Title picture to "Fresh Hare"
|Directed by||I. Freleng|
|Produced by||Leon Schlesinger|
|Story by||Michael Maltese|
Arthur Q. Bryan
|Music by||Carl Stalling|
|Animation by||Manuel Perez|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
The Vitaphone Corporation
|August 22, 1942|
|8 min. (one reel)|
Fresh Hare is a Warner Bros. theatrical Merrie Melodies cartoon. It was directed by Isadore "Friz" Freleng, written by Michael Maltese, and produced by Leon Schlesinger. It was released to theatres on August 22, 1942, and is a play on the term "fresh air".
In this short, the rotund early-1940s version of Elmer Fudd is portrayed as a Mountie, in a mad attempt to arrest Bugs Bunny, who is put on trial and wanted dead or alive (though preferably dead). After following the rabbit tracks to a burrow, Elmer tries to lure Bugs out; he initially succeeds in getting Bugs handcuffed, but somehow Bugs worms his arm out of the cuffs and attaches a bomb in its place. Panicked, Elmer, chained to the bomb and stuck in the snow, searches frantically for the keys to the handcuffs, only to find that Bugs has stolen them; Bugs deliberately takes his time going through each and every key until he finds it just before the bomb explodes offscreen. Elmer, who remains completely unharmed by the bomb, tells Bugs that he has been found guilty of committing a litany of crimes. The crimes, as corrected here for Elmer's rounded-l-and-r speech, are listed below:
"Resisting an officer, assault and battery, trespassing, disturbing the peace, miscellaneous misdemeanors, public nuisance, traffic violations, going through a boulevard stop, jaywalking, triple parking, conduct unbecoming to a rabbit", and (once again) "violating traffic regulations." As Elmer reads, Bugs puts on his hat and impersonates another Mountie, saying to Elmer, "Attention! Why, look at you! You call yourself a Mountie? You're a disgrace to the regiment! I'm gonna drop you out of the service!" As he says this, he inspects Elmer before tearing his uniform off.
When Elmer realizes he's been tricked, he begins to give chase. A chase scene involves a path completely under the snow that ends when Elmer crashes into a pine tree. The impact causes all the snow to fall off the tree, which reveals Christmas decorations, and Elmer emerges from underneath with snow on his face that gives him a Santa Claus appearance. The song Jingle Bells plays in the background, and Bugs says to the astonished Elmer, "Merry Christmas, Santy!" and burrows his way out of Elmer's path.
Elmer rediscovers Bugs's footprints and follows them; he finds Bugs taunting a snow effigy of Elmer, taunting the snow mountie and threatening to punch it square in the nose. As Elmer sneaks up behind him in an attempt to catch him by surprise, Bugs turns around at the last moment and hits the real Elmer square in the nose, propelling him backward.
After some more hijinks, a weeping Elmer Fudd gives up and labels himself as a "disgwace to the wegiment" for failing to catch the rabbit, at which point Bugs willingly turns himself in. At headquarters, Bugs pleads guilty and is blindfolded and sentenced to death by decapitation. As the executioner prepares to execute Bugs, Elmer tells Bugs that he can make one last wish before his sentence is carried out, which prompts Bugs to break out into "Dixie". The scene then, in a non sequitur, transitions into a minstrel show (a commonly censored scene on televised airings of this short), where Elmer, Bugs and the firing squad, now all in blackface, perform the chorus of "Camptown Races", with Bugs on banjo and Elmer on tambourine. (That scene has been cut out on multiple channels in the United States, such as Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, TBS, and TNT in 1995 US dubbed prints.)
The last scene of the short was edited on multiple channels in multiple ways. On Cartoon Network and TBS, a fade-iris goes out fast enough after Bugs breaks out into Dixie. On TNT, the ending audio of the short does intact but while it plays, it repeatedly keeps playing bugs breaking out into Dixie multiple times until the soundtrack ends as the iris fades out.
- Because of its public domain status, Fresh Hare has been widely available on numerous low-cost, unauthorized public domain VHS tapes and DVDs, and on internet streamings, usually in very poor quality, like a VHS condition.
- This short is available as a bonus feature of the Captains of the Clouds DVD release.
- "The CENSORED Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies Guide". The Ultimate Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies Website. Archived from the original on 2010-12-02. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
- "Useful Notes: Looney Tunes in the Forties". TV Tropes. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
- "The Censored Eleven". MetaFilter Community Weblog. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fresh Hare.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Fresh Hare|
- Fresh Hare on IMDb
- Fresh Hare is available for free download at the Internet Archive
- Fresh Hare in the Big Cartoon Database
- Fresh Hare on the Internet Archive
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