11 wild little details you never noticed in Bugs Bunny cartoons

The artists hid all sorts of stuff in these classic Looney Tunes.

Animation is a labor-intensive process. Especially back in the early days. The Looney Tunes gems you grew up watching were handcrafted by a team of talented artists. If you spent weeks painting backgrounds for a Bugs Bunny cartoon, you would probably slip in a few little inside jokes to amuse your coworkers, too.

Sure enough, throughout the Looney Tunes masterworks, astute viewers will spot numerous nods to the creative minds behind the cartoons. You might also spot some shockingly unexpected details.

The core group of animators were routinely adding their "signature" to their work, slapping their names on buildings, products, advertisements and whatnot. Let's take a closer look!

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1. A shocking newspaper headline in "Tortoise Wins by a Hare"

"Tortoise Wins by a Hair" hit theatres in February 1943. Just two days earlier, Joseph Goebbels had declared a "Total War" against the Allies in a Berlin speech. The Warner Bros. team crafted propaganda cartoons for the Allied cause during World War II — and also snuck war content into their humorous shorts. In this race between Cecil the Turtle and Bugs, a newspaper headline under the rabbit declares, "Adolf Hitler Commits Suicide."

2. "Baseball Bugs"

Michael Maltese was the writer behind "Baseball Bugs," an all-time classic. Pay attention to the advertising on the outfield wall. A billboard for a detective named "Mike Maltese, Ace Dick" is painted on the wall next to an ad for cough drops.

3. "Racketeer Rabbit"

No Bugs creator was more fond of sneaking his name into cartoons than Friz Freleng. You can find references to "Friz" or "Frisby," his nickname, in most of his cartoons. Take this ad for "Hotel Friz," for example. (Also note the funny ad for "Krool Cigarettes.") Elsewhere in the Looney Tunes universe, you'll spot products like "Frisby Pure Jam," "Friz Sardines," "Friz — America's Favorite Gelatin Dessert," etc.

4. The animator's carvings in "Bugs Bunny Rides Again"

As Bugs leans on a door frame in this Western with Yosemite Sam, you will spot numerous carvings in the wood. Behind Bugs there are several names and initials carved into the door frame. To the right, someone has "carved" Mike, Friz and Ted for Michael Maltese, Friz Freleng and Tedd Pierce. The "P.J." initials on the left are for Paul Julian, a background artist who also loved sneaking his initials and name into backgrounds. Always look for Paul Julian's personal touch.

5. The topless woman in "Bugs Bunny Rides Again"

Here's something you might not expect — but remember, these cartoons were originally released in theaters for adults. Also in that Yosemite Sam cartoon, a rather revealing piece of artwork hangs above the bar in the saloon. There is a painting of a topless woman. Yes, it's "art," but we censored it just in case.

6. The movie poster and buildings in "Hare Do"

In this movie theater romp with Elmer chasing Bugs, you will spot all kinds of easter eggs in the posts, the signage on buildings, etc. A movie poster in the lobby is promoting a new flick called Backwash. It stars "Pete Burness." Pete was an animator at Warner Bros., who would go on to work on Mr. Magoo shorts. He even won an Oscar for his Mr. Magoo work.

7. The plaque in "Ballot Box Bunny"

Yosemite Sam releases some ants in his plot to get Bugs. He hides behind a statue of man riding a horse. The plaque on the statue is another litany of WB creatives — (Warren) Batchelder, (Ken) Champin, (Jack) Farren, (Paul) Julian, (Sam) Nicholson, (Manuel) Perez, (Hawley) Pratt, (Virgil) Ross. It's essentially the credits for all the background artists, layout artists, and animators who worked on the short.

8. The union in "Bugs and Thugs"

Private Eye Bugs has a certificate on the wall showing that he is a member of "Detective Guild Local 839". This number wasn't chosen at random - the cartoonists at WB belonged to a cartoonists union local 839.

9. The writers in "Wackiki Wabbit"

Two castaways wash up on an island in this tropical short. The two fellows are no mere random humans. They are Tedd Pierce (left) and Michael Maltese (right), the two writers of the cartoon. Oh, well, they not only wrote the thing, but they also voiced the characters, too! It's essentially a self-portrait.

10. Richard Nixon in "Haredevil Hare"

"Haredevil Hare" introduced the planet to Marvin the Martian. It also likely gave many Americans their first look at a future president. Early in the short, a newspaper headline declares, "Heroic Rabbit Volunteers as First Passenger." Richard M. Nixon appears in a photo on the Daily Snooze front page. He had recently been elected as a Congressman to California's 12th District. They animators doodled on the image a bit to change the appearances, it seems.

