Rebel Rabbit

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Rebel Rabbit
Merrie Melodies/Bugs Bunny series
Directed by Robert McKimson
Story by Warren Foster
Voices by Mel Blanc
Music by Carl W. Stalling
Animation by Charles McKimson
Phil DeLara
Manny Gould
John Carey
Layouts by Cornett Wood
Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas
Studio Warner Bros. Pictures
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date(s) April 9, 1949
Color process Technicolor
Running time 6:39
Language English
Preceded by Mississippi Hare
Followed by High Diving Hare

Rebel Rabbit is a 1949 animated short starring Bugs Bunny. It is an anomaly in the Bugs Bunny cartoons — in this one, Bugs is the aggressor, and he ends up losing the fight. Having found out that the bounty for rabbits is only 2 cents, Bugs intends to prove that rabbits are tough — even if he has to be 'more obnoxious than anybody'. Some scenes utilize live action stock footage.

Plot[edit]

Bugs notices high bounties on various animals. There is a $50 bounty (about $500 today) on foxes, $75 (about $740 today) on bears, but then is offended by the two-cent bounty (about $0.20 today) on rabbits. Bugs has himself mailed to Washington DC, where a supercilious game commissioner explains that the bounty is so low because, while foxes and bears are "obnoxious" animals who damage property, "rabbits are perfectly harmless". Bugs vows to prove that he can do just as bad and storms out, slamming the game commissioner's door so hard that the glass in it shatters.

Bugs begins his campaign by attacking a guard with his own billy club. From there, he pulls stunts like renaming Barney Baruch's private bench as "Bugs Bunny", painting barbershop-pole stripes on the Washington Monument, rewiring the lights in Times Square to read "Bugs Bunny Wuz Here", shutting down Niagara Falls, selling the entire island of Manhattan back to Native Americans, sawing Florida off from the rest of the country, swiping all the locks off the Panama Canal, filling in the Grand Canyon, and literally tying up railroad tracks.

An angry Senator Claghorn-esque Congressman demands action against Bugs but is interrupted by Bugs, who emerges from the congressman's hat, slaps him and gives him a mocking kiss. The cartoon then shows live-action footage of the entire War Department mobilising against Bugs. Tanks come rumbling out of their garages, soldiers pour out of barracks, and bugles blow. Bugs, now satisfied with the $1 million bounty (about $9,900,000 today) on his head (although the bounty is for him specifically, not rabbits in general), is snapped out of a Tarzanesque mood by the whole Army coming after him. Bugs then dives into a fox hole as artillery shells surround the foxhole. Bugs then realizes that he's gone too far after he ends up imprisoned on Alcatraz Island.

Censorship[edit]

  • The Fox Network and WB Network airing of this cartoon cut the scene during the montage of Bugs destroying America where Bugs trades Manhattan back to the Native Americans and is shown walking through it wearing a feathered headband and smoking a peace pipe.[1]
  • Cartoon Network did air this cartoon uncut for a time until it aired with the scene where Bugs gives Manhattan back to the Indians cut (and the audio of the guns firing at Bugs after Bugs declares himself king of the beasts muted, though that could have been an audio error).[2]

Availability[edit]

The missing scene and the sound effects mentioned above are reinstated on the Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 3 DVD set.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Mississippi Hare
Bugs Bunny Cartoons
1949
Succeeded by
High Diving Hare