulda made a left toin at Albuqoique". As he asks the matador for directions, the matador escapes into the stands, leaving Bugs to fend for himself against Toro. After irritating Bugs and getting a slap for "steaming up my tail," Toro chalks up the points of his horns like a pool cue and rams the rabbit out of the bullring. As he sails into the air, Bugs mutters his famous line from Groucho Marx: "Of course you realize, dis means war".[1]

Toro takes his applause for claiming his latest victim (and pushes a bead across a scoring wire, as in billiards), but it is short-lived because Bugs re-enters the bullring in matador garb. Bugs defeats Toro using an anvil hidden behind his cape.[2] While Toro is still dazed from his collision, Bugs makes the bull follow the cape up to a bull shield, accompanied by a lively underscore of "La Cucaracha", where his horns pierce it. Bugs bends the horns down like nails and, thinking he's got him at bay, makes fun of Toro using puns ("What a gull-a-bull, what a nin-cow-poop"). Unaware that the bull can detach his horns and strike back, Toro proceeds to bash Bugs in the head, which knocks him unconscious.

While Toro sharpens his horns, Bugs interrupts him by placing an elastic band around the horns and using it as a giant slingshot to smack him in the face with a boulder. Toro charges back at Bugs, right in the buttocks. Bugs then returns, this time in a large sombrero doing a little dance and slapping Toro on the face in tempo to the tune of "Las Chiapanecas". Toro tries to punch him twice but is slapped each time. Bugs dances more and then disappears under the sombrero, but not before honking Toro's nose.

While Toro once again sharpens his horns (this time with a much more irritated look on his face), Bugs has prepared a booby trap for the bull, composed of a double-barreled shotgun hidden behind the cape. Toro charges towards the cape, and somehow the shotgun previously in Bugs's hand enters Toro's body and stops at his tail, firing a bullet from one of Toro's horns when he flicks his tail (and the shotgun) on the ground. Now having the upper hand, Toro chases Bugs shooting at the hare, but Toro eventually runs out of bullets. Toro "reloads" by swallowing several "elephant bullets" (with explosive heads), but when he attempts to test-fire he instead explodes, gun and all.

Bugs taunts Toro once again by calling him, among other things, an "imbecile" (which Bugs pronounces "im-BESS-il") and an "ultra maroon," but realizes that he is cornered by the bull behind barred gates. Awaiting certain death (he writes a will and says his last prayers), Bugs miraculously opens the gates like a garage door, sending Toro out of the bullring and into the horizon. Toro runs back to the bullring, not anticipating that Bugs has laid out a Rube Goldberg–like contraption of axle grease, a ramp, and some platforms on the bull's path. The grease and ramp send Toro airborne over some glue, a sheet of sandpaper, a protruding matchstick, and a barrel of TNT which explodes when Toro flies by. Still in the air and in shock, Toro finally crashes into a wooden bull shield.

The cartoon ends with the unconscious bull's hindquarters sticking out of the shield, and the victorious Bugs holding up the cape with the words "THE END" etched on it.

Development[edit]

In his biography Chuck Amuck Chuck Jones claims that he made this cartoon after producer Eddie Selzer burst into Jones' workspace one day and announced, for no readily apparent reason, that bullfights were not funny, and they were not to make a cartoon about them.[3] Since Selzer had, in Jones' opinion, consistently proven himself to be wrong about absolutely everything (having once barred Jones from doing any cartoons featuring Pepé Le Pew, on the grounds that he perceived them as not being funny, which led to Jones and Maltese to do For Scent-imental Reasons, which won an Oscar, which Selzer accepted), the only possible option was to make the cartoon. The sounds of the crowd are recorded from a genuine bull-fighting crowd in Barcelona, Spain. The boulder to the face gag was reused from Rabbit Punch which was also directed by Chuck Jones five years earlier.

In other media[edit]

  • The set up is almost identical to the Tex Avery short Senor Droopy, a Droopy cartoon, which predates Bully for Bugs by 5 years.
  • The short has been referenced in some form in film and television. Toro the bull can be seen in the beginning of Who Framed Roger Rabbit auditioning with other cartoon cows at the Maroon Cartoon Studios for a part in a cartoon. Toro also appears in the films Space Jam (where Daffy paints Pound's butt red, causing Toro to charge at it), and Looney Tunes: Back in Action. In the Tiny Toon Adventures episode Starting from Scratch Bugs' apprentice Buster Bunny tries the now famous slap dance on a bedbug only to see it backfire on him, prompting Buster to remark, "Well it worked for Bugs Bunny". Toro recently made a cameo appearance on The Looney Tunes Show Merry Melodies segment "Stick to My Guns" sung by Yosemite Sam. In the Codename: Kids Next Door episode M.A.T.AD.O.R., the opening scene is similar to Bully for Bugs.
  • The opening segment of the cartoon (prior to Bugs' entry), was reused in the 1963 Speedy Gonzales cartoon Mexican Cat Dance. Part of the cartoon was also used in Hare-Abian Nights in 1959.
  • In recent years Bully for Bugs has been adapted into various levels in Bugs Bunny video game. Bugs Bunny: Rabbit Rampage has a level where Bugs tricks Toro to run into steel girders. Bugs Bunny In Double Trouble has a level where Bugs searches underground for various items for the booby trap. Bugs Bunny Lost in Time features a level based on the short in the 1930s era called La Corrida. Sheep, Dog, 'n' Wolf, also known as Sheep Raider, has placed Toro sleeping amongst newly fallen leaves that, if stepped on by the player, will awake Toro and send him charging after Ralph Wolf. He is also seen guarding a goal needed to progress but is distracted by the red monster Gossamer whose color sends Toro into a charging frenzy. He appears one more time where Ralph has to have him chase him over the edge of a cliff where he presumably falls to his death. The Sega Genesis game Taz: Escape from Mars; Toro appears as the end-of-world boss in Mexico. Looney Tunes: Back in Action the video game features Toro in the Louvre Museum in Paris, France. Daffy must change into his Duck Danger costume and mount Toro, then driving him into several vases which knocks him out.
  • Bully for Bugs would be remade as two Pink Panther short films: Bully for Pink and Toro Pink.
  • The cartoon appears in the 1979 compilation film The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie.

Availability[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Furniss, Maureen (2005). Chuck Jones: Conversations. Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. 124. ISBN 978-1-57806-729-9. 
  2. ^ Telotte, J.P. (1 August 2010). Animating Space: From Mickey to WALL-E. University Press of Kentucky. p. 172. ISBN 978-0-8131-3371-3. 
  3. ^ Furniss, Maureen (2005). Chuck Jones: Conversations. Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. 198. ISBN 978-1-57806-729-9. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Hare Trimmed
Bugs Bunny Cartoons
1953
Succeeded by
Lumber Jack-Rabbit