Happy 81st Birthday Bugs!

Bugs Bunny is 81 today! He made his official debut in the cartoon “A Wild Hare” on July 27, 1940. It was one of many appearances with Elmer Fudd.

Bugs and Elmer – A Wild Hare (1940)

Elmer was one of many who faced off against Bugs over the years. Other’s included Yosemite Sam, Daffy Duck, Pete Puma, Wile E. Coyote, and many more. Off the top of my head I jotted down my favorite Bugs Bunny Cartoons. I had to look up the titles, but I remember them all so well. I am sure I am forgetting many of them.

I won’t go into many details on all of these, but if someone were to ask me which Bugs Bunny Cartoons were a “must see” this is my list. Here there are (mostly) in chronological order:

Baseball Bugs – 1946

Who can forget the 96-95 win that Bugs chocked up against the Gashouse Gorillas??

Racketeer Rabbit – 1946

This was remade in 1954 as Bugs and Thugs with a VERY different Rocky. What is great about this short is that Rocky is a direct copy of Edward G. Robinson. Hugo is a dead ringer for Peter Lorre.

This is probably one of my favorites. The guy doing Robinson’s voice is great!

When Bugs comes in as “Mugsy” flipping a coin like George Raft, it kills me. So many great gags in this one, including “Curtains” and “Gimme the dough.”

Bowery Bugs – 1949

Remember how Bugs drove Steve Brody crazy enough to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge??

Long Haired Hair – 1949

Giovanni Jones is practicing at home for his concert. As he is singing, he begins to sing along with Bugs who is playing a banjo, a harp, a tuba, etc… Needless to say, he is angry. He destroys all the instruments, but Bugs get’s even at the end.

“What do they do in Mississippi, where skies are drippy?”

I wonder how they looped that note for so long!!

Rabbit Hood – 1949

My buddy John posted a picture from this on my Facebook page today. I told him that this was definitely on my list of favorites. Bugs squares off against the Sheriff of Nottingham in this one. Who can forget when the Sheriff is Knighted?

Arise “Sir Loin of Beef” (BANG) Arise “Earl of Cloves” (BANG) Arise “Duke of Brittingham” (BANG) Arise Baron of Munchausen” (BANG) Arise “Essence of Myrrh” (BANG) Arise “Milk of Magnesia” (BANG) ……

When the Sheriff of Nottingham starts singing London Bridge is Falling Down … I lose it every time!

Love the Errol Flynn cameo at the end, too!

Hillbilly Hare – 1950

I have blogged about this one before. How can you not love Bugs taking over for the Square Dance Caller and having these two hillbillies beat the snot out of each other??

“I pull your beard, you pull mine”

It’s a classic!

Rabbit of Seville – 1950

There is a meme that floats around the internet that says “All I know about classical music, I learned from Bugs Bunny!” This is one of a few cartoons that feature classical music. This one The Marriage of Figaro and The Barber of Seville. It again features Elmer Fudd. Just looking at the pictures – you can hear the music, can’t you??!!

Bunny Hugged – 1951

Bugs Bunny out wits a wrestler known as The Crusher!

I’m sure many of bugs tricks went against all of the rules of wrestling!

Much like the scene with the Sheriff of Nottingham singing London Bridge, the scene where the Crusher is “Just passing by…” makes me laugh out loud!

Ballot Box Bunny – 1951

Yosemite Sam is running for Mayor. So Is Bugs. The campaign is on.

Sam wants Bugs to play a song on the piano. He has rigged it to explode when Bugs hits a specific key. Of course, Bugs keeps playing it wrong.

Frustrated at his playing it wrong, Sam jumps in and plays it right … (BOOM!)

Rabbit’s Kin – 1952

A rabbit named Shorty is running from Pete Puma. Our pal, Bugs, helps him out.

Pete Puma is voiced by the great Stan Freberg!

The great gag in the short is “How many lumps do you want?” referring to sugar. Pete answers “Oh, three or four” and gets whopped on the head with a hammer or something

Bully For Bugs – 1953

Another great adversary of Bugs – The Bull from this cartoon..

Favorite scene: The Mexican Hat Dance

Baby Buggy Bunny – 1954

Bugs finds a baby outside the rabbit hole.

The baby, however, is none other than Baby Face Finster, a known criminal!

It doesn’t take long for Bugs to figure it out. One of my favorite scenes is when Bugs is spanking him and there are all kinds of weapons falling out of his diaper and bed clothes.

