5 best Elmer Fudd cartoons on his 82nd birthday

Be vewy vewy excited. We found the best Elmer Fudd shorts!

Image: Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies Comics #123

Question: Is it rabbit season or duck season? While many a seasoned hunter can certainly say, there is one who never seems to know what he should be looking for. Good ol’ Elmer Fudd, hunter extraordinaire.

On July 17, 1937, Tex Avery and Chuck Jones introduced the world to a new addition to the Merry Melodies family with "Egghead Rides Again." Audiences met Egghead, an aptly named character with a large nose, eccentric costumes, and an egg-shaped head. Between 1937 and 1939, 12 more cartoons featured the harmless, hapless character.

It wasn’t until March 2, 1940, that Egghead took on a more familiar appearance. In his debut in the short film "Elmer’s Candid Camera," the character appears to be in transition between the two personalities. In this short, Fudd's face has been defined with proper cheeks and a chin, and his voice has been modified to take on the characterstics that we still associate with him today. He was still, however, clad in Egghead’s classic suit jacket and ascot.

Whereas many of the Merrie Melodies characters appear to have a straight-forward timeline for development, the history of Fudd's evolution is muddled. According to animation historian Michael Barrier, "The Egghead-Elmer story is actually a little messy, my sense being that most of the people involved, whether they were making the films or publicizing them, not only had trouble telling the characters apart but had no idea why they should bother trying."

Longtime fans even believe this episode is what turns Egghead into Elmer Fudd symbolically, as an early Bugs Bunny gives him the runaround when trying to capture a photo. After spending the day trying to take his photographs, Fudd is driven to madness, crying out, "Wabbits!" over and over again as he jumps into a lake. This, many believe, was the signal that times were changing for Fudd, and would eventually lead to him begging the audience’s silence as he hunts down the evasive bunny that started it all.

In honor of 82 years of "wascally" fun, here are our top five Elmer Fudd cartoons.

1. What’s Opera, Doc? (1957)

This cartoon is one of the best Merrie Melodie pieces, period. The opera spoof is a parody heavily influenced by the work of Richard Wagner, a 19th-century German composer. His most famous pieces are cited in this cartoon, which borrows much of it's score from the four operas that make up The Ring Cycle and an additional opera entitled Tannhäuser. Popular tunes that audiences know immediately include "The Ride of the Valkyries" (reframed as the tune "Kill the Wabbit") and the "Pilgrim's Chorus" from Tannhäuser (revamped as "O Bwünnhilde, you'w so wuvwy," "Return my love," and the closing scene.) A seven-minute classical comedy that has made millions laugh time and time again, this cartoon easily takes the top spot.

Image: Warner Bros.

2. The Rabbit of Seville (1950)

This is an all-time favorite of many Fudd fans. When Bugs and Fudd chase their way onto the stage of an opera house, they find themselves in the middle of the Rossini classic The Barber of Seville. Between the various serums and clays that Bugs uses to beautify (and stupefiy) Fudd and the hilarious adaptation of the opera's main plot points, this cartoon is often cited as an introduction to classical music for fans all over the world. Bravo, Elmer!

Image: Warner Bros.

3. The Hunting Trilogy (1951-1953)

Okay, this pick is cheating just a little bit, but there's no way to choose only one! "The Hunting Trilogy" refers to the three hunting-themed cartoons that star Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd. These shorts, also known as the Rabbit Season/Duck Season shorts, are entitled Rabbit Fire, Rabbit Seasoning and Duck! Rabbit, Duck! The plot is similar in all three; Fudd is on a hunt for his seasonal animal, and in an attempt to distract him, either Bugs or Daffy work to redirect his attention. 

Image: Warner Bros.

4. Wideo Wabbit (1956)

Bugs Bunny doesn't see what's coming to him when he an ad in the newspaper wanting a rabbit for a TV show at the QTTV-TV studio. Unbeknownst to Bugs, it is a new hunting show starring Elmer Fudd called The Sportsman's Hour, a show intent on demonstrating the proper way to track, hunt and "b'ow the wabbit to smithereens!"

Image: Warner Bros.

5. Wabbit Twouble (1941)

This episode shows off one of the many iterations of Elmer Fudd. Elmer Fudd is trying to take a vacation by getting in touch with Mother Nature at Jellostone National Park. He sets up camp right on top of Bugs' rabbit hole, which ends his rest and relaxation almost immediately. Between a pesky rabbit and an angry black bear, how is anyone supposed to unwind? This episode is a hilarious new take on the character, giving Elmer Fudd a refreshing new goal to work towards and audiences an unexpected schtick. 

Image: Warner Bros.

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RobCertSDSCascap 2 months ago
Not much of a list: 2 opera cartoons, and 3 that are nearly identical.
How about...
1. The Unruly Hare
2. Robot Rabbit
3. Slick Hare
4. Fresh Hare
5. Hare Do

Waynesgirl344 2 months ago
I and my family truly miss the great tons. Fred, Scooby, Bugs, Foghorn, the Roadrunner, Sylvester & Tweety, Speedy and so many more. They were harmless fun programs. Better that what they have today.
dave 4 months ago
I remember an episode where Elmer Fudd got revenge on Bugs. They showed him sitting in the animator's chair. He did the same thing Bugs did to Daffy
Mark 4 months ago
"I am Elmer J. Fudd, millionaire. I own a mansion and a yacht." (Bugs Bunny)

"I may be a scwewy wabbit, but I'm not going to Alcatwaz." (Elmer J. Fudd)

Hare Brush, 1955
Alan 4 months ago
"Oh Bwunhilda, you're so Wuvwe...."
Yes, I know it, I can't help it..."
Longhorn 4 months ago
How could they omit "The Big Snooze"? "The rabbits are coming! Hooray! Hooray!"
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