Was Mel Blanc allergic to carrots?
Blanc is still known for his carrot-chomping creation, Bugs Bunny. We fact-check an urban legend that claims the voice actor was risking his health for those scenes.
For years, the factoid has been circulating in trivia columns, "did you know?" lists and viral tweets that claim Mel Blanc, the "man of a thousand voices" behind Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, countless other beloved cartoons, and yes, Bugs Bunny, was allergic to carrots. The fact also sometimes goes on to say that this is why Blanc would chew carrots for those moments where Bugs was munching on one, then spit them out instead of swallowing.
Well, it isn't entirely untrue... but a lot of it is.
First, the truth: Blanc did indeed spit out carrots while recording those scenes where Bugs punctuated his sentences with a healthy chomp. However, it wasn't because he was allergic. It was something much more mundane.
"First of all, I don't especially like carrots, especially not raw," Blanc wrote in his 1988 book That's Not All, Folks! "And second, I found it impossible to chew, swallow, and be ready to say my next line."
They tried to find other options, but there was just no replacement for that carroty crunch. "We tried substituting other vegetables, including apples and celery, but with unsatisfactory results," Blanc wrote. "The solution was to stop recording so that I could spit out the carrot into a wastebasket and then proceed with the script. In the course of a recording session I usually went through enough carrots to fill several."
Even though he didn't like carrots, Blanc still appreciated what Bugs did for the popularity of the vegetable. "Bugs Bunny did for carrots what Popeye the Sailor did for spinach. How many lip-locked, head-swiveling children were coerced into eating their carrots by mothers cooing, 'But Bugs Bunny eats his carrots.' If only they had known."