Ali Baba Bunny – 1957

The greed of Daffy Duck is so well exhibited in this one. Upon popping out of the hole they are digging, Bugs and Daffy are in a cave filled with riches! Bugs doesn’t see it, but Daffy does and he pushes Bugs back into the hole claiming “It’s Mine! All Mine!”

This cartoon brought about the catch phrase “Hassan Chop!”

What’s Opera, Doc? – 1957

Here is another example of classical music in cartoons – What more can I say other than “Kill Da Wabbit!”

Show Biz Bugs – 1957

Another great example of the Daffy Duck/Bugs Bunny feud.

Daffy’s dangerous stunt wows them all in the end ….

The Unmentionables – 1963

Cashing in on the classic show The Untouchables, this one features Bugs, Rocky and Mugsy.

Unlike the Edward G. Robinson character, this Rocky is much different. I always love when he says, “Shuddap!”

The Hunting Trilogy – Rabbit Fire (1951), Rabbit Seasoning (1952), and Duck! Rabbit! Duck! (1953)

All so very similar, but all equally great!!

Rabbit Fire – 1951

Shoot Him Now! Shoot Him Now! Great bit from Rabbit Seasoning.

Rabbit Seasoning – 1952

Bugs has brought many laughs to me both as a child and as an adult! I am sure I missed some of your favorites, so please feel free to comment with them.

Happy 81st Birthday, Bugs!

Square Dancing … in Gym Class?

Sandra Boynton writes some of the best children’s books. They are perfect reads for Ella right now. They have great pictures, fun verses, and many of them are actually songs. I would say that they are just as fun for us to read as they are for Ella to listen to! This week, Sam was reading “Barnyard Dance.”

She came to the lyric that read “…with a BAA and a MOO and a COCKADOODLEDOO, everybody promenade two by two.” She looked at me and asked me what “promenade” meant. I told her it was a term used in square dancing. She looked at me funny when I answered. Without her saying a word, I knew her facial expression was asking, “How in the world do you know that!?”

(In square dancing, and in particular modern Western square dance, when a promenade is called it is understood to be a “couples promenade” involving all four couples. The couples assume a promenade position, each turn to the right as a unit, and walk counter-clockwise around the ring.)

Promenade

I explained that i knew what it meant because in high school gym class we had a few weeks were we danced. This led to an even more baffled look from my wife. I looked at her and said, “You didn’t have to square dance in gym class?” Matter of factly, she said, “No. We did things that you normally do in gym class!” I was surprised and angry at the same time.

We were the only students forced into promenading, circling left, allemande lefting, and do si do-ing with members of the opposite sex?! Of all the things we did in gym class, this was the ONE thing that every one (at least everyone I talked to) hated! We were teenagers and we were being forced to hold hands and stuff! It was SO uncomfortable. I remember Mr. and Mrs. B (our gym teachers were husband and wife) making us “rehearse” these square dance moves over and over. It was torture!!

They would play the music for the dances off of an old turntable with a microphone placed by the speaker so we could hear it. The one song that I remember square dancing to the most was Dean Martin’s Houston. I am sure that Dean was not singing on the song that they played. Instead, the lyrics were changed to give the various square dance calls. When it was time to promenade, that was where the chorus (“Going back to Houston. Houston. Houston.”) would be sung.

For years, I tried to block the traumatic weeks of square dancing from my mind. I eventually succeeded, until a day in 1993. I was filling in on Honey Radio for Richard D and doing his Top 12 at 12 show which focused on the year 1965. In the countdown that day was Dean Martin’s Houston. It all came back! The Do Si Do’s, the Promenades, and Ladies In, and Men Sashay! Who square dances in gym class?!?

To this day, whenever I think about square dancing, three things immediately come to mind

First, the 1950 Bugs Bunny cartoon Hillbilly Hare and the famous Square Dance number in it.

Hillbilly Hare – 1950

Second, The Dean Martin Show with Roy Rogers. (Funny how there is another Dean Martin connection to square dancing, huh?) Dean never rehearsed his show. So when they taped this square dance number, the dancers are literally pushing and pulling him around and showing him where to go. It is just awesome to watch….

Dean Martin, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans Square Dance

And finally, Gym Class!!!

For whatever it is worth, I learned how to do the Hustle and the Bus Stop in gym class. Thanks to Mr. & Mrs. B, I can line dance at wedding receptions….well, the Hustle, anyway.

