Transylvania 6-5000 (1963 film)
Bloodcount: I am a vampire!
Bugs: Oh, yeah? Well, abacadabra! I'm an umpire!
|Directed by||Chuck Jones|
|Produced by||David H. DePatie|
|Story by||John Dunn|
|Music by||Bill Lava|
|Animation by||Bob Bransford|
|Layouts by||Bob Givens|
|Backgrounds by||Philip DeGuard|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|November 30, 1963|
Transylvania 6-5000 (1963) is a Merrie Melodies animated short directed by Chuck Jones and starring Bugs Bunny. It was the last original Bugs Bunny short Jones made for Warner Bros. Cartoons before Jones left for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to found his own studio, Sib Tower 12 Productions. It was his second-to-last cartoon at Warner Bros. before moving to MGM, and the second-to-last Warner cartoon in 1963.
Bugs demonstrates how to handle a pesky vampire with six simple magic incantations. The title is a pun on "Pennsylvania 6-5000", a song associated with Glenn Miller and referring to the now-archaic system of telephone exchange names where the first two characters of a telephone number were expressed as letters: "Transylvania 6-5000" stands for "TR 6-5000" which devolves to 876-5000. This cartoon also released 8 days after president John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
Bugs is traveling by tunneling underground—and runs straight into a tree. He heads for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as he observes "these Pennsylvania hardwoods ain't too soft!", but he does not immediately notice that a sign nailed to the tree reads "Pittsburghe, Transylvania". He asks a two-headed female vulture (Agatha and Emily) for directions to "Pittsboig" when he realizes that he is not reached the Steel City, but Agatha and Emily are busy talking about eating him. Bugs leaves them to it, sees an old castle nearby, mistakes it for a motel and calmly approaches it. Upon ringing a skull/chime doorbell (playing "The Hearse Song") Bugs meets a vampire, who introduces himself as Count Blood Count and invites him in. Although Bugs is only looking for a telephone to call his travel agency, the Count leads him to a guest room beckoning him to rest, informing him that "Rest is good for the blood.".
Unable to sleep, Bugs picks up a book titled "Magic Words and Phrases", and despite his initial skepticism about their effect, he reads it. The Count sneaks up behind him and is just about to strike when Bugs says "abracadabra", turning the Count into a bat. Bugs mistakes the bat/Count for a big mosquito and clobbers him with a fly swatter. As the bat dizzily flies out of the window, Bugs says "hocus pocus", which turns the Count back into a vampire and causes him to fall into the moat surrounding his castle. Agatha and Emily wonder what a splendid-looking specimen the Count is as they watch him take the plunge.
Shortly afterward, while Bugs is searching for the house restaurant, the Count sneaks up from behind again, but Bugs is humming to the tune of "It's Magic", substituting "abracadabra" for some of the lyrics, and inadvertently turns the Count back into a bat. Once again mistaking the bat for a mosquito, Bugs sprays the bat with a fumigator. As the bat/Count is hanging his head down from an archway, coughing insecticide out of his lungs, Bugs sings "hocus pocus" during a continuation of his song, and the Count crashes to the floor on his head.
Fed up with the situation, the Count confronts Bugs and reveals his true identity as a vampire, resulting in a duel of "magic phrases" in which Bugs transforms into a baseball umpire. He then turns himself into a baseball bat when the count turns himself into a bat (with "hocus pocus" strangely) to hit the bat-vampire on the head (despite the Count putting on glasses in a futile attempt to keep Bugs from doing so). Bugs gets the best of the Count for the rest of the duel by saying "abracadabra" every time the vampire says "hocus pocus", causing him to be crushed repeatedly by a stone slab from the floor that the Count intended to crush Bugs with. By mixing the magic words to "abraca-pocus" and "hocus-cadabra", Bugs causes the Count to become a mixture of human and bat body parts. Afterward he uses "Newport News" and turns him into Witch Hazel. Unimpressed ("Wow, I can do better than that"), he uses the incantation "Walla Walla, Washington", and the Count is turned into a two-headed male vulture. Bugs calls out to Agatha and Emily and the Count soon finds himself the object of their romantic intentions. The Count flees the castle with the female vulture in amorous pursuit as Bugs watches in amusement.
Bugs finally finds a working pay phone (in a coffin), but while waiting for the operator to reach his travel agency in Perth Amboy, he mumbles "abraca-pocus", and his ears turn into bat wings. Bugs tells the operator to cancel the call, hangs up, and decides to fly home with his new wings.
References in other media
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The Count character also appeared in the Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Stuff that Goes Bump in the Night" in the segment "Fang You Very Much," where he is adopted by Elmyra Duff while disguised as a bat. In this, Count Blood Count repeatedly tries to bite Elmyra in his vampire form, but any time the Count is exposed to light, he turns back into a bat.
The Tiny Toons version of the Count also appears as a boss character in the video game Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose!.
Portions of the cartoon were used in the compilation film Bugs Bunny's Howl-Oween Special. Before the footage of the cartoon began, Witch Hazel is transformed into Count Blood Count by some Hyde formula that Bugs brought with him, so when Bugs uses the phrase "Newport News," she remains as Witch Hazel.
Most of the cartoon was used in Daffy Duck's Quackbusters, but some dialogue was redubbed to connect it to the film's main story. Also, the end was changed so that instead of Bugs sprouting bat wings and flying away, he reports his findings to Daffy Duck (although he still sings "abraca-pocus" to himself while in the coffin phone-booth, but the film cuts away before his ears transform), who is displeased to hear from him (saying "What do you think we're running here, a matrimonial agency?!"). Later, Bugs is seen leaving the castle from the cartoon before he answers a nearby payphone as part of the link to the cartoon The Abominable Snow Rabbit.
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