The Warner Brothers film A Wild Hare opened in theaters on this date in 1940. The cartoon featured both Elmer Fudd and the first appearance of his catch-phrase—”Be vewy, vewy quiet, I’m hunting wabbits”—and the first official appearance of Bugs Bunny.
A character that resembled the eventual Bugs Bunny character appeared in other Warner Brothers cartoons through the 1930s, but he was usually silent except for a guffawing laugh. In one cartoon, the character was referred to as “Happy Rabbit.”
The Bugs Bunny in A Wild Hare was different: He looked like the Bugs Bunny that fans know and love to this day and the first line he speaks in this short became his own catch-phrase; he asks Elmer by way of introduction, “What’s up, Doc?” He has the gray body and white hands (like he is wearing formal gloves) and has no shortage of tricks for use in eluding the dim Elmer Fudd.
Bugs Bunny is 76 today. Here is the film, A Wild Hare:
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The worst air show accident in history took place on this date in 2002 near Lviv, Ukraine. A pilot and co-pilot taking a Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jet through roll-overs low to the ground lost control and ejected to safety. The plane plowed through the crowd on the ground; 77 were killed and more than 500 suffered burns and broken bones.
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Bob Hope died 13 years ago today.
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Joseph Mitchell was born on this date in 1908. He was one of the great writers for The New Yorker, but he is perhaps remembered as much for his three-decade-long writer’s block as for his profiles of New York’s fringe characters in the 1930s and ’40s—he went to his office at the magazine every single weekday for years, but he published nothing after his 1965 story and book Joe Gould’s Secret, which was, ironically, a true story about a historian with writer’s block. It was later made into a film with Stanley Tucci.
Keenan Wynn was born 100 years ago today. His great scene with Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove (“I think you’re some kind of deviated prevert”):
Vincent Canby was born in 1924 on this date.
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Norman Lear is 94 today. He has a new documentary out and was a part of a screening of it at the Democratic National Convention this week. Jack Higgins is 87. Jerry Van Dyke is 85. Peggy Fleming is 68. Yahoo Serious is 63. Carol Leifer is 60. Maria Grazia Cucinotta is 48 today. Triple H is 47. Alex Rodriguez is 41.
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