Case of the Missing Hare
|Case of the Missing Hare|
|Merrie Melodies (Bugs Bunny) series|
Title Card to Case of the Missing Hare
|Directed by||Charles M. Jones|
|Produced by||Leon Schlesinger|
|Story by||Tedd Pierce|
|Voices by||Mel Blanc|
|Music by||Carl W. Stalling|
|Animation by||Ken Harris
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures
The Vitaphone Corp.
|Release date(s)||December 12, 1942|
|Running time||8 min, 11 sec|
Case of the Missing Hare is a 1942 Warner Bros. cartoon in the Merrie Melodies series, directed by Chuck Jones and starring Bugs Bunny. The title is a typical play on words, and although it suggests a mystery story, it bears no apparent relationship to the plot line.
This is one of the few cartoons where Bugs Bunny does not say his catchphrase, "Eh, what's up, Doc?", as well as being one of few cartoons in the character's filmography to fall into the public domain, due to the failure of the last copyright holder, United Artists Television, to renew the original copyright within the allotted 28-year period.
A bald-haired magician named Ala Bahma is nailing self-promoting posters on every conceivable surface, including a tree in which Bugs is living. Bugs protests having his home encroached and his right to private property compromised, until the magician apologizes and offers Bugs a blackberry pie. The rabbit's expression momentarily changes to joy as Ala Bahma magically brandishes a blackberry pie from underneath his cloth, then suddenly splatters the pie in Bugs's face. As the magician walks away laughing, "What a dumb bunny!", an enraged Bugs decides that it is time for revenge and says his famous line: "Of course you realize, this means war!"
Bugs exacts his revenge through a series of public humiliations at the Bijou theater, where Ala Bahma is performing. First, Bugs replaces himself with a carrot during Ala Bahma's hat-trick and gets into his outfit. Despite Ala Bahma's objections, Bugs claims he will to help the magician. He goes into his hat and repeats Ala Bahma's hat trick and accepts brief applause. Bugs gets into Ala Bahma's hat, kisses the magician and ties up his mustache. When Ala Bahma unties his mustache, he sees a sign posted by Bugs to tempt him with a carrot. Next, Bugs grabs Ala Bahma's mallet and hits him as he grabs the carrot and eats it. Ala Bahma puts his hand in the hat, only for Bugs to pull the magician in. As Bugs emerges, however, Ala Bahma grabs him and after they fight off-screen, the magician barricades his own hat with wood plains and nails to make sure that Bugs does not get out.
Later, Ala Bahma does an Indian Basket Trick performance with Bugs posing as a volunteer. During his trick, he puts the knives in the basket. When Ala Bahma discovers that Bugs has snuck out from behind him while feigning pain, Bugs runs and attempts to jump into his hat but hits it on the barricade. Ala Bahma charges at Bugs to kill him, but Bugs plays a statues game on the magician. Once Ala Bahma gets close enough, Bugs dresses up as a fencer for Ala Bahma to fight him. Bugs escapes to the balcony to heckle Ala Bahma. Realizing that he has been tricked again, Ala Bahma uses a shotgun and fires at Bugs. However, Bugs appears from Ala Bahma's hat and places a cigar in his mouth, which promptly explodes. After kissing Ala Bahma, Bugs brandishes his own blackberry pie. He says to the audience, quoting Red Skelton's "Mean Widdle Kid", "If I dood it, I get a whippin'...I DOOD IT!" and splatters the pie in Ala Bahma's face. Bugs ends his performance with "Aloha 'Oe" on a ukulele as he descends into the hat.
Background artists Gene Fleury and John McGrew reduced most of the backgrounds to the film to patterns (stripes, zig-zags, etc.) and colored cards. The result was outlandish but Fleury recalled Leon Schlesinger congratulating them. In the theater setting of the film, these backgrounds could be rationalized to represent stage flats.
Michael S. Shull and David E. Wilt consider it ambiguous if this cartoon contain a World War II-related reference. Bugs Bunny pronounces the phrase "Of course you realize, this means war" in a gruff voice that may have been intended as an imitation of Winston Churchill.
For unknown reasons (possibly time constraints), TBS cut several shots in the beginning where Ala Bahma's posters are plastered all over trees and telephone poles 
The Case of the Missing Hare is available, uncut and restored, on Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 3.
- Barrier, Michael (1999), "Warner Bros., 1941-1945", Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in Its Golden Age, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0199839223
- Shull, Michael S.; Wilt, David E. (2004), "Appendix E.", Doing Their Bit: Wartime American Animated Short Films, 1939-1945, McFarland & Company, ISBN 978-0786481699
- Complete film
- Case of the Missing Hare at the Internet Movie Database
- Case of the Missing Hare at The Big Cartoon DataBase
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