Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt
|Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt|
|Directed by||I. Freleng|
|Produced by||Leon Schlesinger|
|Story by||Michael Maltese|
|Music by||Carl Stalling|
|Animation by||Gil Turner |
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures |
The Vitaphone Corporation
|June 7, 1941|
Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt is a 1941 Merrie Melodies cartoon directed by Friz Freleng. Mel Blanc voiced all characters. This film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Short Subject (cartoons). This was the first Bugs Bunny cartoon directed by Friz Freleng. The short makes several direct references to The Song of Hiawatha, an epic poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. This was Bugs' first encounter with a Native American. This is a parody of the Silly Symphonies cartoon Little Hiawatha. In fact, the character is a parody of the legendary Disney animator, Ward Kimball.
The cooking-pot sequence from this cartoon would be directly incorporated three years later in the 1944 Bugs Bunny cartoon What's Cookin' Doc?, although Bugs' facial appearance had subtly changed in the interim. The central joke in that film is Bugs losing the Oscar to fellow Warner actor James Cagney. Showing clips specifically from Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt provides some context to that storyline. In 1995, Turner Entertainment restored the original titles of the short for its American and European Turner "dubbed" versions. This cartoon was one of the 12 Bugs cartoons pulled out of the Cartoon Network June Bugs marathon in 2001 because of racial stereotypes (in this case, the Native American hunter).
Bugs is reading The Song of Hiawatha out loud to himself and the saga turns real as a pint-sized, Elmer Fudd-like Hiawatha (minus the speech impediment) turns up, paddling his canoe. Hiawatha is looking for a rabbit for his dinner. Hiawatha manages to trick Bugs into thinking he is preparing a hot bath for him. It is actually a cooking pot, which Bugs quickly vacates once Hiawatha casually mentions that he is having rabbit stew for supper.
As with Elmer, Bugs spends the rest of the cartoon tormenting his would-be devourer, who finally breaks his arrows in anger and disgust, and paddles his canoe away while Bugsy finishes his reading of the poem. However, in the closing gag, the miffed-looking Hiawatha suddenly returns to the foreground where Bugs is reading the narrative, and after a second of wordless staring at each other, Hiawatha gives Bugs the "insulting kiss" that the Bunny usually bestows on others. Hiawatha then paddles away again, as Bugs "spits out" the kiss.
- VHS - Bugs Bunny Cartoon Festival Featuring "Little Red Riding Rabbit" 
- DVD - Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Academy Awards Animation Collection
- DVD - The Maltese Falcon 3-Disc Special Edition
- Blu-ray - Looney Tunes Platinum Collection: Volume 3.
- LaserDisc - The Golden Age of Looney Tunes, Volume 2, Side 2
- Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt on IMDb
- Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt at The Big Cartoon DataBase
- Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt on the Internet Archive
Tortoise Beats Hare
| Bugs Bunny Cartoons
The Heckling Hare