Tortoise Wins by a Hare

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Tortoise Wins by a Hare
Tortoise Wins by a Hare title card.png
Directed byRobert Clampett
Produced byLeon Schlesinger
Story byWarren Foster
StarringMel Blanc (uncredited)
Kent Rogers (uncredited)
Music byCarl W. Stalling
Animation byBob McKimson
Rod Scribner (uncredited)
Virgil Ross (uncredited)
Manny Gould (uncredited)
Color processTechnicolor
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
The Vitaphone Corporation
Release date
  • February 20, 1943 (1943-02-20) (U.S.)
Running time
7 minutes 44 seconds

Tortoise Wins by a Hare is a Merrie Melodies cartoon released on February 20, 1943 and directed by Bob Clampett. It stars Bugs Bunny and Cecil Turtle. Bob Clampett took Tex Avery's scenario from Tortoise Beats Hare and altered it for this film. The title is an appropriate pun on "hair". This is one of the first shorts to feature Robert McKimson's design of Bugs Bunny. A newspaper's front page (the Chicago Sunday Tribunk) shown in this cartoon accurately predicts Adolf Hitler's suicide two years later.


Two years after the events in Tortoise Beats Hare, Bugs is watching footage of that cartoon, determined to learn how it was that Cecil managed to beat him (the cartoon seems to depict Cecil as having won fairly, rather than the truth, which was that the turtle engaged his cousins to cheat and help him win). Bugs then goes to Cecil's house disguised as an old man (a parody of Bill Thompson's "Old Timer" character from Fibber McGee and Molly) to ask about the turtle's secret for winning. Cecil is not the least bit fooled by the disguise, but goes along with the gag, claiming that his streamlined shell ensures his success; he produces a set of blueprints for his "air-flow chassis." He also adds that, in contrast, the long ears of a rabbit only serve as "wind resistance", which slows the rabbit down. The turtle ends the conversation with the comment, "Oh, and another thing...Rabbits aren't very bright, either!" just before slamming the door in the enraged bunny's face. Not getting the hint that the turtle's story is a humbug, Bugs builds a shell of his own and prepares for the new race.

Meanwhile, the bunny mob learns of the match-up, places all its bets on Bugs, and hints that "the toitle" will not even finish the race. Initially, Bugs takes the easy lead, after dressing up in his new chassis. The rabbit mob, mistaking Bugs for Cecil and, despite Bugs' insistence to the contrary, attack the rabbit. Cecil does not help Bugs' cause by dressing up in a rabbit suit. The rabbit mob fall for it and cheer Cecil as the real rabbit, causing the turtle to remark to the audience, "I told you rabbits aren't very bright." Bugs still manages to regain the lead and nearly wins, until the mob stalls him right at the finish line, while other rabbits rush Cecil over the line and to victory. Bugs then bursts out crying, rips off his chassis and reveals that he was the real rabbit. In despair, the rabbit mob replies, "Ehhh, now he tells us," and kill themselves with a single bullet through all their heads.



The animated short contains wartime references. Bugs displays "A" and "C" ration cards. He claims he has a secret weapon. A Japanese cruiser is mentioned in a newspaper headline. A chorus of turtles sing "He did it before and he can do it again".[1]

Nichola Dobson mentions the short as an example of both Bob Clampett's attention to detail and of the fast pace of his work.[2]

The suicide gag at the end is normally edited out of television broadcasts.



  • Dobson, Nichola (2010). "Clampett, Bob". The A to Z of Animation and Cartoons . Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-1461664024.
  • Shull, Michael S.; Wilt, David E. (2004). "Filmography 1943". Doing Their Bit: Wartime American Animated Short Films, 1939-1945. McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-0786481699.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Shull, Wilt (2004), p. 159
  2. ^ Dobson (2010), p. 44

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Case of the Missing Hare
Bugs Bunny Cartoons
Succeeded by