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Cross-Dressing

Posted in WB Cartoon Companion on March 5, 2004

    Much has been made of the large number of times Bugs Bunny has appeared in women’s clothing in his cartoons. All sorts of outrageous and, in my opinion, slanderous assumptions and accusations have been leveled at Bugs, with dark hints made about his character. If anyone should be examined, it should be the Warner Brothers cartoonists, who were not above appearing in drag themselves, as shown in a gag reel made by the cartoonists, an excerpt of which is seen in the video of Chuck Amuck.

    In the following cartoons, Bugs appears in some form of ladies garb or does a female-like turn:

  • Hare-um Scare-um (Hardaway/Dalton, 1939). Prototypical Bugs dresses up as a female dog to spoof the hunting dog.
  • Elmer’s Pet Rabbit (Jones, 1941). Another prototypical Bugs dances with Fudd and addresses him saying, Katherine Hepburn-like, “You dance divinely, really you do”.
  • The Heckling Hare (Avery, 1941). Takes the dog’s flowers coquétteishly, saying “For me? Oh, you darling!”
  • The Wabbit Who Came to Supper (Freleng, 1942). Appears in womens lingerie and screams as Fudd opens door on him.
  • Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid (Clampett, 1942). Dances with Beaky Buzzard and asks “Why don’t we do this more often?”. Also appears interrupted mid-shower by the bird, and replies coyly “You naughty, naughty boy!”.
  • Super Rabbit (Jones, 1943). Brief appearance as Little Bo Peep owing to a costume mixup in a phone booth when changing into Super Rabbit.
  • A Corny Concerto (Clampett, 1943). Appears as a ballerina, ultimately wrapping his brassiere around the heads of Porky and his hunting dog.
  • What’s Cookin’ Doc? (Clampett, 1944). Arises, Carmen Miranda-like, from a mountain of fruits and vegetables which have been hurled at him.
  • Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips (Freleng, 1944). Appears as a geisha who mallets a Sumo wrestler.
  • Hare Ribbin’ (Clampett, 1944). Appears as a blonde mermaid, driving the Mad Russian dog -- well, mad.
  • Stage Door Cartoon (Freleng, 1945). One of the can-can dancers Fudd whistles at.
  • Herr Meets Hare (Freleng, 1945). Appears as a Wagnerian heroine dancing with Hermann Göering. Same gag used again in What’s Opera, Doc? (Jones, 1957).
  • Hare Conditioned (Jones, 1945). Appears as a lady customer who charms the Gildersleeve-like floorwalker, laughing hysterically when Gildersleeve tickles “her” mannequin’s foot.
  • Mississippi Hare (Jones, 1948). Appears as a dainty southern belle who is rescued by a big southern beau from the clutches of Colonel Shuffle. When the beau discovers Bugs is a rabbit, he goes into a trance and walks off the boat, prompting Bugs to observe that he almost had a happy ending.
  • Haredevil Hare (Jones, 1948). Bugs as coquétte again, romancing K-9, observes that “there’s a beautiful Earth out tonight”.
  • Hare Splitter (Freleng, 1948). Bugs impersonates his girlfriend Daisy Lou to abuse a rival, Casbah.
  • Bowery Bugs (Davis, 1949). Bugs uses many disguises in this one, one of which is female, in order to heckle Steve Brodie, to the extent that Brodie jumps off the Brooklyn Bridge.
  • Long Haired Hare (Jones, 1949). Bugs appears as a bobby-soxer, asking for the autograph of Giovanni Jones with a dynamite pen.
  • The Windblown Hare (McKimson, 1949). Bugs appears as Red Riding Hood, singing “The Rabbit in Red” to the tune of “The Lady in Red”.
  • Hillbilly Hare (McKimson, 1950). Appears as an Ozark cutie who wows the Martin brothers.
  • Rabbit Fire (Jones, 1951). Bugs appears as a huntress with Daffy as Gypsy, her hunting dog.
  • Rabbit Seasoning (Jones, 1952). Appears as a “stacked” Lana Turner-type, who bamboozles Fudd into shooting her a duck.
  • Hare Trimmed (Freleng, 1953). First as Granny, then eloping with Yosemite Sam as a bride. Bugs’ bridal gown gets caught on a nail, revealing his tail. Upon seeing this, Sam goes nuts.
  • Robot Rabbit (Freleng, 1953). Appears as a robot cutie -- in a potbellied stove, no less.
  • What’s Opera, Doc? (Jones, 1957). In perhaps his most famous example of cross-dressing, Bugs appears as Brünnhilde and sings the Maltese aria “Return My Love”, (set to Wagner’s “Pilgrim Theme” from Tannhäuser) with Elmer Fudd.
  • Now Hare This (McKimson, 1958). Appears as Red Riding Hood.
  • The Unmentionables (Freleng, 1963). Appears as a flapper who kicks Rocky while doing the Charleston.

    Of course, other characters did their share of cross-dressing as well. Bugs dresses Elmer in a snappy green number, wig, and lipstick in The Big Snooze (Clampett, 1946), which certainly gets the attention of some Hollywood wolves. Elmer also poses as a female duck in What Makes Daffy Duck? (Davis, 1948).

    Daffy Duck does a striptease in The Wise Quacking Duck (Clampett, 1943), dresses up as Princess Gitchigoomie in The Daffy Duckeroo (McCabe, 1942), appears as a Pochahontas-type in Boobs in the Woods (McKimson, 1940) and does a can-can to “Latin Quarter” twice: first in Daffy Duck Hunt (McKimson, 1949), and later in Daffy’s Inn Trouble (McKimson, 1961). He also appears as a witch, after a superhero costume change mistake in Stupor Duck (McKimson, 1956).

    Wile E. Coyote dresses up as a schoolgirl in Fast and Furry-ous (Jones, 1949), as a female Road-Runner in Ready, Set, Zoom! (Jones, 1955) and as a blonde hitch-hiker in Going! Going! Gosh (Jones, 1952).

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• The Warner Brothers Cartoon Companion is © (copyright) 1996 E. O. Costello. All rights reserved.

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