Tortoise Wins by a Hare

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Tortoise Wins By a Hare
Merrie Melodies/Bugs Bunny series
Tortoise Wins by a Hare title card.png
Directed by Robert Clampett
Produced by Leon Schlesinger
Story by Warren Foster
Voices by Mel Blanc
Music by Carl W. Stalling
Animation by Bob McKimson
Rod Scribner
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
The Vitaphone Corporation
Release date(s)
  • February 20, 1943 (1943-02-20)
(USA)
Color process Technicolor
Running time 7 minutes 44 seconds
Language English

Tortoise Wins by a Hare is a Merrie Melodies cartoon released on February 20, 1943 and directed by Bob Clampett. It stars Bugs Bunny and Cecil Turtle. Bob Clampett took Tex Avery's scenario from Tortoise Beats Hare and altered it for this film. The title is an appropriate pun on "hair". This is one of the first shorts to feature Robert McKimson's design of Bugs Bunny. A newspaper's front page (the Chicago Sunday Tribunk) shown in this cartoon accurately predicts Adolf Hitler's suicide two years later.[citation needed]

Plot[edit]

Bugs again challenges Cecil to a race after viewing footage from their previous encounter two years earlier (which seems to depict Cecil as having won fairly instead of by cheating Bugs with his cousins). Bugs then goes to Cecil's tree home disguised as an old man (a parody of Bill Thompson's "Old Timer" character from Fibber McGee and Molly) to ask the turtle his secret. Cecil, not in the least bit fooled by the disguise, so tells him he remarks that his streamlined shell lets him win, and produces a set of blueprints for his "air-flow chassis". He also adds that in contrast, the long ears of a rabbit only serve as "wind resistors", which in turn would slow the rabbit down. The turtle ends the conversation with the comment, "Oh, and another thing... Rabbits aren't very bright, either!" just before slamming the door in the enraged bunny's face. Not getting the hint that the turtle's story is a humbug, Bugs builds the device and prepares for the race.

Four of the rabbit gangsters realized that they have crossed the line at the end of this cartoon.

Meanwhile, the bunny mob learns of the upcoming match-up and places all its bets on Bugs. ("In fact, we don't even t'ink dat de toitle will finish... Do we, boys?" "Duh, no, Boss, no!") The race begins, and Bugs easily outpaces his reptilian rival. However, in his new get-up, the dim-witted gangsters mistake him for the turtle. Cecil reinforces this misconception by dressing in a gray rabbit suit and munching on a carrot. The mobsters thus make the shelled Bugs' run a nightmare, ultimately giving the race to Cecil (in an aside to the audience, as the rabbits cheer him, Cecil remarks, "I told you rabbits aren't very bright!") When Bugs removes the chassis and sobbingly reveals that he's the rabbit, the rabbit gangsters remark, in mock-Bugsy style, "Ehhh, now he tells us!" and commit suicide by shooting themselves with a single bullet that goes through the sides of all of their apparently soft heads (for more information, see "Censorship" below).

Analysis[edit]

This animated short contains wartime references. Bugs displays "A" and "C" ration cards. He claims he has a secret weapon. A Japanese cruiser is mentioned in a newspaper headline. A chorus of turtles sing "He did it before and he can do it again".[1]

Nichola Dobson mentions the short as an example of both Bob Clampett's attention to detail and of the fast pace of his work.[2]

Censorship[edit]

  • The ending where the gambling ring shoots themselves after realizing that they've been trying to sabotage Bugs throughout the cartoon has been cut from many TV prints of this cartoon, including the ones shown on the Turner channels (i.e. Cartoon Network [excluding its appearance on Adult Swim's "The Bob Clampett Show", where it was uncensored], TBS, and TNT) and the former WB! Network. This is because of suicide. The edited version ends with an abrupt fake blackout immediately after the gambling ring members say "Eh, NOW he tells us!".
  • The TBS version (in addition to editing the suicide ending) also shortens the part where the rabbits pounce on Bugs before he can reach the finish line.
  • On Turner Classic Movies's Cartoon Alley, the suicide ending is intact, but the cartoon ends with a fade out instead of an iris-out.

Availability[edit]

Sources[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shull, Wilt (2004), p. 159
  2. ^ Dobson (2010), p. 44

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Case of the Missing Hare
Bugs Bunny Cartoons
1943
Succeeded by
Super-Rabbit