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Bugs Bunny Day

On April 30, 1938, a cartoon character known as "Happy Rabbit" made his debut in a short Warner Bros. cartoon titled "Porky's Hare Hunt." He was the prototype for Bugs Bunny, having a similar personality, but looking a bit different. It is on the anniversary of the release of this short film that we celebrate Bugs Bunny Day.

Bugs Bunny is an anthropomorphic gray hare with a relaxed and passive personality—but he is also a trickster. He became a cultural icon and is best known for starring in Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, short films that were made by Warner Bros. from the 1930s through the 1960s. He appeared in many other formats, such as feature films, comic books, and musical records. He has appeared in more films than any other cartoon character, and TV Guide listed him as the greatest cartoon character of all time. In 1997, he became the first cartoon character to appear on a postage stamp. He even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The name "Bugs" or "Bugsy" means crazy or loopy and was used as a nickname in the first half of the twentieth century. For example, mobster Benjamin Siegel is best known as Bugsy Siegel. Today the name survives in phrases such as "You're bugging me," and in Bugs Bunny.

Although we celebrate Bugs Bunny Day today, he didn't make his official debut until July 27, 1940, when he appeared in "A Wild Hare." It is in this short film, which also starred Elmer Fudd, where Bugs Bunny first used his catchphrase "Eh, What's Up Doc?" By 1942, Bugs was the number one star of Merrie Melodies. He appeared in 167 short films from the 1940s through 1964, during his "Golden Age."

The Bugs Bunny Show debuted in 1960. It was tweaked over time but was on television for forty years. Bugs Bunny also appeared in other animated network television specials in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1988, he appeared in the live-action/animated film Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Box Office Bunny, released in 1990, became the first Bugs Bunny cartoon in theaters since 1964. Bugs appeared in another live-action/animated film, Space Jam, starring other Looney Tune characters and Michael Jordan. In 2003, he appeared in Looney Tunes: Back in Action, and he appeared in The Looney Tunes Show on the Cartoon Network for two seasons, beginning in 2011.

How to Observe

Celebrate Bugs Bunny by watching "Porky's Hare Hunt" or "Elmer's Pet Rabbit". You also could watch Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Box Office Bunny, Space Jam, or Looney Tunes: Back in Action. If you are up for a trip, visit Bugs Bunny's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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