Tunes from Toons

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I spent a lot of time in the car with my sons this past weekend.  My oldest son asked me if I remembered some of the shows he used to watch as a kid.  We began listing the shows he and his brother watched and had many laughs as we remembered specific episodes.  This led to us talking about songs from shows. With every song we recalled, the more I thought about the possibility of it being a topic for a blog.

The picture above may be a little misleading.  The Beatles cartoons all featured a Beatles song.  There were cartoons that were about bands like Josie and the Pussycats, Jabberjaw, Butch Cassidy, The Banana Splits, The Archies, and The Chipmunks.  I am not talking about these cartoons.  This blog is about songs that were featured in cartoons NOT about bands.

The songs I wrote down are all songs that I remember instantly when I think about these cartoons.  They are NOT the theme songs to the cartoons themselves, although many of those theme songs are just awesome.  Some of these songs will stem from cartoons my kids watched, while many will be from toons I watched growing up.

I also want to point out that these songs are NOT from movies.  Almost every Disney film has 2-5 songs that come from them.  Yes, they are animated cartoons, but I am specifically talking about non-movie songs.

Let me start with a classic.  In the Bugs Bunny cartoon “Hillbilly Hare”, an innocent square dance becomes a physical brawl between two brothers (thanks to Bugs).  This scene and song was something my morning show partner and I talked about on the air one day!

My brother grew up watching Animaniacs.  We always laughed that they had a character based on Perry Como, who they called Perry Coma. Anyway, they have a few songs that stand out – one naming all the countries in the world, another naming all the presidents (up to Clinton, if I remember right), and one naming the all the states and their capitals.  I wish I had this song to memorize when I was growing up.

There was a season of Scooby Doo where they would play songs during the “chase scenes”.  There was always one song that stood out for me.  I never knew the name of it until I found it on an album of Scooby Doo songs.  It was called “Tell Me, Tell Me”.  Remember this one?

My boys watched a lot of SpongeBob Squarepants.  There were some episodes that were very funny, and others I found extra annoying.  One song from this show that my boys just loved was “Sweet Victory”, which they performed at the “Bubble Bowl”

They weren’t all “Rock” songs, but the Flintstones certainly had a few that stick out to me.  Hoagy Carmichael (one of the great songwriters of all time) appeared as himself on the show and sang “Yabba Dabba Doo”, there was the Soft Soap jingle, “Listen to the Rockin’ Bird”, and my favorite – The Bedrock Twitch, sung by Rock Roll (or in this clip, Fred).

There are some who would argue that the best song from the Flintstones came from Pebbles and Bamm Bamm, so here is that one.

There was one song from the Jetsons that I always remember.  Judy loves singer Jet Screamer (played by Howie Morris).  Elroy’s secret code gets sent into a song writing contest and becomes his next hit record.  Remember Eep Opp Ork Ah Ah?

An earworm that drove parents everywhere crazy came from the Ren & Stimpy Show.  Time to get Happy Happy with Stinky Wizzleteats…

The Simpson’s has had their share of amazing music in their over 30 years on the air.  There have even been albums of just music from the show.  There is one little gem that I can’t get enough of – and it is only about 45 seconds long.  Homer becomes a Stonecutter and they have their own song!  Yes, I often hit repeat when this comes on the iPod.

Ok, technically, this entire cartoon is a song.  I have to include it on my list, because, well, it’s my list and I love this!  Stan Freberg tells the story of the Three Little Bops with music by Shorty Rogers!

If I had to pick one cartoon that I LOVED watching with my kids, it would be Phineas and Ferb.  If you have never seen the show, its just plain fun with a new song in almost every episode.  Candace is always trying to bust her brothers (Phineas and Ferb – who make the most out of every single day of summer) while Perry (their pet platypus – who is also a secret agent) tries to save the Tri-State area from the evil scientist Dr. Doofenshmirtz.

There are many songs I could pick from (My Undead Mummy and Me, My Nemesis, My Goody Two Shoes Brother, Busted, S.I.M.P – Squirrels In My Pants, and Perry’s Theme), but I will turn to one of their early episodes for my favorite.

In one episode, Flop Starz, they decide to write a hit song.  Their mom explains what a “one hit wonder” is and they are off to write it!  The result – Gitchee Gitchee Goo.  The song itself has been reviewed by critics who have said that the song could have easily been a hit song!

Your turn.  What songs do YOU remember from your favorite cartoon shows?

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