11. This missing 3-D effect in "Lumber Jack-Rabbit"

This short was the only classic Looney Tunes released in 3-D. Warner Bros. attached the cartoon to its 3-D film The Moonlighter in 1953. Obviously, you can't see it in that format anymore, but there are still obvious nods to the technology. The "WB" logo bulges and bursts out of the screen in the opening.

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braycy 13 months ago
Well that was great! I did always catch the puns tho.
bagandwallyfan52 19 months ago
A Heckling Hare (1941)with Bugs
Bunny & Willoughby the dog
Falling Off A Cliff with
ChickenNoodle2011 19 months ago
I saw a nude on Porky Pig's living room wall and was surprised it wasn't censored. Now I know the story behind it. Thanks for the article!
Patsy 19 months ago
Please note the typo in #9.
rubberduck1956 19 months ago
I miss your cartoons so much, and any other programs!! I always set my morning alarm ⏰ to wake up in time so as to not miss your cartoon hour first thing in the morning! And now they took you away 😵😭😵😭😵😭😵😭😭😭
boobs 19 months ago
Check out the bookcase behind Rocky and Bullwinkle in the first string of episodes co-starring Cloid and Gidney, the two MoonMen. Censors never caught it...
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tootsieg 19 months ago
Thanks for clearing up my confusion. I was wondering. I really hope one of your local stations picks up MeTV real soon.
cperrynaples 19 months ago
Yes, that's the great thing about MeTV: You NEVER see informercials UNLESS the local station pushes them in!
Deleted 19 months ago
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tootsieg 19 months ago
OMG! Only infomercials from 3am-9am!!!??? I hope this is not a sign of the times. MeTV is the station I watch the most. You have my sympathy.
cperrynaples 19 months ago
Yes, where else are you going to see Highway Patrol, My 3 Sons, Tune in With Me or Leave It To Beaver? Certainly NOT Charge TV...LOL!
nightshade 19 months ago
MY favorite non looney tunes cartoons were the parodies of Hollywood I think one was a night at the derby and other hotspots at the time .......in fact I remember one had a parody of jack warner and his horse racing hobby which resulted in the now long gone Hollywood park race track
Jackie 19 months ago
I treasure my DVDs of the old BB cartoons that are unedited. I know some things these days are offensive and wouldn't want to hurt someone's feelings but these "back in the day" references were relevant to what was going on then. We can learn from history, even history portrayed in cartoons and truly learn from them.
zman47240 19 months ago
I enjoyed this article the first time I read it a year or so ago, MeTV. I guess old reruns are your specialty.
StaceyBink zman47240 19 months ago
And yet, I didn't see it last year and enjoyed it this year.
nd1irish zman47240 19 months ago
Zman ask for your money back
cperrynaples zman47240 19 months ago
Zman are you the character from Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls...LOL! I can't say anything THAT character on THIS board EXCEPT he said "This is my happening and It's freaking me out!" LONG before Austin Powers did...LOL!
Barry22 19 months ago
I can always watch a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Classic comedy.
David_K Barry22 19 months ago
Beats any cartoon on TV today
LoveMETV22 Barry22 19 months ago
I think that is MeTV's philosophy as well. Although not a cartoon based network, what they choose for cartoons are good.
15inchBlackandWhite 19 months ago
Kind of eerie since Adolf Hitler actually DID commit suicide two years later. Prescient in the way The Simpsons was for predicting a particular billionaire would be President.
Or that Disney/ABC would buy out the film division of 20th Century Fox, who made "The Simpsons."
And yes they even had the escalator...LOL!
Michael 19 months ago
Did they enlarge Nixon's nose? I'm sure I've seen that picture,maybe somewhere that was making fun of him inthe late sixties.

Or maybe that's a truthful picture and he naturally looms exaggerated
texasluva 19 months ago
Very interesting article. I know as kids we were not looking for things like that or the story behind it. Then down the list I go and I knew I'd seen that face before. In fact below is the exact comic I had but sold some years ago on Ebay. At one time I had 4000 comics. Probably 200 Dell and Gold Key ones from 1950's-1970's. Also added another one with Disney Characters.


texasluva MrsPhilHarris 19 months ago
In terms of grades of those two comics. The top one is from around 1952 and fine minus . The bottom comic is around 1970 in Very Fine condition. Grading along with +or - or can be in-between for instance fine/very fine or Good/Very good and start from -----
NM Near Mint
VF Very Fine
FN Fine
VG Very Good
GD Good
FR Fair
PR Poor

