8 live-action moments that were snuck into classic cartoons

Errol Flynn appeared alongside Bugs Bunny!

Decades before movies like Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Space Jam, cartoon characters popped up in live-action movies. Gene Kelly danced with Jerry Mouse in Anchors Aweigh and Bugs Bunny appeared in dream sequences for two different films: Two Guys from Texas and My Dream is Yours.  

But animated and live-action combos also happened the other way around — short live-action moments were slipped into classic cartoons!

Well, sometimes they weren't that short. Read on to find out more about eight times when animation and live-action were combined.

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1. “Rabbit Hood”

This classic Bugs Bunny short features characters like the Sheriff of Nottingham and Little John but not Robin Hood, at least not at first. After Bugs thwarts the Sheriff’s attempts to catch him, even dressing up as the King of England, Little John announces Robin Hood’s arrival and sure enough this time he shows up — in live-action! A quick shot of Errol Flynn as the legendary rogue leaves Bugs astonished.

2. “Rabbit Every Monday”

Here is another Bugs short with a quick live-action moment. It opens with Bugs singing a parody of the Doris Day song “It’s Magic” from her very first film, Romance on the High Seas. When Yosemite Sam, looking more like a hillbilly hunter than cowboy, finally gets Bugs into his oven, Bugs pretends there’s a party going on inside. Sam eagerly joins and Bugs quickly shuts him in. But the jokes on Bugs because there really is a party in the oven now and in live-action, too! It’s a celebration shot from none other than Romance on the High Seas.

3. “The House of Tomorrow”

Looney Tunes director Tex Avery also made cartoons for MGM, including a series of futuristic “…of Tomorrow” shorts like “Car of Tomorrow” and “Farm of Tomorrow.” This first one in the series, about a technologically advanced mansion, showcased a television set with three separate screens. Each one featured a different live-action view including an Old West action scene “for the kiddies.”

4. “The Three Little Pups”

Tex Avery’s most famous MGM creation is the lethargic dog, Droopy. This particular cartoon is a play on the little pigs story with a lupine dogcatcher trying to get Droopy and his fellow pups Loopy and Snoopy (this short came out three years after Charlie Brown’s dog first appeared in newspaper comics). Like in Avery’s previous short, a live-action Western scene is shown on an animated TV and the wolf even appears riding a live-action horse at the end!

5. “Daffy Duck in Hollywood”

This Tex Avery Daffy short used live-action footage in a similar way except instead of a TV screen it was shown in a movie theater. Toward the end of the cartoon, Daffy switches out a film reel that a director is about to show a studio executive. When the director and the executive screen the footage, they see a funny live-action montage of everything from a lion in a zoo to a boxing match where the boxers just stand around.

6. “What’s Cookin’ Doc?”

This Bugs Bunny "cartoon" is nearly half live-action. It starts with shots of real Los Angeles and continues with footage from an Oscars ceremony. The live-action material was taken from the original 1937 version of A Star is Born. An animated Bugs sitting at a table by himself doing impressions of stars like Bing Crosby cuts back and forth with live-action footage of the whole room and a presenter announcing the best actor winner. Bugs thinks he’s a shoo-in but loses the Academy Award to James Cagney.

7. “Eatin’ on the Cuff or The Moth Who Came to Dinner”

This cartoon, in the running for Looney Tunes short with the longest title, starts off with a live-action piano player narrating a story about a moth in love with a honey bee. Actor Leo White plays the pianist but his voice is dubbed by Mel Blanc. The piano player also appears at the end where the animated moth eats his pants causing him to run off in embarrassment.  

8. “You Ought to Be in Pictures”

This iconic short showed animated Looney Tunes characters entering a live-action world decades before Space Jam. When the animators, including Bob Clampett and Chuck Jones, rush off to lunch, Porky and Daffy literally leap off the page to talk to producer Leon Schlesinger about moving up from cartoons to feature films. Director Friz Freleng decided to make Daffy a conniving trickster, instead of just a wacky goofball, which informed much of Daffy’s personality moving forward.

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Spiro 24 days ago
How about the Three Stooges when an x-ray of Curley's head has an animated cuckoo bird.

hrcopter 26 days ago
I’ll be 50 this year and remember seeing the Rabbit Hood one as a kid.
DuanneWalton 26 days ago
What was the Droopy cartoon where he was a matador and ended up with the live action senorita? Who was she?
RickBrosh DuanneWalton 25 days ago
Señor Droopy, and she was singer Lina Romay.
Retired56 26 days ago
kimmer 27 days ago
I am a mega Tex Avery fanatic....loved this ty!
vinman63 kimmer 26 days ago
He lost sight in his left eye which caused him to have problems with perception, i’m an awkward sense it was an artistic blessing.
kimmer vinman63 26 days ago
Just goes to show you....he was like the Wolfie...lol
MrsPhilHarris 27 days ago
When I was a kid I thought all New Year’s Eve parties were like the scene Rabbit Every Monday.
Corey 27 days ago
I remember there was a toon where Jack Benny dreamt that he was a cartoon mouse.
moax429 Corey 26 days ago
"The Mouse that Jack Built" (1958).
Andybandit 27 days ago
These look like fun cartoons, with the scene from shows and movies in them. I never saw them.
Dan 28 days ago
One of my favorites is the saloon dancing girl scene in the cartoon "Daffy's Inn Trouble" I have never found out which movie that scene is from. Does anyone here know?
LittleMissNoName 28 days ago
Hollywood Composer Henry Mancini surprise cameo appearnce at the end of a Pink Panther cartoon.
geatornez82 28 days ago
I've always wondered what that movie clip in "Rabbit Every Monday" was from!
TofuAlien 28 days ago
Wow, I remember most, but not all, of these.
The only one that I couldn't remember was “Eatin’ on the Cuff or The Moth Who Came to Dinner". I just watched it on YouTube.
teire 28 days ago
I remember the first time I saw the Errol Flynn/Robin Hood cameo. Even tho I was a kid, I thought it was hilarious and clever. We watched a lot of old movies in my family — Picture For a Sunday Afternoon ran a lot of the classics.
Peter_Falk_Fan teire 28 days ago
"Nah, that's silly. It couldn't be him." “Rabbit Every Monday” was a good one, too.
One of my favorite moments in one of my favorite Bugs Bunny cartoons!
Moverfan Peter_Falk_Fan 27 days ago
It was years before I knew who that was in Rabbit Hood (or that Errol Flynn was such a big deal), but I still remember Bugs dressed as the King, just clubbing the Sheriff of Nottingham silly as he "knights" him--"Arise, Sir Loin of Beef!". (Think about it--you'll get it.)
Peter_Falk_Fan Moverfan 27 days ago
The knight titles are my favorite part of that cartoon. Milk of Magnesia is another good one.
vinman63 Moverfan 26 days ago
Funny, my favorite is Curly Baron of grey matter
wanderer2575 Moverfan 16 days ago
WHAM! "Arise, Earl of Cloves." WHAM! "Arise, Essence of Myrrh." "Milk of Magnesia." "Quarter of Ten." (aside) "Got lots of stamina!"
Arnold_Ziffel4_life 28 days ago
I remember all of these, I can't stop watching these cartoons, I just LOVE them! Don't y'all?
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