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A Wild Hare

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A Wild Hare is a 1940 Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies cartoon directed by Tex Avery. The short subject features Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny, the latter making what is considered his first official appearance.

The title is a play on “wild hair”, the first of many puns between “hare” and “hair” that would appear in Bugs Bunny titles. The pun is carried further by a bar of “I’m Just Wild About Harry” playing in the underscore of the opening credits. Various directors at the Warner Bros. cartoon studio had been experimenting with cartoons focused on a hunter pursuing a rabbit since 1938, with varied approaches to the characters of both rabbit and hunter.

The cartoon begins with Elmer tiptoeing around and telling the viewer his famous line, “Shh. Be vewy, vewy quiet. I’m hunting wabbits.” Elmer then approaches one of Bugs’ warrens, puts down a carrot, and hides behind a tree. Bugs’ arm reaches out of the hole, feels around, and snatches the carrot. He reaches out again and finds Elmer’s double-barreled shotgun. His arm quickly pops back into the hole before returning to drop the eaten stub of Elmer’s carrot and apologetically caress the end of the barrel. Elmer shoves his gun into Bugs’ burrow, and thus causes a struggle in which the barrel is bent into a bow.

Elmer frantically digs into the hole while Bugs emerges from a nearby opening with another carrot in his hand, lifts Fudd’s hat, and taps the top of his head until Elmer notices; then chews his carrot and delivers his definitive line, “What’s up Doc?”. When Elmer replies that “[he’s] hunting ‘wabbits'”, Bugs chews his carrot and asks what a rabbit is; then teases Elmer by displaying every aspect of Fudd’s description until Elmer suspects that Bugs is a rabbit. Bugs confirms this, hides behind a tree, sneaks behind Elmer, covers his eyes, and asks “Guess who?”.

Elmer tries the names of contemporary screen beauties whose names exploited his speech impediment before he guesses the rabbit. Bugs responds “Hmm….. Could be!”, kisses Elmer, and dives into his burrow. Elmer sticks his head into the hole and gets another kiss from Bugs; whereafter he wipes his mouth and decides to set a trap. When Bugs puts a skunk in the trap, Fudd blindly grabs the skunk and carries it over to the watching Bugs to brag; and when Elmer sees his mistake, Bugs gives him a kiss on the nose, whereupon Fudd looks at the skunk, who winks and nudges Elmer. Fudd winces and gingerly sends the skunk on his way.

Bugs then offers a free shot at himself; fakes an elaborate death; and plays dead, leaving Elmer suffering with remorse; but survives the shot and sneaks up behind the distraught Fudd, kicks him in his rear, shoves a cigar into his mouth, and tiptoes away, ballet-style. Finally, the defeated Elmer walks away sobbing about “wabbits, cawwots, guns”, etc. Bugs then remarks, “Can ya imagine anybody acting like that? Ya know, I think the poor guy’s screwy”, and begins to play his carrot like a fife, playing the tune The Girl I Left Behind Me, and marches with one stiff leg towards his rabbit hole (recalling The Spirit of ’76).

Hares and jackrabbits are mammals belonging to the genus Lepus. They are herbivores, and live solitarily or in pairs. They nest in slight depressions called forms, and their young are able to fend for themselves shortly after birth. The genus includes the largest lagomorphs. Most are fast runners with long, powerful hind legs, and large ears to dissipate body heat. Hare species are native to Africa, Eurasia and North America. A hare less than one year old is called a “leveret”. A group of hares is called a “husk”, a “down” or a “drove”.

Members of the Lepus genus are considered true hares, distinguishing them from rabbits which make up the rest of the Leporidae family. However, there are five leporid species with “hare” in their common names which are not considered true hares: the hispid hare (Caprolagus hispidus), and four species known as red rock hares (comprising Pronolagus). Conversely, several Lepus species are called “jackrabbits”, but classed as hares rather than rabbits. The pet known as the Belgian hare is a domesticated European rabbit which has been selectively bred to resemble a hare. Wikipedia

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An image of a Wild Hare

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Click the link below for images:

https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=a+wild+hare&form=HDRSC2&first=1&tsc=ImageBasicHover&cw=1692&ch=861

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