Comics that are good and below are pretty tattered (well read, creased, tears, missing staples and such). Disney comics unless before 1960 are usually pretty common and do not sell for high prices unless like new. Supper hero's like Spiderman, X-Men and others that started up mostly in the early 60's are almost worth their weight in gold. Especially the first 10 comics or so in the starting run. Low-Grade Amazing Spiderman #1 is like 10 grand++
MrsPhilHarris texasluva 19 months ago
I wish I had a pristine super hero comic from back in the day, Ora int Mickey Mantle baseball card. 🤭
texasluva MrsPhilHarris 19 months ago
Don't we all. Yes the Mickey Mantle 1952 Rookie Card sold for 12.6 million just a few days ago. There's a real neat story about it and how it ended up in one mans hand. He held on to it for 31 years after buying it for $40,000 and look how much he made. The card is almost perfect and being from a pack of 1952 Topps cards. Perfect centering, back clean and like new. Slight toning at the top front but you really can not see it unless under microscope. It was a 9.5 out of 10 and next to impossible for such a rare and classic card. I had at one time about 40 cards from the 1952 set but none of the rarest ones. Those with the comics I sold on Ebay 10 years ago. Also had all of Mantle's cards from 1957 to 1968 but none were much more then a 4.0. Except one of his All-Star cards which was really nice (1958) .
cperrynaples texasluva 19 months ago
When did Yosemite Sam have white hair and mustache? Guess he's using Just For Men...LOL!
texasluva cperrynaples 19 months ago
Good question. Most all the comics have him with the red whiskers. One has it brown and the 1952 FC #420 comic (Aug-Sept) with Bugs has it white. FC meaning Four Color. That is the actual scan I did of my comic over 10 years ago before I sold it.
MrsPhilHarris 19 months ago
Loved the story. It must have been a fun place to work back then.
justjeff 19 months ago
As much as I love WB cartoons, the company (in its current incarnation) sucks!

Months back, I tried contacting them about a defective DVD product. They took weeks to answer, then asked for key information, which I'd provided. Then...crickets. Weeks went by and then they asked for the same information. I set them straight about that and more weeks went by without a word. FInally (to make an endless story short), they asked for a shipping address.

I gave them the address of a FedEx Pack & Ship store near me, because we have a key-entry lobby in our building and FedEx has no access. I told them I needed a tracking number so I'd know when to pick up the package. It's been a month by now since that email exchange, and still nothing.

I know they were just yanking my chain. During this mutil-month merry-go-round, I filed a complaint with their local BBB. Guess what? WB wouldn't even respond to that complaint.

The current ownership of WB is slowly but surely destroying a great legacy.
texasluva justjeff 19 months ago
Like everything else (mostly) She ain't what she used to be. Of course here we are talking about companies of the past and not some Old Grey Mare . Though they say you are what you are by the service provided. One reason is that I hate buying from 3rd parties unless the main one has good service.

I am afraid many things have changed. Disney owns like a lot of former companies even ESPN among others. I think WB is owned by AT&T. I think it is Warner Brothers Discovery? Hard to keep track of these billion dollar mergers and things. They yank a lot of chains to be sure.
Barry22 justjeff 19 months ago
Bugs would have taken care of it for you, then give you a big kiss.
Kramden62 texasluva 19 months ago
Yes, it is Warner Discovery now. When I went to see "The DC League of Super Pets" last week, I was surprised to see that byline under the WB shield at the beginning.
RichLorn justjeff 19 months ago
Don't waste your time with the BBB Jeff, they have no teeth. File your complaint with the Dept of Consumer Affairs.
justjeff RichLorn 19 months ago
Thanks, but I'm over it. There's more important things than dealing with WB. This is one of the rare examples where a fight between a consumer and a company becomes futile... and it speaks poorly of WB's reputation...
cperrynaples justjeff 19 months ago
Yes, some of us LOVE HBO MAX but HATE Discovery+! Are we going have to be forced to buy 2 services? At least Disney lets you split up Hulu & Disney+!
justjeff cperrynaples 19 months ago
I only have over-the-air TV and don't watch much of it. With my library of DVDs I have plenty of
movies, TV shows and animation to keep me entertained...
Peter_Falk_Fan 19 months ago
I didn't notice that newspaper line on #1, nor the picture on #5. But I remember the nude paintings (2) in "The Wabbit Who Came to Supper (1942)". One is not as detailed as the other.

I do remember seeing 'Friz' or 'Frizby' used in different cartoons.
Was that the one where Yosemite Sam tried to force Bugs to do a high dive? "I know this defies the law of gravity, but then I never studied law!"
Yep. "High Diving Hare" (1949).
Yosemite Sam: I paid my four bits to see the high-diving act and I'm a-gonna see the high-diving act.
Yep, he was a fan of the high diver and got angry when Bugs announced he wouldn't appear!
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