Wackiki Wabbit

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Wackiki Wabbit
Directed bySupervision:
Charles M. Jones
Produced byLeon Schlesinger
Story byTedd Pierce
StarringMel Blanc (uncredited)
Michael Maltese (uncredited)
Tedd Pierce (uncredited)
Music byCarl Stalling
Animation byKen Harris
Layouts byBernyce Polifka
Backgrounds byGene Fleury
Color processTechnicolor
Production
company
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
July 3, 1943
Running time
7:00
LanguageEnglish

Wackiki Wabbit is a 1943 Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies cartoon, starring Bugs Bunny. It was written by Tedd Pierce and directed by Chuck Jones. Voices were provided by Mel Blanc (Bugs), Tedd Pierce (the tall, thin man), and Michael Maltese (the short, fat man - the two men's appearances are rough caricatures of the actual men). The musical score was conducted by Carl Stalling.

Wackiki Wabbit contains an experimental use of strongly graphic, nearly abstract backgrounds. The title is a double play on words, with "Wackiki" suggesting both the island setting (as in "Waikiki") as well as suggesting "wacky" (crazy) along with the usual Elmer Fudd speech pronunciation of "rabbit", although Elmer does not appear in this picture.

This cartoon has fallen to the public domain after United Artists (successor to Associated Artists Productions) failed to renew the copyright on time. The cartoon can be found, restored, on Disc 1 of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 3.

Plot[edit]

The cartoon opens with two castaways adrift on a small raft in the middle of the ocean, underscored with "Asleep in the Deep". Delirious from hunger, they start imagining each other and even their own limbs as food. They spot an island in the distance and rush ashore, underscored by "Down Where the Trade Winds Play", a song used several times in the cartoon (and in others, such as Gorilla My Dreams), where they meet Bugs Bunny, who is munching on his carrot as usual. To his friendly, "What's the good word, strangers?" they answer, "FOOD!" Subsequently, they set up a cooking pot and start after Bugs, who leaps away on a vine with a Tarzan yell.

Chasing Bugs through the jungle, they spy him, semi-disguised as an island native, dancing. He welcomes them, "Ah! White Men! Welcome to Humuhumunukunukuapua'a'a'a Island." He then speaks in Polynesian-accented nonsense, a long stretch of which is subtitled simply, "What's up, Doc?" and a very short segment is subtitled, "Now is the time for every good man to come to the aid of his party." The tall, skinny man says, "Well, thanks!", which the subtitles translate to "Ofa eno maua te ofe popaa." (meaning "We love you" in Samoan). The short, fat man - who can actually see the subtitles - comments, "Gee, did you say that?" The skinny man shrugs.

Bugs then begins a traditional-style dance, punctuated with drumming and chanting. The men join in until the tall, skinny man, seeing Bugs simply stop and walk away, gives his pal a slap (off-camera, following the Hays Office rules) to make him quit. A page in an information booklet is shown to be headed: Native Customs, and goes on to explain that 'The natives are skilled at diving for coins dropped into the water'. The men drop a coin into the cooking pot's boiling water; Bugs dashes in and steals the entire pot.

While Bugs takes a bath in the hot water, the men set up a dining table; the short, fat one bastes the rabbit. They begin singing, "We're gonna have roast rabbit" (to the tune of "Ring Around the Roses"). Bugs sings too, until he realizes he is the roast rabbit and climbs speedily up into a treehouse. He then tricks the castaways by lowering a skinned chicken into the cooking pot. He taunts them with the chicken, using it as a marionette and giving it a voice, in order to make the two think it is somehow alive. The strings eventually tangle and, as Bugs struggles with it, the chicken is actually manipulated to point up, tipping off the men. They yank Bugs from the treehouse; there is an intense, brief struggle and, in the end Bugs escapes with the meat of the chicken.

As the castaways wail in frustration, they hear a steam whistle from a ship. Once the men leap for joy at the prospect of being saved and trot toward the gangplank, Bugs kisses them goodbye and presents them with leis, then pulls his time-honored switcheroo trick and boards the ship himself. The boat pulls out, leaving the two men on the island, waving goodbye to Bugs. Realizing they have been tricked, the Skinny Man slaps the Fat Man (again, off-camera) for continuing to shout, "Goodbye!" The two at once imagine each other as a hot dog and a hamburger and chase each other into the distance as "Aloha Oe" plays on the underscore, and the cartoon irises out.

Airings[edit]

On TV airings, the part where Bugs speaks to the Hawaiian castaways contains a blue border appearing on both United States and Europe Turner 1995 prints such as Cartoon Network.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Jack-Wabbit and the Beanstalk
Bugs Bunny Cartoons
1943
Succeeded by
A Corny Concerto (not part of Bugs Bunny cartoons, but it is a one-shot)