What’s up, Doc?

Bugs Bunny made his first official appearance in a A Wild Hare, released seventy-five years ago on July 27, 1940.  (A prototypical “Wascally Wabbit” first debuted in Porky’s Hare Hunt, in 1937.)

Footage from “Bond Rally, 1941.” Excerpted from Uncle Sam Speaks, ca. 1987, a compilation of U.S. savings bond and stamp promotions by celebrities used in a National Archives and Records Administration exhibit entitled “Uncle Sam Speaks: Posters and Broadsides.”

(Image of Bugs Bunny copyrighted by Warner Bros.)

Bugs Bunny's 75th Birthday: A Quiet Celebration of His 'Wild' Debut
Happy Birthday, Bugs Bunny! The world’s favorite rabbit turns 75 this month: July 27, 1940, saw the debut of the cotton-tailed character's first cartoon short “Wild Hare,” directed by Tex Avery. Th...
By Tim Gray

The world’s favorite rabbit turns 75 this month: July 27, 1940, saw the debut of the cotton-tailed character’s first cartoon short “Wild Hare,” directed by Tex Avery.

There won’t be much hoopla to celebrate, because Warner Bros. doesn’t observe the birthdays of animated characters. And there’s some logic to that, especially in Mr. Bunny’s case.

There had been earlier variations: A wisecracking rabbit, voiced by Mel Blanc, debuted in the 1938 “Porky’s Hare Hunt” but the speech patterns and look were very different. In the next few years, WB’s Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons featured other rabbits .

But the 1940 “Wild Hare” was the first one where Bugs looked like himself, sounded like himself and, significantly, it was the first time he uttered the immortal words “What’s up, Doc?”


Here’s my own tribute to dat wascally wabbit and hunter taunter himself. I drew a evolution sketch of o'l Bugsy for a planned inked and colored piece. What do you guys think so far? ^_^  By the way, I’m thinking of also adding Happy Rabbit from his first appearance in “Porky’s Hare Hunt” and the new Bugs Bunny from “Wabbit! A Looney Tunes Production”.


July 27 1940, Bugs Bunny made his official cartoon debut, in A Wild Hare. 

While Porky’s Hare Hunt was the first Warner Bros. cartoon to feature a Bugs Bunny-like rabbit, A Wild Hare, directed by Tex Avery and released on July 27, 1940, is widely considered to be the first official Bugs Bunny cartoon. It is the first film where both Elmer Fudd and Bugs (both redesigned by Bob Givens) are shown in their fully developed forms as hunter and tormentor, respectively; the first in which Mel Blanc uses what would become Bugs’ standard voice; and the first in which Bugs uses his catchphrase, “What’s up, Doc?" A Wild Hare was a huge success in theaters and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Cartoon Short Subject.