The Connection Between Bugs Bunny and a 1930’s Romantic Comedy
Did you guys know that carrots are actually bad for rabbits? They’re too high in sugar and can lead to tooth decay and other serious health defects in our furry little friends. So why did Bugs Bunny eat them all the time? Because of Clark Gable, that’s why.
The reference might not seem so obvious to us know, but when Bugs first appeared in theaters over seventy years ago the audience immediately understood that when Bugs ate a carrot and talked with his mouth full; he was parodying Clark Cable in Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night (1934).
It turns out that, according to Friz Freleng’s unpublished memoirs, that It Happened One Night was one the animators favorite films and that at least three characteristics of Bugs Bunny may have been based on the film. Besides Clark Gable inspiring Bugs’ carrot addiction; Freleng said that Bugs fast-talking personality was partially based on Oscar Shapely, a minor character in the film who consistently referred to Gable as Doc. Not only that, the famous Rabbit could have been named after Bugs Dooley; an imaginary character mentioned in the film. The personalities of Yosemite Sam and Pepe LePew were also both inspired by characters in the film.
Sure, It Happened One Night is considered to be one the best romantic comedies of all time, and it might have been directed by Frank Capra, who’s arguably the greatest American film director ever; but this might be one of those rare cases where the parody has outlived the original reference.
Within the space of a single year, Legendary Pictures have delivered two startlingly brilliant kaiju films, under the direction of two of the most interesting and dedicated directors possible. Pacific Rim is a glorious, no-holds-barred tribute to the glory days of the kaiju eiga, and Godzilla is an epic rebirth to one of cinema’s greatest icons, which exceeded practically everyone’s expectations. Even if these turn out to be the studio’s only forays into the kaiju genre, I’m sure I speak on behalf of the fandom in thanking Legendary for delivering these two extraordinary films, which I personally know mean so much to so many people. Thank you, legendary, and here’s hoping you grow into the new house of kaiju.
Bette Davis in Satan Met a Lady (1936). Interestingly enough, this footage wasn’t used in the film; another angle was edited in when Davis says this line. The shot comes from the trailer, which is why the quality is, alas, not as good as one might hope.