|Merrie Melodies (Bugs Bunny) series|
|Directed by||Robert Clampett|
|Produced by||Leon Schlesinger|
|Story by||Lou Lilly|
|Voices by||Mel Blanc|
|Music by||Carl W. Stalling|
|Distributed by||The Vitaphone Corporation|
|Release date(s)||June 24, 1944(USA premiere)|
Hare Ribbin' is a 1944 animated short film in the Merrie Melodies series, directed by Robert Clampett and featuring Bugs Bunny. The plot features Bugs' conflict with a red-haired hound dog, whom the rabbit sets out to evade and make a fool of using one-liners, reverse psychology, disguises and other tricks. It was released in theaters by Warner Bros. Pictures on June 24, 1944. The title is a pun on "hair ribbon".
The short opens with a dog with a Russian accent (a la Bert Gordon's "Mad Russian") hunting for a rabbit by sniffing a trail. He happens upon Bugs who begins to torment the dog. This prompts a chase, which leads to a nearby lake where the rest of the story continues. Most of the action takes place underwater.
Eventually, after a few gags, the dog corners Bugs and demands he give him a rabbit sandwich. Bugs obliges, and the rabbit places himself between two giant slices of loaf bread with his legs curled next to his body. The dog takes a bite and Bugs screams and fake his death. The dog becomes instantly grief-stricken and sobs, declaring that he should be the one to die. With this statement, Bugs springs back to life asking, "Ehhhh...do you mean it?", and obliges the dog's death wish (see Edited versions below) The dog falls to the ground, Bugs plants a flower on his chest and dances away into the distance. As the cartoon is about to "iris out" the dog sits up (revealing that he is still alive), holds the iris before it closes, and declares "This shouldn't even happen to a dog!". He then lets the iris go, but it closes on his nose in the process.
Michael S. Shull and David E. Wilt consider it ambiguous if this cartoon contain a World War II-related reference. While underwater, Bugs disguises himself as a mermaid. The dog transforms into a torpedo to pursue "her". 
The two alternate versions of the ending were based on the perception of someone that Bugs could not be seen killing another animal. This someone was perhaps a studio administrator. 
This cartoon short holds the distinction of having two endings, both of which are too violent by today's standards to be shown on children/family-friendly television:
The general release ending: the Russian Dog, distraught over Bugs' "death" and guilt-ridden, wishes he were dead too, and Bugs obliges by giving the dog a gun so he can shoot himself in the head—once played in theaters to a general audience, is now commonly cut from television versions (on network TV and cable TV, excluding an episode of Cartoon Network's The Bob Clampett Show and two appearances on Cartoon Network's New Year's Day Looney Tunes marathons in 2009 and 2010).
The "director's cut" ending: the Russian Dog, distraught over Bugs' "death" , wishes he were dead too, and Bugs obliges by pulling out a gun and shooting the dog through the mouth. Bugs then dances away, and the dog gets up to deliver the last line: This shouldn't happen to a dog". was never shown in theaters or on television, despite that the episode of Cartoon Network's The Bob Clampett Show that aired "Hare Ribbin" with its general release ending mentioned that "Hare Ribbin" had an alternate ending (this one) that was never shown, and due to its violence, never will be. The director's cut version was first discovered on the fifth volume of the "The Golden Age of Looney Tunes Volume 5" laserdisc set and the entire cartoon with the director's cut part is now on the fifth volume of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVD set as a special feature. 
"The Golden Age of Looney Tunes Volume 5" laserdisc set has the "director's cut" version of this cartoon, unrestored. The fifth volume of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVD set has the original cut of Hare Ribbin, restored and remastered, and the director's cut as a special feature, unrestored and unremastered (you can tell the difference between both cuts by the tinting of the color).
- Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies: A Complete Illustrated Guide to the Warner Bros. Cartoons, by Jerry Beck and Will Friedwald (1989), Henry Holt, ISBN 0-8050-0894-2
- Looney Tunes Golden Collection, DVD set.
- Cohen, Karl F. (2004), "Censorship of Theatrical Animation", Forbidden Animation: Censored Cartoons and Blacklisted Animators in America, McFarland & Company, ISBN 978-0786420322
- Shull, Michael S.; Wilt, David E. (2004), "Appendix E.", Doing Their Bit: Wartime American Animated Short Films, 1939-1945, McFarland & Company, ISBN 978-0786481699
- Cohen (2004), p. 36-37
- Shull, Wilt (2004), p. 216
Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips
|Bugs Bunny Cartoons