The Old Grey Hare

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The Old Grey Hare
The Old Grey Hare title card.png
Original title card
Directed byRobert Clampett
Produced byEdward Selzer (uncredited)
Story byMichael Sasanoff
StarringVoice characterizations:
Mel Blanc as Old Bugs Bunny / Baby Bugs Bunny / God (off-screen)
Arthur Q. Bryan as Elmer Fudd / Old Elmer Fudd / Baby Elmer Fudd (uncredited)
Music byMusical direction:
Carl W. Stalling
Orchestra:
Milt Franklyn (uncredited)
Animation byCharacter animation:
Robert McKimson
Rod Scribner
Manny Gould
Basil Davidovich
Jack Bradbury
(final four uncredited)
Effects animation:
A. C. Gamer (uncredited)
Layouts byCharacter layout and design:
Thomas McKimson (uncredited)
Backgrounds byBackground layout:
Thomas McKimson (uncredited)
Background painter:
Dorcy Howard
Color processTechnicolor
Production
company
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
The Vitaphone Corporation
Release date
October 28, 1944 (U.S.)
Running time
7 minutes 36 seconds
LanguageEnglish

The Old Grey Hare is a 1944 Merrie Melodies cartoon directed by Bob Clampett.

Title[edit]

The title is a double play on words. One is the typical pun between "hare" and "hair", with the bunny (who was already grey-haired) rendered "old and grey" for this cartoon. The title also refers to the old song, "The Old Gray Mare". Some of the lobby cards for this cartoon gave the alternate spelling, The Old Gray Hare.

Plot[edit]

"What's up, Prune Face?"

The cartoon starts with Elmer Fudd sitting under a tree, crying over his failure to catch Bugs. The "voice of God" tells Elmer to keep trying to catch him. Elmer wonders how long it will it take-and is shown exactly how long by being transported "far into the future" past the years 1950, 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, until reaching the then-distant year of A.D. 2000, after the sound of the gong.

This offers the chance to use some contemporary gags with a futuristic twist, as Elmer finds a year 2000 newspaper. One headline says, "Smellevision Replaces Television: Carl Stalling Sez It Will Never Work!" In sporting news, another headline says, "Bing Crosby's Horse Hasn't Come In Yet!" (Crosby was known for investing in racehorses that did poorly). Yet another headline, unmentioned, states, "Quintuplets Give Birth To Quintuplets".

By now, both Elmer and Bugs are very old and wrinkled ("What's up, prune-face", "Not so fast, there, Grandpa!") - Bugs even has a large white beard and a cane – and lumbago – but their chase resumes. This time, Elmer is armed with an "owiginal Buck Wogers wightning-qwick wabbit kiwwer" gun (with a powerful recoil). After a short chase, at slow speed, due to their ages, Elmer gets the upper hand, shooting Bugs with his ultra-modern weapon, with added Pinball effects and "TILT".

At the moment when it seems Elmer has finally beaten his nemesis, the apparently dying Bugs thinks back to when he and Elmer were much younger. This leads to a flashback sequence with a baby Elmer hunting a baby Bugs – both are still in diapers; Bugs is drinking carrot juice from a baby bottle; Elmer is crawling and toting a pop-gun; and they interrupt their chase to take a baby nap-time together.

After the flashback is over, a tearful Bugs starts to dig his own grave, with Elmer getting equally emotional, but Bugs switches places with the weeping and distracted Elmer and cheerfully buries him alive instead. Elmer quips, "that pesky wabbit is out of my wife [life] forever and ever!" However, Bugs suddenly pops in and repeats the popular catchphrase of the "Richard Q. Peavey" character from The Great Gildersleeve, "Well, now, I wouldn't say that," plants a kiss on Elmer, then hands him a large firecracker, lights the fuse and quickly departs. While Elmer shivers and is unable to escape, the screen immediately irises out with the firecracker still hissing. The pre-written "That's all, Folks!" card appears, and the firecracker blows up in a tremendous explosion off-screen, rumbling and shaking the title card, leaving Elmer's fate unknown.

Crew[edit]

Availability[edit]

Censorship[edit]

  • When this cartoon aired on The WB, the part where baby Elmer points his toy gun at baby Bugs' face and baby Bugs cracks his bottle of carrot juice over baby Elmer's head was cut.[2]
  • See "Notes/Goofs" section below for edits done to the end gag where the cartoon ends with elderly Bugs giving elderly Elmer a stick of dynamite after burying him in his own grave and the title card shakes in response to the off-screen explosion.

Notes/Goofs[edit]

  • This was the first time a Bugs Bunny cartoon credited Warner Bros. Cartoons as producer after Leon Schlesinger had sold the studio to Warner Bros. because Edward Selzer refused to receive on-screen credit as producer.
  • Of all the Bugs Bunny cartoons, this is the only one in which he does not appear in his recognizable form. Also, this is the only Warner Bros. cartoon in which God appears (although offscreen).
  • The scene with Baby Bugs and Baby Elmer interacting is a farcry to Baby Looney Tunes.
  • The American Turner "dubbed" print removes the shaking ending card, but the explosion is still heard in the background. The ending card was replaced with the generic 1947-48 ending card as seen on many other cartoons that credit Warner Bros. as producer. The European Turner print retains the shaking ending card and adds the "dubbed" notice after the title card shakes. This was the reason why "The Old Grey Hare" on Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 4 via Bugs Bunny Superstar used the Associated Artists Productions print. At the time of the inclusion of Bugs Bunny Superstar, the majority on the set were American Turner prints.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Barry, Dan (October 8, 2010). "On DVD, 'Essential Bugs Bunny Collection'". The New York Times. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  2. ^ http://www.intanibase.com/gac/looneytunes/censored-n-o.aspx

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Buckaroo Bugs
Bugs Bunny Cartoons
1944
Succeeded by
Stage Door Cartoon