Cartoon Classics You Remember
Porky in Wackyland (Dough for the Dodo)
Original release: 1938
One of the first “adult” incarnations of Porky and his encounter with the legendary bird.
Synopsis: Porky is inspired by the offer of a huge reward to go to Africa in search of the last dodo bird. When he gets there, he finds a surreal landscape that resembles a Dali painting and which is populated by a host of eccentric characters, including the famed dodo. After a chase across the landscape (which includes obstacles for Porky such as a brick wall that the dodo pulls in front of him) Porky finally catches the bird by disguising himself as a dodo so the real dodo can “capture” him with handcuffs. As Porky takes the dodo away, a crowd of other dodos appear, declaring, “Yes, he’s got the last dodo!”
A Wild Hare
The first to feature the definitive version of Bugs Bunny.
Synopsis: Elmer Fudd finds a rabbit hole and tries to lure Bugs out with a carrot. Bugs takes the carrot, prompting Elmer to stick his rifle into the hole, which Bugs turns into a bow. Bugs emerges from another hole, chewing the carrot, and knocks on Elmer’s head, asking his trademark line, “What’s up, Doc?” Bugs is quick to exploit Elmer’s lack of intelligence by asking him to describe what he’s looking for, as it becomes clear that Elmer has no clue what a rabbit really is and only slowly realizes that Bugs is in fact a rabbit. Bugs even goes so far as to offer Elmer a chance to shoot him by standing in front of a tree (moving to one side when he notices a pair of birds chirping in a nest overhead and saying “Whoa, hold it, doc!”) before “letting” Elmer shoot him. Elmer bemoans the fact that he thinks he actually shot Bugs before the rabbit kicks him in the pants, sending him up the tree trunk and hitting his head on a branch. Elmer retreats, sobbing about rabbits, carrots, and guns, as Bugs triumphantly marches back into his rabbit hole, imitating the fifer from “The Spirit of ‘76.”
One of a few in which Bugs is the heel.
Synopsis: Bugs is staying at an Army air field reading about gremlins, who, according to Bugs’ translation, threaten planes with their acts of “dia-bolical saba-togee.” As Bugs mocks the idea of “little men,” one of them walks by, and returns in the other direction with a sledgehammer, which catches Bugs’ attention as he begins hitting the nose cone of the bomb that Bugs has been sitting on (“these blockbuster bombs don’t go off unless you hit them just right.”) Bugs offers to help out (“let me take a whack at it”) as he takes the hammer in his hands, prepares to swing, and then suddenly stops, exclaiming “What am I doing?!?” As he turns around to confront the gremlin, he sees that he’s disappeared, leaving Bugs to ask the audience, “Could that have been a…gremlin?” The gremlin appears next to his ear, yells “It ain’t Wendell Wilkie!” as he hits Bugs on the foot with a wrench. Bugs chases the gremlin into the plane, which the gremlin causes to take off. The gremlin tricks Bugs into running outside of the plane’s door, then flies the plane in between a pair of buildings and causes it to go into a tailspin, as Bugs panics. Seemingly about to crash, the plan sputters and stops just before hitting the ground, upon which the grmlin explains that they ran out of gas and Bugs adds, “Yeah, you know how it is with these ‘A’ cards (a reference to wartime ration cards).”
Note: This is one of the few times in which Bugs is the antagonist. Naturally, he loses.
The classic confrontation between Bugs, Daffy, and Elmer in the woods during rabbit season (or is it duck season?)
Synopsis: Elmer is lured to Bugs’ hole by Daffy with fake signs and rabbit footprints, ducking behind a rock as Elmer tells Bugs to come out, telling the audience “Survival of the fittest-and besides, it’s really duck season!” Bugs comes up from a different hole after Elmer blasts the first hole with his shotgun, asking him what he’s looking for. When Elmer says he’s hunting “wabbits,” Bugs asks him if he’s had any luck to which Elmer confides no. Stunned, Daffy comes out from hiding and asks Elmer if he even knows what a rabbit looks like, pointing at Bugs. Bugs admits that he is a rabbit, and asks Elmer if he would like to shoot him now. This leads to the classic dialogue between Bugs and Daffy as Daffy says “shoot him now, shoot him now!” to which Bugs responds, “You keep out of this, he doesn’t have to shoot you now!” A confused Daffy replies, “Well I say he does so have to shoot me now, so shoot me now!” to which Elmer obliges, shooting Daffy in the beak. Clearly confused, Daffy says, “Let’s run through that again, shall we?” leading to the same result as Daffy demands that Elmer shoot him again. Elmer decides to go after both of them, forcing Bugs and Daffy to work together as they try to dissuade Elmer from hunting when they learn he only does it for sport (“Oh, yeah? Well there’s other sports besides huntin’ ya know!” Bugs states. Daffy, dressed as a tennis player, gets shot by Elmer, causing him to declare, “nice game”). In the end, after having distracted Elmer by posing as a hunting dog and a lady hunter, respectively, Bugs and Daffy resume arguing over whether it’s duck or rabbit season by tearing a series of posters from a tree until Elmer’s face is revealed. As Elmer runs off, Bugs and Daffy state, “Be very very quiet-we’re hunting Elmers!”
Note: This is the first cartoon to feature a feud between Bugs and Daffy and the first where Daffy’s “screwball” personality is changed to being a more sinister foil for Bugs.