Pre-Hysterical Hare

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Pre-Hysterical Hare
Looney Tunes (Bugs Bunny) series
Pre-Hysterical Hare Lobby Card.PNG
Lobby card.
Directed by Robert McKimson
Produced by John Burton, Sr.
Story by Tedd Pierce
Voices by Mel Blanc
Dave Barry
(uncredited)
Music by John Seely (of Capitol Records)
Animation by Ted Bonnicksen
Warren Batchelder
Tom Ray
George Grandpré
Layouts by Robert Gribbroek
Backgrounds by William Butler
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date(s) November 1, 1958 (USA)
Color process Technicolor
Running time 7 minutes
Language English

Pre-Hysterical Hare is a 1958 Looney Tunes cartoon by Warner Bros. featuring Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd (known in this cartoon as Elmer Fuddstone). These two are in their usual hunter-and-bunny antics, but with different items used in the Stone Age.

Plot[edit]

The opening scene depicts Bugs and Elmer in the modern day, with Elmer's gun blasting at Bugs repeatedly. Bugs finally pauses long enough to tell the audience: "Someday, they'll outlaw this annual madness known as Rabbit Season." He hops over a stone dike, but either the ground on the other side is not firm enough to support him, or he lands with too much force. Elmer finally appears above ground and on the opposite side of the dike from Bugs wearing a frustrated expression ("Oh, dwat that bwasted wabbit! Where is he?")

At the same time, Bugs is asking himself the very same question. He assumes that he has fallen into a cave possibly belonging to giant Native Americans. This assumption comes from an item on the wall with odd writing on it which Bugs takes for a powder horn. He says: "Must be Indian writing, but it's Greek to me." (The writing briefly changes to English: reading "TIME CAPSULE — CIRCA 10,000 BC TO BE OPENED 1960 AD," then reverts to its original format as Bugs approaches it. He pulls on a stoppering item on the wide end that is nearly his own size, whereupon, much to his surprise, a reel of film pops out. This he transports (off-camera) back to his hole and views through his own film projector. This film is described as "A Micronesian Film Documentary in Breathtaking Cro-Magnonscope. Color by Neanderthal Color." Then the narration begins.

"This is the year 10,000 B. C. This film has been made to preserve a record of our way of life. Here, good hunting defines good living."

During the opening pronouncement, a variety of clashes take place amidst the palm trees and other tropical surroundings, i.e. dinosaurs fighting each other (an inaccuracy) and a tiger and Pteranodon battling. This sequence re-uses footage from the cartoon short Caveman Inki.

"Let us meet one of our most intrepid hunters. This is Elmer Fuddstone."

Fuddstone emerges from his cave and utters: "Shhhhh. Be vewy, vewy quiet. Me hunt Sabre-toothed Wabbit" — an obvious less-educated version of the modern-day Fudd's "I'm hunting wabbits" catch phrase. This statement shocks the modern Bugs, but when he asks "Sabre-toothed Rabbit?" the prehistoric documentary answers him directly via narrator:

"Yes. A Sabre-toothed Rabbit. His habitat is deep in the lush jungle."

Behold the sabre-toothed rabbit!

A Sabre-toothed Rabbit hole now appears on the screen — albeit covered by a rock. Its inhabitant pushes it aside, grabs his ears and hops up out of the hole (which Bugs would occasionally do in previous cartoons), after which he munches on a carrot in Bugs' trademark fashion. The Sabre-toothed Rabbit looks very much like Bugs, but he has less-well-groomed fur and longer teeth. Bugs laughs off the possibility that he's related to him ("Get a load o' that snaggle-toothed Aboriginal-e!") but then asks the film directly if he is an ancestor. The Sabre-toothed Rabbit also speaks like Bugs, as he answers: "Eh, could be."

Elmer Fuddstone now appears, spear in hand, and huddles low to the ground, remarking, "Sabre-toothed Wabbit come this way." He continues on, up into a tree, where he rips a vine off one branch and ties a loop in one end like a lasso. The looped end he allows to fall to the ground, but when the prehistoric Bugs passes by, he pulls on the string and Elmer falls down.

Next, the prehistoric Elmer grabs a hollow stick, into one end of which he places a poisonous berry. He says that no rabbit can make a monkey out of him, but as he prepares to blow it at Bugs, he suffers the effects of the projectile's consumption as the rabbit blows it at him first (he turns red, green and a mainly brown tartan pattern in quick succession before returning to his normal hues). McKimson had used a similar gag in his 1950 toon Bushy Hare. Bugs asks him: "What's up, Doc?" whereupon Elmer blasts the "tweachewous wabbit" for not allowing him to hunt him and thus provide his killer's family with clothes and food. Bugs feigns guilt and offers: "I'll help ya get me. Some smart-apple's gonna invent gunpowder someday and the gun will follow along."

This entices Fuddstone to begin developing gunpowder almost at once, and shortly thereafter he demonstrates this to Bugs. He rubs a wooden stick in a small skin bag of gunpowder, which explodes (Bugs notes: "He did it — but he did it the hard way.) Elmer is now high in an old tree, ashen-faced and much the worse for wear, but he maintains a triumphant look upon his face ("NOW who has the wast waugh?").

Bugs searches for items out of which to manufacture a gun, in the end settling on the hollow stick that previously contained the toxic berry Elmer swallowed by mistake for a gunbarrel, and "a taro root for a stock." Elmer grows impatient, but Bugs soon attaches the root to one end of the stick, pours in powder and pebbles, and hands the finished product (a "Genuine Imitation Squirrelly Rifle — Also Handy For Shooting Rabbits") to his pursuer. He lights the fuse with an extremely primitive version of a cigarette lighter and tells him: "You may fire when ready." But right before he fires, Bugs tells Fuddstone: "Oops, got this on the wrong end!" He removes the stock and plugs it into the other end of the barrel, causing Elmer to shoot himself in the face The film ends, and the present-day Bugs snickers: "And so it always has been. Those 'smart' hunters are never any match for us 'dumb' rabbits." But right as he says this, Elmer Fudd (who finally takes the initiative to climb into Bugs' hole) appears next to him and sneers: "That's what YOU think, wabbit! Heh-heh-heh-heh-heh!" However, Fudd doesn't notice that he's holding his gun so it points at him; so, repeating the 11,960-year-old mistake of his ancestor, he shoots himself. Bugs: "That's what I think! Heh-heh-heh-heh-heh!"

Background music[edit]

This is one of six cartoons (and the only Bugs Bunny cartoon) scored by using stock music by John Seely of Capitol Records from the Hi-Q library because of a musicians' strike in 1958. The others are Hook, Line and Stinker, Weasel While You Work, Hip Hip-Hurry!, Gopher Broke, and A Bird in a Bonnet.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Knighty Knight Bugs
Bugs Bunny Cartoons
1958
Succeeded by
Baton Bunny