Bugs and Thugs
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|Bugs and Thugs|
|Directed by||I. Freleng|
|Produced by||Edward Selzer|
|Story by||Warren Foster|
|Music by||Milt Franklyn|
|Animation by||Manuel Perez|
|Layouts by||Hawley Pratt|
|Backgrounds by||Irv Wyner|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
The Vitaphone Corporation
|March 13, 1954 (USA)|
Bugs and Thugs is a 1954 animated short film in the Looney Tunes series produced by Warner Bros. Cartoons, Inc. It features Bugs Bunny with Rocky and Mugsy. The film is a semi-remake of Racketeer Rabbit and was directed by Friz Freleng. It is also the first Warner Bros short to credit Milt Franklyn as a musical director.
Bugs comes out of his hole in a city park, reading the newspaper on his way to his bank, to make a withdrawal from his personal depository of carrots. On the way, he reads that "Rabbit Season Opens Today" and says how glad he is that he lives in a 'safe' urban environment, away from guns going off in the country (he miraculously avoids heavy traffic while crossing the street, his face buried in the newspaper).
Leaving the bank, Bugs flags down what he thinks is a taxi, but which is actually Mugsy pulling up to let Rocky out to rob the bank. As Bugs settles back for "a couple of times around the park", Rocky returns amidst a shootout with bank security. Rocky leaps into the car and orders Mugsy to take off. Bugs emerges from beneath the many giant bags of cash and complains that he does not mind sharing the ride but is not too keen on "all this laundry". Rocky pulls his gun and asks Bugs, "How much do you know, rabbit?" Bugs does not realize he is in the same vehicle as a robber who is asking him what he knows about the hold-up, and says "Who, me? Oh, I know lots of things. Like two and two is four, Carson City is de capital of Nevada, uh, George Washington was de foist President." Rocky responds, "Cut it. Dis guy knows too much, Mugsy. We'll take him for a ride." Bugs, now dressed in vintage driving clothes, joins Rocky on the back seat and rattles on about how much he likes taking rides. Rocky points his gun at him and tells him to "shaddap". Bugs talks non-stop about how he is not one to keep talking after being told to shut up, so Rocky tells him to "shaddap shaddin' up".
Bugs asks Mugsy to stop at a "nice, clean gas station". Bugs gets out of the car and, after simply asking for and receiving a nickel from the easily fooled Mugsy, he uses a pay phone to call the police to report the bank robbers, "Hello, Police Department? I've got the bank robbers. We're on Highway 55, headed west. We're driving a '52 Acme - straight 8 - overhead valves - with California license plates!" Having figured out Bugs' ploy, Mugsy removes Bugs from the phone booth. The last part of Bugs' conversation with the police is delivered in increasingly louder shouts as he is pulled, along with the listening portion of the phone, back to the car. As the car takes off, the policeman on the other end is yanked out through the phone and bounced along the road some distance behind, until the wire snaps. With his thick Irish accent, he says,"Operator – we've been disconnected... ah-h-h".
Soon, Rocky and Mugsy's car stops in front of a railroad grade crossing protected by a swinging "wigwag" signal warning of an approaching train. Rocky tells Bugs to get out and let them know if the coast is clear; for a second, Bugs morphs into Mugsy's profile and voice to tell Rocky, "Okay, boss!" He checks the tracks, then calls back, "Okay, all clear." The robbers proceed and a speeding train crashes into them.
Bugs is forced to fix the car at gunpoint. Rocky orders Mugsy to button his lip when Mugsy repeats something that Rocky has said to Bugs. Mugsy literally buttons his lip. Bugs repairs everything, but they are missing one tire, so Bugs tells them that he is afraid that they are stuck.
Rocky says that Bugs is the only one stuck and makes Bugs act as the tire, by running alongside the car while holding the right front axle (Rocky tells Mugsy to take the "scenic route"). Soon, they arrive at their hideout, which is perched on a cliff. Once inside, Rocky instructs Mugsy to take Bugs "inta the udder room and let 'im have it". Once there, Bugs easily convinces him that Rocky meant for him to let Bugs have the gun by saying, "Okay Mugsy, let me have it. Come, come, you hoid what the boss said: 'Let me have it'!" When Mugsy relents, he gets shot by Bugs (off-screen), stumbles back into the front room and tells Rocky "I let 'im have it, boss, just like you said. Ooohhhhh," and passes out on top of Rocky, who quickly punches him off.
Rocky heads for the room to take care of Bugs himself. As the robber turns the doorknob, Bugs imitates both a police siren and the voice of an officer arriving and ordering other policemen to surround the house. Bugs tears out of the room, seemingly panicked about the cops showing up. Rocky is running around in the main room, desperate to find a hiding place. Bugs hides the robbers in the stove, then pretends to be the police pounding on the front door. Then, he pulls off acting as both the policeman with an Irish accent and himself trying to hide Rocky and Mugsy. While "interrogating" himself, Bugs denies hiding them in the stove, turning on the gas heat of the stove and throwing a lighted match inside to prove his innocence. The stove explodes, and the "policeman", convinced, leaves. Rocky and Mugsy crawl out of the stove, somewhat scorched and dazed. Not even five seconds after emerging, the real policemen come and, in an almost exact match of Bugs' previous ruse, one of them (with an Irish accent) asks where Rocky and Mugsy are. When Bugs is about to throw another lighted match into the stove, Rocky and Mugsy quickly run out of the stove and piteously beg the policeman to arrest them.
The next day, Bugs becomes a criminal-catching detective talking on the phone, as a member of Detectives Guild: Local 839 (a pun on the cartoonists' union), styling himself as "Bugs Bunny, private eyeball – thugs thwarted, arsonists arrested, bandits booked, counterfeiters caught, forgers found and chiselers chiseled."
Bugs and Thugs is available on the following DVDs:
- Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 1
- Looney Tunes Platinum Collection: Volume 3
- Looney Tunes Centerstage: Volume 2
| Bugs Bunny Cartoons
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