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What’s Up, Doc: Top 10 Classic Looney Tunes Cartoons!

by Kim Potts, posted May 3rd 2011

Looney Tunes
Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and their Looney Tunes brethren are back in TV land tonight with the premiere of Cartoon Network’s ‘The Looney Tunes Show’ (8PM ET), a fresh spin that puts our beloved cartoon faves in a cul-de-sac setting … yep, Bugs has gone to the ‘burbs.In honor of the Looney gang’s comeback, we’re counting down our 10 all-time favorite classic Looney Tunes. Narrowing it down to just 10 was tough, and other ‘toon fans probably have a thing or two to add about their own favorites, so, sufferin’ succotash, feel free to sound off in the comments.
10. ‘One Froggy Evening’ (1955)
Stars: Michigan J. Frog
What’s the hubbub, Bub:Little did that construction worker know what he was in for when he unearthed the singing frog at a demolition site! Michigan J. Frog (as he would later become known) spelled ruin for every man who tried to capitalize on his ability to belt out tunes like ‘Hello! Ma Baby.’ Until the 1990s, anyway, when he was the mascot for the then-successful WB TV network.

9. ‘The Scarlet Pumpernickel’ (1950)
Stars: Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd and Sylvester the Cat
What’s the hubbub, Bub: Upset that he was being typecast in comedies, Daffy went to Warner Bros. exec J.L. and pitched his own drama script: ‘The Scarlet Pumpernickel’,’ a story thousands of pages long (penned by “Daffy Dumas Duck”) that had no ending and featured Daffy as a Zorro-ish hero who had to save the fair Melissa from marrying the Grand Duke (Sylvester), a man (er, cat) she didn’t love. As Daffy pitched an increasingly over-the-top plot at a feverish pitch, it became evident that he was out of story, prompting a ‘Scarlet Pumpernickel’ ending so harsh that it’s often edited when shown on TV.

8. ‘What’s Opera, Doc?’ (1957)
Stars: Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd
What’s the hubbub, Bub: You can take in an entire performance of Wagner’s ‘The Ring.’ Or you can watch this Bugs Bunny spoof of it … “Kill the wabbit!” We know which one we choose.

7. ‘Rabbit Seasoning’ (1952)
Stars: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd
What’s the hubbub, Bub: In this second of three classic hunting-themed ‘toons with Bugs and pals, the bunny and Daffy yet again argue about whether it’s duck season or wabbit season. But this time, Daffy takes an unfortunate series of gunshots to the bill when he experiences “pronoun trouble”:

6. ‘Hair-Raising Hare’ (1946)
Stars: Bugs Bunny
What’s the hubbub, Bub: We didn’t know his name yet, but the big red furry monster we’ve come to know (and love) as Gossamer was introduced in this ‘toon. Bugs met up with the monster when he followed — in his most Groucho Marx-ian stalk — a wind-up female bunny into the lair of an evil scientist (we knew he was evil because the words “Evil Scientist” were blinking in big lights). The doc’s nefarious plans were for naught, though, as Bugs charmed Big Red with a manicure (“My, I’ll bet you monsters lead innnnnteresting lives”) and scared him off by alerting him to the presence of the audience before Bugs himself was tempted again by the robo-rabbit babe.

5. ‘Rabbit of Seville’ (1950)
Stars: Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd
What’s the hubbub, Bub: Elmer just wanted to shoot him some rabbit, but Bugs had other, more musical, plans. As Elmer chased him into a theater and onto a stage, Bugs donned barber gear and gave his foe a shave, prepped a fruit salad on Elmer’s noggin and used everything from a can opener to a paint brush to work pedicure magic on Fudd’s feet. The ‘toon also gave Looney fans a peek at both Bugs and Elmer in drag: Bugs as Carmen Miranda and Elmer as the bride Bugs dumps into the cake of ‘The Marriage of Figaro,’ reminding us of the ‘Seinfeld’ episode where Elaine tells Jerry all his knowledge of high culture comes from Bugs Bunny cartoons. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

4. ‘Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2th Century’ (1953)
Stars: Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and Marvin the Martian
What’s the hubbub, Bub: Daffy, a.k.a. space traveler Duck Dodgers, and his trusty companion Porky, a.k.a. Eager Young Space Cadet, have miraculously found their way to the Planet X (actually, they followed planets A thru W to get there), which they plan to claim in the name of Earth. Unfortunately, good ol’ Marv arrives at the same time and wants Planet X for his own, leading to a battle of (nit)wits that ends, of course, with the complete annihilation of Planet X. No worries for Duck, though; he persevered and even got his own spin-off cartoon series, ‘Duck Dodgers,’ on Cartoon Network in 2003.

3. ‘Duck! Rabbit, Duck!’ (1953)
Stars: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd
What’s the hubbub, Bub: Was it rabbit season, mongoose season, fiddler crab season? Daffy was a “duck bent on self preservation,” but despite his best efforts to convince his stooge, Elmer Fudd, that it was anything but duck-hunting season, Bugs, as always, kept one-upping him. Even in the end, when it appeared Bugs and Daffy had been in cahoots, Bugs proved what a dirty skunk he was, earning one of Daffy’s trademark “You’re desthpicable!” lines.

2. ‘Duck Amuck’ (1953)
Stars: Daffy Duck and … a very special guest
What’s the hubbub, Bub: Daffy may think of himself as the Rodney Dangerfield of the Looney Tunes set, but this gem is easily one of the all-time greatest Daffy, and Looney, performances. In it, Daffy was tormented by an unseen animator who constantly changed his shape (like turning his head into a flower) and his scenery (making a snowy background into a spring meadow while Daffy’s skiing), and, in general, made Daffy’s life more difficult just for the sport of it. Daffy, while breaking the fourth wall, expressed his dismay throughout — “Thanks for the sour persimmons, cousin” is a line that just cannot be quoted often enough — but it’s only when the animator tired of using Daffy as his plaything that we saw the hand that had been rocking Daffy’s world. And no, in case you’ve been living under a rock — a very sad, sans-Tunes rock — we won’t spoil the identity of the antagonistic artist … check it out for yourself in the clip below.

1. ‘Baseball Bugs’ (1946)
Stars: Bugs Bunny
What’s the hubbub, Bub: This classic actually starred Bugs and the Gas-House Gorillas, though, as always, it was Bugs who stole the show. He singlehandedly took on the muscled mugs in a game of baseball (“Now pitching for the Tea Totallers: Bugs Bunny. Playing first base: Bugs Bunny. Second base: Bugs Bunny. Third base: Bugs Bunny. Catching: Bugs Bunny”) that saw him playing every position on his team, taking a taxi to the “Umpire State Building” to catch a ball and delivering to a “pathetic palooka” a “powerful, paralyzing, perfect, pachydermous, percussion pitch.” Needless to say, Bugs emerged victorious, 96-95, in the end.


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